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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Luxurious U.S. Five-Star Resorts For Long Weekends

Have you made your plans for the 4th of July yet? Labor Day? Columbus Weekend? Thanksgiving? If not, have no fear. It is not too late to plan a wonderful luxury vacation that’s actually worth the money you will spend. A couple of my favorite places to which I have been repeatedly include The Amangiri, Utah, and The Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah Island. These hotels make every trip entirely about you. If you are the adventurous traveler each destination offers fun sports such as rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, swimming in pools and oceans, and a whole lot more. If you or your travel companions prefer to chill out, each destination also has an incredible spa and other amenities for rest and rejuvenation. Everything is truly five-star at these resorts; the service, staff, food, spas, gyms, activities, and adventures, will not disappoint you! Each resort is couples, singles, and family friendly. Though you might like to stay at any of these spectacular places forever, three to four days is also just perfect!

1. Amangiri, Utah 

I spent last President’s day weekend at the Amangiri in Southern Utah. Located in The Four Corners of the United States, Amangiri means “peaceful moon.” Upon arrival, I immediately felt enveloped in a spiritual atmosphere attributable to the fact that the landscape incorporates some of the nation’s most beautiful geological topography; the resort is situated in a valley surrounded by rock formations and plateaus of the desert canyon country. Amangiri is a 15-minute drive from Lake Powell and not too far from Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and The Grand Canyon National Park.

With its minimalist design, the Amangiri compliments the beauty of its surroundings; it almost looks like one of the surrounding plateaus. A staff member greets you with lovely fresh juice upon entering the main reception area of the hotel. Then you realize that you are standing in one of the more interesting interior design feats of the hotel world. The lobby, library, dining room, and open kitchen all occupy the same space, one room flowing seamlessly into another. The floor to ceiling windows display a panoramic view of the landscape bringing the serene exterior inside. The rooms at the Amangiri are of top-notch design; modernism meets comfort with furniture, large walk in showers, and objets that qualify as eye candy. With front and back patios to boot (and grills on which you can make your own s’mores), the designers have mad sure that you will not miss a sunrise or sunset during your stay.

Things you can enjoy at the Amangiri
Four stunning rock climbs on the property Horseback riding on in the desert and atop the plateaus Sailing on Lake Powell The option to drive to and hike several of the gorgeous wonders of the U.S. including The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon
Spa treatments of all kinds 
The gorgeous pool which is large enough for laps and calm enough for sunbathing
Reading in the library
An incredible and diverse menu for all meals and an open kitchen that will make you food to order (there’s nowhere else to go nearby but at The Amangiri there is no need to search)
Lovely yoga room and many outdoor spaces where you can practice yoga

2. The Sanctuary, Kiawah Island

This year will be the third 4th of July I spend at The Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah Island off of South Carolina. The Sanctuary is the perfect place for a family vacation with a multitude of amenities and facilities but without the feeling of being gargantuan and overcrowded. The hotel caters to children as well as to sophisticated adults. The Sanctuary is an oceanfront resort designed with large spaces, traditional Southern moldings and fireplaces, old-school furniture and lighting, and objets that conjure the feeling of a historical Southern seaside mansion. The high ceilings and winding staircases in the lobby strike the perfect tone of a gallant yet warm welcome. As the website describes:

“The exterior combines the highest finishes of Charleston brick, stone, stucco, woods, slate, copper and ironwork. The interior is characterized by grand

spaces with high ceilings (lobby and ballroom), and traditional but light southern d├ęcor highlighted by antiques. The hotel has been designed to be elegant, but not too formal.”
At The Sanctuary, your kids can run wild while you rejuvenate. You can also spend time with your kids doing any of the wonderful family activities.

Amazing things you can do at The Sanctuary

Bike on the beach (a large portion of the sand is frequently hard packed and the hotel provides bikes even ready-to-go ones outfitted with babysits) and the many bike paths around the island
Run and walk on the beach or under canopies of gorgeous trees
Swim, kayak or sail in the ocean (If you are a warm water person, this is definitely the place for you– I’ve never been when the ocean has been less than eighty degrees).
Drive to Charleston and soak up its history and modern day flare
Restaurants to check out in Charleston: Blossom, Magnolia, Hanks, Jerry’s Diner
Vissit Plantations near Charleston
Rest and Relaxation

Hang out by the pool
Soak in the Jacuzzi
Spa Treatment
Leisurely walks in nature
Strolls through town
Check out the myriad amazing restaurants including

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