Don't get us wrong⎯we love burgers, bonfires, and beer, but we also like to go rogue every once in a while. From Cabo to Barcelona, these off-radar Memorial escapes offer killer views, mouthwatering food, exceptional nightlife and more.
San Jose Del Cabo
San Jose is the sophisticated side of Los Cabos. Here, you’re more likely to find bars and restaurants serving vintages from Baja’s burgeoning wine country than body shots and watery margaritas. Las Ventanas provides the perfect vantage point for taking in the whole area—it’s a stylish and secluded hideaway that’s still close enough to the action if you want it. Onsite you can sample the 300+ bottle wine list at Don Sanchez or (ok, AND) boozy horchatas at El Marinero Borracho (aka the Drunken Sailor).
What's not to love about Louisville? It's got killer food, music, and a unique Southern style. Bardstown Road is lined with lively bars serving local ales, craft cocktails, and of course, bourbon—just make sure to fill your stomach with a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich before you set out. As for where to stay? With its grand salons, rich fabrics, and attentive staff, The Brown Hotel is the ideal place to lay your head after a day of visiting boutique distilleries like Limestone Branch and New Riff along the Kentucky Bourbon Craft Trail.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s much more to New Orleans than hurricanes (and hurling frat boys) on Bourbon Street. At the legendary Commander’s Palace, you’ll find Southern belles day drinking in their Sunday best during the legendary 25-cent martini lunch (served every weekday). If you’re staying in the French Quarter, don’t miss a visit to Hotel Monteleone’s classic Carousel Bar for a Vieux Carre or the 200-year-old Napoleon House, where the fruity Pimm’s Cup is out of this world. Continue the party down on Frenchmen Street, the heart of NOLA’s music scene, hopping from d.b.a. to The Spotted Cat to Blue Nile to catch everything from brass bands to gypsy jazz.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs has shed its geriatric image and has become the hot party destination for the SoCal set. And the scene always revolves around this desert town’s hotel pools. Our favorite? The Colony Palms. Opened in the 1930s, the hotel was originally a clubhouse for a gang of notorious bootleggers. The scene is a little more swish these days with a full roster of Hollywood types lounging by the pool. In fact, it’s so popular, you may want to stake your claim on a chaise longue well before breakfast. Then kick back with a cocktail or three while you survey the scene. The desert city is full of other see-and-be-seen hotel bars, from the 1920s-inspired Sidebar at the Riviera to El Jefe tequila bar at The Saguaro. Or you can buy a day pass to check out the DJ’d pool parties during the day at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club.
Miami has always had a great nightlife scene. But it’s also got some serious culinary cred, one of the country’s most exciting art scenes and a whole lot of sunshine. For those looking to get bikini-ready for summer, the wellness theme at the new Hotel Croydon won’t disappoint (though The Tavern restaurant’s thrifty happy hour may derail your efforts.) Sweat it out in a kickboxing class or sign up for a morning yoga class on the sundeck. You’ll earn the right to a night out at the Delano’s exclusive FDR club, where a DJ spins until the late hours. Need a pick-me-up up the next morning? Try a café con leche martini at Wynwood’s Cafeina then explore Wynwood’s contemporary art galleries before catching a local band at Brick House.
In sexy St. Barth’s, you get the sophistication of a European mini-break served up along pristine beaches. Base yourself with the other pretty people at Le Sereno, where minimalist Christian Liaigre-designed rooms keep the focus on the stunning views of Grand Cul-de-Sac. Sip champagne and indulge in bouillabaisse by the pool before heading out for a rowdy night at Le Yacht Club, where models and the men that love them dance until the sun comes up. And be sure to book ahead for the sceney Sunday brunch at Le Toiny.
Playa Del Carmen
Just because you’re in Playa Del Carmen doesn’t mean you have to spend your night at Senor Frogs. A low-key evening at the kitschy Diabolito Cha Cha Cha will make you a believer, and the same owners carry that “funk and lux” spirit to their beachside nightclub Canibal Royal. Then again, if you’re staying at the luxury all-inclusive Royal Hideaway Playacar, there’s little reason to leave the grounds (especially with unlimited top shelf cocktails included in the rate).
The resort town of Negril has a spot for every type of traveler. There’s the uber classy Blackwell Rum Bar at The Caves, local favorites like LTU Pub and Alfreds, and the low-key Floyd's Pelican Bar, a bamboo hut a mile offshore on a sandbar. Local hangout Ricks Cafe has been serving up ice-cold Red Stripes since the 1970s. Throw back a few for some liquid courage and then jump off their 35-foot platform above the sea. Your home-away-from-home? Sandy Haven Resort, a laidback little boutique sleep that’s the perfect antidote to the mega-resort masses.
This tiny town in Napa is a bit more laidback⎯if that’s even possible⎯and a lot more artsy than neighboring Yountville or St. Helena. It’s also home to some of the best small-batch wineries in California. Among the many reenergizing the area’s wine scene: Jericho Canyon, Tamber Bey and Tank Garage. For a different kind of liquid treat, head to The Mud Bar at Solage Calistoga Resort, where you can indulge in a mud body mask or mineral soak before dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. And if all that wine starts to go to your head, there’s always the nearby Calistoga Inn Brewery.
From lively tapas bars and sexy cocktail lounges to all-night clubs and wild street performers, Barcelona has one of the best nightlife scenes. Check into The Mirror or the gay-friendly Axel in the trendy neighborhood of Eixample and log some time by the rooftop plunge pool before grabbing a pre-dinner cava in the buzzy lobby bar. Then venture beyond the hotel doors to explore the barrio. A must: the famed Adria brothers’ circus-themed Tickets Bar for inventive tapas like truffled artichokes and smoked eel. Top off the meal with a few rounds of Vermouth at the siblings’ nearby bar, Bodega 1900.