Town: San Francisco
Surprisingly, this is Bay Area choice visiting time , rather than the height of summer. Crowds are minimal, especially at touristy, but cool attractions like Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf, and the weather can be downright decent. The new Inn at the Presidio is open for business, but for centralized digs, the whimsical Hotel Diva in Union Square is worth checking out. It lives up to its Personality Hotels brand name with images of sultry females sexing up the rooms and over-the-top theme suites (the fam-friendly Little Divas set-up is too cute). For only $159 a night you’ll get a duvet-topped king-sized bed, free WiFi, and even complimentary sake in the lobby.
Napa Valley in the spring? Yes, indeedy. Highway 29, which winds through the region, can become a big traffic jam in certain sections from June through October. But now you can easily cruise through the towns, scoring ressies at French Laundry, Bouchon, and Morimoto. Rates at high-end resorts like Auberge du Soleil still stagger, starting at $675 a night, so save your coins and crash at the Hilton Garden Inn Napa, which offers a respectable “Wine, Dine and Dream” package for a mere $235 per night (and earn Hilton Honors points). You’ll get a tasty meal aboard the antique Napa Valley Wine Train train while you ride along the 25-mile track, stopping at a winery, plus a tasting pass for six additional wineries. Not only does the hotel offer complimentary wine every night (as if you didn’t get enough during the day) they dole out fresh baked cookies in the afternoon. And we dig the free Internet access, kitchenette, and the adjustable Sleep System bed.
Mustique, a slice of a Caribbean isle in the Grenadine chain of islands near St. Vincent, is a frequent playground for royals Will and Kate as well as Alicia Keys, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos who just vacationed here this week with daughter Lola in tow. Shania Twain, Mick Jagger and a gaggle of other bold names have homes here, but if your invite to crash at their pads is mysteriously missing, the swank Cotton House resort is an (only) option. The previous 18th century cotton warehouse is now a 17 room haven for those who can swing the low-key, but luxury experience with rates starting at $550 per night after April 13th. There's lots of extras included in the rate from breakfast to free Internet service as well as non-motorized watersports equipment. 11 of the suites, with their mosquito-net draped beds, pillow menu, and separate sitting rooms also have private plunge pools, so we say shell out and go whole hog if you’re coming all this way. Best of all? Housekeeping service includes free garment pressing and even bag unpacking. Sure, it may seem over-the-top, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you can adapt.
Everyone who complains about Europe and how expensive it is wants to go anyway, so we’ll skip the whinging and guide you to the new, affordable Residence Inn Edinburgh. Opened last November, this efficient hotel is one of only two Residence Inn’s in Europe (the Munich site opened last October). It’s next door to busy Edinburgh College so a youthful vibe counteracts the serious businesses cropping up around the hotel,part of an up-and-coming district called Quartermile—named for its distance from popular Royal Mile road and Edinburgh Castle. Families on holiday will especially appreciate the enormous suites, most with sofa beds, and all with kitchenettes sporting Bosch microwaves, fridges, and dishwashers. Add the free full breakfast, WiFi, and even giant Otis Spunkmeyer cookies at tea time for the startling starting rate of £95 a night and you’ve got Europe on sale.
Fan Favorite: Cancun
This area is Spring Break mecca, but there’s an alternative to the mad party scene at the all-inclusive Sun Palace Resort, on the quieter end of Cancun’s busy Kukulcan Blvd. In fact, Snooki just stayed at its sister property, the family-friendly Beach Palace, so keeping it tame is their M.O. This resort is adults-only though, so that’s more our style, especially with the hot tub-for-two in the middle of the room. Also there are free full-size bottles of premium brand alcohol with dispenser, as well as a fully-stocked mini-bar (no one said we were angels). Outside, there are two distinct areas, a “quiet” area where you can go to relax and read by the pool, and another “live” pool area where you’ll find people playing aqua-volleyball, etc. Plus, there are plenty of beach chairs and ocean cabanas, though the waters around these parts can be a bit choppy.All-inclusives rates start at $400 per night, with a resort credit up to $1500 to be used towards room upgrades, tours or spa and salon treatments.
[Top Photo: Sun Palace/Facebook]