Best hotels and resorts in the USA to replace your international vacation 

Blackberry Mountain

Thinking about a getaway in the next six months?  There are an incredible number of fantastic vacation options right here in the continental USA.  If your nest-egg for your annual European vacation has gone unused this year, why not think about making reservations at one of these American properties instead?  Here’s a list of some of the best hotels and resorts in the USA

In this article I’ve assembled a list of some of the best properties for all styles of travel – seaside escapes, rural retreats, wellness-focused getaways, desert ranches, mountainous adventures, and more. 

Not finding anything that fits the bill?  Contact me for a curated proposal designed around your wishlist, budget, and dates. 

*Each US state has its own travel advisories and procedures for Covid-19 travel.  Each resort listed will also have its additional health and safety protocols.   Please consult the appropriate state, national, and property-specific websites and/or your travel advisor in order to make appropriate decisions before you travel.

Escapes By the Water 

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island – Florida 

A tranquil resort on Florida’s northeast coast, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is an invitation to escape from the outside world and discover a new one. Set along 13 miles of beachfront, the hotel is an exploration in coastal treasures including the multi-faceted flavors of both salt and infused bourbon, the meditative movements of a hammock massage and the unspoiled natural beauty discovered while kayaking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Inn at Perry Cabin – Maryland

The Inn at Perry Cabin is so cozy and relaxed, you’ll be aching to stay indefinitely. Set in a manor house in the resort town of Saint Michaels, this intimate retreat offers just 78 guest rooms, all with turned-wood New England beds, stacked with pillows and lighted by lamps. Each evening, your turndown service includes freshly baked cookies – a delightful way to end the day. The Spa at Perry Cabin is not to be missed; treatments are based on local botanicals, such as linden blossom, verbena, and black birch. Take time to relax in an Adirondack chair on the lawn and watch the boats cruise by.

Adventurous guests can sail the Miles River to the breathtaking Chesapeake Bay or visit Philips Wharf, a non-profit oyster farm that is helping restore the estuary and serves guests the freshest, tastiest oysters imaginable. Landlubbers can explore the gardens or hop on a bicycle and tour beautiful, historic St. Michaels.  Tennis courts and a golf course are also available.

Montage Palmetto Bluff – South Carolina 

Nestled along the scenic May River in South Carolina’s Low Country, Montage Palmetto Bluff is set within a vibrant 20,000-acre community between Hilton Head Island and Savannah. Providing guests access to all that Palmetto Bluff has to offer, the resort encompasses an extensive nature preserve, two picturesque villages featuring eight Southern-inspired dining options, a riverfront marina and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The resort has beautifully appointed cottages, cottage suites and resort rooms as well as luxury two, three and four bedroom home rentals. Spa Montage is one of the top-rated spas in the United States. 6 on-property restaurants and a gourmet food shop all provide for an array of dining options from casual to exquisite. Multiple pool facilities, fitness centers and a movement studio with complimentary classes are available. Extensive activities are offered including: equestrian, boating, kayaking, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and croquet and tennis facility.

Grayfield Inn – Cumberland Island, Georgia

*Rates include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. 

Cumberland Island offers 18-miles of nearly-isolated beachfront, 300-year-old live oaks draped with Spanish moss, crushed shell paths, and an abundance of wildlife untouched by the outside world. Greyfield Inn is the sole commercial establishment on Cumberland Island, giving guests an unprecedented opportunity to connect with nature at its most pristine. Bike on winding, live oak-lined trails that lead to historic relics and natural wonder. Swim and sunbathe on a secluded 18-mile beach. Kayak through picturesque Lowcountry marshes and discover wildlife never seen before. Explore miles of hiking trails. Get lost or tour the island with an expert naturalist. At the end of the day, unwind on the porch with a cocktail and recount your adventures.

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Back to Nature

Primland – Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
Southern comfort comes with a shot of refinement at Primland. Here, it is all about the simple pleasures: spotting white-tailed deer on a woodland trail, fishing for trout in a babbling brook, riding horses through fields of wildflowers, climbing trees to get that much closer to nature. A massive, eco-conscious resort in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland never forgets its connection to the land nor its commitment to luxury, with its 51 rustically elegant suites, cottages, and storybook tree houses. There is also an 18-hole golf course, an organic spa inspired by Native American rituals, and Orvis-endorsed wingshooting.

