It seems like only yesterday you were planning your Memorial Day, pulling out your summer whites and searching for your passport in anticipation of that hot annual getaway. But instead of traveling to the beach, you spent your summer working and watching the every episode of
So You Think You Can Dance
As Labor Day comes and goes, though, not all is lost. A mini-vacation can still be had at these summer hotspots, most of which are a lot closer than you think.
Dana Hotel - Chicago
Why: Lux rooms, party atmosphere
Who: Edgy, professional urbanites
This getaway is named after and occupies the same location as Chicago's oldest hotel, which stood since 1891 before being torn-down and built anew. Visitors arrive in an airy lobby colored in cosmopolitan creams and beige-brown colors tones with office style check-in and oversized artwork. Wavy wood paneling offers a Bottega Veneta-like texture to the walls, which are ignited by loads of natural light and electronic spa music that help maintain an air of cool.
Dana Hotel offers perks like a private 24-hour gym, Spa at Dana, and an Asian steakhouse that delivers organic cuisine with its traditional yakitori kitchen. Most of the nightlife happens on the roof at the Vertigo Sky Lounge, which offers skyline views and the sexy summer scene of DJs spinning jams and pop anthems. Rooms feature concrete ceilings offset by wood-floors, ebonized furnishings and oversize sofa or club chair.
Seven4one Hotel - Laguna Beach, Calif.
Why: Laguna Beach's first boutique hotel
Who: Too-cool L.A. couples on weekend romp
This cheeky and cool 12-room hotel opened on a prime stretch of Pacific Coast Highway walking distance to the main village and beaches. With a backdrop of soothing beach tones of grey and white, a façade of tinted windows and modern-font logo occupies a pedestrian-friendly strip of sidewalk widely recognized by its surf and bikini shops. Stylish weekenders zoom their way from LA in convertibles and vintage cars, arriving in a quaint reception area overlooking a two-story courtyard populated with sheer drapery and comfy lounge furnishings.
While amenities like an in-house restaurant or swimming pool are absent, dining options are endless and the beach is a one-block downhill walk. Before you go, don't forget to hit up their Surf Valet for beach chairs, complimentary iPods and a walkie-talkie to summon staff for nibbles and herb-scented misters. The guestrooms and suites make the most of their limited space with integrated wall units featuring a 42-inch LCD TV and personal espresso machine.
The Empire Hotel - New York
Why: Renovated City Hotel with Rooftop Pool Scene
Who: Workaholics who say, "There's no time for a vacation."
Beneath its famous neon sign, the Empire Hotel offers an updated design hotel on the Upper East Side with an all-new rooftop summer scene. Visitors will enter through the double-glass doors emblazoned with initial logo of the hotel, which empties into a marble-lined entryway and lively reception area. The first-floor lobby bar is a popular hangout for locals, but the roof is where all the summer action is. With its bi-level lounge home to weekend deejays, the roof is one of the best new pool scenes in the city.
Rooms are on the higher-end of most boutique hotels. Minimalist furnishings are wrapped in faux leather and crocodile skin with nailhead accents and bold metal pulls. Beds are draped in fluffy Frette linens, and bathrooms feature an interesting design of wood-paneled walls that extend even into the glass-enclosed showers with its Starck fixtures and collection of L'Occitane bath products.
Hidden Pond - Kennebunkport, Maine
(http://www.hiddenpondmaine.com)Why: Stylish Cottage-style Villas, Organic Outdoor Setting Who: Fickle City-dwellers head-to-toe in Prada Sport
Hidden Pond is a series of impeccably renovated New England style cottages arranged in a cozy village setting. This is not your usual camp-style retreat, but instead a full-service resort that offers all the luxury and service of a five-star hotel but with the ability to return to your own freestanding, self-equipped cottage. At the center of the resort is a two-story Craftsman-style lodge, a gathering point overlooking a swimming pool and shaded terrace. The lodge has lofty ceilings and a crackling fireplace, an ideal spot for Pinot drinkers to chat.
Hidden Pond Maine
A series of 14 freestanding cottages are arranged in a tranquil setting with names like Daydream, Stargazer and Periwinkle. Fashionable visitors arrive to small-furnished porches and living rooms decorated in a Ralph Lauren-meets-Martha Stewart mix of sectional seating areas, natural skin or woven rugs and glossy-white paneled walls. All cottages are equipped with modern amenities like LCD TVs and Wi-Fi, as well as fully outfitted kitchens and spa-style bathrooms.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.