It’s the time of year where everyone makes their “New Year, New Me” resolutions and goals. What if in 2017, your resolution could be paired with a weekend getaway to help motivate you to keeping your resolution at least into March or April? Here at Brickell Living, we’re ready to help you come up with the perfect vacation to jump-start the process of becoming the person you want to be in 2017, with an extra side of relaxation. Personally, I think a vacation is the best way to start the new year. Ironically enough – more travel is my resolution for the new year! Check out some of these hot spots within Florida or just a short plane ride away that are guaranteed to make keeping that resolution a bit easier.
To Take Up a New Sport – The Resort at Longboat Key Club
Situated on the stunning beaches of Florida’s west coast, this 410-acre playground boasts your typical Florida amenities amped up a notch – or ten. Think 45 holes of PGA-approved, championship golf courses and 20 Har-Tru tennis courts making up the award-winning Tennis Gardens. This year, challenge yourself and take on a new sport. At The Resort at Longboat Key Club, guests can master their swing with a PGA-certified golf instructor, or work on their stroke at tennis through private lessons with professional instructors. If golf is your forte, choose from four instructional golf programs including a one hour lesson or a more challenging 9-hole round. For tennis, The Resort at Longboat Key Club makes it easy for guests to book a stay and play through the Tennis Tune Up Package, including a daily lesson with USTPA pros, resort credit, a daily fitness class, and breakfast to fuel up.
To Try Something New – Opal Sands Resort
If your New Year’s resolution this is is to go out and try something new, then Opal Sands Resort is the place travel to this year. Having debuted in Spring 2016, Opal Sands Resort is the hottest new hotel in Clearwater Beach, Florida with guaranteed, gorgeous Gulf of Mexico views from all 230 guest rooms and suites. The resort’s unique curved exterior, beach chic interiors, and local art specifically commissioned for the hotel to reflect the destination’s utopian feel provides you with a refreshing look into 2017. Whether it’s a smoking cocktail at one of the bars, fresh pasta from the pasta-making station at Sea-Guini, or one of 100+ indigenous dolphins swimming by, there’s always something new to be experienced at this hotspot.
To Make New Friends – NYAH
Let’s change up the traditional New Year’s resolutions to get fit or eat lean, and focus more on being social and making new friends. At NYAH (pronounced NIE-yah), an acronym for “Not Your Average Hotel,” you’ll meet several unique characters, both guests and employees, that share the same interests – a good time with good vibes. Located just a few blocks from Key West’s iconic Duval Street, NYAH is a new sharing hotel concept. The versatile beds in each room can be configured to accommodate a single traveler, a pair of vacationing friends, or a group up to six, without any added fees. Each bed comes with an assigned locker to store personal items, as well as a personal charging station. For those looking to meet new people, the hotel allows guests to stay with strangers for a more social and unique experience. In addition to the hotel’s unique accommodations, NYAH features complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi, a drink menu including, margaritas, mimosas, beers, rum punch and more for an affordable price, as well as three pools, two Jacuzzis, and several wrap-around rooftop decks that overlook Key West’s tropical paradise.
To Learn to Scuba Dive – Playa Largo Resort & Spa
Sebastian in The Little Mermaid once said, “Darlin’ it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me!” As the self-proclaimed “dive capital of the world,” what lies beneath the surface of Key Largo is truly magical. From shallow reefs to deep-water wrecks, colorful fish to vibrant corals, the 33-mile long island offers some of the best sights and attractions under the sea, making it an ideal destination to learn how to scuba dive. Through organizations like the Florida Keys Dive Center, newbies can get scuba certified in as little as one weekend. Just a short boat ride from all of the area’s top underwater sites, including John Pennekamp’s iconic Christ of the Abyss statue, Playa Largo Resort & Spa can serve as home base for new divers after a day of scuba lessons. Once dive students have conquered the ocean, they can retreat to the luxurious resort for some beachside cocktails, stand-up paddleboarding or a champagne sunset sail.