Old Edwards Inn & Half-Mile Farm – Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina   
Old Edwards Inn and Spa sits atop the beautiful southwest plateau of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The acclaimed European style resort fills several blocks filled with amenities, music, dining venues and individually appointed guestrooms, suites and cottages. Meals at the onsite restaurant are sourced from The Farm at Old Edwards. Spanning four beautifully landscaped blocks in downtown Highlands, the resort is in the heart of a walking mountain town filled with restaurants, live and performing arts, boutique shopping and pristine outdoor recreation on the fun and scenic Southwest Plateau of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

At their sister property Half-Mile Farm, discover a Napa-style setting and inn surrounded by bucolic landscapes and mountain vistas on the outskirts of downtown Highlands, NC. For guests 18 and older, an expanse of green lawn and views of glistening Apple Lake welcome you, and luxurious amenities invite you to stay and indulge.  Feel at home in modern farmhouse guestrooms and rustic-luxe cabins with fireplaces, stylish comfy interiors, and balconies that offer tranquil views of the courtyard, lake and surrounding forest. Half-Mile Farm is a peaceful getaway where adults can relax and recharge in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Blackberry Farm & Blackberry Mountain – Tennessee

*Rates include 3 meals a day as well as pantry snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and non-guided activities. 

Blackberry Farm is a 4,200-acre estate nestled in foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. The property has built a reputation as an unrivaled food and wine destination, providing farm-to-table cuisine and an award-winning wine collection of more than 160,000 bottles. Blackberry Farm’s passion for authenticity is expressed through its very own Foothills Cuisine®, which pays homage to local and seasonal ingredients, including those grown on the property’s garden. Guests also enjoy private fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and more, to complement spa services in The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm.

Blackberry Farm’s sister property, Blackberry Mountain, is no less stunning. In wild, imposing natural surroundings, the owners of Blackberry Farm have opened an establishment that prioritizes overall wellness, outdoor adventure and inner serenity. Rooms take the form of cabins and cottages designed with nature in mind, places to unplug from the world and reconnect with oneself.  Go mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and hiking on 5,200 pristine acres, more than half of which have been dedicated to conservation. Hike up or catch a ride in a house Lexus to one of the ridgetop cabins, or stay closer to the Lodge in a cottage made from reclaimed rock and wood – then admire the idyllic setting from your private patio or soaking tub. Find further serenity with an aerial yoga session, forest meditation, or holistic health treatments in the subterranean spa.

Salamander Resort & Spa – Virginia (near Washington DC)

Salamander Resort & Spa offers the refined sophistication of a luxurious country estate in the Virginia’s exclusive horse and wine country, just 40 miles from Washington, D.C. This luxury Virginia getaway brings together today’s sought after key elements of time-saving accessibility, authenticity of cultural and historical experiences, unique culinary and wine programming, and an innovative spa and wellness concept. Just 35 minutes from Dulles Airport, the 340-acre resort is located within the historic village of Middleburg, VA, which houses more than 100 unique shops, restaurants, surrounding wineries and equestrian fields. Their 14,000 sq ft stable at their Equestrian Center (riding programs available for guests) will be sure to dazzle the most avid horse-lovers.

The Inn at Dos Brisas – Texas (Hill Country)

Nestled between Houston, Austin, and College Station, Texas lies a culinary oasis where luxury meets rusticity. Upon the hills of Washington County, at the end of a winding road framed by lakes, wildflowers, and pecan trees, you’ll find the only Forbes five-star restaurant and Relais & Châteaux property in the state – The Inn at Dos Brisas.

After an action-packed day brimming with horseback riding, fishing and clay shooting, or a quiet escape full of yoga, couples’ massages and food and wine classes, guests from both ends of the spectrum come together to dine in the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant in Texas. Our renowned restaurant features fresh produce picked just for you from our extensive certified organic gardens and greenhouses. The cuisine is artfully plated and expertly paired with wine from around the world, thanks to our in-house sommelier. Following dinner, stroll back to your opulent casita or hacienda, unwind by the fire or take a dip in your private plunge pool—all while enjoying the postcard-worthy vistas. Whether you’re in the mood for a family trip, romantic retreat, or last-minute getaway, our staff will ensure your stay at Dos Brisas is an exceptional one.

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Wellness, Fitness, And/or Spa-Focused

Lake Austin Spa Resort – Austin, Texas
*Rates include 3 meals per day plus snacks & non-alcoholic drinks, unlimited use of lake water sports equipment, unlimited smoothies and juices, up to 20 daily fitness activities, lake adventure outings, and wellness programs, and more.

