This year, break out of the mimosa-and-pancakes Mother’s Day routine and take your mom on an adventure she’ll never forget. We’ve done the planning -- you just need to do the packing.
1. The Chatwal Hotel (New York City, NY)
Why: For an unforgettable Mother’s Day, check in to this neo-Georgian Stanford White-designed gem that was built in 1905 as the private Lamb’s Club. In 2010, it was fully restored and reopened as the Chatwal with original details like a 19th-century limestone fireplace from France, fully intact. Art Deco rooms have glamorous touches like sparkly plum-colored granite floors and spa showers in the bathrooms and closets styled like vintage Louis Vuitton trunks; splurge on a seventh-floor terraced junior suite and you can toast your mom with Champagne overlooking the lights of Broadway.
What to do: Unwind with massages in a private spa suite at the in-house Red Door Spa, grab a pre-theater bite at Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s buzzy The Lamb’s Club, or stroll the Great White Way. To explore further afield, there's shopping on Madison Avenue or a trip to the Museum of Modern Art. Bonus: you can travel in the hotel’s Chatwal-red Mercedes. (Rooms from $595.)
2. The Marker (San Francisco, CA)
Why: Eclectic décor, ornate iron staircases, giant murals, and welcoming gestures like free morning coffee and afternoon wine give this boutique hotel a fun vibe. A key location close to Union Square’s shopping and dining options is a bonus, as are free bikes for exploring the less-hilly sections of the city like the Embarcadero, which curves around the waterfront for three flat miles.
What to do: Get up early so mom can snag a primo right-side seat on the Powell-Hyde cable line (it stops close to the hotel at Powell and O’Farrell Streets) for the ride to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Hyde Street Pier, where there’s a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Or take in those scenic vistas the way locals do: by climbing some of San Francisco’s outdoor staircases. Best bets include the Filbert Steps, which ascend Telegraph Hill, and the Lyon Street steps, which offer an uninterrupted view all the way to the bay. (Rooms are from $159 with the Spring Into San Francisco Savings package.)
3. The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa (Scottsdale, AZ)
Why: Desert landscapes plus posh pampering equals a perfect Mother’s Day getaway. The Sanctuary’s BFF Retreat, which includes a guided hike up Camelback Mountain, breakfast each day, a poolside lunch, and an in-room martini kit helps you make the most of it. Save time for a treatment in the resort’s Asian-inspired spa, which features a body-temperature Watsu pool for underwater massage.
What to do: Scottsdale’s cultural offerings are surprisingly diverse and range from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which is located within an ingeniously renovated movie theater to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, and Musical Instrument Museum, where more than 1,500 significant instruments -- think the Steinway where John Lennon composed Imagine -- fill the space. (Rooms are from $399; BFF package is from $2,029 for two people for three nights.)
4. White Elephant Village (Nantucket)
Why: Leave the planning to a pre-arrival concierge, who can pull together your perfect ACK adventure by making restaurant and spa reservations, booking tours and excursions, arranging transportation, and ensuring that the fridge is filled with bluefish spread and local Grey Lady Ale from Cisco Brewers. Located just a block from the center of town, Village residences are a chic mix of spare New England style and sleek modernism outfitted with custom furnishings and artwork.
What to do: Cool spring days are perfect for shopping -- get mom a new pair of Nantucket Reds at Murray’s Toggery, check out Jessica Hicks’ island-made jewelry, or browse Current Vintage’s array of wine and vintage clothing. Dinner on the patio overlooking the harbor at White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill is an island tradition; Village guests receive a 15 percent discount. (Rates are from $195 during the week.)
5. Hamilton Princess (Bermuda)
Why: Fresh from a two-year, $100 million renovation, Hamilton’s Grand Dame sparkles with gorgeous new rooms, a restaurant by acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson, a private beach club, and -- coming in June -- an Exhale flagship spa. There’s also a gallery’s worth of paintings and sculpture from Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, and Nelson Mandela.
What to do: There’s 400 years of history on Bermuda; take it in at the Commissioner’s House at the Royal Navy Dockyard, which was built in 1822 and uses hundreds of artifacts to tell Bermuda’s story. There’s also a fun display of vintage tourist promotions and advertisements, detailed ship models and a two-story mural by Bermudian artist Graham Forster that depicts 300 years of life on the island in vibrant color. Get there on the Fast Ferry, which you can pick up at just a five minutes’ walk from the hotel. (Rooms from $379.)
6. Tabacon Grand Spa (Costa Rica)
Why: It may be resting, but Arenal -- Costa Rica’s most famous volcano -- is still heating up the mineral-rich waters that flow into thermal springs that surround Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. There are 12 thermal pools scattered around the 103-room eco-friendly property; some have waterfalls, others overlook the dormant volcano. There’s also a full-service spa where mom can spend the day slathered in volcanic mud. Rooms are done in calm neutrals and set with furniture handcrafted in Costa Rica.
What to do: Beyond intoxicatingly warm thermal water, the region offers adventurous pursuits like horseback riding through the rainforest, zip lining over deep canyons and through the shady jungle, rappelling through waterfalls, hiking over hanging bridges, and rafting over roller-coaster-like rapids. There are plenty of soft adventures, too, including tram tours through the wooded interior and kayaking across the waters of Lake Arenal, which sits at the base of the volcano. (Rooms are from $310 or book the Family, Fun & Wildlife package, which includes some meals, adventure activities and three nights’ accommodation for parents and two children for $1,380.)