Come Fly Away: Seven Trips Perfect for Overdue Reunions

Travel

As our beautiful globe continues to open up, surveys continue to show that socializing with family and friends is amongst the most-missed activities of “normal times.” Now that travel has become a reality again, here are seven trips — far better than any Zoom session — that are perfect for reconnecting with your long-lost loved ones.

Lucca, Italy with your best friend

It’s only appropriate to head ‘under the Tuscan sun’ with your best friend, and for this trip, you’ll want to head to a place a little bit less expected. A few hours outside of Florence and Pisa is the under-the-radar yet coveted city of Lucca. Known as the ‘City of 100 Churches’, Lucca shines with as much history as it does culture, fine Italian designer shopping, and delectable Tuscan cuisine — things only your best partner in crime will appreciate. Stay at the Grand Universe Lucca, a magnificently restored Italian ‘palazzo’ turned luxury hotel, where you’ll want to kickstart your trip with a glass of bubbly at Sommita Roof Garden, the city’s first and only rooftop bar. Spend your days cycling around its charming cobblestone streets and piazzas with the hotel’s bike cruisers (picnic included!) or people watching from outdoor seating at Legacy Restaurant, which has views of the Piazza Napoleone.

Pro tip: book your trip during the annual Lucca Summer Festival, which lights up the plaza each year with performances by some of music’s biggest names. John Legend and Celine Dion are scheduled to perform when the festival makes its return in the summer of 2022. 

Panama City with the boys

Located in Central America’s most pulsing cosmopolitan city (not to mention accessible), The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a sprawling oasis in the heart of Panama City and its only urban resort. A full-service spa, expansive pools, locally inspired cuisine, and guest access to The Santa Maria Country Club amenities — home to soccer and tennis courts, for example — round out the experience, all just minutes away from the city’s top attractions. The hotel’s main attraction? The only Championship Nicklaus Design 18-hole, 72-par golf course in Panama City, making it an ideal destination for golf aficionados. Think rippling fairways, beautiful greens and sculptured bunkers complemented by majestic views of the course’s signature waterfall hole, the very picturesque par 3, 17th hole. This winter, grab the guys and book the hotel’s “Stay & Play Golf” package to enjoy daily breakfast at Mestizo for two, and one round of golf for one guest per day, among other perks. 

The Galapagos with your grandkids

Explore the enchanted Galapagos Islands aboard Origin & Theory by Ecoventura, two sleek and modern mega-yachts hosting year-round, seven-night itineraries through the protected archipelago. Enjoy intimate wildlife encounters, snorkeling, and land excursions via their Relais & Chateaux yachts. With just 20 guests on board, travelers sailing with Ecoventura can experience a curated, intimate adventure, with nothing to get in the way of developing a deeply personal experience with one of the most memorable places on Earth. Book the “GRAND Escape to the Galapagos” package for a special experience with your grandchild that includes a private exploration zodiac ride with the ship’s Captain, a private stargazing experience with the ship’s naturalist guides and a printed photo book of your journey through the Galapagos, which is created and mailed post-trip with candid photos taken by naturalists throughout the trip. 

Anguilla with your long lost love 

Haven’t been able to spend time with your beau? Whisk them away to Anguilla, an alluring destination known for its gorgeous, white sand beaches (there are 33 to be exact!), bars & restaurants galore, and sunsets that are best enjoyed with live music and toes in the sand. Perched above the sands of Long Beach Bay, Quintessence is a boutique five-star hotel affectionately nicknamed ‘The Tropical Grand Mansion,’ known for its authentic Haitian artwork that plays perfectly into its island theme. Indulge in French-Caribbean fine dining and rare vintages from the Q Wine Cellar, unwind with yoga and meditation on a postcard-perfect private beach and let the hotel’s butlers cater to your every whim. When you’re ready to explore, charter a boat to nearby Sandy Island, browse local art galleries, and dine at one of 100+ local restaurants where you just might spot a celeb like Martha Stewart, Liam Neeson or Justin Timberlake, who have been known to frequent the island. 

South Andros with your grown children 

One of The Bahamas’ largest, but least inhabited islands, South Andros is an unspoiled hideaway for families with older kids in search of untouched nature and total seclusion. Caerula Mar Club, the area’s first and only luxury resort owned & designed by a celeb HGTV duo, features private villas and spacious suites steps from the turquoise shoreline on a beach where guests are likely not to spot a single footprint. The resort’s incredible Ocean Adventure Team can help your family get dive certified or take you out to snorkel the Tongue of the Ocean, blue holes, and world’s third largest barrier reef. Sunrise yoga sessions, complimentary bicycles that can be used to explore the island, and a chef that will cook up just about anything guests ask for – even Napolitan-style pizza from an outdoor brick pizza oven – offer the perfect balance of family bonding activities and opportunities for solo exploration, personal reflection, and R&R in paradise. The resort is open to all travelers ages 16+. 

Thompson Buckhead with your brothers & sisters 

Over the years, you and the sibs have drifted to your own little corners of the country. So you’re always looking for an easy escape where you can ditch the distractions of home life and really catch up. A central hub and short drive or nonstop flight from most major cities, Atlanta offers the perfect combination of mild weather, great food, entertainment and local culture. Stay at the soon-to-open Thompson Buckhead, located in a residential, tree-lined neighborhood where you’ll find some of the city’s best dining, shopping and nightlife at nearby Buckhead Village. Reminisce on the good old days at Dirty Rascal, the hotel’s signature Italian-American restaurant, where homestyle red sauce dishes just like mom used to make are complemented by prime people-watching and cozy booths that make this the newest hotspot. Splurge on suites and gain access to Tesserae, the hotel’s rooftop social club, where you can catch up on work by day and rub elbows with important local figures and community members by night. You’re grown ups now…why not treat yourselves a little? 

Dutch St. Maarten with your colleagues

WFH is here to stay and for some that means less face-to-face time with their work families….so why not jump on the ‘work from anywhere’ trend and reconnect in a beautiful Caribbean island such as St. Maarten? Occupying the southern part of the island it shares with French overseas territory Saint Martin, the beloved, Dutch-owned destination offers inspirited travelers one of the region’s most diverse menus of multicultural experiences, inclusive of the color-laden capital of Philipsburg, serene lagoons, 37 sundry beaches, fascinating salt pans, and beyond. For an exclusive experience, take advantage of the SXM Villa Vibes campaign, which brings together a collection of luxurious villa accommodations offering travelers enticing perks on villa stays. With pay-per-bedroom options for smaller groups to large oceanfront estates with all the bells and whistles, villa guests will experience the true magic of the island. Offers also include free nights and concierge-level services and experiences, like sailing St. Maarten’s high seas. How’s that for team building – and bonding?

By Jillian Buckley

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