Late fall is sleepy time for hotels and resorts, making it high time for smart travelers like you. Take advantage of the lull at these shoulder-season sweet spots
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If you’re here to see one of the greatest aquariums on the planet, there’s no better place to anchor yourself than next door at the InterContinental Clement Monterey. The hotel is comfy and stylish, with a wraparound deck that overlooks Monterey Bay just in time to catch last call for humpback season. The perks pile high, too, like 25-percent off meals and discounted passes to the aquarium. From $179; ictheclementmonterey.com.
2 of 10Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Big Island, HI
When you get tired of stink-eyeing your Weather Channel app, take comfort in this: It's always 80 degrees on the Kohala Coast. Warm up at the classic Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, where lanais point out at the ocean, hammocks are slung under coconut trees, and a spa treatment is only a few flip-flop steps away. Come before Thanksgiving and you might be eligible for a free upgrade. Translation: 5-star pampering at half the price. From $290; maunalani.com.
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Little River, CA
Is there a better time to be on the Mendocino Coast? Fall usually means fog-free beach days and chilly boy-doesn’t-a-bottle-of-red-sound-good nights. The Mendocino Mushroom Festival keeps the place busy November 6-15, but before then, deals abound. The Little River Inn, a whitewashed historic getaway plopped on a hill across Highway 1 from the ocean, has a weekday rate that will trigger your wanderlust. From $159; littleriverinn.com.
4 of 10Rouse Photography
Lake Tahoe, CA
That wimpy little voice in your head that says, I can’t afford the Ritz? It’s time to shush it. While ski towns are praying for powder this time of year, they’ll take what they can get. That includes the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, a prime spot for the fancy, ski-in crowd—and a great place for the rest of us to hide out before the flurries fall. The excellent Traci Des Jardin restaurant, Manzanita, rolls out a three-course fall menu for 45 bucks, and the spa prices its treatments so low you might cocoon yourself in there for a full day. Relax, you can afford it. From $179; ritzcarlton.com.
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Park City, UT
With bathtubs that fill from the ceiling and a wellness concierge, the super-swank Main & Sky feels more city-chic than ski-town snooze. Upstairs there's an indoor-outdoor cocktail lounge; downstairs, a heated lap pool, first-rate spa with couples treatment rooms and Japanese soaking tubs. Plus, they throw in gourmet breakfast and shuttle service in their shiny black van. From $250; skyparkcity.com.
6 of 10Courtesy of Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley, ID
Bruce. Clint. Ahhhnald. The only thing bigger than Sun Valley’s A-list is the shoulder-season deals tempting you to this mile-high mountain town. Sun Valley Lodge, built in 1936 and revamped in spring 2015, puts you close to hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails with 94 posh guest rooms, a 20,000-square-foot spa, a yoga studio, and a glass-enclosed pool with views of Bald Mountain. And the whole thing will set you back about as much as a modest motel room, so you can spend your dough soaking up Sun Valley’s blockbuster dining scene. From $199; https://www.sunvalley.com/lodging/sun-valley-lodge
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So what if Whistler hasn't had its first big dump of the season yet? Thanks to an almost Vegas-size village, there's plenty to do up here besides ski. Including just cuddling up in your luxe room at the intimate Nita Lake Lodge, which overlooks its sparkling namesake lake. And wandering downstairs to bliss out in the state-of-the-art spa. From $159; nitalakelodge.com.
8 of 10Four Sisters Inns
Glen Ellen, CA
When the grape harvest winds down in late October, wine country goes dormant. And rooms go for cheap! Meaning you can actually afford one of Gaige House's cozy Zen suites at a fraction of the crush-season cost. Our favorite amenity? A long soak in the tub carved from granite, and polished inside to a high, smooth shine. Should you decide to leave your room (you may not), you'll have Sonoma's backroads pretty much to yourself. From $149; gaige.com
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Swirl, sip, save! That’s the motto in Washington wine country when the crush-crazed day-tasters have headed home. Drizzly days are good for hiding out in the wine bar at the legendary Willows Lodge, where each of the 84 rooms and suites comes with its own fireplace. Of course, you could also duck into some of the 60 or so wineries clustered about town. If the sun makes an appearance, rent a bike at the lodge and head out on the Burke-Gilman Trail. From $219; willowslodge.com
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St. Helena, CA
Staying at Napa Valley’s newly renovated Harvest Inn is a bit like living the life of a wealthy vintner, if only for a weekend. At least that’s what chef and hotelier Charlie Palmer had in mind when he purchased and overhauled the lush Tudor-style 74-room inn, and added his restaurant, Harvest Table, which sources nearly all its produce from its five meticulously maintained culinary gardens maintained by a “culinary horticulturist.” Swim laps in one of two pools with the Mayacamas Mountains as your back drop, stroll the sculpture garden, or just swing on the porch, glass of pinot in hand, gazing out at the vineyards, thinking, This is the life! From $209 harvestinn.com