You Go, Girls: 5 Ideal Getaways for the Gals
Want to bond with your besties? Plan a trip! Here are five girlfriend getaway ideas for you and your tribe—culture, shopping, and R&R all included.
Thanks to busy lives and conflicting schedules, it’s hard to stay connected with your friends. After all, liking each other’s posts on Facebook isn’t the same as getting real face time. So it’s worth the effort to plan a vacation together: You’ll have plenty of time to catch up, experiences you can bond over, and many moments of just plain fun. All that’s missing is the setting. So we’ve chosen five spots perfect for a sophisticated gaggle of gals like yourselves, plus recommendations on how to make the most of your time together.
For Outdoor Adventure with a Side of Art: Santa Fe
New Mexico’s high desert landscape has inspired many women throughout history—from painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Laura Gilpin to Susan Shelby Magoffin, the first white woman to traverse the Santa Fe Trail. So if your group is craving some desert solitude, venture to the City Different. A 90-minute trail ride at Ghost Ranch will immerse you in the natural surroundings made famous by O’Keeffe, who lived there for more than 50 years. Spot waterfalls pouring over canyon walls and peer at the shining red and yellow cliffs of Piedra Lumbre before touring the painter’s former home. Back downtown, the art galleries lining Canyon Road showcase modern artists’ vision of the city, as does Meow Wolf, a creative arts collective filled with rotating multimedia installations. And at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, unwind with in-room aromatherapy treatments before rejoining over drinks at the hotel’s Tequila Table or the nearby Coyote Café, where the Norteno margarita—green chile–infused tequila with fresh lime juice and a chile-salted rim—has become a local mainstay.
For See-and-be-Seen Culture: Paris
It’s impossible to go wrong with a girls’ getaway in the Capital of Chic, where Marianne—with her flowing locks and Phyrgian cap—has symbolized liberty since the Revolution. Start with a Parisian-style shopping spree at the Palais Royal, home to vintage haute couture dealer Didier Ludot and leather goods specialist Maison Fabre (plus major fashion houses like Stella McCartney, Acne Studios, and Marc Jacobs). Fuel up next door to Café Kitsuné, an offshoot of popular clothing brand Maison Kitsuné, which serves expert-roasted coffee in a small garden. Get your culture fix at the Centre Pompidou, home to Europe’s largest collection of modern and contemporary art (and superb views from the rooftop café). On view this fall: major retrospectives of sculptor Franz West and architect Tadao Ando, plus France’s first Cubism exhibition since 1953. After hours, you could dine at a classic French bistro like Chez Georges, on Rue du Mail. But for something more dramatic, take your friends aboard Ducasse sur Seine, the new dinner cruise from French master chef Alain Ducasse. Just don’t let the Eiffel Tower views distract you from dishes like seared sea bass in an Arbois wine reduction. Cap the evening with late-night dancing at Glass, a sexy-sleek Pigalle hotspot from trendy bar and restaurant group Quixotic Projects.
For Playing on the Playa: Riviera Maya
For sun, sand, and serious R&R, head to Mexico’s Riviera Maya and the blissful shores of Mayakoba. The self-contained enclave provides therapies for whatever is stressing you out—job, family, breaking-news alerts—and lets you focus on more soothing pursuits. After sweating it out at a morning Cardio Combat class, book a Kuxtal Sensory Garden Ritual at the spa—the healing ceremony is based on the beliefs of ancient Mayan shamans. Or just claim a daybed and order a round of palomas at the resort’s beach club, overlooking the white sand and gentle Caribbean waves. Before the trip is up, venture off campus to nearby Playa del Carmen for a shopping excursion: Rosalía, on the main drag of Quinta Avenida, sells handmade textiles and dresses from Chiapas and matching Otomi pouches. Or head further afield on a day trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, stopping for a dip at Cenote Calavera, an underwater cavern whose cool, azure water will put you in a meditative state.
For Major Retail Therapy: Dallas
This Texas town always offers something fresh, thanks to a constant evolution of style and culture. Neighborhoods such as Deep Ellum, Bishop Arts, Knox/Henderson, and the Design District are especially abuzz with new restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Start in the Arts District with a quick visit to the Renzo Piano-designed Nasher Sculpture Center, where the eye-catching works fill up both an outdoor garden and indoor galleries. Then, let the shopping commence. Begin in Knox/Henderson at Grange Hall, a floral shop and globally-sourced concept store that’s also home to one of the hottest restaurants in town (with seasonal menus from five-time James Beard Award nominee Sharon Hage and executive chef Chad Martin). Nearby, Ann Mashburn is a perennial favorite for tailored classic looks. Don’t miss Mi Golondrina, whose founder, designer Cristina Lynch, works with artisans in Mexico to create hand-embroidered clothing and accessories—guaranteed to spark a conversation back home. For evening drinks, follow the local cool crowd to Bowen House, an unmarked bar inside a 19th-century farmhouse, where the smoky jalapeño-infused Grassy Knoll cocktail is Lynch’s go-to.
For the Wellness Weekend: Phuket
Nothing brings together friends like the remoteness of an island escape. Such is the case to a visit to this wellness-centric Thai retreat. Shake off the flight with an indulgent day at Asaya at Rosewood Phuket, where you can blend your own massage oil at the on-site apothecary, have an out-of-body experience with a floating Watsu therapy, and participate in daily yoga and meditation. You’ll want to devote an afternoon to visiting the humane Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, where the magnificent animals—chain-free in their natural habitat—provide their own sort of therapy. For dinner, head to Kan Eang @ Pier, which offers traditional Thai specialties alongside sushi and sashimi. But the night isn’t over until you and your friends have mixed with the locals at a traditional night market: there’s no place better to pick up scarves, hand-carved bowls, and other souvenirs than at Chillva Market, in the heart of Phuket.
Rosalía: Avenida 5, between calles 12 and 14, Playa Del Carmen; +52 984-803-4904
Cenote Calavera: Quintana Roo 109, Km 2, Tulum
Ghost Ranch: 280 Private Drive 1708, US-84, Abiquiu, NM; +1 505-685-1000
Meow Wolf: 1352 Rufina Circle; +1 505-395-6369
Anasazi Restaurant: 113 Washington Avenue; +1 505-988-3030
Coyote Café: 132 W Water Street; +1 505-983-1615
Palais Royal: 8 Rue de Montpensier
Café Kitsuné: Jardin du Palais Royal, 51 Galerie de Montpensier; +33 40-15-62-31
Centre Pompidou: Place Georges-Pompidou; +33 44-78-12-33
Chez Georges: 1 Rue du Mail; +33 42-60-07-11
Ducasse sur Seine: Port Debilly; +33 58-00-22-08
Glass: 7 Rue Frochot
Nasher Sculpture Center: 2001 Flora Street; +1 214-242-5100
Grange Hall: 4445 Travis Street; +1 214-443-0600
Outdoor Voices: 4539 Travis Street; +1 214-238-2844
Ann Mashburn: 3319 Knox Street; +1 214-443-6100
Mi Golondrina: 2727 W Mockingbird Lane #103; +1 214-377-8738
Bowen House: 2614 Boll Street; +1 214-484-1385
Asaya: 88/28 Muen-Ngoen Road, Tri-Trang Beach, Patong, Kathu District; +66 76-356-885
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary: 168/18 Phangmueangsai Kor Rd., Patong, Kathu District; +66 96-246-5492
Kan Eang @ Pier : Rawai, Mueang Phuket District; +66 76-381-212