Warm Up or Chill Out: Winter Destinations for Sun or Snow

Discussion created by communitymanagers on Oct 30, 2012
Latest reply on Oct 30, 2012 by nuhusker

Snowboard or surfboard, powdery snow or soft white sand—whether you’re looking to hit the beach or the slopes this holiday season, your fellow Insiders can point you in the right direction.


For sunshine and family-friendly attractions, GemPrincess likes San Diego, where attractions including LEGOLAND, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and San Diego Zoo are all within easy reach. The Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa is “a great choice,” she says. “The kids loved taking the ferry to the mainland and going to the arcades and shopping [nearby].” And, while San Diego has warmer weather, GemPrincess notes that Santa Monica is a good choice for those traveling with young adults. Her top choice? The oceanfront JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot. “[They] have a wonderful spa, outdoor restaurant overlooking the beach…or go out the front door and you are right [in] downtown Santa Monica.” Elsewhere in California, iestrikesback likes the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa for its “great pool scene, good restaurants” and grass tennis court, while GemPrincess offers additional recommendations for The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. The former offers a location “halfway between San Diego and LA, so you can also get in a lot of sightseeing.”

Across the country, Florida beckons with its beaches, golf, nightlife, spas and dining. Travelmavenflorida recommends The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, “a really beautiful property in a lovely, relaxing city,” as well as Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach, which is “great for sightseeing, going to great restaurants and shopping.” The Eden Roc also gets a nod from GemPrincess, who says, “It’s a beautiful property with great public rooms, spa, pool and poolside restaurant.” Mgoes2 likes Florida’s affordability, and encourages travelers to keep checking for the best deals. Her favorite properties include the Hotel Beaux Arts Miami, “a Marriott boutique-style hotel located in the top floors of the JW Marriott Hotel Miami”; The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, which is “very affordable and [has] a regular shuttle going all day to the beach resort, so you get all the perks of the beach resort without the price tag”; the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, which is “next to a really great upscale mall with lots to do”; and the Delray Beach Marriott, which is “across the street from the beach, is a beautiful property, has a great spa…it's also located on one of the most fun and cool streets in South Florida, Atlantic Avenue.”


Ohmark calls Florida’s Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club “one of the best Marriott resorts in North America.” The renovated historic property features everything from tennis courts and a spa to four restaurants and “wonderful rooms, many with gorgeous views.” A white-sand beach, museums and other attractions are all nearby. Bigdogbill offers a comparison between the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel and Marco Island Resort & Spa, saying the rooms and nightlife at the former are better, while the latter offers a “beautiful” beach with “incredible sunsets” and more pools. For information about what to do when you’re in the Keys, eb5147 offers a detailed post.

If you want to travel a bit farther from home, tef6178 suggests Aruba, while mojoho votes for Curacao, offering “tons of great places along the shore for snorkeling, beautiful beaches, good food and lots of local culture.”

Of course, not everyone’s idea of a winter getaway involves surf and sand; sometimes all you want is a day on the slopes followed by a crackling fire and hot chocolate.
Painedplatinum recommends New Hampshire’s TownePlace Suites Gilford, with skiing and snowmobiling nearby. The hotel and the area also get a nod from tjcnewyork. The Poconos in Pennsylvania are a great place for winter sports, lone6star says, and also puts you near outlet shopping in Tannersville. Kahunapremier recommends Park City over Vail for skiing, as it “offers more value for your money…hands down.”

Special thanks to members GemPrincess, iestrikesback, travelmavenflorida, mgoes2, ohmark, bigdogbill, eb5147, tef6178, mojoho, painedplatinum, tjcnewyork, lone6star and kahunapremier. To see one of your posts featured, we encourage you to contribute helpful tips, thoughts, experiences and insights throughout the community.