Puerto Maldonado, Peru
Looking for the perfect antidote to a day of trekking through the jungle? Reserva Amazónica pumps posh into the Peruvian Amazon. This cathedral-like wooden lodgeabout an hour by boat down the broad Madre de Dios River from the town of Puerto Maldonadoserves fresh melon martinis, mango daiquiris, and paca, a local dish of catfish steamed with lemongrass inside freshly cut bamboo. All the while, funky Afro-Peruvian grooves float through this riverside retreat.
ROOM & BOARD: Tune in to the natural hum of the jungle from the lodge's 33 kerosene-lit thatch-roofed bungalows scattered along the banks of the Madre de Dios. With all the porch-strung cotton hammocks and canopy beds made up with crisp cotton sheets and mosquito nets, restfulness is greatly encouraged. The spa-worthy bathrooms have beautifully carved wooden sinks as well as organic soaps and lotions made from citronella and wild limes.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Gingerly navigate Peru's longest canopy walkway1,150 feet across and 119 feet above the forest flooror hike several miles of trails teeming with anteaters, rabbit-size agoutis, tapirs, monkeys, tropical birds like the pale-winged trumpeter, and fluorescent butterflies that thread the lodge's 25,000-acre reserve. If you're stealthy (and patient), you might even spot a jaguar. Canoe down the nearby Gamitana River, where giant heliconias grow alongside aguaje palms on the banks of the river. If an afternoon tropical rain shower keeps you indoors, stop by the lodge's new educational center, featuring small gardens and more than 150 medicinal plants.
DETAILS: $120$145 per person, all meals included; 800-442-5042, www.inkaterra.com
Meadowood Napa Valley
St. Helena, California
Part East Coast country club, part wine-country estate, and 100 percent sublime, this 85-acre Relais & Châteaux enclave in northern Napa Valley will turn you into a snob. Trust us: It feels great. Guests mingle with members on the manicured championship croquet lawn, seven ivy-shrouded tennis courts, the velvety nine-hole golf course, or the full-service spa, where the signature 60-minute grape-seed body wrap will leave you aglow.
ROOM & BOARD: Opened in 1979, all of Meadowood's 85 cottages and suites have gabled roofs and French doors opening onto private verandas. With ongoing renovation, the rooms are getting a fresh makeover: parchment-colored walls, bright-white wainscoting, roomy beds dressed in down, deep-cushioned window seats, and stone fireplaces. A wine reception begins each evening at five, and the Grill at Meadowoodoverlooking the fairway in the main clubhouseserves three daily farm-fresh meals, like the grilled Kurobuta pork loin chop with roasted organic apples. But in a valley known for its gourmet tables, it would be a shame to miss one of the bestdowntown Napa's newest culinary rave, Restaurant Budo, for Californian-Asian-fusion specialties like pomegranate-glazed squab and wild hamachi tartare, paired with a white pinot from the 300-bottle wine list.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: There are 4.5 miles of hiking trails on the property and enough rolling cycling routes to keep Lance's team happy. Rent a hybrid bike at the spa$15 for four hoursand conduct your own tasting tour on two wheels; Napa's finest vineyards lie just beyond Meadowood's front entrance.
DETAILS: Doubles, $625$3,850; 800-458-8080, www.meadowood.com
Amara Creekside Resort
Ask Rama Jon, owner of the Sedona fat-tire shop Mountain Bike Heaven, for the scoop on the legendary local singletrack and he'll pepper his beta with the odd jab at his town's Shirley MacLaine vibe. "Any ride here usually takes twice as long as it does anywhere else," he deadpans, "thanks to the vortexes." All yukking aside, if you've chosen the sleek, modern Amara Creekside Resort as your chill-down zone, the closest you'll come to a swirling energy center will be the jets in your suite's whirlpool tub.
ROOM & BOARD: Think of the 100-room Amara as a deluxe base camp for the full-suspension set, complete with an in-room miniature Zen sand garden, dreamy linens, citrusy Aveda bath products, stunning red-rock-spire views from the saltwater pool, and Mies van der Rohe chrome-and-leather chairs in the lobby. And, no, the concierge won't scold you for tracking a little mud and dirt on the carpet.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: With an estimated 300 miles of singletrack rivaling Moab and Vancouver, Sedona is on the life list of anyone who can tell the difference between Schrader and Presta. The classic rides that shouldn't be missed: Broken Arrow Loop, a three-hour, ten-plus-mile round-trip combining slickrock, rollers, step-ups, and drop-offs; and Munds Wagon Trailan out-and-back 14-miler that climbs 1,800 vertical feet from downtown Sedona to the top of the Mogollon Rim.
