Puerto Rico: Romance
Perpetually sunny skies and tropical breezes await in San Juan. Stroll the cobbled streets in Old Town, where locally owned shops sell everything from handmade jewelry to artisanal hot sauce. Sip a proper coffee in the shaded courtyard of Hotel El Convento, formerly a 17th-century nunnery. At the venerated Marmalade, taste innovative dishes such as sea bass crusted with pineapple, papaya, and roasted macadamia.
Stay: Cocoon in the artsy Condado neighborhood at either the Vanderbilt Hotel, a historic property where suites come with oceanfront terraces, or La Concha, which has a playful party vibe complete with poolside DJs. • Memorable excursion: Plan a day trip to El Yunque National Forest, a tropical rainforest where you can hike 1,575 feet above the ocean for an incredible view. Because of Covid, visitor capacity is limited, so reserve ahead at recreation.gov. • Flight time: 3 hours, 50 minutes. • Note: Proof of vaccine or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of arrival is required for stays in San Juan.
New Orleans: Celebration
The Crescent City is synonymous with good times, thanks to its great food, copious booze, and stupendous live music. Break for a civilized brunch in the courtyard at Brennan’s, the birthplace of bananas Foster, and dress up for a swanky dinner at Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street, where the local gentry convene for shrimp rémoulade. Cap off the night with a craft cocktail at Monkey Board, a rooftop bar with a 360-degree view.
Stay: Book the Grand Studio Suite, with 17-foot ceilings and a bedside bar, at luxury guesthouse Maison de la Luz (pictured). For an edgier vibe, head to International House, an artsy boutique hotel with its very own Banksy in the lobby, and splash out with a suite anchored by a baby grand piano. • Memorable excursion: Hop aboard the Creole Queen, a historic paddleboat, and dine on jambalaya while a jazz band keeps tempo. • Flight time: 2 hours, 50 minutes. • Note: New Orleans requires proof of vaccine or a negative Covid test for all guests of hotels, restaurants, bars, and boats.
Miami: Best of Both Worlds
Whether your mood is to cuddle in a cozy poolside cabana or mix it up at a trendy nightclub until sunrise, Miami’s undeniable sexy aura means you’re in the right place. Wander Ocean Drive amid its Art Deco architecture or take in the galleries and street murals in the Wynwood Arts District. Splurge on a Latin-inspired dinner at the Matador Room, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s plush Collins Avenue outpost.
Stay: The Palms Hotel, set on a pristine stretch of beach, has suites with waterfront terraces plus a spa that’s famous for couples-friendly treatment rooms. At the Setai (pictured), every suite has a Zen vibe and floor-to-ceiling windows that face the sea. • Memorable excursion: Head to South Beach for private surf lessons with attitude-free instructors at SoBe Surf. • Flight time: 2 hours, 50 minutes.
This article appears in the January 2022 issue of Washingtonian.