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.
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.