DETAILS: Doubles, $180$260; 866-455-6610, www.amararesort.com
Poets Cove Resort & Spa
Pender Island, British Columbia
Nestled in a secluded bay in British Columbia's fog-shrouded southern Gulf Islands, Poets Cove is a seaside resort built around an embrace of the liquid world. A 20-minute floatplane ride southwest from Vancouver delivers not only a top-notch hotel but incomparable diving and sea kayaking in the rich, icy green waters of Bedwell Harbor, where playful otters dart through kelp forests and killer whales vie with bald eagles for a tasty bite of salmon.
ROOM & BOARD: Relax après-adventure in the lodge's fireplace-warmed rooms, 22 in all, or soak in a private hot-tub-with-a-view in one of 15 cliffside two- or three-bedroom cottages. Squeeze in a massage and a visit to the eucalyptus steam cave (finished off with a body-tingling cold-water rinse) at Susurrus, the resort's spa. But don't be late for dinner: Chef Martini De Board, plucked from Whistler's renowned Aubergine Grille, cooks with fresh local ingredients like wild salmon, goat cheese from nearby Saltspring Island, and ebony mussels that he steams in apple cider. Incredibly, these little mollusks melt in your mouth like buttery pillows.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Try breath-hold-diving 20 feet with resident guide Dan Hodgins, one of Canada's premier freediving instructors, or sail around the Gulf and San Juan islandsa gunkholer's paradise of hundreds of rocky-shored islets. If you prefer, stay on land and hike from the water's edge to the top of 889-foot Mount Norman, part of Canada's new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the highest point on South Pender Island.
DETAILS: Doubles, $168$613; 888-512-7638, www.poetscove.com
Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Though the civil war ended 14 years ago and the Sandinistas now do their fighting at the polls, word is still getting out about Nicaragua. Further evidence of this Central American destination's arrival on the global travel scene: the opening of its first luxury eco-resort last October. The French owners of Morgan's Rock, situated two and a half hours south of Managua and embedded in the jungle above a private stretch of Pacific coastline, have made protection of their 4,500-acre preserve paramount.
ROOM & BOARD: Walk a 360-foot-long canopy-level suspension bridge from the main lodge to 15 exquisitely constructed tropical-wood bungalows, with open-air showers and bug-thwarting screens. Wake to the surf breaking and watch howler monkeys swing branch to branch as you lounge in your hanging daybed. While the primates snack on native foliage, you'll be enjoying far better fareelaborate meals including adobo-spiced red snapper, tamarind barbecued duck, and, for dessert, passion-fruit sorbet.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Sea-kayak a half-hour out to the lodge's namesake, Morgan's Rockan islet with a pristine white beachor try handlining for mackerel or diving for lobster from a fisherman's skiff. End the day with a hike to a wooden pavilion atop one of the two highest points on the property to watch the sun set over the twin volcanoes of Isla de Ometepe, in nearby Lake Nicaragua.
DETAILS: Doubles, $302$418, all meals included; 011-506-296-9442, www.morgansrock.com
The Cascabel Club began as the private, get-away-from-it-all fly-fishing domain of Texas oil entrepreneur Robert Sinclair, who bought the 320-acre property west of Telluride in 1986. In the 1990s, Sinclair built four luxury cabins and a clubhouse along a three-mile stretch of the trout-laden San Miguel River 30 miles from town, opening the exclusive resort to the first 15 people willing to plop down $40,000 for a membership. But starting this year, all of itthe cabins, the swimming pool, the sauna, the tennis courts, the thick velour bath robes, and the troutis open to the public.
ROOM & BOARD: The one-, two-, and three-bedroom cabins are a soothing mix of wood, glass, and stone: polished blond accents, large windows framing views of the river and San Miguel Canyon, and fireplaces replenished daily with aromatic piñon logs. The fresh, seasonal meals served in the clubhouse are not to be missed: Broiled trout with chipotle aioli and braised elk with gnocchi will remind guests they're in the Rockies. For those more concerned with the Nasdaq than a nymph pattern, good news: Cabins have wireless access.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Most guests come for one thing: the phenomenal fly-fishing. Experienced anglers can pull in 15 brown and rainbow trout per hour. Staff arranges everything from whitewater rafting trips to in-room spa treatments.
DETAILS: Doubles from $275, with a three- night minimum; 970-327-4832, www.cascabelclub.com
As the spring-fed Soque River tumbles through the Appalachian foothills less than two hours north of Atlanta, it takes a wide turn where it passes the stone-and-timber Brigadoon Lodgecreating a spectacular habitat for wild trout. From the slate patio, surrounded by 300-year-old rhododendrons and old-growth hemlock stands, watch arm-length rainbows and browns lurk in clear green pools while mist rises off the distant Blue Ridge Mountains.
