Three Swanky Stays

Whether you're looking for paradise in Maui, Santa Barbara or Phoenix, these resorts are worth the splurge 


Hotel Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 

Dip a toe in the bustling Wailea scene—beach, shopping, food—then escape to this tranquil Relais & Chateaux property perched 300 feet above the shore. 

A multi-million-dollar renovation has transformed this former private-members club into an oasis of lush tropical gardens, cascading waterfalls and a pool area that charms with oversized cabanas and an apothecary-style bar. The 72 guest suites exude a luxurious beach-house vibe (think bleached white-oak floors, coral and limestone walls, private lanais and art by Hawaiian surfer-turned-artist Pete Cabrinha). 

Dine on fresh seafood at Capische?, the resort’s award-winning restaurant, where you can choose between panoramic views or a romantic garden nook. Rates from US$499. —Ann Britton Campbell

Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara, California 

Santa Barbara is often referred to as the American Riviera, and there’s no better way to experience its coastal allure than with a stay at the Bacara Resort & Spa

Bacara captures the feel of a luxury Mediterranean resort with its beautifully appointed guestrooms, water-wise fountain art displays, red-tile roofs and lush nature trails along a three-kilometre stretch of sandy beach. 

The spa is not to be missed. Lounge by the adults-only saline pool before settling in to a peaceful rooftop massage. 

In the evening, stop in at the elegant Foley Wine Tasting Room, then sit down to a sunset dinner at the Ocean House, where the richest flavours of Italy pair perfectly with that breathtaking Pacific ocean view. Rates from US$350. —Heath McCoy

The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldord Astoria Resort, Phoenix, Arizona

Considered Arizona’s first resort, the Arizona Biltmore opened in 1929 and was once the playground of America’s film and political elite. It’s still a busy place, yet it maintains a peaceful vibe with its many open walkways and manicured flowerbeds. 

Built in the distinctive style of Frank Lloyd Wright, who was a consultant in the project, the property is located on 39 sprawling acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The 740 guest accommodations include elegant rooms, suites and villas, or, if it’s a private concierge you require, you can choose to stay at the resort’s Ocatilla boutique hotel. 

Amenities include five dining options and eight swimming pools, among them the family-friendly Paradise Pool with a 92-foot waterslide, and the Catalina Pool, which is said to have been Marilyn Monroe’s favourite, back in the day. And, of course, given that this is Arizona, a pair of first-class 18-hole golf courses also await. Rates from US$259. —Jeff MacKinnon