To Unplug & Unwind More – Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Located along the largest stretch of secluded beachfront in Palm Beach County, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is a relaxing tropical oasis complete with island-inspired accommodations, oceanfront dining, and restorative spa experiences designed to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. Guests can find their inner peace by taking a stroll along the natural sand dunes and limestone shoreline that surround the resort, soaking up some sunny the pool, or kicking back in the hammock garden with a craft cocktail in hand. The scenic seaside town of Jupiter Beach also has countless outdoor attractions such as kayaking, paddle-boarding and sea turtle walks that put travelers in close contact with the area’s local marine life.
To De-Stress with Man’s Best Friend – Stanton South Beach
Let’s admit it, 2016 was kind of a stressful year for everyone. 2017 should be a time to detox your thoughts and there’s no better remedy than a relaxing getaway with your favorite puppy pal. Studies show spending time with dogs reduces stress, so your resolution should be to pack your pooch and book a beach vacation at the Marriott Stanton South Beach. One of the only hotels located on Ocean Drive with direct beach access, The Stanton is one of few pet-friendly hotels in South Beach, plus the hotel’s coveted address in the exclusive South of Fifth district places you in close proximity to delicious outdoor restaurants and dog parks nearby… or opt for a stroll along the beach boardwalk. When you need some “me” time, human pampering happens when lounging at the hotel’s two ocean-view pools or in plush lounge chairs on the sugary-white sands of South Beach.
To Reconnect With Nature – The Palms Hotel & Spa
If you’re looking for a truly lush and laid-back escape while remaining at a stone’s throw from the bright lights and beats of South Beach, this one is for you. Everything at The Palms Hotel & Spa is “Inspired by Nature,” and you don’t just see it…you taste it, hear it, feel it. From the towering, swaying bamboo trees that surround the pool, to the AVEDA lifestyle spa, to Essensia Restaurant’s organic “conscious cocktails” and seasonal, locally-sourced menu (you don’t want to leave without trying the Signature Kale Salad), a stay at The Palms means you’ll leave your beach vacay feeling fully rested and recharged. To maximize your time in the great outdoors, book the “Nature & Nurture to treat yourself to a mindful day of nourishing yoga sessions and guided earth meditations among The Palms’ tropical garden oasis.
To Experience the Venice of Florida – W Fort Lauderdale
A world class luxury resort, W Fort Lauderdale is situated on an exclusive stretch of South Florida’s sugar-sand coastline and in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. The property offers a variety of things to do for travelers looking to check the Venice of Florida off their New Year’s Eve resolution bucket-list. Transformed into an epicenter of modern luxury and choice gourmet cuisine, world-class shopping, legendary beaches, 3,000 hours of sunshine year-round and 300 miles of waterways, Fort Lauderdale is considered the Venice of America. Oh, and it just happens to be the yachting capital of the world, too! With 23 miles of beachfront and five million square feet of luxury shopping and dining just minutes from the gorgeous it-spot hotel, the property is a personal playground where moments are magical and dreams turn into reality. While at the hotel, guests can soak in the sun and sights at WET – the hotels rooftop pool with spectacular city and water views, dine porch side at Stephen Starr’s award-winning steakhouse STEAK 954, or soar 23 floors above the ocean to Bliss Spa to take in panoramic views while indulging in spa rejuvenation services.
CARIBBEAN & LATIN AMERICA
To Get Back to the Beach Basics – Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts
In 2017 travelers are making it a point to get back to the basics. We’ve had enough trying to cram a month full of sightseeing into a weekend vacation. Those pining for simple beach vacations head to Marriott Caribbean and Latin America Resorts – a collection of 10 luxurious, beachfront resorts spanning seven regions including Aruba, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Los Cabos. Plus, if you book before Dec. 31, you could snag up to a $400 resort credit per stay at participating properties in the collection. For a full list of properties and more info, visit www.paradisebymarriott.com.
