Vacationing in 2019 is a maze of personal commitments and compromises, most of them having to do with your phone. There’s the relentless news cycle you want to keep up with, and the trickle of emails you don’t (who were you kidding?). And let’s not even get started on Instagram. Completely unplugging while you’re away can be nearly impossible. But disconnecting (for at least the majority of the day) is necessary to reset and recharge. Here, four getaways that make checking out a breeze.
The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection
The 3,500-acre ranch in the Wasatch Range, about 25 miles outside Park City, catapults the luxury mountain hideaway to otherworldly levels. Offering everything from fly-fishing, to heli-yoga, to an 18-stand sporting clay course, it’s easy to succumb amid this sprawling, private sanctuary. Equine enthusiasts will be floored by the Blue Sky Remuda, home to both trail and ranch horses trained in the tradition of Buck Brannaman, known as the horse whisperer. This is also home to Saving Gracie Equine Healing Foundation, where founder Barb Phillips rescues neglected and abandoned horses and rehabilitates them with the most progressive care imaginable.
Perched along Alexander Creek, the hypnotizing sounds of nature envelop the one-bedroom Creek Suites thanks to the purr of running water in the background. With its local bounty of organic herbs and vegetables sourced on property from Gracie’s Farm (home to more than 50 rescue animals), the cuisine pays tribute to the various indigenous cultures of the region, especially at YUTA, where James Beard award-winning Executive Chef Galen Zamarra churns out bright, seasonal creations of elevated Western-inspired fare including the succulent tuna l’occidental with brown butter, fried shallots and citrus marinade and Columbia River sturgeon accompanied by olive tapenade and marinated eggplant. Get immersed in an authentic taste of the Old West at High West Distillery, located right on property, where whiskey tours and tastings (available Wednesday through Sunday) can be arranged through the concierge.
Perched on the south shore of the nearly 22-mile-long freshwater lake, Edgewood Tahoe is a hidden retreat that opened in 2017. Steeped in history (the property’s thriving golf course founded in 1968 is consistently rated one of the Top 100 in the United States and is home to the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament), along with the most coveted location, this is lakeside luxury at its best. Book one of their lavishly appointed, ground floor rooms with expansive views and easy access for cavorting on the shore and diving into the lake. The property arranges for all equipment rentals, including kayaks and wake boards. Wooden shudders glide open above the inviting soaking tub, allowing guests to take in all of the majesty from the soothing surroundings of a hot bath — an idyllic way to wind down after a day on the powder covered slopes of Heavenly mountain or the greens.
During ski season, on property ski/snowboard personalized fittings and rentals via Black Tie Rentals at Adventure Shop is an added bonus. Foodies are right home with plenty of elevated dining options. Indulge in oxtail chili tots and a flat iron steak at Brooks’ located off the 18th hole, and where gourmet pub food is coupled with views of the shimmering waters. The adjacent Edgewood Restaurant takes things up a few notches with sophisticated fare including seared elk chop and a decadent artisan cheese platter served amidst striking floor-to-ceiling windows in a sumptuous lodge setting designed by Frank Gehry. Memorable touches include an Après Sleep Cart with energizing facial sprays, juices and granola to help kick start the day, which later transforms into an early evening S’mores Cart complete with outdoor fire pits for marshmallow roasting.
An ultra memorable, screen-free distraction can also be found off property — do it up like the locals and plan a visit to Angora Lake for a leap off Frog Rock, and don’t forget to hit the fresh lemonade stand on your way out. Top off a day in paradise at the Edgewood Spa, where an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Sierras and a robust menu of mind-numbing treatments await.
Montage Laguna Beach
Craving a high dose of salty air and sea breezes to help you unplug? The hypnotizing stretch of pristine waters hugging the coastal community of Laguna is a slam-dunk, and the newly renovated Montage Laguna Beach stakes claim to the most coveted location in the region. The sound of waves crashing on the shore transports you to another place and the ocean front guest rooms, with views of the Pacific and towering palm trees deliver. Designed in soothing tones of yellow, steel blue and chartreuse, the accommodations, including suites and bungalows, immediately elicit a state of relaxation. Stroll the winding pathways along the bluff then set up shop at the Mosaic Pool (there’s also an adult saltwater pool at Spa Montage) or surrender on the sand and the aqua-hued (yes, aqua) ocean where the hotel arranges for all of the necessary beach day goods including umbrellas, towels, lounge chairs, and food service. Hiking is epic in the hills of Laguna, especially with the wildlife and scenic views, and there’s something titillating for all levels.
Almost every resort seems to have a spa, but the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage with its vegetation studded, tropical outdoor lounge, flanked by a waterfall whirlpool, steam, dry redwood sauna, and cold plunge is pure decadence. It’s a cinch to while away the afternoon here, especially after the Lemon Juniper Detox massage or an ultra anti-aging Hydration Ritual facial by one of Europe’s most prized luxury skin care brands, Valmont. Paradise abounds at every corner of this refuge, all the way to Studio Restaurant, where Chef Ben Martinek churns out his interpretation of modern coastal cuisine in a Craftsman-inspired setting on the edge of the water (make sure to request an outdoor table). Dining at Studio is an experience to be relished, not rushed. Delicacies include Kona kampachi krudo with finger limes and Royal Keluga caviar and Niman Ranch 40 day dry-aged prime beef strip loin with black trumpet mushrooms. Or, dive into one of their set tasting menus. Whether you’re vegan or not, Chef Ben’s Studio Garden Menu, utilizing vegetables grown at the on-site garden adjacent to the restaurant, is a mind-blowing flavor and sensory packed achievement.
Solvang / Santa Ynez Valley
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
Nothing like archery, air rifle, fishing, and horseback riding across thousands of acres of scenic land to free your soul, and Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort has it all. Much more than a dude ranch, this adventure-packed oasis blends Old West charms with down home modern touches; going off the grid has never been easier. Freestanding cottages with outdoor porches for breathing in the healing air and rustic surroundings are studded with wood burning fireplaces and Western style décor. What you won’t find are telephones, televisions, room service, and strong cellular service, forcing city slickers to have no choice but to succumb to the spoils.
Nestled on the outskirts of the storybook town of Solvang in Santa Ynez Valley, the property also happens to be smack in the middle of Santa Ynez Valley with hundreds of wineries just minutes away. So, if you’re in the mood to indulge in the local, award-winning offerings, Alisal will arrange for an afternoon of complimentary tasting room and vineyard visits – this is exactly how you wind down after a round of golf on one of the two, 18-hole championship courses. Fuel up in the cozy Ranch Room dining space or one of Alisal’s famed outdoor seafood barbeques served by the lake where Chef Anthony Endy churns out locally sourced, hearty cuisine; breakfast and dinner are included in the nightly rate.
Since 1946, the ranch has been cherished for its unwavering authenticity and keeping its traditions, and this is exactly what keeps the majority of guests coming back year after year. One of them is “country formal attire,” meaning gentlemen over the age of 16 are required to wear sport coats to dinner. Designed to help visitors truly transcend in an escapade-filled rustic setting, this is what a technology-free escape is all about.