Ahh, summer is finally here. Take a moment, close your eyes and think of what this time of year means to you.

For most it brings only good thoughts to mind: golden, sun-kissed skin, crowded boardwalks by the beach and cold ice cream cones.

Summer is a time to enjoy long, sunny days and languid, firefly-lit nights. It's a time to spend your weekends relaxing poolside or firing up the grill for a backyard barbecue.

And best of all, it's vacation season and time to start traveling the globe and discovering exotic new places.

From calming retreats to adventurous escapes, here are five luxurious destinations to get you started in planning your next summer getaway:

Hula in Hawaii

Escape from the everyday chaos and settle into the everyday serene at the Four Seasons Maui resort in Wailea.

Treat yourself to a signature mele Wailea massage or a Hawaiian healing wrap at the resort's spa. Go snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing or whale watching. Take a dip in the pool, lie out on thebeach with cool drink in hand or hit the ball on the resort's tennis courts or the nearby par-72 Wailea Gold Golf Course.

Dine at the resort's newest addition, Duo, which just opened its doors in March. Try the double chop salad or the caramelized onion soup, topped with a rich three-cheese crust, as an appetizer. For your main course, choose between an array of surf and turf dishes, whichcome complete with a selection of mouthwatering dipping sauces, including green peppercorn, horseradish cream and herb-garlic butter, to name a few.

A standard room at the Four Seasons Maui starts at about $440 per night and can run up to $11,500 per night for the Maile Suite, which boasts three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms with a whirlpool tub andrain shower, dining room, butler's kitchen and a living room complete with a 50-inch flat-screen TV, DVD player, stereo and music and movie library.

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