Gotta Get Away: Soak up luxurious amenities at a posh resort

Nestled atop a 4,848-foot range in West Virginia, the Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers a variety of winter activities.
Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain.
Nestled atop a 4,848-foot range in West Virginia, the Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers a variety of winter activities. Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain.

Credit: Chris McLennan

Credit: Chris McLennan

Revel in the pleasures of golf, spa treatments and great culinary adventures

What’s your idea of a winter wonderland? Snow-covered hillsides ideal for skiing and sledding? A fireside dinner after a few hours at the spa? A day of golfing, hiking or exploring a new town? Whatever activity you prefer, pursue it from the lap of luxury at one of these Southeastern resorts.

Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National
Recent renovations at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort and Spa at Grand National have given a new look to the property, located close to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Courtesy of Auburn Opelika Marriott Resort.

Credit: Art Meripol

Credit: Art Meripol

Opelika, Alabama

It’s taken a few years, but the major makeover of the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort and Spa at Grand National has wrapped up with a new look for the 221 guest rooms, lobby and meeting spaces. Rooms are now outfitted with 49-inch TVs, updated glam baths and golf scenes from the Robert Trent Jones courses at Grand National. Many rooms boast sweeping views of the nearby fairways. It’s the golf connection that draws many visitors who come to explore the nearby Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of 11 locations featuring 26 courses and 468 holes designed by some of the sport’s leading architects. The Marriott is closest to Grand National, a course named among the most affordable in the nation by Golf Digest. Along with the greens, the resort offers guests a spa, fitness center and classes, jogging trails, a heated indoor pool and an outdoor pool with kiddie and adult-only areas. (Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort and Spa at Grand National, $119-$189, 3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika, Alabama. 334-741-9292, marriottgrandnational.com)

The Inn at Christmas Place offers year-round holiday cheer in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Courtesy of The Inn at Christmas Place
The Inn at Christmas Place offers year-round holiday cheer in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Courtesy of The Inn at Christmas Place

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Looking to banish the bah-humbug blues? Even the Scroogiest among us will find it hard to escape the holiday spirit at The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge. The décor in this year-round resort is heavy on golds, greens and reds in everything from the bedspreads and towels to the wreaths and garlands throughout every space. Some rooms feature spas, gas fireplaces and balconies. Amenities include an indoor pool, an outdoor pool with water slide, fitness center and a German glockenspiel in the lobby that chimes the hour and plays carols. Gingerbread house decorating and live music are a few of the events staged during the inn’s Winterfest that kicked off Nov. 9 and continues through December. Many of the same events are part of the Christmas in July festivities. (The Inn at Christmas Place, $229-$349, 119 Christmas Tree Lane, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 888-465-9644, innatchristmasplace.com)

The Legacy Course 
Arnold Palmer Design
Hole 18
New additions to the Reunion Resort and Golf Club include a steak and seafood restaurant and an 18-hole miniature golf course. Courtesy of Reunion Resort.

Credit: John R. Johnson / golfphotos.com

Credit: John R. Johnson / golfphotos.com

Kissimmee, Florida

With three courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, the Reunion Resort and Golf Club is a golfer’s mecca. Those sites are now in pristine shape, following an $800,000 renovation that upgraded bunkers and landscaping. But the activities don’t stop on the greens. The Kissimmee resort is also home to six tennis courts, 10 pools, a fitness center, a five-acre waterpark and a recently added 18-hole miniature golf course. After a full schedule of sports, guests can recover and unwind at the full-service spa, then refuel at one of seven casual and fine dining restaurants. The newest addition to the culinary lineup is the 7593 Chophouse where the focus is on steaks and seafood. When it’s time to turn in, select from the resort’s array of accommodations, including one- to three-bedroom villas and vacation homes, many of which feature private pools, game rooms and as many as 13 bedrooms. (Reunion Resort and Golf Club, $150-$6,500, 7599 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee, Florida. 407-396-3199, reunionresort.com)

Sea Island has added new golf-in, golf-out cottages and a six-lane bowling alley and restaurant.
Courtesy of Sea Island.
Sea Island has added new golf-in, golf-out cottages and a six-lane bowling alley and restaurant. Courtesy of Sea Island.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Sea Island

Georgia’s mild climate makes a beach destination possible all year round. But Sea Island has more to offer than basking on five miles of private sands. Get out on the water for a fishing or boating adventure. Tee off at one of three golf courses. Horseback ride on the beach. Take the family on a nature tour of the natural marshes and dunes. Play a round of tennis. Learn how to shoot and how to handle a falcon. Walk the labyrinth after a hot yoga class. Or do nothing but sigh with delight at the island’s luxurious spa, with men’s and women’s mineral pools and a hydrotherapy pool with a waterfall. No matter the weather, enjoy the enclosed porch and courtyard at Tavola, just one of the island’s many dining options. Kids can create their own pizzas, and parents can indulge in pasta specialties. Accommodations on the island include private cottages as well as rooms in The Inn, The Lodge and the Forbes five-star Cloister. A recently completed $30 million makeover has added six golf-in, golf-out cottages with two to four bedrooms and the Sea Strike and Pub, a six-lane bowling alley and restaurant. (Sea Island, $395-$3,549, 100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island. 855-572-4975, seaisland.com)

The 85 acres at Horse Shoe Farm feature an array of outdoor activities and a spa in a refurbished barn. 
Courtesy of Horse Shoe Farm.
The 85 acres at Horse Shoe Farm feature an array of outdoor activities and a spa in a refurbished barn. Courtesy of Horse Shoe Farm.

