Daily Pampering: Join up at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando

Is it time for resort and luxury membership club to make a comeback? The new program from the Ritz-Carlton Orlando – the Grande Lakes Membership Club – takes a personal approach, rather than push the same caned programs to the many different people who write the same big checks. The baseline consists of the sort of top-shelf amenities you’d expect, but the programs are differentiated by level: platinum, golf, spa and social.

Depending on what you choose, you could pick up an Executive Suite and gain unlimited access to the 18-hole, par 72 Greg Norman signature golf course or 50-minute treatments or salon services at the spa are nice – and that’s per month! Everyone scores resort pool and tennis court access, concierge services and member social events.

If you prefer predictability in our annual vacation and like a certain level of treatment, this is the way to go.

A month at WaterColor is cheaper than ever

A week away is nice, but nothing beats a month. New rates from Watercolor Inn & Resort and WaterSound Beach put you comfortably on Northwest Florida‘s Gulf Coast for incredibly reasonable rates, and the amenities available are fantastic. Let the migration begin!

The digs you can reserve at Watercolor range from one bedroom to seven, all fully furnished and with upscale, cutting-edge kitchens and laundry facilities. And, for the workaholics, there’s complementary high-speed internet access. So, you’ll never have to be far from the folks who are ultimately paying for your getaway. Free bike, kayak and canoe use is available as well. But, that’s nothing compared to what happens at the spa. Book a month-long retreat, and you’ll be able take advantage of discounted treatments.

Golfers will be thrilled with their stays at these resorts. For only an extra $395 per month, you’ll get unlimited access to Greg Norman-designed Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, Camp Greek Golf Club by Tom Fazio and Love III, which was designed by Origins. That’s a hell of a lot of golf at some outstanding courses.

Here’s the best part: WaterColor vacation homes start at a mere $1,700 a month, with WaterSound Beach rentals available for as little as $1,200 a month. There’s no reason to take off for only a week — not with rates like these.

Flee the cold at the Ritz in Naples, FL

It snowed today. It was cold and wet, and my feet were drenched by the time I got home. It sucked. My soggy, frigid feet felt even worse when my mind turned to a pair of Ritz-Carlton resorts in Naples, FL. The golf resort and the beach resort ooze luxury, and the airport is accessible from most major airports. JetBlue, admittedly not my favorite airline, puts Naples in reach (via Fort Meyers) from several cities in the northeast, and Delta can fly you in from anywhere, though you may make a quick stop in Atlanta.

So, why does all this matter?

I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, and it was one of the few times in my life I’ve actually felt relaxed. I’m not a golfer-at all-but I understand the courses are fantastic. Called Tiburon, they 36 holes are named for Greg Norman, whose nickname is the English equivalent (Shark).

A heads up from course pro Roger James: the second and seventeenth holes on the “Black” course (as opposed to “Gold”) are the toughest. I’m happy to take his word for it.

Over at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, on the other hand, I felt right at home in the spa. The beach is probably the big draw, but it’s not really my style. Soak in the salt bath for a while, as I did, and you’ll feel like nothing outside that tub matters. Follow it up with a massage, and you’ll probably book an extra night at the hotel.

So, on a day like today, I couldn’t think about anything but sitting on that hotel room balcony with a glass of wine next to me and a cigar in hand. If you need a fast getaway for the nasty winter months, remember that there are some corners of Florida that cater to adults.