We’ll be frank: we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel here. When we say Cancun, we don’t mean Tulum. Some of our hotel suggestions are off the beaten path, but others are about giving yourself an unabashed, affordable excuse to turn your brain to low-power mode. Some vacations are about proving your adventurous mettle, and some are about getting the eff out of dodge. This winter, don’t apologize for needing the latter.
Nassau Paradise Island: $400 R/T on JetBlue
Hotel: Atlantis, practically free at the moment (50% off plus a $250 resort credit if you book on the website)
Talk about bad raps: you build one enormous, family-friendly hotel and casino, and people start writing off your entire island. But a recent Atlantis/Paradise Island visit taught us that our bottomless Boston snobbery continues to serve us poorly. Atlantis is a total trip, as long as you know how to negotiate it. Here are some rules: book a room at the adults-only Cove. Spend most of your days on the uncorrupted beaches, which remain bizarrely uncrowded. Hit the water park after you’ve had a few drinks. Book your dinner (Cafe Martinique? Nobu??) after 8pm, when children are no longer allowed. Skip the cavernous spa and head off-campus for a $60 beach rubdown on Cabbage Beach, followed by a wine and cheese tasting at the Graycliff Wine Cellar, a walking food tour in downtown Nassau, and a visit to a distillery housed at a former private estate. Then head back to Atlantis and go down that 200ft waterslide. Because you know you want to.