If there’s one thing pandemic lockdowns have taught us, it’s that we’re social animals.

By Andrew Sessa
May 14, 2021
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A woman adjusts the curtains in a luxury guest suite at the Maison de la Luz hotel in New Orleans
Credit: Stephen Johnson/Courtesy of Maison de la Luz

Whether you're making up for a missed birthday, celebrating an anniversary, or just reconnecting with family, these above-and-beyond hotels are the perfect settings for a memorable (vaccinated) reunion. Here, five members of T+L's A-List of travel advisors give their picks for whatever the occasion.

The modern bar and lobby area at the Montage Healdsburg hotel, with mountain views
Credit: Christian Horan/Courtesy of Montage Healdsburg

If You're Planning to Toast Again

"Set on 258 acres of vineyards and oak groves in Sonoma County, California, the new Montage Healdsburg (doubles from $995) resort feels like a bucolic estate, though it's close to the town's central plaza," says Michelle Murré. It's well situated for a group of friends planning private tastings of top Pinot Noirs; plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants are close at hand, too.

A table set for dinner on the terrace of The Point Hotel, set among tall green trees and with views to the water
Credit: Courtesy of The Point

If You're Nostalgic for Summers on the Lake

"The Point (doubles from $900 per person, all-inclusive) was built in the 1930s as a Rockefeller family retreat on New York's Saranac Lake. Today, the resort has the vibe of a grown-up summer camp," says Barkley Hickox. "It's ideal for a group of couples who like to eat, drink, and revel in the great outdoors — as long as they're up for the twice-a-week black-tie dinners."

Aerial view of the grand Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Alberta, Canada
Credit: Courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs

If You're Looking for Adventure

"The 133-year-old, castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs (doubles from $370) in Alberta is the kind of place that makes you stop and take a deep breath. The views of the Rockies couldn't be more impressive," says Jennifer Lobb. Guests can fish or hike in the surrounding forest with the hotel's handpicked guides or reconnect over a traditional high tea or a treasure hunt.

Aerial view of the yelloe exterior of Ocean House hotel in Rhode Island
Credit: Chip Riegel/Courtesy of Ocean House

If You've Been Missing Family Time by the Sea

"You can't beat Ocean House (doubles from $860), the quintessential New England mansion hotel, which opened on a sprawling stretch of sand in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, in 1868. It looks like something from The Great Gatsby," says Jack Ezon. Staff can arrange just about anything — boating, fishing, bike rides — though Ezon is a particular fan of gourmet picnics on the hotel's lawn.

The blue and white breakfast room at the hotel Maison de la Luz in New Orleans
Credit: Stephen Johnson/Courtesy of Maison de la Luz

If You're Meeting Friends for a Wild Weekend

"The tasteful, understated Maison de la Luz (doubles from $400) feels like a personal retreat in New Orleans. You get the intimate vibe of staying over at a friend's house — but with a concierge team to lead you to the best meals, shopping, and live shows," says Amina Dearmon. The property's common areas are only for guests — unlike at a typical hotel—so there's plenty of room to catch up over coffee or cocktails from the honor bar before hitting the town.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 2021 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline When You're Ready to Go Big.