Waterside luxury with the welcoming comfort of a friend’s lake house. Relax and rejuvenate on the lush, secluded shores of Lake Austin—perfect for a calming escape, but just 30 minutes from the excitement of downtown Austin. Nestled in the quiet serenity of Texas Hill Country, our all-inclusive waterfront oasis offers a true sanctuary for rest, renewal, and reinvention. Rediscover yourself and let the stress and demands of your everyday wash away. With only 40 inviting, uniquely-appointed rooms and suites, our focus is on providing guests with an intimate, customized wellness experience like no other. Come see why we were recently named the #1 Destination Spa Resort in North America and the #2 Destination Spa Resort in the World in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards.  Escape the demands of your daily grind and embrace restful relaxation in a way that only a private lakefront setting can offer.

Photos courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort.

Canyon Ranch – Tucson, Arizona and Lennox, Massachusetts

*Rates include all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, daily activities, airport transfers, and daily service allowance towards a wide range of experiences,  or choose the new “Pathway programs” with themed groupings of activities and experiences for additional value. 

Canyon Ranch wellness resorts offer an integrated approach to everyday wellness. Fitness experts lead daily classes and outdoor adventures. Gourmet chefs prepare fresh, energizing cuisine. Demonstrations and daily lectures equip guests with tools to take home. Board-certified physicians and spiritual specialists care for mind and spirit. Cultivating a personalized and preventative experience, Canyon Ranch wellness resorts cater to the individualized needs of every guest.

TUCSON: Founded in 1979, Canyon Ranch in Tucson is a year-round luxury vacation destination dedicated to life enhancement. It is located on 150 lush desert acres in the foothills of Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains and accommodates 240 guests.

LENOX: Canyon Ranch in Lenox opened in 1989 and is nestled among 120 woodland acres just 150 miles from New York City and 130 miles from Boston. The historic Bellefontaine Mansion serves as the architectural focal point for the property and houses the Health & Healing Center. The property accommodates 200 guests.

Whether you are in need of a full lifestyle reset or a digital detox, Canyon Ranch experts have created a range of focused Pathways to help you find what you need now to pursue your best life. Pathway programs include Lifestyle Reset, Reconnect With Joy, Transition Purposefully, Personal Discovery, Optimal Health Exploration and Outdoor Escape. Whether you choose to visit Canyon Ranch in Arizona or the Berkshires, the Pathways experience you choose will lead you somewhere meaningful, positive, and empowering.

Photos courtesy of Canyon Ranch.

Miraval Resorts – Arizona, Austin, & the Berkshires

*Rates include all gourmet meals, non-alcoholic beverages, nightly resort credit to use toward spa services & private sessions, complimentary airport shared shuttle service and unlimited access to daily complimentary wellbeing activities & resort amenities.

These wellness resorts can be found in Arizona, Texas, and Massachusetts.  Miraval is a top-rated, all-inclusive destination resort and spa dedicated to helping guests live life in the moment. It is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top destination spas by top travel and lifestyle publications.

Opened in 1995, Miraval Arizona pioneered the destination well-being spa resort category with its comprehensive program of activities, experiences, and personal treatments. Miraval’s core is mindfulness, and its motto, “life is better when in balance”, guides each visit. Activities include fitness, meditation, yoga, well-being, equine, hiking, biking, and metaphysical exploration.

The Lodge at Woodloch – Poconos, Pennsylvania 

*Rates include 3 meals per day, outdoor adventure excursions, group fitness classes, speakers and workshops, hydrotherapy sessions, and more. 

Overlooking Little Teedyuskung Lake in northeast Pennsylvania, the spa at The Lodge at Woodloch has been exalted as one of the world’s best. And guests praise The Lodge for its cozy accommodations (most are equipped with private verandas, oversized showers and marble baths). Recent visitors can’t stop raving about the warm, welcoming staff as well as the wide array of on-site activities, which include everything from yoga and tai chi to cooking demonstrations and art classes. And then there’s the spa: This oasis provides pure relaxation. Indulgent travelers soak up in the Aqua Garden and then lounge on the rocking chairs that speckle the nearby terraces. And if you’d rather clear your head on the greens, the Country Club at Woodloch Springs is the spot for you. After a long day of hitting the links, savor tasty culinary delights at TREE, the Lodge at Woodloch’s organic-oriented dining venue.”

For a family-oriented resort, check out their sister property Woodloch Pines.

