4 Great Travel Deals for May

A Florida resort with a private beach, cooking classes in Vermont, and other exclusive getaway deals.

Photo courtesy of the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino.

Vermont Is Cooking

Where: The Essex Resort, Essex Junction, VT.

What’s special: Whether guests are seasoned pros or novices in the kitchen, the recently renovated and luxe Essex Resort offers a host of experiences at its Cook Academy. There are cooking and baking classes, as well as a “Curated Dinner” during which guests spend time with the chef, learning techniques as the chef prepares a menu. Other hotel amenities include an indoor pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and spa. The Tavern serves breakfast and an all-day menu; its chefs use local ingredients and there are 30 local craft beers and ciders on tap. The Lobby Café has wine, espresso, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes. Beyond the resort, Burlington offers a lot of activities: There are cruises on Lake Champlain, kayak tours, hot-air balloon rides, Segway tours, hiking, biking, shopping, brewery and distillery tours, and more. 

The deal: TheWashingtonian Exclusive Deal” includes a craft beer at check-in plus a $25 resort credit. Room rates start at $195. To book click here.

When: Valid for stays through October 1, 2022.

Bask in Naples 

Where: LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Naples, FL; 239-597-3123.  

What’s special: Set on a picturesque beachfront in Naples and overlooking the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the casually luxurious LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort is the only resort in Naples on a private beach. The resort has new guest rooms and suites, all with bay or gulf views. The 4,500-square-foot SpaTerre offers a menu of services (each spa room has a private balcony), and a state-of-the-art fitness center with rotating classes. Play golf at the championship 18-hole course, studded with 14 lakes and rolling hills. At the beach, you can relax and swim or, for more adventure, rent a kayak, paddle board, or WaveRunner. Additional amenities include beach butler service and private poolside cabanas with cold towels and sorbet, plus a Tiki Bar perfect for light fare and tropical drinks. Culinary highlights include the resort’s signature restaurant, Baleen, as well as the restaurant’s signature bar, Elements (where guests can be paired to a handcrafted cocktail based on personality and zodiac sign). 

The deal: “The Wellness Wanderer” package includes a welcome gift (a backpack with a LaPlaya yoga mat), a one-hour session with a personal trainer, a 50-minute therapeutic signature stone massage, a bike rental with a map of local biking areas, and an in-room aromatherapy diffuser with a selection of natural essential oils. Washingtonian readers also get a complimentary “enhancement” to any facial treatment, such as a hand or foot paraffin mask, lip service, or an eye treatment; a $50 daily resort credit; and a one-time $30 spa credit. To book, click here and use promo code WASHSPA. 

When: Valid for stays June 1 through December 15, 2022.

Fun in the Sun

Where: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, Aruba; 800-250-0134.

What’s special: Located on 15 acres of white sand and lush tropical gardens, the resort offers endless ocean views. The spacious, beachy guest rooms and suites have a balcony or patio and views of tropical gardens, pools, or the Caribbean Sea. There are two zero-entry pools: the North Pool is where the action is (volleyball and aqua aerobics), while the South Pool offers a quieter, more relaxing environment. Both are next to Castaways bar. Palapas and cabanas at the beach and pools provide plenty of shade plus lounge chairs, towel setup, bottled water, and fruit platters. Or relax and rejuvenate at the beachfront spa. Guests can dive and snorkel; an on-site diving center has a daily schedule to choose from, and beginners can learn right at the resort. For more entertainment, the resort has a casino. 

The deal: The “Bubble on the Beach at Hilton Aruba” package includes full daily endless breakfast for up to two adults and two children per room, one Sunset Concierge customized private dining experience, a daily “poolapa” or beach palapa, and one “S’mores on the Shore” experience. Washingtonian readers receive a specialty family-friendly welcome beverage and a bottle of sparkling wine. Five nights or more required. Must book by May 15. To book click here and use booking code WABB. The starting room rate is $529.

When: Valid for stays through June 25, 2022. 

Bethesda Staycation

Where: Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ, 7707 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-276-7707. 

What’s special: Opened in March, Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott’s new headquarters is the area’s newest hotel. The lobby features a grand staircase and a bar. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring natural light into the 245 guest rooms, which feature a modern décor. On property is the Seventh State Restaurant and Lounge—a historical nod to when Maryland entered the union—with indoor and outdoor seating. A custom-designed Italian wood-fire oven churns out flatbreads and panouzzos, the house specialty. Also on property is a 24/7 fitness center featuring Peloton bikes. The hotel is on Metro’s Red Line, and a short walk from Bethesda Row’s restaurants and shops.

The deal: The Washingtonian Reader Exclusive” includes a free room upgrade and 20 percent off food and beverage at Seventh State. To book click here and use cluster code “LDR” on the Marriott site or call the hotel directly at 301-276-7707 and mention the “Washingtonian Deal” upon check-in. Room rates start at $179.

When: Valid for stays in May. Blackout dates apply.