My husband and I are looking for a December destination that's relaxing and warm. We have two young adult daughters joining us so we're looking for a fun place, too! Last year we all went to San Juan Marriottt and really enjoyed the relaxation, food and activities.
Unfortunately, we can only go during the height of the holiday season and the most expensive week. (find many places are stingy about letting you use points. (Ritz Carlton, Naples). Any suggestions would be appreciated. By the way this is my first post..can't believe it as I'm a Marriott fan!!
Not certain what your idea of warm is, as I have friends that only want to go to places like Barbados when they say warm, and Shady Lane when they say nice.
but that said, if you want something nice that is domestic,...
Why not San Diego? Its warmer than many places in North America, and there are lots of interesting places to visit while there. My sister's kids always enjoyed our trips. We went to Legoland, Disneyland, Knottsberry farm, whale watching, Mexico Day trips, San Diego Zoo, Wildlife Park, Art Museum, Old Town. There is also a day ferry from San Diego to Ensenada, where you can go down for the day, or stay as long as you like, and return. They serve breakfast and lunch on the way down, and dinner on the way back.
The Marriott Coronado Island is a great choice as its a resort. The kids loved taking the ferry to the mainland and going to the arcades and shopping near the ferry, even though you can drive across the causeway.
Below are some links to a other threads discussing San Diego properties and some of the logistics.
Or why not Miami Beach - South Beach? The Eden Roc is a wonderful property in Miami Beach and a short walk along the beach to South Beach. Its a beautiful property with great public rooms, spa, pool and poolside restaurant, on the boardwalk and beach. You can walk for miles along the beach, or just watch it all from the pool and poolside restaurant, depending on your tastes. I loved watching all the families that walk the board walk to their weekly religious services, or holiday services, and then congregate along the board walk afterwards to socialize.
and if airline tickets are challenging, or you don't like crowded airports at Christmas time, how about a nice train trip to either?
I'll throw out the suggestion for Aruba. We just booked a stay for Dec on a Wed to Wed and booked a suite for $225 a night at the Rennaissance. A regular room can be had for $150 a night. If you can travel mid-week, the airfares drop pretty dramatically. We booked the air for $529 round trip, and our airport never has any good deals because nobody flies out of or to here. I'll bet bigger cities midweek fares are even better. If you get closer to the weekend travel time, the fares jump up to almost $1000 round trip. So, Marriott is running some great deals and the airfares can be had for midweek flight......anyway, just a suggestion....
This is a great post, thanks, I'd go if I wasn't heading out west for a Scottsdale (timeshare) family holiday vacation.
Use you AAA card (I think I remember your suggestion from an earlier post) and get that Ocean Suite for $198 and eat lunch with the savings!
Keep these types of posts going, they're terrific (especially now in the days of NoGo, BoGo).
Great post, and hope to hear more from you. I like all of the suggestions proffered here. If you choose So. CA. we can help drill down to some specific properties if you want.
About the desert locations though (Las Vegas), I've spent a few New Year's holidays in/near Vegas, and it gets quite chilly, especially if it's windy. To my mind, it can get plain cold. Since I'm a native Californian, I suppose cold may be relative. I'm talking 45-60 in the desert in the winter.
IE, what temps have you encountered in Vegas and Palm Desert in the winter?
pluto, you're correct, Vegas can get cold in the winter. We've even encountered snow there once! Palm Desert is warmer, and temp averages are mid-60s in December, with no rain. But, we do love the JW Desert Springs. Great pool scene, good restaurants, plus it's a tennis resort with even a grass court.
Thank you all for your great suggestions! We were hoping to go south or to an island. The daughters are adults so Lego Land is probably out but you never know! They are flying from NYC so want a place that does not take them all day as they only have short holiday vacation from work. We fly from the south so not as difficult for my husband and me.
By the way, we love California but do agree on the weather. This trip is for laying in the sun and relaxing a bit mixed in with some fun activities.
Enjoying the posts,
Santa Monica is not as warm as San Diego, but its a favorite with young adults.
I really love Le Merigot which is on the ocean, right at the Santa Monica Pier. That have a wonderful spa, outdoor restaurant overlooking the beach, and you can walk forever on the beach, or go out the front door and you are right downtown Santa Monica, with lots of other hotels, restaurants, shops and clubs.
Hurricane season ends in November.
I did spend one holiday season in the Cayman Islands, but I remember how expensive the plane tickets were, and how difficult it was to fly then. Domestic is bad enough, but at least there are more flites to choose from [and rebook due to weather].
I also like that domestically I can take the train as well to FL or CA.
One year I did the train from PHL to Charleston, stayed in the Marriott there which was really nice, before and after a cruise, and we did a 2 week Caribbean cruise which was really nice.
The peak of hurricane season in the Caribbean is from mid-August to the end of September with Sept 1 thru 15 the worst time. In October the season really winds down and something after mid-Oct is a rarity, but they do happen (Hurricane Lenny in 1999 was a November storm that actually went backwards). Atlantic storms usually come off Africa and track east to west. Lenny started in the Caribbean basin over by the Caymans and went west to east.
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Yes, a rare bird indeed is a tropical cyclone in May! But, I guess that tells us that the best we can figure when it comes to the weather is to expect the unexpected!
Having grown up in the Northeast, I never gave much thought to hurricanes since they are, for the most part, big wet rain events up there. But, after Hurricane Luis in 1995 left nothing but four walls and plywood attached to the beams on our roof at our home in St Maarten, I have great respect for the sheer power and force these storms can bring to bear. We re-built it like Fort Knox.....concrete and more concrete.
My ears always perk up when I hear a tropical disturbance has formed. I learned my lesson about not being prepared !
