Mexico

When the going gets tough, the tough are of tempted to stop going – or going on vacation, that is! But the exact opposite should be true: travel inspires and relaxes us. It takes us to new creative heights. It is refreshing. It’s exactly what we need when we’re in a rut, or going through a rough patch, or simply sick of gray skies and piles of snow. So if you’re yearning to get away from it all but don’t want to break the bank in the process, these six budget destinations come through with incredible deals and plenty of sun-dappled relaxation.

Mexico

Hotel B Cozumel

The rules of supply and demand certainly appyl in Mexico, where thousands of hotel rooms mean competition for tourist dollars. And that means great deals on some of the country’s most scenic towns, including towns along the Yucatán Peninsula, the Riviera Maya, and major destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cancún. Great deals can be had for every type of vacation style, so don’t settle for merely a good price: If you’re a water lover, go for an all-inclusive (or large resort) that bundles jetskis, snorkeling gear, and other amenities into your vacation package. For a more sedate getaway, look for a small hotel or guesthouse where you can escape the crowds.

Stretch your hotel dollar: The Hotel B Cozumel is a steal along the famed Riviera Maya, with a natural snorkeling bay, gorgeous views, and rooms that ooze personality.

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When your windows frame the crystalline creep of fresh frost and the forecast calls for snow, sleet and plummeting mercury, nothing boosts the spirit better than dreams of tropical heat and beachy vistas. But when even the weatherman looks depressed and the thermometer starts to shiver, it can be hard to remember what warm weather feels like, much less to envision sand between your toes and colorful drinks with fancy umbrellas. So we’re here to help get you started on your armchair (or actual!) travels. These seven, ultra-luxurious infinity pools are absolutely spectacular and overlook the warmest oceans the world has to offer. Happy daydreams…

Marriott Wailea Resort, Maui

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The Marriott Wailea Resort offers up the best of both worlds: family-friendly grounds and an adults-only infinity pool. And what an infinity pool it is! Calm waters cascade over the edge, drawing your eyes out to the sparkling Pacific. And if you’re in the market for a quiet place to relax, the infinity pool’s shaded cabanas and lounge chairs are the perfect choice.

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We don’t know about you, but we love getting free stuff — especially on vacation. Most of us don’t spend our hard-earned money on a trip lightly, and there’s nothing worse than showing up at your carefully chosen resort only to get nickel-and-dimed. That’s why when a resort does the opposite, and hands out freebies for things you wouldn’t expect, it isn’t just refreshing — it can be what elevates your vacation from just okay to out of this world. Here are five freebies that will take your vacation to the next level.

Free Spa Treatments

Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa RicaThis is the type of freebie that makes us think we’ve misunderstood something. A free spa treatment? But there’s no mistake: At Gaia Hotel and Reserve in Costa Rica, every guest gets one 20-minute spa treatment just for booking a stay. The options include a back relief Swedish massage, a mini facial, or Feet Renewal treatment. Now that is the kind of service that makes us want to come back. Read More »

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For many of us, long days at the office, stress, and errands can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. So we often look at our vacations not as a chance for a calorie binge (well, not always), but as a chance to hit the reset button and get back to our exercise and fitness regimens. And those who do manage to stay fit year-round may not want to part with their healthy lifestyle choices when they go away for a week or two. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the mind-body connection, so we found 13 stunning holistic retreats that can help you take your relaxation and well-being to new heights on your next getaway.

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe, wellness-focused retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), healthy cuisine (almost every dish comes with a hearty side of vegetables), and an excellent ocean-view yoga platform where group classes are held. Plus, the spa uses local materials, treatments, and techniques. Rooms are adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, and guests can get in an extra workout climbing up the hill from the beach to reception.
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We'd love to dive into that gorgeous blue water right now!

We'd love to dive into that gorgeous blue water right now!

Cinco de Mayo may be over, but it’s all the more reason to head to Mexico for a little R&R after the hard-partying of this weekend. Located on the snorkeling-lover’s island of Cozumel off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the Cozumel Palace is an upscale all-inclusive resort. It offers an impressive array of kid-friendly features, but is largely popular among couples seeking some relaxation. Rooms feature liquor dispensers, flat-screen TVs, minibars and balconies, and all but the standard rooms have a big whirlpool. Dining options are varied and solid, and the pool area offers daily activities as well as a swim-up bar and loungers. And the views — well, they speak for themselves. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Cozumel Palace.

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Talk about a room with a view!

Rosewood Mayakoba is a gorgeous, peaceful retreat within the resort community of Playa Del Carmen, set on a mile-long stretch of beach. Though it features an extensive children’s program, the resort largely attracts couples with its serene atmosphere, upscale restaurants, and spa. The 128 suites feature attractive contemporary decor — picture clean lines, white walls, and rich woods — as well as high-tech amenities and private outdoor plunge pools. They have an open-air vibe, with many floor-to-ceiling windows, and the overwater lagoon suites have swim-up access. Plus, suites include freebies such as Wi-Fi, fresh fruit, and bottled water. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Rosewood Mayakoba.

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Ackee and saltfish, Jamaica

Ackee and saltfish in Jamaica

If you’re a foodie, cuisine plays an important role in your vacation. We can relate. Luckily, we’ve gotten to sample a lot of great food while off investigating hotels across the globe, and we’ve particularly enjoyed discovering various destination’s specialties, from smoked salmon in Norway to macarons in France. There’s a lot of food out there, to be sure, but these seven local dishes ranked among our favorites.

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One Bal Harbour Resort bathrooms have some of the best views in the Miami.

Some people prefer to read a magazine in the restroom, but we’d much rather gaze out over a stunning view. There’s nothing we love more than exotic sights, no matter where we’re taking in the view — the shower, tub, or elsewhere. From Hong Kong to Miami, Boston to Barcelona, here are our favorite hotel views from the best seat in the house.

 

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