Want an extraordinary New Year's? Trish Chandler, a "dream-trip designer" at Alexandria's MacNair Travel/American Express, has recommendations for festive and luxurious getaways. Your best hope for this year might be a cancellation, but it's worth a try. If it doesn't work out, now's the time to start planning for New Year's Eve 2005.
For a vacation nearby, Chandler's favorite is the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia (thehomestead.com). "Even before you go in, the Colonial-style decorations are incredible," she says. "There's lots of greenery, lots of pampering." She also recommends the two-year-old Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa, and Marina (chesapeakebay.hyatt.com) in the quiet Eastern Shore town of Cambridge, Maryland. "It's a very busy resort," she says. "There's a lot going on. And the food is wonderful–tons of seafood."
To ring in the year in a very different setting, Chandler's choice is Canyon Ranch spa (canyonranch.com), with locations in Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts. Tucson is more popular because of the climate, she says, but Lenox has more outdoor activities, especially in winter.
For a romantic New Year's, Chandler has two picks: the Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel (horneddorset.com) in Rincón, Puerto Rico–"an incredible eight-acre hillside property overlooking the sea on the west side of Puerto Rico"–and the Parrot Cay resort and spa (parrot-cay.com) in the Caribbean's Turks and Caicos: "It's perfect for a couple who want to get totally in touch with themselves in understated luxury."
For a classic wintry New Year's, Chandler–a Canada native–suggests two Fairmont hotels in Alberta's Banff National Park: the Chateau Lake Louise (fairmont.com/lakelouise) and the Banff Springs (fairmont.com/banffsprings). Both are just west of Calgary in the Rockies. "Go down that mountain at midnight," she advises. "Go skiing, sledding, snowmobiling–anything to do with winter."
Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl. Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.