When the weather outside is dreary, we dream of warm sand and sea. Which is why this week, Vacationist spotlights a handful of destinations close to the pounding Pacific. We’re headed to oceanfront villas in Maui, where surf lessons and barbecues are on offer; an eco-friendly lodge in Costa Rica, where zip-line tours in a dense tropical rainforest can be paired with trips to the shore; and a mid-century Santa Monica stunner, just a few blocks from waterfront Ocean Avenue.
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Wailea Beach Villas — up to 45% off
A traditional lei greeting accompanied by Hawaiian punches and treats sets the tone upon arrival at Wailea Beach Villas, an exclusive island retreat on Maui. Here, 98 elegant and spacious villas—which range in size from 1,900 to 3,100 square feet—are outfitted with full-size European kitchens, outdoor showers, plunge pools, and large lanais with built-in barbecues. But why stay indoors when the 11-acre property also features lush gardens, a fitness center, and, of course, pools and powdery white sand beaches? The attentive staff takes care of every detail: turndown service, surfing lessons, crater tours, and more. Plus, a private walkway leads to the Shops at Wailea, home to some of the island's best boutiques (from St. John to the Aloha Shirt Museum) and restaurants (Ruth's Chris Steak House, the Japanese-inspired Kai Wailea). (Sale ends in 4 days.)
Rancho Pacifico — up to 35% off (see image above)
Uvita, Costa Rica
Howler monkeys are your wake-up call at this certified "green," adults-only retreat on 250 acres of dense rainforest. An adventurous spirit is a prerequisite, but roughing it is not, with comforts like private plunge pools, an open-air spa, and organic four-course dinners at the resort's private dining room. Indulge in a body wrap of indigenous plants in the tranquil spa gardens, or venture on a private hike through the nearby rain forest and waterfalls at Marina Ballena National Park. As there are just 10 rooms overall (and a maximum of 24 guests at any given time) bonding with staff is in short order, sharing tips on bird watching, zip-line tours, and fishing expeditions. (Sale ends in 4 days.)
Hotel Shangri-La — up to 36% off
Santa Monica, California
The Shangri-La—open since 1939—is a mid-century modern paradise. Design aficionados will appreciate the Art Deco façade, with curved edges and racing stripes, which was meticulously preserved during owner Tehmina Adaya's comprehensive 2009 renovation. Each of the 71 rooms and suites maintains the original style, while modern (and luxe) amenities include 50-inch flat-screen TVs, soft Frette robes, and eco-friendly bath products. But much of the hotel's history has to do with Hollywood lore: the property was commandeered as army barracks during WWII and as a community shelter in the 1960s. If the walls could talk, they'd tell tales of wild 1980s parties with guests from JFK Jr. to the Dalai Lama and, more recently, Madonna and Tom Cruise. (Sale ends in 6 days.)