Houston: Fun Things to Do with Kids

Four Seasons Houston Food

Four Seasons Knows How to Deliver a Good Spread!

Houston, we do not have a problem.

Everyone knows Texas is big, but when it comes to taking kids to America’s fourth largest city, it turns out it’s just a small world after all.

By Sarah Ivens

My two-year-old daughter wants to be a Lady Astronaut. I think she likes the idea of floating amongst glittering stars, or maybe it’s just that she fancies zooming far away from her older brother and his constant teasing. Either way, when we moved to Austin, Texas recently, we knew a trip to the Space Center at Houston would be our first family excursion.

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston

Well when I say ‘we’, I mean my husband obviously. Visiting a city I knew little about apart from that it is very, very hot and sky-scrapery to spend eight hours looking at geeky space stuff surrounded by NASA nerds would not be my first choice of weekend getaway. But I’m so glad my moaning was ignored. Houston surprised – in a hip, healthy way.

For a start, traveling with offspring can be exhausting – and not much of a vacation, as you worry about the impact their having on other guests, who you fear are judging your parenting skills with a smug wrath, but my kids were too bedazzled to be bored and therefore behaved well. Secondly, I imagined our accommodation choices would be limited to dull, grey motels out near mission control, or dull, grey box hotels made for international oilmen to rest their Stetson-wearing, weary heads. The Four Seasons Houston, in the heart of the shockingly pretty downtown district, was neither – and may be one of the most kid-friendly city hotels I’ve ever stayed in.

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Tilds and Wills Enjoying Their Sweet Treats

Miniature guests are greeted to their choice of soft toy at check-in, before making their way to the room and receiving surely the cutest tray ever delivered by room service: a carton of milk, a chocolate cowboy hat and a personalized rainbow-sprinkle cookie in the shape of Texas. My two sugar fiends enjoyed these delights on the beanbags set up for them at a small table, decorated with welcome signs with their names on.

Back down at reception, we are told of all the child-happy activities offered every weekend: A kid’s cooking class in the hotel’s kitchen, or the chance to don a chef’s hat at the dinner table in Quattro, the hotel’s mighty fine Italian restaurant, and make a Tiramisu from scratch for the family to enjoy. Every Saturday night, family friendly movies are shown on the pool deck, complete with fresh-popped popcorn and a Willy Wonka-style buffet, and this sugar can be burnt off with hula hoop classes, taught by one of the gym’s fitness experts. We opted to head for a swim, where non-judgmental waiters brought all the kids complimentary Shirley Temples as they played Corn Hole in the sun. I swear, even J.R. Ewing would have looked like a good parent if he’d stayed here.

Four Seasons Houston Pool

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Parents at the pool suggested the best places for newbies to explore. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the place for fledgling dinosaur hunters and archeologists; while the Downtown Aquarium is an unforgettable place to take the kids for lunch, seated as you are in the middle of a 150,000 gallon aquarium filled with everything your Finding Dory fiend will love. The Children’s Museum of Houston is rated the best in the U.S. by Parents magazine and has something mind-blowing for all ages.

Space Center

Houston Space Center with the Family

But with limited time to explore, we knew we had to soar to the Space Center – so we lifted off our behinds from the pool loungers and got going. Filled with artifacts, exhibits and information, this really is an out of this world museum. Not only do you get to see where real space scientists work every day, you get to touch genuine moon rock, board a space shuttle and visit the famous mission control room from the Apollo missions. It was surprisingly moving and jaw-dropping, learning about the planets around us and the drive that pushes humankind onward into discovery. It is truly worth of at least four hours of anyone’s time. My two enjoyed their day there as much as they enjoyed their day at Disneyland. Yes, it is that engaging for children.

space ship

Houston Space Center

 

My little lady still wants to be a space cadet, even after seeing what astronauts have to eat, and my son keeps saying he wants to move to Houston (although I think he actually just wants to move into a Four Seasons suite), and I can’t wait to go back. The city was the loveliest shock, much more than oil and cowboys and traffic on sweltering days. Houston, we really do not have a problem with you.

 

 

New Orleans: Jazzcats, Black Marble, and Oysters Bienville

Arnaud’s Restaurant

Enjoy the joie de vivre New Orleans is so well known for by focusing on the sinfully, decadent aspects of New Orleans that are as excessive and exotic as the melting pot of cultures that fuel the city’s eclectic mythos.

