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Downtime Destinations

Need to Relax and Recharge? These Four Buzz-Worthy Getaways Offer Luxury Close to Home


A CEO’s work is never done, but even CEOs need to get away from the corner office every now and then to recharge on a vacation. But when that window of opportunity opens and you can actually block off dates on the calendar for a getaway, you don’t want to leave anything to chance – no under whelming accommodations or back-seat “are we there yet?” cries are allowed. Stretches away from work don’t come around often, so you want to maximize your time spent sharing laughter, great meals, lots of fun and well-earned rest with your family.

That’s why we’ve put together a short list of luxury resort destinations that offer the top-notch service, awe inspiring activities and all of the imaginable amenities required to make that perfect domestic trip (including refined, distraction-free meeting rooms and facilities if you absolutely must bring business – or the entire company – along). All of our picks place a premium on service, catering to your needs while also providing engaging activities and dedicated care for children, meaning you can feel confident that everyone in your extended family – from the youngest grandchild to the oldest relative – will have a memorable time that can last a lifetime…or at least until the next board meeting.

Ocean Reef Club

Founded as a modest fishing camp back in 1945, Ocean Reef Club is now a luxurious private community occupying 2,000 acres on the northern tip of Key Largo, Fla. Located only 50 minutes from Miami, Ocean Reef is easily reached by land, sea or air (it even has its own 4,500-foot lighted runway). While there’s something here for everyone, there’s no mistaking the primary attraction – Ocean Reef’s 175-slipmarina is just a lazy cast away from North America’s only living coral reef, providing unrivaled access to world-class snorkeling, scuba diving, tours, water craft rentals and deep-sea, flats and back-country fishing (in the nearby Everglades).Other notable attractions include three 18-hole championship golf courses, a saltwater swimming lagoon and sandy beach, and a dozen on-site restaurants and lounges.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Built in 1923 as a private country club, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has grown from a local treat into a genuine treasure. Nestled in an east-west valley between the Top atop a Mountains and Sulfur Mountain, the Ojai is located due east of Santa Barbara and easily accessible from three area airports. Best known for its breathtaking pink sunsets, an 18-hole premier championship golf course built on natural terrain, and a world-renowned, award-winning spa, this private, almost secretive, resort has much more to offer – especially for children and teens. Camp Ojai features half- and full-day activities that stress the natural environment and traditions of the Chumash Indians (the original inhabitants of the area), and the whole family can enjoy nature-based activities like GPS-powered scavenger hunts, or relax by one of four pools.

The Broadmoor

This idyllic, high-desert property, which started in 1891 as a casino, opened as a resort in 1918, and apparently the new business model was a perfect fit. Notable for its current 50-year run as a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awarded hotel, the Broadmoor mixes the best of refined comforts, natural beauty and outdoor activities. With 11 restaurants (including the Penrose Room, the only Forbes Five-Star/AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Colorado), an award-winning spa and 25 retail shops, you might be inclined to stay inside the whole time, but that would be a mistake. Located 89 miles from Denver (and only 15 minutes from the Colorado Springs Airport), the Broadmoor’s on-site activities include outdoor hot tubs, three championship golf courses and exceptional tennis for adults and children (it’s ranked as the third-best tennis resort nationally by Tennis magazine). Plus you’ll be only minutes away from nearby fly-fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing, ballooning and the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak.

The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation

Sitting on the banks of Georgia’s second-largest lake, Lake Oconee, the Reynolds Plantation balances the best elements of rusticity and luxury. Sure, with 99 holes of premier championship golf plus fishing, boating, swimming and water skiing, you’ll have a world of activities to keep you busy, but Reynolds is known for providing guests with all the cozy comforts, understated charm and gracious hospitality associated with the South (and has the AAA Five Diamond-rated service and facilities to prove it). Six two- and three-bedroom cottages (1,800 and 2,400 square feet, respectively) feature wrap-around porches with exceptional lake views, and a visit to the spa and fitness facilities will eliminate any guilt left over from the complimentary s’ mores at the nightly campfire.

Room to Relax

Ocean Reef Club

Key Largo, Fla.

305.367.2611 or 800.741.7333


Best Rooms: Luxurious homes and villas are $1,370–$2,600 per night for up to five bedrooms.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ojai, Calif.

805.646.1111 or 800.422.6524


Best Rooms: The 1,200-square-foot Fontana suite ($1,500/night) and 1,900- square-foot Hacienda Penthouse ($3,000/night) offer fireplaces and private balconies, while the Ojai’s Casa Elar ($10,000–$15,000/night, the second night free) is a five-bedroom, 10,407-square-foot Italianate gated residence that’s fully serviced and staffed.

The Broadmoor

Colorado Springs, Col.



Best Rooms: Six Broadmoor Cottages, offering two to eight bedrooms, each with a parlor, sit along the 18th fairway of the east golf course ($2,050–$7,650, weekday rates are lower).

The Ritz-Carlton,

Reynolds Plantation

Greensboro, Ga.



Best Rooms: Two- and three-bedroom cottages ($759–$1,259/night) provide full residential appointments, including a living room, dining room, a wood-burning fireplace and a butler’s kitchen. The most luxurious accommodations are at the Presidential House ($3,000/night), which offers four master bedroom suites, a formal dining room that seats 16, a living room with a wood-burning fireplace, a fully equipped great room and a screenedin back porch.


About Michael Gelfand