When you’ve gone without something for a while, it becomes even more special and precious. If I give up dessert for Lent, that first allowable “splurge” on Easter Sunday takes on great significance. I’m not going to just have a cookie or a dish of frozen yogurt – I want gelato, crème brulee, or a decadent slice of cheesecake!

6 luxury resorts worthy of a post-pandemic splurge pin
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We’ve been stuck at home and deprived of the ability to travel for several months now, and I am dreaming of how to break that particular “fast”. For my first post-COVID trip, I’m not going to be staying at a Motel 6 or any old Hampton Inn. I want someplace special, and memorable, with at least a touch of luxury. But I also want to be safe and responsible, so I’m looking for fresh air, lots of outdoor space, and no crowds.

If you want some inspiration for outdoorsy US resorts that are worthy of a post-pandemic splurge, here are a handful on my list from three distinct parts of the country:


The Southeast – For Southern Charm

Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort southern mansion front lawn with large southern trees, south carolina
[ Photo Credit: Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina]

Sanctuary at Kiawah Island– If the ocean is calling you right now, consider The Sanctuary at Kiawah. This grand sea-side hotel is both elegant and welcoming.

main lobby of the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort with a southern decor

You’ll feel like you’re arriving at a friend’s Southern mansion.

[Photo Credit: Sanctuary at Kiawah Island]

There are unobstructed ocean views (even from the ground floor) and a balcony or terrace in every guestroom, so you can enjoy the tranquility and fresh sea air. Just 21 miles from downtown Charleston, and convenient to all the shopping/dining/sightseeing that the “Holy City” provides, this is the pampering escape you need after these past few months. The overall decor is calm and serene, and the rooms have a breezy traditional feel with large tubs, plantation shutters, and neutral color palettes.

areal view of the Sancutary at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina
[Photo Credit: Sanctuary at Kiawah Island]

With more than a dozen eateries, separate adult and family pools, a beach, and a golf course, this relaxing resort lives up to its Sanctuary name. But it’s the little touches like complimentary shoe shines, that really set this Southern resort apart. As an example of their commitment to guest wellness, they are partnering with a team of doctors from MUSC to develop health and safety plans and protocols that go above and beyond the CDC COVID-19 recommendations. Staying here is sure to leave you feeling relaxed and well cared for.

Montage Palmetto Bluff– Spend a relaxing afternoon on the veranda with a cool glass of sweet tea at this river-side resort. Located in the South Carolinian low-country, the resort features vaulted ceilings, wide porches, and classic Southern charm. They offer a huge variety of accommodations, from guestrooms to spacious stand-alone cottages. Add in their eight different dining locations, and they have what you need for every type of trip.

sunset on the river in south carolina

This is a quiet “hide-away” right on the river where you can enjoy the slow pace of southern life.

[Photo Credit: Everett Petronio]

While this sprawling 20,000-acre resort prides itself on an unhurried atmosphere, there’s still plenty to do. Included in the resort’s grounds are a nature reserve, two villages, a golf course, and 32 miles of riverfront. They provide guided activities and tours, or you can explore on your own.

river edge with high grasses and small white heron at montage palmetto resort south carolina

Take tennis and fly-fishing lessons, spend an afternoon at the shooting club, learn about their conservancy program, or go on a dolphin cruise to spot local wildlife. You can find yourself hiking, biking, paddle-boarding, or kayaking.

[Photo Credit: Everett Petronio]

For something a little quieter, chill out by the pool, hop onboard one of their yachts for morning mimosas on the water, or make your own s’mores around the fire pit at night. There’s plenty to do at this huge resort, making it a great all-around getaway.

The Pacific Northwest – For Tranquil Contemplation

blades of tall grass near water columbia gorge oregon
[Photo Credit: Lauren Neiheisel]

Salish Lodge and Spa – A quintessential Pacific Northwest experience, the Salish Lodge and Spa will make you feel like you’re on your own personal mountain retreat. Just 30 minutes east of Seattle, it overlooks the impressive 268 ft Snoqualmie Falls and river gorge, and is surrounded by a lush northwest forest. This will truly feel like an escape from the everyday.

couple's massage at the Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington

With gas fireplaces and spa-like showers in every room the real focus here is serenity.

[Photo Credit: Salish Lodge & Spa]

Perfect for a relaxing yet outdoorsy getaway, the Lodge features northwest-inspired spa treatments, easy hiking trails, trout fishing and two restaurants with local home-grown food.

dining room overlooking the pacific northwest river gorge and snoqualmie waterfalls at the Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington
[Photo Credit: Salish Lodge & Spa]

Founded in 1916 and owned by the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, it is truly unique. The Lodge was the setting of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks mystery series, and it has an onsite apiary which they use to make a huge variety of fresh honey products — ales, sweets, and main dishes.

living room area of the patio suite at the Salish Lodge & Spa in Washington State

Be sure to get a River View room so you can relax on your balcony to the sound of the rushing water.

