By: Kelley Vick and William P. Brown
Dads are travelers, too. Whether it’s a special occasion or just a reminder of how you love going on adventures with your pop, a trip together can create one of the most memorable times you’ll ever share. With that in mind, here are our top ten ideas for making sure you become your father’s favorite travel companion.
If Dad likes his vacations with a Southwestern flair, then the Inn on the Alameda will do the trick, Santa Fe-style. Relaxed and homey, the pueblo-style inn boasts complimentary breakfasts, a free wine and cheese hour, and a perfect location just steps from Canyon Road galleries. Art and shopping not Dad’s thing? This summer, the Inn is teaming up with Mellow Velo Bike Company to provide the ultimate biking getaway. The two-night cycling/sleeping package includes 24-hour bike rental with equipment, nutrition bars, water (with a custom bottle) and energy drinks, transportation to the trailhead, two 50-minute in-room massages, and a $40 gift certificate for dinner at Mucho Gusto, the lively Mexican restaurant right next door to the inn. Wondering what to order? Stuffed chicken creast in chipolte cream sauce, enchiladas Suiza, and steak fajitas are all recommended.
303 E. Alameda
Overworked Dads wanting to chill out on passive adventures will love cool, calm, and collected Costa Rica. The deluxe Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo offers what we call Costa Rican TV. Lay back and admire amazing marine life on the Sea Spy, a glass-bottomed water scooter for virtual scuba diving. It’s like watching a huge flat-screen in high def, with zebra-striped wahoos and spotted eagle rays swimming right up into the picture. Or how about hanging around at treetop level while soaking in an outdoor hydro spa in the middle of a rainforest? From there, Dad will spot Howler monkeys frolicking while a scarlet macaw grooms in the forefront of a blue Pacific backdrop. Chilling out continues at the Four Seasons spa where a massage therapist rolls out the knots with a contoured bamboo shoot. Afterwards, take your appetite and a five-minute shuttle to the Prieta Beach Club & Spa’s open-air Marea eatery, for local jumbo prawns sautÃ©ed in a coconut banana curry sauce. At the end of the day, if Dad still longs for continued effortless adventure, he can drive his rested self to the very lively Arenal Volcano (it erupts at least twice an hour) in the interior highlands. Lookout spots abound, but seeing red takes precedence at night, so stick around for the main attraction.
For Dads who like taking to the sea without worrying about manning their own vessel, we recommend a trip aboard the Serenity or the Symphony. Each of these highly praised Crystal Cruises’ ships offer onboard activities that go far beyond typical bridge, shuffleboard, and marathon eating contests. Consider trying paddle tennis or taking a golf lesson provided by a PGA pro. If Pop’s a runner, the Crystal ships are there for him, providing long, wide decks (on each designated area, 3.2 laps equal a mile). For the cigar and Scotch crowd, there’s the Connoisseurs’ Club, and for the computer literate who want to be even more so, there’s the high-end line’s ComputerUniversity@Sea program against a backdrop of floor-to-ceiling windows from which to watch the world go by. Our favorite shipboard activity for our learned Dads? High-level lectures from all sorts of speakers, including celebrated authors, foreign diplomats, historians, television journalists, and noted financial leaders. To be sure, for even the most know-it-all Dad, there’s always something new to learn during a Crystal Cruises’ voyage.
Home to the G8 Summit of world leaders in July 2005, the Gleneagles Hotel is no stranger to stately guests. Rest assured that Dad will be well taken care of at this luxurious, five-star resort in Scotland’s backcountry. Sure, golf is the big game here, but Gleneagles also boasts a world-class shooting school, an equestrian school, a school of falconry, and a gundog school (the first of its kind in the world). But back to golf: The resort claims three of the top Scottish Championship Golf courses, and is the chosen venue for the 40th Ryder Cup matches in 2014. Note: Is Pops up for a challenge? The famed Kings course, open since 1919, fits the bill for even the most proficient golfer. Once sporting is done for the day, Dad will surely want to hit ESPA at Gleneagles for the Golfer’s Tonic, this super spa’s choice treatment that targets swing tension held in the back and neck as well as golf-weary legs and feet. The healing begins in the feet with a soothing soak, scrub, and hot stone massage. Then is it on to the legs with a warming paraffin mask to restore energy, and, finally, the whole experience is topped off with a hot stone back massage. What more could a man ask for?
Is Dad a diver — or has he just always dreamed of being one? The newly opened Anantara Si Kao Resort and Spa on Thailand’s famed Andaman coast operates a five-star PADI dive center that’s ready and waiting to help Dad perfect his skills. Offering a full range of training programs, the center can even help a novice diver become certified right on site. Other right-there activities include windsurfing, twilight fishing, water-skiing, pick-up soccer matches, and swimming with “sea cows.” But it’s not all about the outdoors at this stunning resort. With expansive views of the ocean or the lush tropical gardens, deluxe rooms feature flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and high-speed Internet — all to quench Dad’s inevitable thirst for gadgetry at its best.
