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What’s your definition of a great escape? If it’s relaxing among your besties, skip the bridal bash and opt instead to take off with friends for a couple of days of kicking back, getting pampered, and bonding before the big day. We reached out to the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith for their favorite gal-pal places to stay. Keeping budget (rooms are reasonably priced), travel time (the destination is no further than a quick flight or two away), and perks (it has loads of cool amenities) in mind, here are their recommendations.
Note: Hotel rates reflect the lowest available at press time and are subject to change.
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Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Where: Los Angeles, California
Are you a little bit rock ’n’ roll? Then bunk with the band (and the rest of the scenesters) in this vibrantly revamped hotel (rooms from $169), where Spanish Gothic, Art Deco, noir, rocker chic, and hipster panache coexist so peacefully. Set in the up-and-coming Theater District, the location is surrounded by coolness, with its own location as the epicenter, from its rooftop bar with its camera-ready city views to its Brooklyn-meets-California restaurant.
Room to book: With a turntable, Revo radio, and guitar all in your Large Double Queen room, you might have all you need for a party right there.
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The Ludlow Hotel
Where: New York, New York
With stellar boutique shopping, edgy bars, and of-the-moment restaurants right outside its door, this downtown den (rooms from $295) is a no-brainer for a cosmopolitan escape. Its factory-style casement windows, red-brick facade, and intentionally gritty sheen would have you believe this hotel has been a Lower East Side regular for years. Rather, it’s Sean MacPherson’s styling—a distressed-limestone fireplace in the lounge, custom furnishings—and the hot new Gallic bistro, Dirty French, that make it feel right at home in one of New York’s historically hippest neighborhoods.
Room to book: For a group, reserve a few of the Studio King rooms on the same floor—you’ll have fabulous city views and a super-comfy bed (if you ever sleep, that is!).
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Where: Charleston, South Carolina
For a jaunt truly befitting the ladies, join the other genteel guests sipping sweet tea on the veranda of this southern charmer (rooms from $279). Located in three restored buildings around a landscaped courtyard, it has interiors worthy of a magazine spread and a creative restaurant with its own take on the local cuisine. Surrounded by Charleston’s iconic colonial homes and cobbled streets, it’s just steps from emerging eateries, friendly cocktail bars, and loads of history.
Room to book: Private and elegant, the Garden Suite for four offers a taste of what life in an historic Charleston home is really like.
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Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas, baby! That’s right, it’s not just for the Swingers set anymore, especially when you find yourself at this sleek desert retreat (rooms from $176). High above the Strip, this glass tower is a refuge of calming Asian-decorated suites, with an award-winning spa (with hammam and yoga studio), two of the city’s most notable restaurants, and nary a clanging, dinging slot machine in sight. The concierge will work their magic to make sure you and the ladies are kept entertained with tickets to shows and hard-to-get reservations.
Room to book: Take in the twinkling lights below from high above the city in the Strip View Room with two double beds.
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Where: Chicago, Illinois
Gourmand-loving gals will feel right at home in this edgy city-slicker stay (rooms from $169) in a town with one of the country’s most innovative dining scenes. This midcentury-styled tower is just a saunter from Lake Michigan, boutiques galore, and an abundance of bars and restaurants with starred chefs in the kitchen. In fact, there is one right downstairs: James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahan is behind the hotel’s much buzzed-about rustic Italian restaurant Nico Osteria.
Room to book: For jaw-dropping Lake Michigan and skyline views, splurge on the Deluxe Lake View room with two queen beds.
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Where: Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
If, rather than ladies who lunch, you and your friends are girls who golf, then get them to this 12,000-acre sanctuary (rooms from $295), with a challenging, but scenic, course. When you’re not teeing off, take advantage of the sinfully good spa specializing in American Indian-inspired treatments (indulge in a lemon-verbena body polish and then learn about your spirit-guide animal), game room, and observatory kitted out with a telescope for star searching.
Room to book: Reserve the Fairway West and Fairway East Cottages with kitchenettes, private porches, and space for up to eight people.
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The Carneros Inn
Where: Napa Valley, California
Nestled between the valleys of Napa and Sonoma, this rustic-modern hideaway (rooms from $340) is an ideal jumping-off point for wine-country exploration, whether by ground (in a guide-driven van or on a bike tour) or by air (the local hot-air balloon trips are spectacular). And the inn’s chef will happily prepare a gourmet picnic for everyone to carry along. Accommodations are individual—cottages, suites, and houses—with private gardens, wood-burning fireplaces, old-school porches, and endless views of fruiting vines.
Room to book: Go in on a few of the suites, which are essentially two separate cottages connected by a patio.
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Where: Montauk, New York
The girls can channel their inner-Gidget at this hip Hamptons hotel (rooms from $295) just minutes from the beach where surfing lessons are chased by cocktails around a bonfire as the après-surf scene kicks up. Stretch out in a weekend yoga session, get glam with in-room spa manicures, or simply chill out and catch some waves the easy way—surf films play 24-7 in the Den. (Take note: The lodge is closed from late September through mid-May, so make it a summer adventure.)
Room to book: For a gaggle of friends, we love the Two-Bedroom Suite with a kitchenette and gingham couches that double as daybeds.
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Hôtel de Nell
Where: Paris, France
Globe-trotting friends will fall for this minimalist masterpiece (rooms from $389) in the City of Lights. The edgy 9th Arrondissement locale, effortlessly-handsome staff, and top-class cuisine in the modern-style Parisian bistro endears this boutique bolthole to both locals and in-the-know visitors. Plus, “We'll always have Paris” is a pretty memorable thing to be able to share between besties. Le sigh.
Room to book: Say Bonjour to Paris from the private balcony of the spacious Junior Suite that has a Japanese-style bathtub and sweeping city views.
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Hotel La Semilla
Where: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Style mavens who also fancy a good day (or several) at the beach will be hard-pressed to leave this sun-kissed sanctuary of vintage design. A stone’s throw from beach town Playa del Carmen’s soft Caribbean sands, this nine-room retreat (rooms from $110) is a love letter to Mexican history and hospitality. Owners Alexis and Angie have filled each chamber and common space—including a lush garden and rooftop terrace—with restored flea market finds, and they have bikes, beach kits, and coolers on hand for perfect days spent soaking up the rays.
Room to book: Reserve the top-floor Suites Terrazas with panoramic beach views from the private balcony.
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More Travel Advice
For more insider tips and to book your next trip, contact the travel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith (800-464-2040, smithhotels.com).
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