ROOM & BOARD: Along the steep bank of the Soque (pronounced SOH-qwee) sits the main lodge, Brigadoon, and its two cabins, Craggamore and Oban. All 15 guest rooms have hardwood floors, Persian throw rugs, and antique angling decor. After an epic day of fly-fishing, watch the sun drop below towering oaks from the requisite rocking chair on the lodge's front porch as tree frogs start their evening chirp. Then head for the cherry-wood ten-top in the communal great roompast a baby grand piano and richly upholstered furniture that smacks of the aristocratic hunting establishments of the Old South. It's the stage for pecan-crusted trout, wild-mushroom risotto, and bananas Foster.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Thanks to a strict catch-and-release policy, this private two-mile stretch of river has the region's highest concentration of trout. Put away the rod and hike the neighboring 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, or mountain-bike nearby Unicoi State Park. DETAILS: $125 per person, plus $300 daily fishing fee; 706-754-2229, www.briga-doonlodge.com
El Almendral De Relleu
On southeastern Spain's glorious yet built-up Costa Blanca, where hordes of sun-and-surf worshippers go for Dionysian revelry, billing El Almendral de Relleu as a casa rural might be a tough sell. But a drive up the palm-tree-lined gravel path to this 18th-century farmhouse, part of a 3,000-tree almond plantation just 11 miles inland, will quickly reveal the tranquil oasis its owner, Bernard Vassas, has worked so hard to create since opening in 2003. Sitting poolside with plunging views of the valley belowa tapestry of olive groves and pine forestsyou'll quickly realize you don't miss the ocean at all.
ROOM & BOARD: El Almendral's seven unpretentious rooms, appointed with fine-touch details such as silky French linens and antiques, are loosely named after the seven deadly sins, with sloth being the common denominator for all the guests. Indulged by Mediterranean nouvelle cuisine, including sea bass drizzled with a red-wine-and-berry sauce followed by homemade almond-nougat ice cream, it's easy to be sinful.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: The surrounding roller-coaster singletrack terrain is a mountain-bike wonderland. British cycling pro Martin Ford runs El Almendral's all-level cycling vacations. For some water play, visit the lively beach city of Alicante, a 40-minute drive away, and sail, dive, or windsurf for the day.
DETAILS: A six-day, all-inclusive mountain-bike package is $730 per person. Doubles from $120, breakfast included; 011-34-659-165-085, www.almendral.com
Playa Las Tortugas
Otates y Cantarranas, Mexico
Going out on evening patrol to release some 200 endangered olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a Mexican beach holiday, but at Playa las Tortugas, it ranks right up there with the resort's more traditional pastime of taking marathon hammock snoozes. Located on an isolated stretch of the Pacific coastline, the resort is a two-hour drive north from Puerto Vallarta. Guestswho will be impressed by the lush, native gardens and the cluster of airy villas dotting this 22-acre working coconut plantation and eco-propertycan hire an abuela to cook birria, a goat stew, for them. ROOM & BOARD: Four villas, festooned with Talavera tile and outfitted with rooftop palapas, sit among the slender palms.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Help resident veterinarian Miguel Angel Floras Peregrina protect turtle eggs from predators.
DETAILS: Villas from $195 per person per night; 800-320-7769, www.playalastortugas.com
South Fork Lodge
Swan Valley, Idaho
When Imax filmmakers wanted to re-create Lewis and Clark's journey to commemorate its bicentennial, they needed a western river that looked like it had in 1804. Idaho's South Fork of the Snakea crystal torrent cutting through sheer canyons and stands of glorious cottonwoodsfit the bill. For location scouts and vacationers alike, the most luxurious base to enjoy all this prehistoric purity is the sun-splashed South Fork Lodge.
ROOM & BOARD: Imagine a quaint farmhouse, its cedar barn sitting drowsily by the river, a zinc-plated silo reflecting the blue Idaho skies. Add eight cozy rooms with private terraces (ten grander options are housed in two log cabins)not to mention a cathedral-ceilinged dining room, with vistas of the river, where one can enjoy a lobster-and-Brie quesadilla with a French sauvignon blancand you've summed up this A-list resort.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Hire a guide from the lodge's fly shop to take you to South Fork Canyon, casting a rod as you go while bug larvae drop in golden cascades from the cliffs above.
DETAILS: From $248 per person per night, including all meals; 877-347-4735, www.southforklodge.com