The Weekender: Spring Break Edition

We've done the planning so you don't have to. Your weekend starts now.

maldives
We've done the planning so you don't have to. Your weekend starts now.
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Courtesy of Company
Warm Weather Fantasy

Sunbathing and scuba diving in Maldives, an Indian Ocean oasis made up of 1,190 islands, of which only 200 are inhabited; oftentimes, resorts such as the Viceroy take over an entire island.

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Warm Weather Fantasy

Weekend substitution: The Florida Keys, a 100-mile stretch of tropical islands that begins just south of Miami. Yes, paradise really is this close to home.

WHERE TO STAY Idle away at the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa (from $1,190 per night; littlepalmisland.com) — it's on its own tiny islet 120 miles from Miami. On a budget? Try the Coconut Palm Inn (from $209 per night; coconutpalminn.com) on laid-back Key Largo.

WHAT TO DO Home to the continental United States' only living coral reef, the area has killer scuba diving. For top underwater sightseeing, Key Largo is the spot; go snorkeling with an outfitter such as Tavernier Dive Center (tavernierdivecenter.com). If you're adventurous, try shipwreck diving (fla-keys.com/diving).

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Cold Weather Fantasy

A swanky fur-clad Swiss Alps ski trip, heavy on the après-ski at the Alpina Gstaad.

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Cold Weather Fantasy

Weekend substitution: Park City, Utah, a 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport.

WHERE TO STAY The Washington School House (from $775 per night; washingtonschoolhouse.com), a year-old boutique hotel with European flair, is located just above hopping Main Street and only two blocks from the Park City Mountain Resort Town Lift.

WHAT TO DO Chase powder at the glitzy Deer Valley Resort; take a break at Snowshoe Tommy's on Bald Mountain for homemade cookies.

WHAT TO DRINK At the St. Regis Bar (stregisdeervalley.com), order the 7452 Mary — it's the hotel chain's famous Bloody with a twist: It's made with Vodka 7000 from Park City's High West Distillery and wasabi-celery foam.

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A see-and-be-seen vacay at the Relais & Chateaux's Eden Rock Hotel on St. Barts, the French-Caribbean playground for mega-celebrities.

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Weekend substitution: Palm Springs, Old Hollywood's favorite glam hangout, about 90 minutes east of L.A.

WHERE TO STAY Settle into the Parker Palm Springs (from $375 per night; theparkerpalmsprings.com), whose quirky Jonathan Adler — designed spaces give off a kitschy-cool vibe.

WHAT TO DO There's no need to leave campus: Hang at the legendary pool; treat yourself at the spa, which has a new menu featuring Tata Harper products; and play croquet while sipping a Pimm's Cup.

WHERE TO SHOP North Palm Canyon Drive is loaded with boutiques such as Trina Turk's only home shop in the country (trinaturk.com).

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Cold Weather Fantasy
Scoring a table at Noma (noma.dk), the Nordic cuisine eatery in Copenhagen, Denmark, widely considered the world's best restaurant. It serves 20 courses in one sitting.
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Cold Weather Fantasy

Weekend substitution: The Bachelor Farmer (thebachelorfarmer.com), in Minneapolis. The restaurant, with cozy Scandi decor, pays homage to the region's Nordic heritage.

WHAT TO EAT The menu changes daily, but whole-animal butchery is a staple (think duck confit, pheasant, pâté toasts), and the produce is grown on the mini-farm on the roof.

WHAT TO DRINK Downstairs at Marvel Bar (marvelbar.com), try the Oliveto cocktail — the egg white and olive oil concoction tastes like a sherbet Popsicle.

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Warm Weather Fantasy
Glamping in the African bush at a high-end safari camp such as South Africa's Royal Malewane, located on a private game reserve within Kruger National Park.
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Weekend substitution: A Wild West nouveau dude ranch experience.

WHERE TO STAY The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort (from $515 per night; alisal.com), just 40 miles from Santa Barbara, California, might not be as remote as, say, Montana's The Ranch at Rock Creek (from $850 per night, all-inclusive; theranchatrockcreek.com), but there are still 10,000 acres to roam.

WHAT TO DO Spot wildlife while horseback riding on more than 50 miles of trails. The working cattle ranch also offers a spa and fishing pond. Bonus: There are no TVs — The Mindy Project can wait.

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Cold Weather Fantasy

Traveling on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express luxury train (gwtravel.co.uk) on its 15-day route across Russia.

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Cold Weather Fantasy

Weekend substitution: We've got two options for this one.

WHERE TO STAY If you're mostly into the winter wonderland train idea, then take a scenic rail ride from New York City to a luxe B&B in Vermont, such as Twin Farms (from $1,300 per night, all-inclusive; twinfarms.com). On Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express (amtrak.com), it takes five-and-a-half hours to travel from Manhattan's Penn Station through the pretty Hudson River Valley to Rutland, Vermont. In nearby Barnard, the snow-globe-like Twin Farms awaits with a gourmet chef, a 20,000 bottle wine cellar, and museum-quality art.

WHAT DO TO If it's really Russia and vodka that you're after, skip the train and get your falsetto on at Jelsomino (jelsomino.us), New York City's franchise of the famed Moscow karaoke den, where Russian Standard and caviar reign supreme.

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Art and culture mixed with beaches and bars in bustling Rio de Janeiro.
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Weekend substitution: Puerto Rico, a two-and-a-half hour flight from Miami.

WHERE TO STAY For a hotel with vibrant nightlife close to San Juan's cultural epicenter, try the Renaissance Hotel's beachfront La Concha Resort (from $245 per night; renhotels.com).

WHAT TO DO Explore San Juan's burgeoning art scene, from the Puerto Rico Museum of Art (mapr.org), Museum of Contemporary Art (museocontemporaneopr.org), and Roberto Paradise gallery (robertoparadise.com) to spaces promoting experimental art such as La Respuesta (larespuestapr.com) and C787Studios (c787studios.com).

WHERE TO EAT Santaella (santaellapr.com), where the chef has worked with everyone from Le Bernadin's Eric Ripert to El Bulli's Ferran Adrià .

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Cold Weather Fantasy
Polar bear tracking in the Antarctic.
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Cold Weather Fantasy

Weekend substitution: Yellowstone National Park, with its 2.2 million acres, is an hour drive from the airport in Jackson, Wyoming.

WHERE TO STAY The park is secluded in the winter: Only one lodge, the Xanterra-managed Mammoth Hot Springs (from $125 per night; yellowstonenationalparklodges.com), is open from January to March and reachable by car.

WHAT TO DO Have Xanterra arrange a cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling excursion where you can look for elk, red foxes, gray wolves, and bison. Unfortunately, you're probably not going to see a grizzly bear — they hibernate in the winter.

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