198-199 Moo5, Had Pak Meng – Changlang Road, Changlang beach, Maifad, Sikao, Trang 92150
+66 (0) 7520 5888
Man-Up in Bali
An intimate and stylish hotel in the heart of Bali, the Uma Ubud is the kind of place where Dad could easily relax and dream the day away — but it sure would be a shame if that’s all he chooses to do. Located on the fringe of Ubud, Bali’s cultural hub, this enticing retreat is the perfect base from which to explore all the rich culture and heart-pounding adventure for which Bali has always been known. The Ubud Active package allows Dad three fun and amazing ways to explore Bali’s beautiful back country. Hike the Bale Timbang Trek past local temples, villages, and misted paddy fields to Uma Ubud’s sister property, COMO Shambhala Estate. Go whitewater rafting on the Ayung River for a unique view of Bali’s vast wildlife while you catch your thrills. And, last but not least, charge down the side of volcanic Mt. Batur on a mountain bike. If that doesn’t increase your heart rate, then all we can say is pick up a mean Espresso Martini at the Uma Ubud’s mesmerizing Uma bar.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Banjar Lungsiakan, Kedewatan
+62 361 972448
Perched in the spectacular Rocky Mountains, right next to Keystone Lake, Keystone Lodge and Spa is a year-round adventure destination. In winter, there’s world-class skiing. In summer, first-rate hiking and fishing. To make the most of the area, guests of Keystone Lodge receive complimentary Adventure Passports for free access to a plethora of outdoor activities like boating and golf clinics (in summer) and snowshoeing and sleigh rides (winter). No matter what adventures Dad chooses, he’ll bed down in luxury linens with a picturesque view of the mountain with the benefit of free wireless Internet in his room. And if Pop’s hankering for a steak, he won’t have far to go. The Bighorn Steakhouse is right on the property and serves up the finest cuts of corn-fed American beef along with wild game, fresh seafood, and other delectable specialties.
22101 U.S. Hwy. 6
Not All’s in the Name
It may be part of the name, but golf isn’t the only draw to the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. Nestled at the edge of the Everglades National Park, near the Ten Thousand Islands, Naples is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing is the main enterprise in the “mangrove jungle” of the Everglades (there are 220 species of fish living in the Florida Mangrove systems), but there’s also fantastic bird watching, kayaking, airboat tours, and manatee spotting. Back at the resort, Dad will enjoy an elegantly-appointed room complete with the finest amenities (this is a Ritz, after all) and a private balcony with panoramic views of Tiburon, the Greg Norman-designed 36-hole championship golf course. Dad more of a water-sportsman? Parasailing, snorkeling, rhino motorboats, body boards, catamarans, and skim boards are all available on the Gulf of Mexico between 10 and 4 p.m. After working up an appetite on the ocean, you’ll want to check out Lemonia, a Tuscan grill featuring daily chef specials of homemade pasta and fresh seafood and an award-winning Sunday brunch.
2600 Tiburon Dr.
Is Dad a cowboy at heart? He’ll love a weekend at The Resort at Paws-Up. Situated along seven miles of the Blackfoot River (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It), Paws-Up is steeped in history and adventure. In 1806, Captain Merriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, reportedly climbed Sentinel Rock on Paws-Up property to get a view of the Marias River on his return from the Pacific Ocean. Today, Paws-Up is home to a one-of-a-kind pastoral countryside resort. Choose from sleeping in one of 28 luxury vacation homes (complete with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and private outdoor hot tubs) or 12 spectacularly-appointed tents that feature top-notch beds outfitted in fine linens, wall art, rustic furniture, nearby private bathrooms (with running water, heated floors and organic bath products), and, yes, electricity. Daily activities might include fly-fishing, ATV tours, shooting sports, equestrian excursions, mountain biking, river adventures, lake activities, or repelling. Wildlife is abundant in the area, so, no matter what activities you choose, don’t be surprised to see a bald eagle, moose, or bear along the way. And don’t be afraid to work up an appetite. Dining at Paws-Up is an adventure in itself, with chef Wes Coffel — an avid follower of the “farm-to-table” culinary movement — whipping up gourmet delicacies with a local flair, focusing on local organic produce and Montana-raised meats like pheasant, quail, elk, bison, trout and – gulp! – rattlesnake.
40060 Paws Up Rd.
Not Just ‘Fore’ Skiers
Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler is known for its winter sports, but don’t count it out as a summer destination — a great time to visit with good old Dad. This British Columbia mountain town has also gained a reputation as Canada’s premier golf location. In fact, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler was voted one of the Top Ten golf resorts in the world by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Legendary Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the par 72, 18-hole course at Fairmont Chateau with Whistler’s natural beauty in mind. While playing a round, golfers change elevations by more than 400 feet, crisscrossing mountain creeks and ponds, and meandering past ancient Douglas Fir and sheer granite rock faces. Watch out for the signature eighth hole, a 212-yard par three requiring an uphill tree shot past rock outcroppings on the right and a pond on the left. And, for some “19th hole” refreshment, stop by the Mallard Lounge, a cozy local featuring live entertainment and signature cocktails with the ambiance of an English gentleman’s club. So, if Dad wants to play where the pros plays, get him the gift of Fairmont’s Golf Fore Free package. Just stay two nights at this Fairmont with the great fairway and you’ll receive one free round of golf for each person registered in the room.
4599 Chateau Blvd.