From music and food to hotels and shopping, New Orleans never strays from its mantra – “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”  In fact, the streets of New Orleans mimic a heartbeat as they vibrate to the sounds of jazz, and the air swirls about filled with scents of Creole dishes now so widely popular they are as familiar as the city itself.

The Lucifer Room at The Saint Hotel

Define your New Orleans stay as you select one of two mega suites to dwell in at The Saint Hotel.  The Archangel Lucifer Suite or the Archangel Michael Suite are startlingly different atmospheres.  The 2,000-square-foot Lucifer Suite is full of luxurious red velvet, black marble and Victorian antiques.  But, if you want to be center stage, that’s no problem as the suite features a private stage with dance pole, lighting and sound system.  Completely opposite is the Michael Suite which is equally as spacious, but gives you the ultimate “heaven on earth” experience.  Full of natural light with 10 floor-to-ceiling windows, the blues, whites and contemporary finishes make you feel as if you’ve ascended into the sky.

www.thesainthotelneworleans.com

Even music in New Orleans has its unique way of warming your soul and inspiring decadent experiences.  Sure the French Quarter is full of great places to hear music, but don’t overlook Frenchman Street.  Iconic jazz clubs such as Snug Harbor, The Spotted Cat and The Maison feature both emerging and notable jazz artists.  Take some Louisiana music home with you and plan a stop to the Louisiana Music Factory, an independent music store specializing in local music.

Windsor Court Spa

Windsor Court Spa

But, don’t forget to relax in true New Orleans’ style.  You no longer have to dream about what it would be like to enjoy a Sommelier’s selection of sparkling wine or champagne inside of a 6,500 square-foot private spa, the Spa at Windsor Court can deliver this experience for a mere $12,500. You don’t have to worry about being pampered alone; you can invite 8-10 of your friends as well.  The expansive space includes two relaxation rooms to sip on hot tea and cucumber water, seven service rooms with your choice of New Orleans best esthetic treatments, body treatments, massage, and nail services. Also, don’t forget the heated outdoor salt water pool where pool attendants will wait on you hand & foot.

No matter how you experience New Orleans, you must indulge in the city’s Creole cuisine.  Since 1918, Arnaud’s is one of New Orleans’ most historic restaurants serving Creole creations such as their signature dish, Shrimp Arnaud, and their original Oysters Bienville, prepared with fresh gulf oysters, shrimp, mushrooms, green onions, herbs and seasonings in a white wine sauce.  While there, be sure to slip upstairs for a glimpse into Mardi Gras history at Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum.  Wells reigned as queen of more Mardi Gras balls than anyone in history, and the display of opulent gowns and memorabilia showcase a unique sliver of local history.

So stop looking for a destination that sets the standard for luxury travel and look to New Orleans who has redefined luxury travel.  Somehow, just like the cultures that blend together creating the city’s vibrant atmosphere, New Orleans combines its history and modern amenities to create a one-of-a-kind hedonistic experience you won’t soon forget.

8 “Bro-Cations” for Adventurous Guys

Guys Fishing Trips Ponoi River

Check out the size of this catch on the Ponoi River in the Russian Arctic (c) Frontiers Travel

With golf’s popularity steadily in decline (although my colleague would disagree as he’s single handedly keeping it alive) and saloons & barber shops no longer the male refuge of choice (for shame!!), many guys are turning to adventure travel to bond with their buddies. A growing number of men are participating in “Bro-Cations” that are all about bonding, unwinding, and pushing the limits through engaging and sometimes extreme activities. Gone are the days of sipping umbrella drinks and lounging by the pool. So, check out some of our favorite “Bro-Cations” for adventurous guys.

8 “Bro-Cations” for Adventurous Guys

amazing guys trips Land Rover Tours

Nothing sexier than a Land Rover Tour through the Silk Road (c) Mir Corp

1. Drive a Land Rover across Exotic Lands – Since MIR Corporation’s inception in 1986 they have been creating custom overland adventures. These self-drive tours often involve groups of buddies piloting Land Rovers, motorcycles or even vintage automobiles across the rolling steppe of Mongolia, through the charming towns and villages of Siberia, or even along The Silk Road. These journeys are momentous, unforgettable and limited only by one’s own imagination.

http://www.mircorp.com/about-mir/mir-clients/overland-expeditions/

2. Fish Remote Russian Wilderness – Ryabaga Camp on the Ponoi River is located above the Arctic Circle and accessed via a 2 hour Mi-8 helicopter ride across remote Russian tundra. A totally wild Atlantic salmon population thrives in the Ponoi River. Anglers enjoy single occupancy cabins with gourmet food and fine wine. Frontiers International Travel arranges everything, including flights, activities, and visas.