To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
Eco-conscious travelers looking to reduce their carbon footprint can travel sustainably to Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, an off-the-grid paradise spread across 900 acres of lush rainforest near the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, with hot springs and cascading waterfalls naturally heated by the volcano’s magma. The property encourages guests to conserve local resources and aid in protecting the environment through the Tabacón Green Program, which includes plant-a-tree activities, the use of all organic and biodegradable products, excursions to national parks and reforestation programs (more than 1,200 trees have been planted as a result!). In a country responsible for six percent of the entire world’s biodiversity, Tabacon is also the first luxury resort to receive its carbon-neutral certification. This year, explore one of the world’s most natural wonders while enjoying – and protecting – the beauty of Costa Rica and its relaxing natural hot springs.
To Brush Up On Your History- The Westin Playa Bonita
Unplug from your social media timelines and plug into the history happening around you when you visit one of Latin America’s most thriving destinations — Panama City. In the culturally rich country of Panama there’s so much to discover, including the tropical rainforest, turquoise Caribbean beaches, 365 untouched islands of San Blas, and one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century — the Panama Canal. A beachfront oasis just outside bustling downtown Panama City, The Westin Playa Bonita is within arm’s reach of local attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage Site Casco Viejo. Here, travelers can take a city tour led by reformed ex-gang members from the local community. The eye-opening tour is organized by a local fundraising organization that’s working to gentrify the city and offer local youth a forum to earn money to support their families. There’s no better place to experience history come to life.
To Break Out of your Culinary Comfort Zone – JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
Cusco, Peru is a culinary mecca with plenty of opportunities to indulge and experiment, with native delicacies that include Cuy (guinea pig) and Filet of Alpaca, a staple at most locals’ dinner tables. To up your culinary game, stay at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, where Executive Chef Thais Rodriguez invites you to roll up your sleeves during an interactive cooking class. Focusing on local ingredients — from Peru’s more than 3,000 varieties of potatoes, to the infamous and very spicy yellow chili pepper (ají) and Andean trout from the surrounding Sacred Valley — mastering these recipes will be the best souvenir you can take home.
To Experience a New Culture – Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Home to more than 35 captivating beaches, a diverse heritage spanning 55 different cultures, including Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese, a ‘live and let live’ attitude and unrivaled European architecture; Curaçao remains an unrivaled tropical escape in the Southern Caribbean. Curaçao’s ethnic diversity is evident not only through its people, but also its cuisine. Due to arid conditions and rocky soil, the island remains heavily dependent on imports resulting in its international cuisine, prepared with local flair. Its capital city, Willemstad – a UNESCO World Heritage site – features an iconic colorful Handelskade backdrop, an eclectic roster of museums, monuments, flavorful restaurants and shopping; just a few of the many reasons why Curaçao continues to flourish as one of the most exceptional islands in the region.
To Travel Off the Beaten Path – Resorts World Bimini
When most people think of The Bahamas, they probably picture a vacation to one of the more widely-known islands, like Nassau or Grand Bahama. If you’re looking to shake it up and be a trendsetter in 2017 with a getaway to an emerging Bahamian destination, then an island escape to Resorts World Bimini on the Bahamian Out-Island of North Bimini is a must. Many don’t realize that Bimini is actually the closest Caribbean island to the U.S., at just 50 nautical miles off the coast of Florida — so you won’t have to travel far to discover this lesser-known Bahamian paradise. Resorts World Bimini encompasses a 750 beachfront complex that’s home to a brand new luxury Hilton hotel (opened June 2016), the largest marina in The Bahamas, the only casino in the world with panoramic water views, plus six restaurants, a rooftop infinity pool, exclusive beach access with on-site watersports, and more. Once you leave the resort (either by golf cart or bike), you’ll quickly realize that Bimini is bursting with local flavor. From bayfront conch shacks like Joe’s or Stuarts — where you can see the freshest conch salad of your life made-to-order straight from the water — to the seemingly untouched beaches and local shops and restaurants in Alice Town, to snorkeling a nearly 100-year old shipwreck — it’s easy to see why Bimini was a favorite haven for notables like Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whether you’re looking to be more active, more cultured, or just more relaxed there’s definitely something for you. Whatever your resolution is, we hope you have a fabulous New Year and a wonderful holiday season!