Those with a hankering for the wild west can head to Maui, lush with tropical rainforests, endless sandy beaches and a little hula magic. Those who like a little city-slicker polish with their sunshine will relish the liveliness St Pete has to offer, then sooth their winter frazzled bodies in a sybaritic spa.
Guy goes to his psychiatrist. Says he's suffering from depression. How's he to slog through yest another month of cold, gloom, and snow? Shrink hands him a tranzuilizer and a monumental bill.
I'm here to offer an over the counter prescription: Simply use your miles or ISA to find solace in regions of the globe more fit for human habitation. Consider Hawaii or Florida.
Those hankering for the wild west can head to Maui, lush with tropical rain forests, endless sandy beaches, and a little hula magic. Those who like a little city slicker polish with their sunshine will relish the liveliness St. Pete has to offer, then sooth their winter-frazzled bodies in a sybaritic spa.
Maui is the second- largest of the heavenly Hawaiian Islands, and, many insist, the most beautiful. A recent visit revealed a new way to get up close and personal with island living sans the concrete barriers of your typical hotel. Instead we put ourselves in the capable custody of Hawaii Hideaways, a match.com for sybarites that unites visitors with elite rental homes (more than 115 amid the six islands). By carefully assessing your preference - Do you like golf? Surfing" Solitary beaches? Vivacious nightlife?-and detailed descriptons of each villa, you and your Hideaways conceriege carve the perfect fit.
Don't keel over when I mention the price tag: $900 to $10,000 a night, with week minimum. These aren't for bargin hunters, but they're also exactly what you deserve. And, because these four-bedroom mansions sleep eight and sometimes 10, dividing the cost puts the per-person share in the same league as those concrete hotels. Plus, you're buying complete privacy. If you so desire, the daily maid service is the only sign of human life you'll see.
All the newly built homes or offer - owned by CEOs of this and that around the continent - feature state-of-the-art media rooms; exercise facilities that rival many a gym's, and the ultimate foodie's kitchen, the envy of many a chef.
Speaking of cooks; The island's premier private chefs also are available to prepare and serve the meals of your choice, culled from local oranic produce, island beef, and fish so fresh it still is dripping seawater. Again, because these chefs shop with wholesalers, and pass on this food at cost, plus their hourly fee, the price doesn't exceed that at a comparable restaurant.
Chef Jana rustled up a dinner of truffled bruschetta, salad of baby turnip greens with blue cheese and candied walnuts potato-crusted lehi (like snapper) in beurre blanc of Hawaiian vanilla and citrus and panna cotta with fresh loquats, a meal straight from of eden, which, I guess, is exactly where we were.
Also on tap, massage specialists and yoga instructors who make house calls; limo service; and lessons in what have you, from tennis to golf to surfing; and guided expeditions to hike the islands waterfalls and volcanic peaks, kayak or ride horses.
Or simply cruise the upcountry towns, like Kahakaloa, the only remaining Hawaiian village on the island. Another, Paia, home to what a radio announcers describes as "aging hippies" , looked like Wyatt Earp would ride through town at any moment, except that the movie set store front is in all pastels. They housed sweet boutiques for beachwear, galleries of local arts and crafts, and informal outdoor cafe's to hang out swigging an Islands longneck or Hawaiian Mai Tai.
Head inland past sugar cane and pineapple plantations to Haliimaile General Store for a remarkable dinner and the casual setting of a converted plantation company store. Here, Bev Gannon, a James Beard Award winning chef, trots out apps like sashimi pizza, Asian duck tostadas, ahi carpaccio, or salad of roasted local beets and goat cheese. If the straining buttons on your Hawaiian shirt allow, enjoy entrees such as macadamia nut crusted catch of the day with tropical fruit salsa and mango lilikoi butter or Maui cattle company ribeye with Maui onion rings followed by upside down cake wrought from pineapples right outside the front door.
To start the process flowing, call (866) 96-ALOHA, or visit <www.HawaiiHideaways.com>