http://www.frontierstravel.com/ryabaga-camp-the-ponoi-river

Mountain Biking South America

Experience some of the best mountain biking in South America

3. Mountain Bike Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park – Experience the exhilarating thrill of biking Cotopaxi National Park on this intrepid Ecuadorian bro-cation. Designed for experienced and advanced mountain bikers, this challenging and beautiful itinerary takes bikers through Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, El Tambo Trail, The Road of the Lahars, and down Cotopaxi Volcano. Ride on natural trails in the highlands that pre-date the Incas; swoop down the slopes of Cotopaxi; and enjoy flowing single-track across Andean deserts on this tour of a lifetime.

http://www.adventure-life.com/ecuador/tours/3951/cotopaxi-mountain-biking

trips to greenland

Glacier Trek in Greenland (c) Big Chill Adventure

4. Dogsled and Trek Glaciers in Greenland – Travel to West Greenland to explore and photograph fantastic landscapes of pristine beauty, exotic, arctic wildlife and northern lights. This all-inclusive adventure is a splendid introduction to the highlights of Greenland: calving glaciers, palatial icebergs, dogsledding, wildlife viewing, and trekking the Greenland Ice Sheet.

http://bigchilladventure.com/trips-cat/greenland/

Belgium beer tour

Belgium Beer Rocks!

5. Belgium Beer Bike Tour – Biking Belgium is truly a beer-loving cyclist’s dream, as there are 1,130+ beers brewed in country. In addition to Trappist ales and abbey beers, it churns out lagers such as Stella Artois and Jupiler. This unique itinerary offers access to more boutique breweries than any other European bicycle tour.

http://www.ciclismoclassico.com/bike-belgium/

dude ranch city slicker trips

Giddy Up!

6. “City Slicker” Cowboy Weekend – Hike, ride horses, ATV, and play cowboy at Red Reflet Ranch in Wyoming. The ranch is both working ranch and luxury resort where guests are treated like family. Additional activities include guided hikes, dirt bike rides, fly fishing and mountain biking. Guests can explore the 25,000 acre ranch, work cattle, fish on private streams and enjoy abundant wildlife. Gourmet dining includes ingredients from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens. From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet.

http://www.red-reflet-ranch.net/

Hawaii Cycling Tour

Bike like an Ironman

7. Tackle an Ironman Bike Course – Bike tour operators Ride & Seek and Big Island Bike Tours have partnered to offer a new Hawaii tour on which guests will ride the infamous Ironman Kona bike course, cycle through famous coffee plantations and ride up the world’s largest active volcano Mauna Loa (13,677 ft.). Other highlights include: luxury accommodations, soaking in the heated tide pools of Kapoho, and delicious local cuisine.

http://www.rideandseek.com/kom/hawaii

Visit Amazon Tribe

Visit an Amazon Tribe Deep in the Rainforest of Ecuador

8. Visit Amazon Tribe – Venture deep into the rarely accessed Amazon Rainforest to meet the indigenous Achuar tribe of the Ecuador. Contact with this tribe was only made in the 1970s, and their culture is more intact than most of the world’s tribes. Hike volcanoes, visit remote waterfalls, spot tropical birds and other exotic wildlife, learn about flora & fauna, kayak Amazon waters, and stay at one of the most remote, ecologically responsible ecolodges in the world.

http://gondwanaecotours.com/tour/amazon-rainforest-ecotour/

Mother’s Day Getaways To Bond For…

Pasta picture frames don’t quite make the grade as a Mother’s Day gift once darling daughter’s grown, but time together – especially when it takes the form of a weekend getaway – is something Mom will always treasure. We’ve gathered a few ideas to appeal to mothers and daughters of all interests, from luxury spa retreats to scuba diving adventures, each with plenty of opportunities to raise a glass (or tea cup) to the woman who made it all possible.