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Historical & mountainous

Omni Homestead – Hot Springs, Virginia

Open since 1766, The Omni Homestead is one of America’s most storied resorts, offering unparalleled hospitality and southern charm in a 2,000-acre setting within the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Virginia. Renowned for its natural hot springs, The Homestead is distinguished by 483 luxurious guest rooms and suites, 72,000 square feet of meeting space, a wide array of fine and casual dining choices, an expansive spa, championship golf courses that include one of the nation’s finest mountain courses (The Cascades), Allegheny Springs, a two-acre family-friendly water attraction complete with lazy river, water slides and water play zone. The resort also offers the South’s first downhill ski area, an Equestrian Center, top-rated Shooting Club, archery, canoeing, falconry, Segway tours and a wealth of other recreational attractions.

Photos: The Omni Hotels & Resorts Media Library

The Greenbrier – West Virginia

The Greenbrier’s stately grandeur is unmistakable –sprawling Georgian architecture, meticulously manicured gardens, ballrooms, sweeping staircases and lavishly distinctive décor draping every surface.  It is a timeless classic that maintains a high standard of elegance while catering to the expectations and creature comforts of twenty-first-century travelers. 

A scenic and picturesque setting, The Greenbrier resort is located in the Allegheny Mountain range that flanks the eastern seaboard. In its earliest days before the Civil War, American gentry was lured by the cool summer breezes and restorative mineral waters that bubbled up from these mountains.  Drive through the main gate today, and you’ll immediately feel whisked back to grander times. Long-honored traditions and a checklist of “holiday” must-haves have shaped these 11,000 acres into a vacation paradise–spacious accommodations, private estate homes, boutique shopping, golf courses, pools, tennis courts… everything that you would expect from a destination resort.

Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, North Carolina 

Serving guests for over a century, The Omni Grove Park Inn welcomes you with a tradition of southern hospitality amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Relax in our unique subterranean spa with an indoor pool or enjoy a round of championship golf on our Donald Ross-designed course. When it’s time to dine, enjoy one of our four locally-sourced restaurants. Then, retreat to stylish 5 star hotel rooms with stunning views and plush bedding. We know you’ll enjoy the classic comfort and modern convenience of our resort. Noted for its understated elegance and southern charm, ten U.S. Presidents and countless luminaries from the worlds of art, entertainment, sports and politics have stayed at this one-of-a-kind hotel. Offering sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, innovative and locally sourced restaurants, a Donald Ross designed golf course, an expansive tennis and fitness center, an award winning spa and spacious convention facilities. This AAA Four Diamond Property is listed on Fodor’s “Top 10 Luxury Spa Resorts” and Travel + Leisure’s rankings of “Top Spa Resorts” in the world.

Photos: The Omni Hotels & Resorts Media Library

Western Adventures

Lodge at Blue Sky – Park City, Utah

The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, is a contemporary luxury resort set on a 3,500-acre ranch near Park City, Utah. Blue Sky is the ultimate outdoor playground offering guests transformational Western-inspired experiences year-round. The accommodations are designed to mirror the unique aspects of the environment on which they are situated and offer guests another powerful opportunity to reconnect with nature.

Amangiri – Southern Utah

Amangiri (which means peaceful mountain) is located on 600 acres in Canyon Point, Southern Utah. The resort is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Built around a central swimming pool with spectacular views, the resort blends into its dramatic surrounds of deep canyons and towering plateaus. Amangiri’s Aman Spa features a floatation therapy pavilion, a water pavilion with sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool and step pool, a fitness centre and a yoga pavilion.  Note:  They have a sister property Amangani in Jackson Hole. This is easily one of the best hotels and resorts in the USA.

Four Seasons Teton Village – Jackson Hole, Wyoming 

Located only one mile from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, guests can enjoy easy park access complete with summer park packages that include passes and the option of to-go picnics. In the winter the location of the base camp ski concierge takes skiing to a whole new level of ease. Guests enjoy on-property demo level rentals, ticket purchasing options and retail for the left behind items. The unique naturalist packages bring guests a bit closer to the magic of the valley with the stargazing experience, wildlife safaris and exclusive fly fishing tours.  Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Westbank Grill before your morning ski, hike, bike, raft – you name it – then come back for a soothing massage in our Spa or a soak in our year-round, heated pool before meeting for dinner at The Handle Bar. In Wyoming, evenings are for kicking up your boots and gathering with friends and family around the fire – and we’ve saved you a seat.

