Heat up your winter season

Beat the winter blues with a visit to three luxe waterfront retreats.

Ready for warmer weather? Using four criteria—sun, sand, surroundings and simple to get to—we tried three resorts that offer on-site spa facilities, fine dining¸ plus local history and culture. All can be accessed with direct flights from area airports on Jet Blue and other carriers.

Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa
Less than a half hour’s drive north of Palm Beach is the equally posh but more laid-back community of Jupiter Island and the barefoot elegance of the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa. Virtually every room has a water view and balcony in this comfortable hotel with an Old-World feel of mahogany paneling and well-appointed furnishings.

Besides basking by the pool, lounging in a hammock, soaking in the outdoor hot tub and enjoying a facial in the spa, more strenuous activities include tennis, shuffleboard and basketball. Or bicycle to the nearby historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, which illustrates the region’s rich Native American and pioneer history and details the city’s function as a secret U-boat tracking station during World War II. Another must is exploring by paddleboard: The Jupiter Outdoor Center leads excursions around the inlets and Intercoastal Waterway and up the Loxahatchee River.

After pedaling or paddling off calories, enjoy guilt-free local cuisine at Little Moir’s Food Shack (panko-crusted fried oysters is the specialty), Duke’s Lazy Loggerhead Cafe or waterside Guanabanas. Save room for the specialties at the resort’s own newly refurbished Sinclair’s Ocean Grill with outdoor terrace seating.

Mango Bay, Barbados
Consider yourself a houseguest at the villa built by former Ambassadors Averell and Pamela Harriman when genteel notables like actress Claudette Colbert, director Leland Hayward and socialite Marietta Tree wintered on the fashionable “Gold Coast” of Barbados. Designed by Oliver Messel, the main house features the verandahs, fanlights and arches he favored, but has been expanded to 76 guest rooms, each with a private terrace or balcony. Rooms have been updated with air-conditioning, satellite TV and king beds.

Included in the standard all-inclusive plan are all meals and afternoon tea, nightly live music at the seaside bar, plus watersports such as waterskiing, Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and riding in a catamaran. The cozy on-site Elements spa offers massages and skin treatments. There’s a gym, a pool and a small beach. The hotel can help divers arrange expeditions through the Reefers & Wreckers Dive Shop. And, during the season, there are Saturday trips to horse racing. Fashionable boutiques of historic Holetown are within walking distance. In keeping with the location’s legacy of elegance, jeans, flip-flops or shorts are not allowed in the restaurant after 6 p.m.


Sharon’s Top Three

1. Spotting pelicans in the mangroves as I passed by on my paddleboard. jupiterbeachresort.com

2. Sipping a signature Burning Flame cocktail on the verandah overlooking the Caribbean. mangobaybarbados.com

3. Soaking in my private ocean-view suite plunge pool. rosewoodhotels.com/en/mayakoba/


Rosewood Mayakoba
One of the Riviera Maya’s most luxurious resorts, Rosewood Mayakoba is nestled among winding lagoons, undulating swimming pools and a mile-long stretch of white sand beach on 1,600 acres. It reopened in 2012 after a $1.6 million renovation. Guests are delivered by boat to beachside studios, oceanfront and lagoon suites that are furnished in beige and white, and offer private pools, rooftop sundecks, garden showers and individual docks.

Those not interested in teeing up at the Greg Norman golf course, working out in the Sense gym, or undergoing a Mayan Garden Detoxifying Ritual in the spa, can ask the concierge to arrange tours to the Mayan ruins at Coba or the pyramids of Chichen Itza with an archeologist guide. Other options range from an eco-adventure and cave snorkeling expedition to tequila tastings.

Dine at a tented cabana on the beach or sample Mexican favorites and light fare served at the casual seaside Punta Bonita or Mediterranean-inspired international cuisine on the menu at Casa del Lago. A backlit display of more than 100 bottles of tequila lights up the Agave Azul Sushi & Tequila Bar.