It’s that time of year when you’re tired of the cold, summer is still months away, and your last vacation seemed like ages ago. You want to get away, but time and budget constraints are keeping the suitcase in the closet. Still, there is a way to get out of the house for a night or two without leaving town, and it’s an idea that is quickly catching on — the staycation.
The concept is simple: check into a local hotel or resort and enjoy down time in your own city.
Peter Yesawich, Chairman and CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, an Orlando-based travel marketing firm, says the staycation trend makes perfect sense for today’s time- and cash-strapped traveler. “Our research shows that people are taking fewer vacations because there is so much time poverty with job and family obligations,” he says. “The time-starved can’t afford to use up their vacation waiting around airports and dealing with delays, so they choose to escape in their own city for a day or even a long weekend.”
Checking into a hotel allows staycationers to partake in the little luxuries of vacation, such as ordering room service for breakfast, lounging by the pool, or getting a treatment at the spa. “It’s usually much less expensive to check into a pricey hotel near where you live than it is to buy airfare and stay in a so-so property somewhere else,” Yesawich says.
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Hoteliers have been quick to pick up on the staycation trend, fashioning one-night packages geared toward vacations at home. If you can spare the time, the ones we’ve highlighted below can also be extended to add more nights.
New York City
Jumeirah Essex House
Commuters to Manhattan are usually so rushed to make their trains and buses that they don’t have the chance to appreciate New York City in all its glory. The Commuter Escape Package, available at the recently renovated Jumeirah Essex House, helps you celebrate the city and take advantage of the property’s prime location across from Central Park.
What’s included: Parking, tickets to the Museum of the City of New York, and walking tours of the park with different themes such as Art and Architecture and Family Fun. You’ll sleep in a luxurious room with park and city views.
Cost: From $309 per night.
The Camelback’s Escape! Family Slumber Party package proves that you don’t need to be a couple to enjoy a staycation. Here, you get accommodations in either a casita with patio and a kitchenette or a two-bedroom suite with two baths, two outdoor decks, and an oversize living room.
What’s included: You’ll get pizza delivered to your room daily, one in-room movie a day, and unlimited juice and soda for your kids. The resort is framed by the golden desert and has two swimming pools and a kids program with cooking classes, water games, storytelling, and ice-cream socials. Adults can indulge in a couples massage at the spa, and families can bond with white-water rafting and jeep or hot-air balloon tours of the surrounding desert.
Cost: From $279 per night.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
The Savor Seattle package celebrates the city’s food scene and includes a stay in a deluxe room with a separate sitting area, large bath, and great views of the Seattle skyline.
What’s included: The highlight of your visit will be a four-course dinner paired with local wines at the Georgian, a Seattle hot spot that has hosted everyone from movie stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow to CEOs like Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer. The meal might include chanterelle and sweet-potato pie followed by roasted rack of lamb, a trio of soufflés, and a cheese finale. You’ll also get free valet parking and an autographed copy of the Savor Seattle cookbook by the restaurant’s chef Gavin Stephenson.
Cost: From $499 per night.
The Reconnect package at the Ritz-Carlton is popular with locals, and there’s little wonder why? The hotel is walking distance to museums, art galleries, shopping at Highland Park Village, and the Morton H. Myerson Symphony Center. There’s also an onsite spa, where you can indulge in unique treatments like the eight-handed massage.
What’s included: Guests stay in a deluxe room and get overnight valet parking; breakfast in your room, or at Fearing’s, the “in” dining spot; plus two tickets to the Nasher Sculpture Center or the Dallas Museum of Art.
Cost: From $349 per night.
The Orchard Hotel
Bay Area residents love the “Shop, Then Drop” package at this boutique hotel just 100 feet from the Powell Street Cable Car line and two blocks from Union Square, Nob Hill, outstanding shopping, and fantastic restaurants.
What’s included: A one-night stay, valet parking, a box of truffles, and a thick packet of local shopping coupons are included. You might get 10% off at Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s, or half off on San Francisco tours. Breakfast, which includes breads and croissants from local bakeries, is part of the deal. Just looking to chill out? Get a free movie from the hotel’s collection of 200 DVDs and watch it in surround sound in the comfort of your own room on the flat-screen TV.
Cost: From $239 per night.