It's a hard fact that any true New Yorker will rarely leave the confines of this fast-paced island we call home. While we may find it excruciatingly painful to tear ourselves away from our routine of unending work weeks, urban rooftop cocktails, and a demanding social calendar, some time away can do a body good and have you returning with a renewed enthusiasm for life. With it's heat-radiating streets, swarms of tourists, and buildings in lieu of sunblock, Summer in New York is the perfect time to sneak away.
Some of the easiest destinations for a quick escape from the city, take a look at these luxurious vacation spots (that I've now compiled into a personal bucket-list) sure to inspire the jetsetter in you:
This formerly quiet island in the French West Indies has quickly developed a reputation as both a celeb favorite and a happening spot for nightlife and fashion. Home to Nikki Beach - a beach club also dubbed "The Sexiest Place on Earth" - guests of the island include Ivanka Trump, Paris Hilton, Gwen Stefani, Mick Jagger, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Sean Combs, Demi Moore, Selma Hayek, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Mr. & Mrs. Carter, to name a few. Direct flights averaging about 5 hours from New York to the neighboring island of St. Martin, followed by a quick (although allegedly terrifying) 10 minute plane ride to St. Barths itself, make this Carribean getaway a convenient destination for New Yorkers in search of blue-watered beaches.
The Hotel Christopher is perhaps St. Barths most acclaimed accommodation. Located in Pointe Milou, the hotel has been a choice of the many celebrities that flock to the island, including Cameron Diaz and Harrison Ford. Modern and airy, the hotel underwent a $9 million renovation that lasted 3 years. Although not a beachfront property, this secluded resort is home to the largest swimming pool on the island. Photo source: www.hotelchristopher.com.
With 34 individual accommodations designed by Jane Matthews (and bathroom designed by Philippe Starck), Eden Rock is one of the newest additions to the St. Barths. Located on St.John Bay and surrounded by sandy beaches and a coral reef, the ultra-chic hotel has had a slew of notable guests from Cameron Diaz to Harrison Ford. Feature include an art gallery that doubles as a studio for guests, a Jean-George restaurant, and even a music recording studio. Eden Rock is an ultra-luxe homage to style and creativity, where you can make use of the inspirations that may strike you while you chill in paradise. Photo source: www.edenrockhotel.com.
A 6-bedroom, 6 bathroom hideaway just minutes from St.Barth's centre of Gustavio, Villa Wik is the ultimate home away from home for you and your entire entourage. Features of the house include Missoni textiles, two infinity pools with full ocean views, and two separate wings flanking a breathtaking open grand foyer. Villa WIK is minimalistic, fashion-inspired chic at its finest. Photo source: www.jetsetter.com.
Zen Nirvana Villa
If your ideal vacation is to embrace a zen state-of-mind, the Zen Nirvana Villa is the perfect luxury destination for your next vacation. The 5-bedroom villa features cascading fountains and a reflection pool upon entry, and even a fiber-optic coffee table (of course). Overlooking St. John Bay, this villa is more of a compound of multiple units with private entrances off of the main entryway, and features a bi-level pool deck and two dining areas. The ultra-modern minimalist decor and dream-like views are the perfect remedy for a cluttered mind. Photo source: www.stbartsvillas.com.
This port in France's Cote d'Azur has long been recognized as a favorite destination for celebrities and high-society from around the globe. With all of the amenities one would expect of a luxury vacation destination, from sprawling beaches to nightlife that won't stop until after the sun comes up, this not-so-private hotspot is the place to go if you want to be seen rubbing elbows with the likes of Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholsan, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Richie, Neil Patrick Harris, Kate Moss, Elton John...and the list goes on and on...and on.
A St. Tropez institution since its inception in 1967, the Hotel Byblos is the standard in luxury accomodations for the French seaside town. With its Mediterranean style, the Byblos boast a Michelen-rated Alain Ducasse eatery, an exclusive nightclub, and a collection of local antiques accumulated over the hotel's history. It's within walking distance to St.Tropez's designer boutiques and beach clubs (although its own free-form pool is a coveted spot to get some sun). With only 95 rooms - one of which have been rumored to have hosted Mr. Clooney himself (oh my!) - the Hotel Byblos is where everybody who's anybody goes...if you can get in. Photo source: www.lhw.com.
