Image: Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii
© Kapalua
Set in 23,000 acres of natural parks, the Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii, houses the largest private nature preserve in Hawaii, two certified Audubon sanctuaries and two marine-life preserves. That means even while you're basking in the pleasures of a private villa and enjoying access to five beaches and two 18-hole PGA golf courses, you can relax knowing the property managers are doing quite a bit to sustain the environment.
updated 2/27/2008 1:55:00 PM ET 2008-02-27T18:55:00

America needs a vacation.

Last year, just over one-third of the country's working adults aged 18 and up chose not to take all of their allotted vacation time, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive  for travel Web site They instead spent those hours in the office, typing away rather than sailing away.

That's a shame.

"People want to escape from the stress of everyday life," says Alan Campey, managing director at CordeValle, a resort in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, "but they don't want to spend their time off sedentary, either."

To accommodate them, resorts like CordeValle are offering amenities and experiences that are both decadent and distinctive. These include in-room Jacuzzis, unique spa treatments, chauffeur service and private yacht cruises.

Guests staying in any of CordeValle's 45 rooms can tour an 85-acre vineyard and a winery that offers daily tastings, visit a spa with treatments like an orange-pumpkin body wrap or caviar facial and play an 18-hole course. They'll also find extensive hiking trails, tennis courts and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Come sundown, guests sit at the CordeValle bar, nibbling on appetizers and sipping martinis, then head over to the CordeValle dining room for contemporary American dishes, including olive-roasted free-range chicken, Monterey seafood stew and of course, wine.

Going green
Eco-friendly spots are also catering to American travelers seeking something different, says Ben Rafter, chief executive officer of, a travel-booking Web site.

Kapalua, in Maui, Hawaii, for example, houses the state's largest private nature preserve (home to three native bird species and 18 native plants found nowhere else in the world), two certified Audubon sanctuaries (with 23 species of birds) and two marine-life preserves (featuring lava formations and coral gardens) on 23,000 acres of private land. So while guests enjoy the spoils of an oceanfront villa with state-of-the-art appliances, fine linens and granite counter-tops, along with access to five beaches and two 18-hole golf courses, they can relax knowing that the owners are working to preserve what makes the property so special in the first place.

The Wisconsin forest is home to another eco-friendly resort. At Canoe Bay, a couples-only getaway in Chetek, owner Dan Dobrowolski ensures the ecological footprint of his 280-acre property remains small by using natural materials like stone, glass and wood and installing energy-efficient lighting and heat sources throughout the six-room building and 14 cottages. Even the staff drives electric carts.

But don't assume Dobrowolski's guests spend their evenings in tiki huts. Each of the 21 lodging options—from rooms at the inn to private cottages built with sustainable materials—includes a separate sauna, steam shower, whirlpool and fitness equipment. In the restaurant, chef Randy Lewis designs dishes like carrot and fennel soup with caraway crème fraîche, complemented by an award-winning wine list.

"What our guests are really into," says Dobrowolski, "is just taking it easy and being cared for."

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Pampering aside, guests will also appreciate Canoe's Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired furnishings, from the lamp shades to the area rugs in each room. The entire space is a haven for mid-century architecture buffs.

Hot property
If your taste in design tilts toward contemporary, interior decorator Kelly Wearstler's Viceroy Palm Springs is sure to attract the eye. In each of the resort's 68 suites, along with white Italian linens and Hollywood Regency furnishings such as sunny yellow chairs and black and white sofa coverings, you'll find an in-room spa menu, a full bar and a sun patio or balcony. Those who wish to venture outside their rooms can take advantage of the full-service aromatherapy spa, nearby golf courses and dining and cocktails at Viceroy hot spot Citron.

Tanya Ilustrisimo, head of member services at the resort, says that above all, guests venture to the Viceroy simply to check out Wearstler's work.

"We do have a fairly large clientèle that come to see what Kelly has done here," she says.

Whether it's an expertly designed bedroom or an eco-friendly foundation, what these resorts have in common is a unique quality that makes them original.

After all, you've got to have something special to sway overworked Americans from their desks.

© 2012


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