Florida has other great locations for winter travel. You may want to try the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL, a really beautiful property in a lovely, relaxing city. Also, the Eden Roc in Miami Beach would be loads of fun in winter. Just stayed there this past week and it was great even in the July heat. You probably would not be able to swim in the ocean in December of January, but it would be great for sightseeing, going to great restaurants and shopping. And the Miami area is really beautiful, lovely gardens and homes to tour in addition to the nightlife.
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To me, one of the best Marriott resorts in north america is the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg FL. Wonderful contemporary renovation of a historical property on Tampa Bay in wonderful downtown St. Petersburg. The Vinoy has tennis courts, golf course, large pool, and spa. Wonderful rooms, many with gorgeous views. There is a smaller white sand beach about a 20 minute walk, and world-famous beaches about a 20 minute drive. The Vinoy has four very nice restaurants on property, from casual to formal, and between; and this is not including the numerous restaurants around downtown St. Pete. And downtown St. Pete, with parks all along the water downtown, with art and other museums, including the stunning new Dali museum, and with theater productions and concerts, has become an attraction in itself. And, of course, there is the iconic St. Petersburg Pier.
We loved Barbados when we went ~15 years ago. However, the Marriott there has closed (and possibly reopened under another management company) and only a Courtyard operates there now. Sandy Lane is the top dog there.
Another spot I hear good things about is Curacao. You're in luck as there are two properties there: a Marriott and a Renaissance Hotel. I have a friend who goes there for scuba diving and the casinos and loves it. And you can't get much further south, outherwise you'd run aground in South America. In checking out the pictures, I may have to visit there myself someday!
Good luck in wherever you choose! Please post back and let us know how your trip went!
Another place I completely forgot about cause I haven't been there in years, but have always loved, and so did my sister and her kids is the Ritz at Dana Point
We started going there based on recommendations from several travel magazines to have tea and for sunday brunch, but liked it so much we went back for vacation one year.
There is also a wonderful spa, and your halfway between San Diego and LA so you can also get in alot of sightsseing as well.
Another place I like is Laguna. Have meet friends and family for years at Las Brisas for lunch, brunch, dinner, etc, and enjoyed walking around Laguna
There is also a very nice Marriott near there as well.
Hi Travelmom 1!
I live in Boca Raton and do a lot of traveling around the state and one night get-aways nearby. There are some great suggestions above. CA is great, but if you're from the East or Midwest, it will be expensive to get there. FL is quite affordable, but you have to keep checking the deals. I'll often make a reservation, but keep checking from time to time to see if I can get a better rate at either the same property or another one in the area. I also always compare the AAA rates...sometimes they are substantially lower than the other rates offered elites. You won't have to worry about hurricanes in December. Actually, I think the best time to travel to S FL is late Oct - Dec. The weather is usually perfect, not too many snowbirds or tourists yet and the rates are good.
My personal favorites in the are:
-Eden Roc, Miami Beach
-Hotel Beaux Arts or the JW Miami (both hotels are in the same building...the Beaux Arts is a Marriott boutique style hotel located in the top floors of the JW, Miami downtown
-Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples (or the Ritz Carlton Beach resort in Naples...super expensive, but cool if your rolling in points! The advantage of the Ritz golf resort is that it is very affordable and they have a regular shuttle going all day to the beach resort...so you get all the perks of the beach resort without the price tag!)
-Renaissance Tampa Tampa International Plaza, Tampa (not on the beach, but it's next to a really great upscale mall with lots to do...I've just always had great service here and enjoyed the stay)
I have not personally stayed there, but I have used the spa at the Delray Beach Marriott and it was great! In fact, that may be a great choice for you. It's across the street from the beach, is a beautiful property, has a great spa (they give you this crazy amazing hot chocolate that you have with fresh fruit after your treatment). Not only is the hotel at the beach, it's also located on one of the most fun and cool streets in S FL, Atlantic Avenue. It's one of those areas they did a great job of renovating, full of restaurants and shops....music at night, art galleries, clubs, etc.
If you end up in S FL, let me know and I'll be happy to make other recommendations for your trip.
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We've been to the Keys at Christmas and are going after Thanksgiving this year.
Here's a link to activities there.
There's a "Christmas in the Keys" celebration from Nov 30 to Dec 2 in the Duck Key that includes a lighted boat parade and Christmas themed events.
Texas -- I would say anything south of Austin, TX would probably be warm. Have you ever been to San Antonio, TX? I bet the River Walk is really lit at Christmas and there's always plenty to do there.
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South Carolina -- Charleston, SC or nearby Hilton Head, Island
Myrtle Beach, SC always has lots of Christmas shows but also probably crowded.
If you are looking for warmth AND relaxation, try St Maarten. We go with family about every other year, and love it. Nice beach and sand, and we are away from the hustle and bustle. However, if you are looking for night life, stay near the airport and enjoy the bars and restaurants. It's the bext of both worlds, and we find airfare from $500-600 RT from Chicago.
We have also been to Marbella Spain, and although we didn't get to stay there, they have a newer Marriott there that looks awesome. The other advantage was cheaper restaurants there, if you don't cook in your room.
Did you check out both of the Ritz Carlton Resorts in Naples? There are two here: one on the beach and one on the Golf Course (about 4 miles inland). The best thing about them is that a shuttle between the two properties is provided complimentary. The reason I know this? Because I am staying at the Golf Resort this week! My wife and I have been visiting the hotel each fall for the last five years. We love it after Labor Day and before Christmas - usually no children and not many total. I know it was at least 82 degrees today at the beach if not higher. And the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort's awesome restaurant Lemonia has the best breakfast buffet and staff in SW Florida!!! Say Hello to Shannon for me!