Memorial Day Weekend is fast-approaching, and given the events of the past 14 months, 2021 MDW is particularly special.
With that in mind, here are a some of my favorite Southeast U.S. and Caribbean destinations for Memorial Day Weekend (and beyond) getaways.
Club Med Punta Cana
Club Med Punta Cana, just a two-hour flight from Miami, welcomes travelers to unwind under the Caribbean sun for a refreshing and exciting long-weekend getaway. Guests can book an oceanfront suite in the resort’s newly renovated Tiara Exclusive Collection space, a private area only accessible to guests who’ve booked a room in the dedicated area.
(Credit: Club Med)
Club Med Punta Cana guests also receive an unlimited number of culinary experiences, more than 25 activities from water sports (sailing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding) to land sports (archery, tennis and golf), and even acrobatic arts through Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil.
The Bristol Hotel
The Bristol Hotel is the first boutique hotel in the Appalachian Mountain city. The 65-room hotel is housed within one of the city’s striking 1925 architectural landmarks (a former executive plaza), reflecting the city’s distinctly industrial roots, musical soul and adventurous Appalachian spirit. Visitors can get curated hikes along the Appalachian Trail courtesy of the hotel’s curated guide maps, and outdoor dining from the city’s only rooftop bar, Lumac. Appalachian cuisine is served at the hotel’s family-style restaurant, Vivian’s Table. Offering prime access to the most visited national park in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachian Trail and ancient Bristol Caverns, Bristol makes for an ideal getaway destination where visitors can take part in a myriad of invigorating leisure activities including hiking, fly fishing and whitewater rafting.
(Credit: The Bristol Hotel, a Charlestowne Hotels managed property)
JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
For a close-to-home getaway, the new five-star JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa just outside the gates of Disney World is debuting its Hidden Garden Kids Club, featuring morning, afternoon and full-day educational children’s programs with themes such as “Turtle Legends” and “Renew and Reuse,” this Memorial Day weekend.
The resort is also opening its adult-friendly rooftop lounge illume on May 27, featuring an Asian-inspired menu, sleek design and views of the nightly Disney fireworks. Aside from this new club and illume, the resort has plenty of other entertaining amenities to keep the entire family occupied, including an outdoor pool; a food hall with enough options to please even the pickiest of eaters; a rooftop miniature golf course and rock-climbing wall; a complimentary shuttle service to the Orlando theme parks; and a 10,000 square foot spa.
(Credit: Marriott Hotels & Resorts)
Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
St. Petersburg, FL
Nestled along Florida’s Gulf Coast, St. Pete boasts an underrated, yet impressive art scene for a Memorial Day getaway packed with cultural experiences and artistic inspiration. Art aficionados can stay at the historic Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, which has luxury open-air amenities, including two outdoor pools, golf course, a private marina and tennis courts.
The Mediterranean Revival-style resort is located in the heart of downtown St. Pete for easy access to the world-renowned Dali Museum, the display of glass work in Chihuly Collection and The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. St. Pete is also home to unique local galleries such as Florida CraftArt, which offers guided walking and bike tours of the city’s murals, and the newly-renovated St. Pete Pier, which features Janet Echelman’s must-see sculpture Bending Arc, as well as trendy bars and restaurants overlooking Tampa Bay.
(Credit: Marriott Hotels + Resorts)
A quick flight from most Southeastern states, the resort has 1,000 acres of outdoor space, more than 40 dining options and 1,800 rooms with waterfront views. Guests can soak up the sun on the white sands of Cable Beach, lounge in a private cabana alongside one of seven elaborate pools, snorkel with marine life at the on-site Beach Sanctuary, get treatments at the 30,000-square-foot ESPA Spa, play a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design course, or get a flamingo yoga class in Flamingo Cay. Travelers who book a 3-night stay will also receive their 4th night for free, plus $100 resort credit.
(Credit: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar)
One of the country’s top boutique hotels, the 50-room French Quarter Inn is in the heart of the Historic District and footsteps away from the city’s major attractions. Days can begin with a complimentary artisanal in-room breakfast followed by a bicycle ride to the waterfront with the hotel’s vintage bicycles. Leave time to explore the city’s historic architecture, terrific culinary scene, and shopping along famed King Street before winding down with hotel’s complimentary Southern turndown service and extensive sleep programming, which includes a seven-option pillow menu and sound machine to lull guests to sleep.
(Credit: French Quarter Inn, a Charlestowne Hotels managed property)
Set among the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains with mild temperatures and blooming scenery, Asheville makes an ideal getaway. Guests at The Foundry Hotel can immerse themselves in local culture with one-on-one neighborhood tours with an on-site historian, chauffeured brewery visits via the hotel’s Tesla Model X house car, and drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway for a daytrip to The Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the U.S. Five-time James Beard nominee John Fleer leads the hotel’s culinary program, complete with a 100-seat Appalachian-inspired soul food restaurant and second-floor lobby bar, Workshop Lounge.
(Credit: The Foundry Hotel, a Raines Hospitality hotel)
Feature Photo: JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa (Marriott Hotels + Resorts)