Photo Credit: iStockphoto/lisegagne
You and your girlfriends have done countless road trips to the beach, bar crawls and nights at the club in your hometown. When it’s time to shake things up, cash in your frequent flyer miles and head off to a destination that’s decidedly you and your best friends, whether you’re the type who likes to party, shop, explore, relax or just laugh and talk. Check out our suggestions below for the best girlfriend getaways.
If you have a friend getting married, Miami is the place to take her and her girlfriends to party before the big day. During the day, shop in or lounge on South Beach, or browse the boutiques at Ball Harbour Village, CoCoWalk in Coconut Grove or the Great Streets of South Beach. Go all out at Michy’s (but make reservations first), the upscale French bistro run by frequent “Top Chef” guest judge Michelle Bernstein. The spas, such as the Biltmore Hotel Spa, Serenity Aveda Day Spa and Mandarin Oriental Spa, and nightclubs, such as the Mansion, Buck 15 and Purdy, are plentiful in Miami.
For high-end shopping, you can’t beat Manhattan in New York, with the original Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, as well as Fifth Avenue for high-end, hard-to-find items and luxury department stores Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. Or shop SoHo, a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan that has boutiques featuring designs by local artists, as well as chain stores H&M, J. Crew and Prada. The famed Manhattan Mall, where the Gimbel’s flagship store was located, is on 34th Street, as are multiple chain stores. Stay and enjoy a Waldorf salad at the Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue to be in the hotel that’s been the filming location for countless movies, including “Serendipity,” “Maid in Manhattan” and “Scent of a Woman.”
When budget isn’t a factor, venture off to Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. Take in the sparkling blue water at the 50 miles of beaches from Poipu Beach to Hanalei Bay, explore flourishing gardens and rainforests, snorkel amongst the reefs off Kee Beach and Haena Beach Park, hike the trails of Kokee State Park or zipline above Kauai’s emerald green valleys. You’ll also love wandering through the islands’ many charming small towns, such as the historic Old Koloa Town on the South Shore, Hanalei Town in North Shore or Kappa Town on the East Side (Coconut Coast). Stay at Ko’a Kea Hotel and Resort, a luxury hotel and spa on Poipu Beach on the South Shore, or indulge in a villa at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas with fully equipped kitchens, whirlpool tubs, DVD players and more.
Set against a gorgeous painted-desert backdrop in hues of purple, terra cotta, robin’s-egg blue, pink, orange and green, your soul may feel at ease just driving into the city limits of Sedona, Ariz. From there, you have your choice of spa resorts in the area, such as Canyon Ranch, a 70-acre wellness resort with yoga, dance, water aerobics and Pilates classes, massages, facials and health-minded food in controlled portions. Or, stay at Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa, which has a Girlfriends Getaway package. If you’d like to see more views of Sedona’s stunning red rocks, hike through Coconino National Forest, where you’ll see them best.
The coastal New England town of Kennebunkport, Maine, is located just 20 miles south of Portland and 85 miles north of Boston, Mass. Historically a shipbuilding and fishing village, Kennebunkport is a myriad of laid-back shops, stately New England homes, art galleries, bed and breakfasts and seafood restaurants. You and your friends can book rooms in the Main House or waterfront cottages of the White Barn Inn and Spa, an award-winning, 150-year-old hotel, restaurant and spa. Dine in the AAA, Five Diamond White Barn Inn Restaurant for breakfast and dinner; groups of 10 to 15 can reserve the wine cellar for dining. The restaurant’s use of seasonal ingredients, elegant, understated charm and extensive wine list will have you saying “Ahh” in no time.