Five top destinations for late summer taste of luxury

Originally published at on Aug. 12, 2010

The Lagoon Pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Sanya, on Hainan Island in China

By Terri Colby, Sleeping Around

Summer’s end is near and you’ve yet to make plans for that big trip. It’s not too late, although you may need to consider a September departure. That might not be so bad if you’re considering some of the world’s top luxury properties. Here are five locales to consider if you’re looking to squeeze in a fabulous getaway.

Hainan Island, China

The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya, on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, offers many late summer options for travelers looking for luxury at an exotic, tropical beachfront resort.  The hotel has more than 330 guest rooms and 33 private villas. Prices start at about $250 per night for a room with one king or two queen beds and range up to about $910 per night for a 1-bedroom, oceanfront villa with private plunge pool.

The setting is spectacular with white sand beaches and mountain views. A large spa, a fitness center and four swimming pools including a beachfront infinity pool and a lagoon pool that opens to the China Sea can keep you occupied if you don’t want to partake of the activities that include rainforest hiking and scuba diving.

San Diego, California

During August, when San Diego’s average temperature is 78 degrees, the Beach Village at the Del, part of the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, offers luxury cottages and villas with direct access to the glittering Coronado beach. Each cottage or villa has large flat-screen TVs, Bose surround-sound systems, gourmet kitchens and 400-thread-count linens. Some have fireplaces.

Exclusive swimming pools and a complementary buffet breakfast are part of the deal. Nightly prices during August range from $875 for a partial ocean-view room with fireplace and patio to $4,950 for a three-bedroom oceanfront cottage with three fireplaces. Many options lie between.

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

The hot springs ladder of relaxation at Tabacon 

Nourished by hot springs at the base of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica’s rainforest, the 114-room Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort has been ranked as a world’s Top 10 eco-spa by National Geographic Magazine. The hot springs feed the thermal pools and attract visitors to the natural waterfalls for relaxation and romance.

The resort is the first hotel in Costa Rica and the second internationally to have achieved the Luxury Eco Certification Standard, earning it “sustainable travel” kudos. It’s been certified a 100-percent carbon neutral resort. Among its many interesting offerings is a romantic dinner for two in an open-air bungalow in the rain forest with private chef and server. Nightly rates range from $245 plus tax for a forest room to $450 plus tax for a suite.

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

The Greenbrier has been hosting guests for more than 200 years and tradition is a big part of its allure. But there’s still something new: The Casino at The Greenbrier, a Monte Carlo-style casino with table games such as craps, roulette, blackjack and poker as well as slot machines.

The Greenbrier has a wide variety of luxury accommodations in its 721 rooms including guest houses, seven-bedroom suites and features such as private porches and fireplaces. Among the amenities are myriad activities including horseback riding and falconry, three 18-hole championship golf courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a 40,000-square-foot spa. Rates range from $259 per night while a junior suite’s nightly rate was $425.

Galicia, Spain

5-star Parador in Santiago de Compostela, Spain 

Spain is hot in summer, but the northeasternmost region of Galicia with hundreds of miles of shoreline and coastal breezes can offer cooler luxury getaways for travelers intent on European culture. The Monasterio de Santo Estevo, one of Spain’s historic paradores, or historical buildings now being run as hotels, is nestled among chestnut forests overlooking the River Sil. It looks like something out of a fairy tale.  Nightly rates are about $215 but there are myriad discounts and packages that include stays at more than one parador. Click here for details.

Also in Spain, an interesting luxury tour was announced in June by My Exclusive Journeys. A 14-day land-only package for $6,414 per person, based on double occupancy, includes three days in Madrid, seven nights aboard a luxury vintage train, El Transcantabrico, and a stay at the fabled 5-star Parador in Santiago de Compostela, endpoint for the medieval pilgrimage of St. James. There are tour options for September and October.

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