Take a look:

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1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

A Thousand Thanks: Treat Mom to an epicurean Thousand Islands getaway at AAA Four Diamond-rated 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, N.Y. The hotel’s Wine Tasting package offers tastings at two nearby vineyards, including the award-winning Coyote Moon; a selection of locally made River Rat Cheese; and breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant, Seaway Grille.

www.1000islandsharborhotel.com

Umstead Spa

The Umstead Hotel and Spa – Cary, NC

Two for Tea: The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C.) has all the makings of a classic mother-daughter day combining spa treatments with the hotel’s coveted Afternoon Tea. Unwind and bond in the Umstead Spa’s two-story relaxation lounges, complete with heated open-roof current pool and indoor Jacuzzi. After a rejuvenating treatment, it’s a short stroll to the hotel’s art-adorned lobby lounge for Afternoon Tea. There, guests enjoy a traditional presentation of teas and treats, from tea sandwiches to scones, accompanied by live harp music.

www.theumstead.com 

Pampering in Lake Placid: The 98-suite Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid, N.Y.) has everything daughters need to treat mom to a luxury getaway surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondacks. The Pamper Yourself Spa Package for Two includes two 50-minute massages plus access to health and wellness classes, cedar wood saunas, eucalyptus-infused steam room, indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub. Also included are breakfast and suite accommodations with cast-iron gas fireplace, jetted spa tub and private balcony. Package rates start at $410

www.thewhitefacelodge.com 

Marriott Singer Island Pool

Marriott Singer Island Pool – Palm Beach

Palm Beach Spa Retreat: With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, the all-suite beachfront Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa in Florida offers sweeping views and palm-fringed sands. The resort’s Ultimate Spa Retreat pampers mothers and daughters with a 50-minute spa treatment at SiSpa and access to all spa facilities, including steam room, heated marble beds, relaxation room with hot tea bar, private whirlpool, and waterfall showers. Rates start at $504.

Sanctuary_Infinity_Pool

Sanctuary – Camelback Mountain

Martinis and Mountain Hikes: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, one of Scottsdale, Arizona’s premier resorts, provides the perfect backdrop for a sun-soaked mother-daughter luxury adventure. The BFF Retreat package includes three nights’ accommodations; a martini kit in-room upon arrival; daily breakfast; a guided hike up Camelback Mountain; and a Bento box lunch to be enjoyed by the sparkling infinity pool.

www.sanctuaryaz.com 

Classic Martha’s Vineyard Vacation: Kelley House, in the heart of Edgartown, offers prime access to shops and restaurants, the town’s harbor and lighthouse. The inn’s historic Newes of America Pub is the perfect place to toast Mom with a pint of craft beer paired with classic pub-style fare, while the outdoor Wave Bar serves creative cocktails and small plates by the pool. Active mothers and daughters can hop on the Kelley House’s branded bikes to explore the island’s trails and streets.

www.kelley-house.com

Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Sea Crest Beach Hotel – Falmouth, MA

Double (or Triple) the Fun on the Cape: Make it a three-generational mother-daughter retreat, or add a sister or two by booking the three-bed, three-bath cottage at Sea Crest Beach Hotel (North Falmouth, Mass.). This quintessential Cape Cod retreat on the private sands of Old Silver Beach is home to Red’s restaurant, an indoor pool, and water-view rooms decorated in classic Cape style. The hotel’s private cottage features a private deck and back yard, fire pit, kitchenette, and large fireplace, perfect for family bonding.

www.seacrestbeachhotel.com 
A Carefree Cottage in Nantucket: Harborview Nantucket’s charming compound of 11 luxurious vacation cottages – each utterly distinct, offers rare harborfront access just steps from the attractions of Main Street. A range of cottage sizes, from one to four bedrooms, accommodate everyone from mothers and daughters to grandmothers and girlfriends. Cottage amenities include a full kitchen, spacious living and dining areas, a washer and dryer, and complimentary Cisco Brewery assorted beers and local wine upon arrival. Exceptional guest services and an attentive staff make planning the ultimate Mother’ Day celebration a worry-free treat.

www.harborviewnantucket.com 

The Virgin Hotel, Chicago: Miss Ricky’s

virgin hotel miss rickys

Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

We’re lucky. We love Richard Branson and we now live down the street from his first foray into hospitality located in downtown Chicago, The Virgin Hotel. The property opened about a year and a half ago and, we’ll admit, they struggled a bit to find their way. Cocktails were too sweet and their wines were less than stellar. Since then, they’ve dug their heels in and are making vast improvements. Plus, their hotel rooms are well designed and offered at a great reasonable price. You can’t beat the location as a tourist either. You’re close to Millennium Park and all the great art museums, like The Art Institute.

