Think of a roller coaster. The best part is the anticipation, the build-up, that magical rumble of the coaster as it slowly ascends to the top before its sudden plunge. This is also true of your dream vacation. In some ways the best part is the “blue sky” phase of daydreaming, of planning, of hopeful Pinterest boards, of picking and choosing between first-rate options. So while you might not be able to actually go on your dream vacation at this exact moment, nothing can stop you from the brainstorming.
So hop on the coaster, revel in the anticipation, and consider these dream vacation destinations. (Unlike an actual roller coaster, we can promise it won’t make you sick.)
Dream Vacations: Cities
Torn between a beach vacation and city getaway? Here you can do both. Normally an “urban beach” is a drab stretch of dirty sand that’s dotted with litter, but Barcelona’s city beach rivals the finest beaches on the planet…and you’re only a stroll away from the gothic quarter, Gaudi architecture, and the glorious chaos of Las Ramblas.
Where to stay: Kimpton Vividora
Paris is a city that rewards repeat visits, allowing your relationship with the culture to deepen, to ripen. Your new goal: Stay long enough to make legit Parisian friends, and you’ll learn more from one dinner party in the Montparnasse than a dozen trips to museums.
Where to stay: A new Kimpton opens soon in Paris
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of New York’s death have been greatly exaggerated. NYC has survived the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and 12 seasons of The Real Housewives of New York City. We don’t know the when or the how, but we do know this for certain: the city will roar back, and you won’t want to miss it.
Dream Vacations: Nature
Maybe only 7 people on the planet have “Bozeman” on their bucket list, but these 7 have done their homework. An ideal hub to Yellowstone, this intersection of the Rocky Mountains and the prairies offers an endless buffet of hiking, rafting and tubing along the Gallatin and Madison rivers, and more wildlife than you can possibly Instagram, from elk to moose to eagles.
Where to stay: Kimpton Armory
Palm Springs, California
Don’t be fooled by its reputation of golf and Sinatra-by-the-pool. Nature beckons. Nearby you’ll find 60 miles of hiking at the Indian Canyons, a cable car ride with jaw-dropping views up the San Jacinto Mountain, a 20,000-acre sanctuary of the Coachella Valley Preserve, and an obscure little park called Joshua Tree.
Where to stay: Kimpton Rowan
Come for the skiing and the charming downtown, stay for the dogsledding. Pros of dogsledding: No experience required, it’s an all-time story to tell, Siberian huskies. Cons of dogsledding: None. In the warmer months, swap the mushers for horseback rides or mountain biking through the Green Mountain National Forest — the mountain range that gave this idyllic state its nickname.
Where to stay: Kimpton Taconic
Dream Vacations: Islands
Key West, Florida
Think of this as the “super practical dream vacation.” The tropical island is closer to Cuba than it is Miami, so you get both the charm and the flavor — from pink shrimp to conch fritters — without even flipping open your passport. Bonus points for the delightful history that’s packed with pirates and smugglers and writers. There’s a reason that Hemingway came for a short visit…then bought a house and stayed a decade.
Where to stay: Kimpton Key West
They call this island the “Hawaii of China” and that’s, well, accurate. Pristine beaches: Check. Rainforest that improbably meets the ocean: Check. Endless dining and nightlife: Check. Zip-lining, hot springs, and an actual monkey island? Yes, yes, and amazingly yes.
Where to stay: A new Kimpton opens soon in Sanya
There’s a reason scuba diving was basically invented in the Caymans. Or many reasons, really: Crystal clear water that allows stunning visibility, 500(!) species of fish (from eagle rays to sea turtles), reef after reef after reef, and 365 dive sites — one for every day of the year.
Where to stay: Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa
Bali’s sneakiest asset? Variety. The island gives you tons of options: Seek bliss in the yoga and meditation-fused temples of Ubud, or find adventure on a sunrise hike of Mt. Batur (you can fry an egg on the volcanic top), or take surf lessons in Canggu, or lazily sunbathe on the beaches of Seminyak. (Pro tip: Extend your stay and do it all.)
Where to stay: A new Kimpton opens in Bali in 2021