Best hotels and resorts in the USA
© Don Riddle / Four Seasons

Bush Creek Ranch – Wyoming

*Rates can include all meals, horseback riding, fly fishing, shooting sports, children’s programs, mountain biking and trail programs, yoga sessions, and additional all-inclusive amenities

Experience the award-winning Brush Creek Ranch, an authentic western ranch resort destination. This truly magnificent luxury getaway is home to the Travel + Leisure #1 Resort in the US, #1 in the West, Top Family Friendly Resort and #14 Hotel in the World, the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice #3 Resort Hotel in the U.S. and the highly-touted Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Hotel. It’s constantly named to lists featuring the best hotels and resorts in the USA.

Immerse yourself in the storied Great American West at our three, all-inclusive, luxury ranch resorts located in stunning Saratoga, Wyoming. Explore the North Platte River Valley of south-central Wyoming, nestled between the ancient Sierra Madre mountain range and stunning Medicine Bow National Forest.  Brush Creek Ranch offers 30,000 acres of a working cattle ranch. Surrounded by prairies, mountains, creeks and rivers, our luxury ranch is perched in the center of the true American West. Adventure into views, experiences, and moments that will leave you speechless.

Best hotels and resorts in the USA
Photo by Josh Carter on Unsplash

Enchantment Resort – Sedona, Arizona

Enchantment Resort is located in Sedona, Arizona, 110 miles North of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and 114 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Surrounded by the towering red rock walls of Northern Arizona’s Boynton Canyon, Enchantment Resort combines the rugged grandeur of the Southwest landscape with equal parts luxury and Native American culture. The 70-acre resort is designed to embrace the awe-inspiring scenery with one-story guest accommodations and panoramic views of rock formations and pine forests.

The resort lies within red rock Boynton Canyon, a scenic box canyon in the Coconino National Forest. The destination appeals to couples looking for a romantic getaway, friends seeking an active or restorative getaway and multi-generational families wanting to reconnect in a place of stunning beauty. More than 100 weekly activities include guided hiking and mountain biking treks, and room keys provide guests with direct access to Boynton Canyon Trail adjacent to the resort. Guests also enjoy exclusive access to Mii amo spa and Seven Canyons golf club.

Photos used with permission from Enchantment Resort.

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All-inclusive Fun in the Sun

Club Med Sandpiper Bay – Port St Lucie, Florida 

Located along the St. Lucie River, amid wonderfully lush vegetation, Club Med Sandpiper Bay enjoys a delightfully tropical climate, a Sports Academy with top-ranked coaches, and an adult-exclusive infinity pool with a dedicated bar. This family-friendly destination is best enjoyed by active families due to the wonderful number of inclusions such as trapeze lessons and sailing lessons.  One of the few “all inclusives” in the USA that actually includes your alcoholic drinks as well – the other is The Bungalows, featured below. 

Best hotels and resorts in the USA.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay

The Bungalows – Key Largo, Florida

All-Inclusive adults only (21+) resort offering a unique tropical experience set on 12 waterfront acres of lush landscaping with spectacular sunset views and approximately 1,000 feet of shoreline. Inclusions encompass Luxurious Accommodations, Unlimited Dining and Premium Beverages, Non-motorized Water sports, Daily Yoga Classes, Land Sports, Bicycles, use of Fitness Center, and much more.

The resort features multiple indoor/outdoor dining options, a waterfront tiki bar with direct sunset view, a boutique full-service spa, two resort pools, and water sports including kayaking, paddle boarding, tricycle water bikes, and the like. Accommodations feature 900 square feet of private indoor and outdoor living space, decorated with a contemporary “beachy” motif, and expansive private outdoor space. The outdoor area for each bungalow includes an ample private deck, a private outdoor garden shower and soaking tub, all set amid tropical landscaping.

Photos courtesy of the Bungalows Key Largo.

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Rocky Mountaineer’s New USA Train Route 

Finally, for a domestic vacation for train-lovers, consider Rocky Mountaineer’s new 2021 route from Denver to Moab.  The two-day train journey travels between Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Glide over the Great Divide as you toast champagne among friends. Witness the enchanting hoodoos, spires and spectacular landscapes while learning the history of the region. Highlights from this route includes Mount Garfield, Ruby Canyon, the Continental Divide, Moffat Tunnel, Byers Canyon and Mount Peale. Experience all the breathtaking scenery while enjoying world-class service and regionally-inspired cuisine. Get the sense of adventure you crave, with the exceptional service you deserve on this journey of a lifetime. You can read all about in my article here.

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I hope you enjoyed this list of aspirational American vacations and the best hotels and resorts in the USA!  For rates and further details about any of these properties, please contact me so I can VIP your experience when you book through me.  If you’re not quite sure which one suits your wishlist, let’s set up a call and I’ll help you narrow it down!