One place that has been solid since inception has been their downstairs diner, Miss Ricky’s.

chicken and waffles

Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

You don’t come here to diet (although I did eat the Dark Greens Salad – seen below), but you will find some perfect brunch and late night “I’ve had just enough drinks not to care” fare. I mean, will you look at those Chicken + Waffles and Tres Leches French Toast? They’re a sight to see. And, they were delicious. I’ve been to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, a famous spot for Chicken + Waffles and, although my California friends  and purists might kill me when I say this… I like Miss Ricky’s more. The chicken they use tastes like a high quality chicken breast and the syrup is the perfect compliment because it’s not thick and heavy, but rather, a light and spicy Sriracha maple combo. To die for!

french toast tres leches

Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

There are two things everyone likes. Tres Leches cake and French Toast. If you don’t, I don’t want to know you. So, when you combine the two it is obviously a winning combination.

kale salad shrimp

Hello, Miss Ricky’s!

Of course, since I have to try my share of fattening foods to write about them, I ordered and devoured the Dark Greens salad. The dressing was light and perfect and they chopped it finer for me since there’s nothing that bothers me more than a salad with big chunks of lettuce or kale. Momma likes it finely chopped and I’m pretty sure most of the world does too (why else would all those chopped salad places start popping up, right?).

What I like most about Miss Ricky’s, however, just might be the staff. They come by and ask you, genuinely, how things are. They want to make improvements. And they do. Typical of a company run by someone like Branson, they listen and they learn. So, for diner fare, I given them a solid thumb’s up for speed, quality, and gluttony. I think they need to continue to refine their cocktail menu to remove some of the sweetness and work on the current trends in the cocktail space (e.g. spice, tart, botanical, etc.)

With that in mind, we recommend Miss Ricky’s for a solidly delicious brunch or late night meal that you’re going to enjoy. You may have to get a room to sleep it off or hit the skate rink at Millennium Park to work it off, but it’s damn good.

https://virginhotels.com

Top Dude Ranches for The Ultimate Escape

Waunita Hot Springs

Waunita Hot Springs

Courtesy of the Dude Rancher’s Association, if you’re looking for the ultimate winter escape, look no further than these all-inclusive dude ranches, each of which offers cold weather retreat in some of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of the country.

Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado
The outdoor activities are just as invigorating as the inside comforts are cozy at Latigo Ranch. Experienced skiers know Latigo has some of the best snow conditions and finest cross-country skiing in Colorado. Other winter activities include snowshoeing and tubing, or enjoy the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of a historic log lodge with a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide.

Latigo

Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, Colorado

Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana
Things move a little slower at Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana, and that’s just how it’s meant to be. Treat yourself to horseback riding, sleigh ride dinners, square dances, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding and ice fishing. Cap off the day with a soak in the hot tub, a game of pool, or a relaxing book and some music. And don¹t forget to leave time to enjoy a magical sleigh ride accompanied by hot chocolate or even dinner.

Bar W

Guests ride a horse drawn sleigh at the Bar W Ranch near Whitefish Montana

The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado
When the legendary snowfalls blanket the Elk River Valley in powder, The Home Ranch transforms into a sparkling white wonderland and becomes one of the most beautiful cross-country ski resorts in Colorado. Located just north of Steamboat Springs, the ranch offers some of the best Nordic skiing in the world, rustic accommodations, and a world-class chef that prepares what he calls ‘haute mountain cuisine’ for every meal. A typical day during a winter vacation could even include helping feed the ranch¹s herd of 100+ horses with a sleigh.

Home Ranch

The Home Ranch – Clark, Colorado

Western Pleasure Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho
A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride powered by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a dense forest, treating them to fantastic views of the Selkirk Mountains. Sleighs are available in sizes ranging from two-passenger to 12-passenger. Western Pleasure also has ski trails for all levels.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
An all-inclusive winter vacation to Vista Verde Guest Ranch combines the amenities of a luxury Colorado resort with the relaxed and intimate atmosphere of a ranch vacation. Hide out in a cozy log cabin with a private hot tub and enjoy delicious, freshly prepared meals in between snow-filled adventures. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, tubing, sleigh rides, culinary classes, yoga and photography classes.

Lone Mountain

Lone Mountain – Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana
Lone Mountain Ranch offers the ultimate winter adventure. The ranch is perfectly situated just six miles from some of the best skiing in the country and was voted as the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. Winter activities include skiing (Nordic, downhill and backcountry), snowshoeing and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes.