Credit: Bernard Russo / Photo2Memories

Credit: Bernard Russo / Photo2Memories

Hendersonville, North Carolina

After months cooped up indoors, 85 acres of rolling, riverfront farmland may provide an antidote to cabin fever. At The Horse Shoe Farm outside of Asheville, nature takes center stage. To keep it pristine, the number of guests is limited to 50, so it’s easy to enjoy some privacy while hiking or biking one of the trails, fishing or kayaking on the pond, curling up in an Adirondack chair with a book and sprawling view, or meditating while meandering the labyrinth path. Tour the vegetable gardens and greet the goats, pigs and other farm animals who call the property home. Indulge in some serious pampering at the Stable Spa, a repurposed barn now outfitted with luxurious treatment rooms, while the youngsters head to the Kid’s Clubhouse, equipped with a variety of play options. The Silo Cookhouse is the on-site spot for meals, but the farm’s individual guesthouses have full kitchens as well. Some also include fireplaces and hot tubs. (The Horse Shoe Farm, $250-$2,000, 155 Horse Shoe Farm Drive, Hendersonville, North Carolina. 828-393-3034, thehorseshoefarm.com)

Golf, swim, dine and enjoy the town of Myrtle Beach from the beachfront Marriott Resort. 
Courtesy of Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort.
Golf, swim, dine and enjoy the town of Myrtle Beach from the beachfront Marriott Resort. Courtesy of Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

South Carolina’s coast has seen its share of damaging weather, but the beach destination is back to welcoming visitors. One of the coast’s premier spots for getting away from it all is the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes on the town’s northern edge. The waterside property boasts three restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, a beachside hammocks grove, a full-service spa and a fitness center. It’s also close to premier golf courses and the Myrtle Beach boardwalk with its array of entertainment and dining attractions. New to town is the 5,500-square-foot expansion of the Ripley’s Aquarium that made room for a new penguin exhibit and nursery, and eight new tanks for more aquatic attractions. (Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes, $130-$194, 8400 Costa Verde Drive, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 843-626-7444, marriott.com)

The historic Hotel Roanoke, which dates back to the 1880s, recently unveiled a refurbished Pine Room restaurant and a new 1882 lobby bar. 
Courtesy of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center / Visit VBR.
The historic Hotel Roanoke, which dates back to the 1880s, recently unveiled a refurbished Pine Room restaurant and a new 1882 lobby bar. Courtesy of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center / Visit VBR.

Credit: BRIAN R WELLS

Credit: BRIAN R WELLS

Roanoke, Virginia

Though now part of the Roanoke metropolis, the 330-room Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center dates back to 1882, when the city was a railroad intersection called Big Lick. What began as a small operation with fewer than a dozen rooms expanded in stages, evolving into the Tudor-style landmark now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The latest update was made last month with the debut of the refurbished Pine Room Restaurant, a former World War II officers club now serving classic American fare with outdoor seating options. Adjacent to the restaurant is the new 1882 Lobby Bar where mixologists whip up hand-crafted cocktails and pour local brews. The hotel also serves guests in its Regency Room and Steam Coffee + Eatery. The on-site Salt Foot Sanctuary spa features a full line of pampering treatments, ideal after a day of biking, hiking, touring and sampling the local cuisine. (Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, $150-$250, 110 Shenandoah Ave., Roanoke, Virginia. 540-985-5900, hotelroanoke.com)

Nestled atop a 4,848-foot range in West Virginia, the Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers a variety of winter activities.
Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain.
Nestled atop a 4,848-foot range in West Virginia, the Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers a variety of winter activities. Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain.

Credit: Chris McLennan

Credit: Chris McLennan

Snowshoe, West Virginia

Break out the snow boots and gear — you’ll put them to good use at Snowshoe Mountain, a resort village nestled atop a 4,848-foot range in West Virginia. Along with skiing more than 60 trails, snowmobiling more than 40 trails and taking leisurely horse-drawn carriage rides through the countryside, the new Galactic Tubing adventure at the Coca-Cola Tube Park is a thrill for all ages. Take the tow rope up the six-story hill and pick one of eight lanes that shoot down below a multi-colored light show. Off-road and snowmobile tours are offered as well. After a day outdoors, unwind in the resort’s heated rock pools or the full-service spa. Accommodations range from studio apartments to eight-bedroom homes, ideal for families who want to limit outside contact. (Snowshoe Mountain Resort Village, $150-$1,270, 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, West Virginia. 877-441-4386, snowshoemtn.com)

COVID-19 safety tips

  • Call the resort and ask questions about the property’s cleaning protocols.
  • Query the resort about their mask policy.
  • Pack your own wipes to disinfect surfaces upon checking in.
  • Take the stairs rather than elevators.

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