Anassa means "queen" in Greek and indeed, the setting of this Mediterranean resort is fit for royalty. Located on Cyprus’s sparkling coast, near Akamas and close to the Baths of Aphrodite (where the goddess of love met her doomed lover Adonis), the hotel exudes romance. Its white-washed villas, styled to resemble a Byzantine village, rise starkly against the blues of sea and sky. Rooms make the most of these dazzling vistas: all with balconies or terraces and many have private plunge pools. The setting is enchanting, with landscaped gardens set on a hillside that spills down towards the Mediterranean. There's a fitness center and a slew of activities to choose from, but many just come for relaxation and pampering, especially at the Thalassa Spa, a Roman-stylehealthretreat that offers restorative programs.
The Grand Velas is located in Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coastline, an area known for consistently perfect weather conditions (it's sheltered by the Sierra Madre Mountains). Naturally, this serves as a stunning backdrop to the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, an all-inclusive beachfront resort facing Banderas Bay. Kids are catered to with their own pool and activities such as treasure hunts, cooking classes and piñata making (they even have their own spa treatments). If adult travelers have the urge to do more than soak up the rays by the tiered infinity pool, the resort offers beginning-level scuba classes, beach volleyball and bike tours. Interiors are done in a contemporary style with teak furniture, private terraces and plunge pools, providing plenty of room to spread out and take in the sun-drenched setting.
Barbados was under British rule for more than 300 years, explaining the moniker "Little England." Today the Anglo imprint can still be seen in such popular activities as cricket and polo, but it has blended with Bajan flair—a winning combination. The best of both worlds is showcased at the fashionable Sandy Lane. The resort, which opened in 1961, ushered in a rebirth of Barbados when it emerged from a complete transformation in 2001. Guests feel coddled from the moment they check in; not at a desk but in their spacious rooms with blue-drenched vistas. Everything is over-the-top luxurious: there are three golf courses and the island's largest and most renowned spa, but the warm service and a relaxing beach scene keep that unmistakable Barbados balance of barefoot-chic.
Considered by many one of the best hotels of its kind in the country, Whiteface Lodge is nestled in Adirondack Park. This six-million-acre recreation area in upstate New York has drawn nature lovers for decades (visitors have included Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Vanderbilts and Marjorie Merriweather Post). In the heart of the park on Lake Placid, the lodge evokes the region's 19th-century heyday with a wood-beamed exterior, cozy carpet-strewn sitting rooms and cast-iron fireplaces. Amenities and services are decidedly 21st-century, as is the focus on family travel. The resort offers every imaginable activity for kids, including scavenger hunts, bowling and canoeing, and Kanu restaurant has an extensive menu for its little guests—the next generation of Adirondack converts.