[Photo Credit: Salish Lodge & Spa]

Stephanie Inn – For a romantic adventure on the Pacific Ocean, look no further than the Stephanie Inn. This adults-only ocean-front hotel offers the best in boutique luxury. Combining comfort and elegance with oceanfront and mountain views, this intimate retreat has a focus on all things culinary.

couple relaxing on their beachfront terrace at the Stephanie Inn, Oregon

Being only 28 steps to the beach, providing beach cruiser bicycles, and luxurious Jacuzzi “pure air” baths in every room is just the beginning.

[Photo Credit: The Stephanie Inn]

The Inn also offers several specialized excursions and experiences (“Stephanie Inn Sojourns”) with their executive chef.

You can take cooking classes, travel the Craft Ale Trail, go salmon and crab fishing in the Pacific, learn to blend your own wine and head to the local farmer’s market. All under the guidance of executive chef Aaron Bedard.

[Photo Credit: The Stephanie Inn]

The beachfront setting, pampering service, and the “foodie” experiences certainly set Stephanie Inn apart from the competition.

[Photo Credit: The Stephanie Inn]

This is a resort that really understands their clientele. Guests can enjoy a bonfire or picnic lunch on the beach, onsite massages, and free transportation into Cannon Beach (in a cool Tesla sedan) to explore local galleries, secret gardens and boutique shopping.


The Rocky Mountains- For Something Rugged

panoramic shot of Colorado meadow and moutains at C Lazy U Ranch
[ Photo Credit: C Lazy U Ranch]

C Lazy U RanchIf you’re itching to be active, experience a real dude ranch, or you’re traveling with children then the C Lazy U Ranch is the place. This luxury dude ranch in the heart of the Rocky Mountains is the Wild West family adventure you’ll be talking about for years to come.

three people horseback riding on a trail through a beautiful forest and next to a lack at the C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado
[Photo Credit: C Lazy U Ranch]

With a herd of over 200 horses, they’ll take you on daily trail rides among the wildflowers, lessons in the horse riding arenas, and cattle pushing clinics in the meadows. They also offer a ropes course, archery, zipline, hiking, tennis, and two miles of private riverfront for fly fishing.

two boys high five halfway up a rock climbing wall at the ropes course on the C Lazy U Ranch, Colorado

Balancing family time and scheduled adventure time, this 101 year-old ranch has an excellent kids & teens program.

[Photo Credit: C Lazy U Ranch]

Plus there’s still plenty of time to relax on the ranch.

Two large copper tubs await in the spa tent at the C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado

Enjoy their spa with unique copper soaking tubs and glass-floor tents, letting you watch the river drift by while enjoying your massage.

[Photo Credit: C Lazy U Ranch]

Chill by the pool, pond, or river and spend your evenings sharing stories by the open fire. This Ranch has it all and more.

Dunton Hot SpringsNestled in the San Juan Mountains, in the southwest corner of Colorado, sits a restored mining ghost town. Taking rustic luxury to a whole new level, this hot-springs centered resort perfectly combines nature, whimsy, and elegance. Thirteen hand-hewn log cabins circle the Saloon and Dance Hall, just steps from the bathhouse. Don’t let the rustic exterior fool you — each of these cabins features heated floors, large baths, glass showers, wifi, and all the other modern luxuries you could desire. One cabin even features its own hot springs tap!

San Juan Colorado Rockies snow-caped in the distance with a wooden fence and overgrown meadow in front

This perfectly-restored ghost town gives you views of mountains and meadows.

[Photo Credit: James Obernesser via Unsplash]

Enjoy hiking, biking, and fly fishing on your own. Or take along a guide for rock climbing, river rafting, horseback riding, and climbing to the top of the San Juan peaks. After all these outdoor activities, you’ll love coming back to restore and refresh in the hot springs before enjoying farm-fresh food and world-class wines in the saloon.

men's legs floating in a natural hot-spring surrounded by rocks and  a fir forest

The resort offers five ways to enjoy its ancient rejuvenating hot springs, which range from 85F to 106F.

[Photo Credit: Alexander Mcferon via Unsplash]

Staying at the Dunton Hot Springs is not only a unique experience but a perfect way to commune with nature and focus on your wellness.


Whether you’re feeling like what you need most is calming tranquility or an action-packed adventure, your first post-COVID trip should be someplace special, memorable, and a little bit luxurious. With lots of fresh crisp air and remote settings, we hope these six resorts have inspired you to dream big. Let us know when and where you’d like to enjoy your first post-pandemic ‘escape’!