Party Hard, Relax HarderArticle by: Brandon Presser|@bpnomad
Thu June 12, 2014 | 00:00 AM
Ever need a vacation after your vacation? We’ve got just the solution. Check out our shortlist of the most wild and raucous events, from woodsy hipster gatherings to beachside all-night trance fests. Then peruse the perfect places to detox and relax nearby when the fun is done. These play-and-stay combos promise that you can party hard then relax harder, returning to the daily grind as fresh as a daisy and without an ounce of FOMO.
1. Play: Bonnaroo
So earthy (literally and figuratively) but such a good time, Bonnaroo is jam-band heaven, and a fun and funny mashup of Southern hospitality and bona fide hipster-dom. Few places are as far flung as this acreage of farmland in Tennessee, and few venues serve up such killer lineups as Bonnaroo.
Stay: Blackberry Farm
Just up the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm continues the forest feel with a Relais & Chateaux stamp of approval. Turn in your tent and soak up the bucolic charm from the stately manor house. Tuck into some of the finest farm-fresh food around, served at The Barn—the on-site restaurant in (you guessed it) the farm’s original barn.
2. Play: Reggae Sumfest
Nowhere does reggae better than Jamaica, and Sumfest is the it festival to catch if you want to indulge in the jammin’ lifestyle. Expect an abundance of major acts and all of the necessary Rastafarian accoutrements: libations and ganja galore. You’ll get a taste of reggae-influenced genres as well, like hip-hop, ska, and—of course—reggaeton.
Stay: Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios
Zip to the other end of Jamaica’s north shore for one of the most cherished and exclusive resort experiences the island has to offer. Family owned and locally operated, Jamaica Inn is bathed in its signature sky-blue tones, offering guests a bit of a throwback Caribbean experience unmarred by overdevelopment. Expect crisp white linens, tropical accent pillows, and unobstructed views of jade seascapes from every suite. You’ll be jammin’ at “Jam Inn” (get it?!).
3. Play: Calgary Stampede
Canada’s rowdiest event takes the form of a ten-day rodeo, when the city swells to well over double its size as the Texas of the North waves its banner. The self-proclaimed “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” includes every form of partying excuse: parades, derbies, exhibitions, competitions, and monumental amounts of tailgating.
Stay: The Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada
Escape the crowds and head to this fairytale castle in the hills of Banff, Canada’s first—and arguably best—national park. Built in the 19th century, the hotel soars above the tall pines in its Scottish Baronial style, giving the Beauty and the Beast manse a serious run for its money.
4. Play: Coachella
It’s hard to compete with the lineup of music superstars in dusty Indio that lures a very motley crew of partygoers. Expect everyone from Hollywood ingenues with flowers in their hair to DayGlo raver kids and mustachioed wannabes trance-ing through the long-weekend of superlative acts.
Stay: Ace Hotel Palm Springs, California, USA
How can you resist a place in the desert that refers to itself as a “swim club”? A rescued motel with an attached Denny’s, the Ace is now one of the most sought-after spots to relax after (and during) Coachella. Though it may lack in luxury, it has oodles of trendy charm befitting an Anthropologie ad or a Selby scrapbook.
5. Play: Vive Latino
The definitive Latin American music festival in Mexico, Vive Latino celebrates its 15th year in 2014 and has greatly expanded to include the usual suspects of Spanish-language music as well as American headliners like Foo Fighters and Nine Inch Nails. Expect four cram-packed days of revelry attended by a whopping million music fans.
Stay: Las Mananitas, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Do as the Mexico DF-ers do and escape the bustling city once the fun is done. Head south to relaxing Cuernavaca, and take up residence at one of the many private haciendas that have been transformed into a luxurious hotel and spa. Our pick of the litter is Las Mananitas, with its traditional ranch-style rooms, a swank Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired spa, and a parade of peacocks that roam around the lush grounds.
Travel expert Brandon Presser is an award-winning writer, photographer, and TV personality. He's penned over 40 guidebooks—most for Lonely Planet—and has appeared on a variety of programs for ABC, CBS, and the Weather Channel. For more, check out www.brandonpresser.com.