C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado
The winter weather is surprisingly mild at C Lazy U, thanks to the bright sunshine. Backcountry snowmobile and horseback riding tours, snowshoeing, private on-property snowcat skiing, ice skating, tubing and the C Lazy U Luge are favorite activities among winter guests. There¹s even ice hockey on the pond, as well as major ski resorts nearby.

Seven Devils

Seven Devils Lodge – Council, Idaho

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch in Council, Idaho
Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert, and soaring mountains. It offers some of Idaho’s finest backcountry boondocking, with terrain for all levels of riders. The ranch tailors the experience to match each guests’ riding style and even offers Back Country Basics riding clinics for those looking to improve their skills.

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
Winter is Bed & Breakfast Mountain Lodge season at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. Guests are welcome to come for one or two nights, or for a week, during which time they can enjoy lodging, meals and morning horseback rides. Even four-legged travelers are welcome during the off-season! Sundance Trail is popular during the winter for family reunions, romantic getaways, and even honeymoons and elopements.

If an escape from the cold and snow is more your speed, check out these two all-inclusive guest ranches this winter:

Hideout

Hideout Ranch – San Simon, Arizona

Hideout Ranch in San Simon, Arizona
See the West the way it was meant to be seen ­ from the back of a horse. Hideout Ranch’s strategic location along the Arizona-New Mexico border provides easy access to thousands of miles of mountain and high desert riding trails ­ trails no other ranch in Southeastern Arizona rides. Prepare to let your stress melt away in the bright blue Arizona sunshine and crisp, clean mountain air.

Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona
Travel back in time to the era of the cowboy at this unique ranch, which is set up like an 1880s Western frontier town. Each of the ranch’s 18 rooms has a special Western theme and is decorated in turn-of-the-century style. Explore miles of open country by horseback, enjoy live music around the campfire, or take a walk to the monument of Ed Schieffelin, the founder of Tombstone, located right on ranch property. The ranch offers trails for all levels of horseback riding.

True Wine Lovers Sleep Right In The Vineyard

Mendoza wine country

The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

You think you are a serious wine drinker? Maybe you have a few glasses each week, swirl it around your glass rejoicing in the “body” and “tannins” and even can taste the differences between a California and a French Pinot, but have you ever slept in a vineyard? Well, we have… and let’s just say that there’s no substitute from drinking from the vine, resting your deliciously weary head, and then rising in the morning to drink/eat/repeat.

One of our top picks is Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel + Spa in Mendoza, Argentina. This luxury boutique hotel and member of Small Luxury Hotels lets you sleep amongst their eight acres of Malbec grapes in a Limited Edition Vineyard Loft. The pod-like designed loft rises 30 feet above the vines making oenophiles feel like they are growing in the vineyard themselves.

Argentine vineyards

The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

The one of a kind “suite” has an outdoor terrace complete with jacuzzi and unobstructed views of the vineyard and snow-capped mountains off in the distance. Although the views during the day are incredible, the ones at night are just as awesome. The loft has numerous skylights allowing you to stargaze right from the comfort of your bed.

argentina wine country

The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

Located in one of the largest wine regions in Latin America, often recognized as the second home of the Malbec grape, the 16-room Entre Cielos sits on 20 acres in the Mendoza countryside and is a modern day retreat with ultra-modern architecture, sculpture and zen garden, two restaurants and the only six-stage circuit Hamam in Latin America.

Don’t worry, wine reigns supreme in the spa to with Vinotherapy treatments. Where else can you  – detox and retox – at the same time? We highly recommend the Hamam circuit combined with a Grape Seed Exfoliation and Wine Bath. Imagine soaking in a bubble bath infused with red grapes while drinking the hotel’s very own “Young” 100% Malbec Rose? Magical.

best mendoza spa

The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

As the property does have their own vineyard, they produce their own three labels of Malbec- Marantal Young, Marantal Classic and Gran Marantal (voted one of the 20 best Malbecs in 2013 by Descorchados). They also, of course, coordinate onsite tastings of their wines, as well as others. If you want to venture out on a tasting mission, the hotel can also arrange tastings at an array of nearby wineries. Bring your wooden leg… you’ll need it.

If drinking all day seems like overkill, there is definitely plenty of other activities nearby. You can horseback ride through vineyards, hot sir balloon over vineyards… ok, fine, it all still revolves around winemaking but hey, when in Mendoza!

The Limited Edition Vineyard Loft starts at $700 per night but there are other rooms in the main building that start at $315 per night.

www.entrecielos.com