Part of the YTL Hotels Muse collection, the Muse St. Tropez in the secluded Ramatuelle is a mix of French elegance and minimalistic design. Fifteen private suites each features their own individual design and name of the muse after which they were inspired, surrounded by terraced gardens and a pool accented with private cabanas. From individual spa treatment rooms inside each suite to a Bentley service into the port to "sun butlers", the Muse is sure to inspire any guest. Photo source: www.kiwicollection.com.
If your idea of a vacation is traveling to private accommodations behind wrought-iron gates with a group of 16 people, then the Chateau St.Tropez is the place for you. This palatial property houses eight bedrooms (two of which features their own private terraces) and is home to one of the largest gardens in all of St. Tropez (think ginormous Slip & Slide). With your own private entourage of house manager, chef, waiters, housekeepers, and security, you will set the standard of luxury among even the most elite St. Tropez vacationers. Photo source: www.chateausttropez.com.
Famous for its all-day, all-night party attitude, the Miami scene needs no explanation. If you're young, beautiful, and rich (third optional), Miami should already be on your list of weekend escapes. Less than a 3-hour flight from NYC, Miami is a continuation of the New York social scene transplanted beach-side.
The Raleigh Hotel
The venue for MBFW Swim 2014, the Raleigh is a South Beach art deco structure that embodies classic Miami swank. The glamorous pool was first made famous by Esther Williams and continues to be one of Miami’s hottest spots to cool off. If you’re craving something salty instead, jump into the ocean from the Raleigh’s own beach. The Raleigh is even home to great South Beach nightlife with Oasis, a nest of cabanas between the beach and the pool that’s been host to a plethora of glittery parties and events. And it’s no surprise – managed by SBE hospitality group (a la The Hills) one wouldn’t expect anything less. Photo source: www.raleighhotel.com.
A Morgan's Group hotel, The Delano is another South Beach institution known for its 195 all-white Philippe Starck designed rooms, the infamous nightlife scene at the Rose Bar, and its rooftop spa with sprawling 360-degree ocean views. The subterranean FDR lounge (opened in 2012) has also been known to be one of the toughest doors in Miami to get past. The Delano digs were apparently even good enough for George Clooney to check out the South Beach scene while filming Up In the Air. Photo source: www.delano-hotel.com.
If you’re looking to partake in the South Beach lifestyle but want some time away for yourself, one of the most soothing spots in Miami is The Standard Spa. Although hotel mogul Andre Balazs’ other Standard properties are no strangers to debauchery and kink, (ironically) The Standard Spa is dedicated to wellness and relaxation. The décor is a throwback to mid-century Miami kitsch, and the spa even features a “hydrotherapy playground” and one of the best Turkish hamams this side of the Atlantic. Photo source: www.standardhotels.com.
Turks and Caicos
Only a quick stop over from Miami – less than an hour-and-a-half - the Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by white sugar-sand beaches and turquoise water as far as the eye can see. The scene for celebrity homes belonging to names such as Bruce Willis, Christy Brinkley, and Keith Richards, the handful of ultra-luxe exclusive resorts and residences on the island adds to its jet set appeal.
The Gansevoort in Grace Bay can be best described with one word: sexy. Its known for its private guests-only beach, Exhale spa, and floating “islands” that dot the pristine pool. An open-air lobby will take your breath away upon entrance to one of 91 rooms that feature open bathrooms (can we say kinky?). The hotel even attracts non-guests with its live entertainment on weekend nights at the outdoor bar. Photo source: www.gansevoorthotelgroup.com.
Parrot Cay is perhaps Turks and Caicos’ most famous destination, known both for its lavish accommodations and exclusive guest-list. A 1000-acre private island, the resort features three-bedroom beach villas with private pools. Both Willis and Richards’ homes are in Parrot Cay, as well as Donna Karan and Sir Paul McCartney. If investing in property isn’t your idea of a vacation, its rumored than some of these celeb-owned homes are available for rent. Photo source: www.comohotels.com.
Amazing Grace villa situated in Water Cay is truly nothing short of amazing. This 5-bedroom residence has its own 600-ft. stretch of private beach, a covered terrace, and balconies with dream-like views. Located in a residential area of Provo, Grace’s private pool and lush green lawn surrounded by 18-acres of coconut palms will have you never wanting to leave. Which isn’t really a problem since, if you don’t want to share your private digs, the property even has a guesthouse where your friends can crash. Photo source: www.amazinggracetc.com.