Atypical Island Vacations

by Jane Reynolds on May 2, 2012

View from the Bitter End Yacht Club -- Virgin Gorda

Sure, the BVI is a nice, island-y spot. But we have some atypical island vacations after the jump that are hard to beat.

It’s getting warmer, summer is soon approaching, and we’ve got a full-blown case of spring fever at Oyster HQ. So it’s easy to catch ourselves dreaming of an island escape where we can enjoy some sun, fun, and relaxation. But going to the Caribbean is sooo typical (not that we’d turn down the chance to be someone’s travel buddy if they’re heading that way…hint, hint). Instead, we’re picturing a different kind of island vacation. A vacation where you’re on an island, but not one that most would normally think of; instead, we’re picturing the atypical island vacation – but with all the perks of an island getaway. Check ‘em out now!

Island you didn’t think of: Manhattan, NY

Millions of tourists visit Manhattan each month, and (almost) everyone knows that Manhattan is, in fact, an island. After all, the Dutch — attracted to Manhattan’s protected harbor — settled the area centuries ago. But few think of the 13.4-mile stretch of land as an island getaway — we’re about to get people seeing Manhattan in a new light. Sure, there are the fabulous Broadway shows to see and top-notch, Michelin-starred restaurants, but even packed Manhattan can feel like a breezy, island vacation.

Make it an island escape: Think you can’t have fun in the sun in the concrete jungle? Think again. The Trump Soho, Donald Trump’s first luxury hotel in downtown New York, features a sexy rooftop pool. You’ll feel just like you’re lounging somewhere in the tropics — except, of course, you’ll be surrounded by skyscrapers.

View of Manhattan from The Peninsula New York

View of Manhattan from The Peninsula New York

The Rooftop Pool at the Trump SoHo New York

The Rooftop Pool at the Trump SoHo New York

Island you didn’t think of: Nacka, Stockholm

Though it is a business hub, Nacka has a more laid-back feel than areas that are located in Innerstaden, Stockholm’s city center. Located 10 minutes from central Stockholm, Nacka is a popular choice among business travelers and families who want to avoid the hustle-and-bustle and rollicking nightlife of central Stockholm. Nacka is completely devoid of any nightlife, although it does have several popular restaurants — many boasting beautiful water views.

Make it an island escape: The boutique Hotel J in Nacka looks out at the beach. And though the water isn’t great for swimming, visitors can walk along the beach — and explore the massive nature reserve nearby — to get the secluded, island-y vibe.

View from the restaurant at Hotel J -- Nacka

View from the restaurant at Hotel J -- Nacka

View from Hotel J -- Nacka

View from Hotel J -- Nacka

Island you didn’t think of: Hutchinson Island, GA

Hutchinson Island is a large strip of land connected to mainland Savannah via the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. Though there’s not much in the area aside from the Convention Center, a short cab or ferry ride will get you to the heart of town, and the island offers great views of the Historic District across the river. Though the island is largely tourism and industry-focused, residential neighborhoods are beginning to spring up on this picturesque piece of land.

Make it an island escape: Surrounded by marshes and dotted by palm trees, the Westin‘s 18-hole golf course makes visitors feel like they’re far from the hustle and bustle of city life, when in fact, they’re just a short drive away. The PGA course, designed by Robert Cupp and Sam Snead, has been featured in numerous golf magazines.

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa -- Hutchinson Island

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa -- Hutchinson Island

Golf Course at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa

Golf Course at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa

Island you didn’t think of: Hong Kong Island, China

Though Hong Kong is composed of several islands, the main focus of the city is on Hong Kong Island, where most visitors choose to stay — particularly in Central, the business and financial hub of the city. Central’s skyline is defined by tall glass-and-steel buildings and has a modern look, but some buildings from the neighborhood’s past as a former British colony and military port remain. It’s mix of modern and historic is appealing, and there are plenty of sights to take in.

Make it an island escape: Hong Kong Island certainly isn’t as serene as the small islands in the Caribbean, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find serenity there. The luxurious Tranquil Mandarin Spa at the Mandarin Oriental is about as relaxing as it can get. With numerous treatment rooms and Jacuzzis, as well as a barber and a salon, the spa provides guests with rest and relaxation. The gorgeous Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong will be on Oyster.com soon, so be sure to check it out!

View of Hong Kong Island from The Peninsula Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong Island from The Peninsula Hong Kong

Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Island you didn’t think of: San Juan Islands, WA

A nice summer getaway for Washingtonians, the San Juan Islands have a relaxed, back-to-nature vibe with farmlands, nature trails, whale-watching, and mom-and-pop shops. Most visitors arrive by ferry, but there are a few small airports for those who don’t want to wait. And though it may be difficult to get there, you won’t have to worry much about how you’re getting around once you’re there; some rent or bring cars, while others choose to stay in the vicinity of their hotel and walk or bike.

Make it an island escape: With moderate temperatures and about half the rainfall of Seattle, the San Juan Islands are a great retreat during the summertime. Activities focus on the outdoors; visitors hike, check out the wildlife (whale-watching is a popular attraction and the Shark Reef trail on Lopez Island leads to a harbor seal hangout), sail, and kayak. The 23-room Friday Harbor House sits atop a bluff overlooking the marina in the heart of the downtown area, where guests can rent sailboats.

The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes -- San Juan Islands

The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes -- San Juan Islands

View from the Friday Harbor House -- San Juan Islands

View from the Friday Harbor House -- San Juan Islands

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