I was swaddled in my robe, swaying in my in-room hammock at the newly opened 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, facing my unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline, when it struck me: I had no idea what time it was.

I was in the middle of New York City—the place I call home—but I felt worlds away. I had wiled away the afternoon reading fiction for the first time in months, eating a chocolate-chip cookie the size of my face in the café downstairs, taking an obscenely long bath in my slate-clad bathroom, and test-driving the custom-built furnishings in my room that I dreamed of having in my own home (including that fabulous hammock). When I was ready to leave the hotel in search of city life, the hip DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) neighborhood was right at my doorstep. The best part? Within 24 hours, a refreshed version of me was back in the harness of connectivity before anyone even knew I was away.

The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is my modern-day ideal of the minibreak: an easy-to-reach retreat that simultaneously offers insider access to a destination and to a host of hedonistic pleasures and gorgeous spaces to indulge in before reality comes crashing back. As the demands of our information age intensify (half of Americans leave paid vacation days on the table each year), it’s good for us to have places like these in our back pockets—all only a short drive or nonstop flight away—for those short but much needed breaks from the daily grind.

My own list of quick getaway hotels is growing. I checked into the St. Regis Mexico City over a recent long weekend. Yes, the hotel is a cocoon of luxury with round-the-clock butler service, but the hotel doesn’t want guests to just stay inside its walls. My passing inquiry about local markets turned into an eye-opening tour of the bustling Mercado de San Juan with the hotel’s chef de cuisine, Olivier Deboise Méndez. He led me to my first-ever taste of escamol (ant egg) tacos and introduced me to his favorite mole vendor.

On a weekend trip last summer after the Bonnaroo music festival, I checked into Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, where I spent my idle hours in an enormous four-poster bed and on my private veranda. I also took scenic hikes on trails across the 4,200-acre property and ate an unforgettable farm-to-table dinner at the Barn restaurant. And I have reason to return, now that the resort has upped the ante with the recent debut of Bramble Hall, a private concert venue only accessible to guests, where major musical artists-in-residence (Kacey Musgraves and Luke Bryan among them) perform in an intimate setting.

Next on my list: the iconic Claridge’s in London, not only because I want to spend quality time in their Sisley-stocked spa, but also because hotel guests have access to impossible-to-score tickets for headlining exhibits at the V&A, among other art museums, thanks to Claridge’s longtime partnerships—no small perk when you want to maximize the precious hours of your minibreak.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, from $315.
St. Regis Mexico City, from $605.
Blackberry Farm, from $845.
Claridge's, from $673.

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5 Hotels Where You Can Relax, Refresh, and Recharge
These easy-to-reach retreats offer both exclusive experiences and sybaritic indulgences.
Collected by Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
Anvil Hotel
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    Jackson, Wyoming
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    Skiing, celebrities, and log cabins might come to mind when you think of Jackson, Wyoming, but the just-opened Anvil Hotel offers a hyperlocal new take on the picturesque town. New York design firm Studio Tack transformed a motor lodge into a 49-room hotel with a Shaker-inspired mid-century aesthetic, complete with iron bed frames and Woolrich blankets. Downstairs, there’s a general store selling hipster Western gear, as well as plenty of places to mingle with travelers and residents, including a zinc-topped bar serving cocktails by the famed New York City−based Death & Co. team. From $195. This appeared in the July/August 2017 issue.
    By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
    Anvil Hotel
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    Vail, Colorado
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    Launched in 2015, Collective Vail sits on 1,000 acres of working ranchland in the Central Rockies about 25 miles from Vail village. Six spacious tents, outfitted with antler chandeliers and wood-burning stoves, surround a central lodge that serves a menu of game and seasonal produce sourced from nearby ranches. When guests aren’t horseback riding or joining a cattle drive, there’s an on-site winery that can arrange tastings of small lot wine. The camp is part of a collection of low-impact, high-end retreats in picturesque landscapes, all with impermanent structures made from minimal material. From $500. This appeared in the July/August 2017 issue.
    By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
    Collective Vail
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    La Paz, Mexico
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    Situated on Punta Lobos, a quiet coastal area an hour’s drive north from Cabo, the Hotel San Cristóbal is a 32-room beachfront retreat designed by Austin-based hotelier Liz Lambert. Rooms feature carefully selected Guatemalan furnishings and fabrics. And while there’s plenty of time to work on your tan by the 2,200-square-foot swimming pool, the hotel also arranges surfing lessons, forays to harvest medicinal wild herbs, and sea turtle volunteering projects. From $258. This appeared in the July/August 2017 issue.
    By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
    Hotel San Cristobal
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    Montana, Montana
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    One of the most luxurious Western guest ranches, opened in 2005, the Resort at Paws Up, in Greenough, sprawls over 37,000 acres of classic Montana landscape: elk-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and ponderosa pines in the Blackfoot Valley, with the river of the same name running through it all. The most sought-after accommodations are the “glamping” tents on the banks of the Blackfoot or along Elk Creek that are available May through October and organized into five separate camps, taking just six guests each. The camps combine a Western lifestyle with an African safari formula: canvas suites with private baths, a communal dining pavilion with fireplace and fire pit, private camp chef, and butlers to help organize guest activities. Families and friends who prefer four walls between themselves and nature stay in enormous wood-and-stone villas with heated hardwood floors, fireplaces, leather furniture, huge flat-screen TVs, and panoramic windows; some of these homes come with outdoor hot tubs and tented bedrooms for kids.

    All guests have the opportunity to hike, rappel, canoe, play paintball, take cooking classes, and more, but the main action is on-site fly-fishing and horseback riding for all levels on 100 miles of private trails or in a 23,000-square-foot equestrian arena; adults and kids 12 and up can help move small herds of Black Angus cattle on sample stock drives. If parents want private adventure time, kid wranglers entertain young’uns. In the evening, communal entertainment takes place in a renovated barn that serves as stock sales venue, dance floor, and movie theater. Despite the busy activity menu and flow of golf carts transporting guests to and fro, the ranch is large enough, and accommodation so widely spaced that guests can survey the landscape and not see anyone.
    By Susan Hack, AFAR Contributor
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    Healdsburg, California
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    A labor of love created by local brother-and-sister owners Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, this six-acre farmhouse-style resort in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley recently underwent an $8 million renovation. Nine new, light-filled rooms feature four-poster beds and fireplaces. The new Spa at Farmhouse, modeled after a vintage stable, has double-height ceilings and pine doors for each of the four treatment rooms. The thoughtful details will win you over: a glass of wine at check-in, an attentive staff at the Michelin-starred restaurant, and fresh-baked cookies at turndown. From $545. This appeared in the July/August 2017 issue.
    By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff

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