We’ve recently read a rash of articles on Zika-free beaches as every travel publication has rushed to woo the expectant couple market edged out of their Caribbean babymoon due to Zika. The reason we decided to publish our own series is that most of these write-ups include destinations that, while technically Zika-free, still make pregnant moms nervous due to proximity to Zika (i.e. it’s on a neighboring island) or lack of proximity to home (Seychelles sounds great, but not with cankles and persistent heartburn). Vacation is expensive, and your baby’s health is priceless, so we brainstormed on the recent trips we’ve been planning for clients, as well as the trips we ourselves would want to take. Criteria: easy to reach, no Zika nearby, great hotels. We’re kicking it off with beaches.
Bermuda lacks the endless summer temps of the Caribbean islands, but its location farther north (it’s roughly equal with South Carolina) means it’s also free of Zika-bearing mosquitos. And even if the weather isn’t scalding hot, there’s still plenty of blue sky, sunshine and miles of pink-sand beaches to explore, and you’ll probably only need a light sweater at night. Added bonus: quick and easy flights for East Coasters.
Where to Stay: Our favorite for a splurge is Rosewood Tucker’s Point, but we also love Elbow Beach, formerly the Mandarin Oriental, for its wide beach and great snorkeling (you can kayak out and see shipwrecks just off-shore). If you’re saving your pennies for one of those Jeremy Scott Cybex strollers, book one of the Fairmonts, both of which have undergone recent room renos. The Hamilton Princess has the slick new infinity pool and a Marcus Samuelsson restaurant, while the Fairmont Southampton overlooks the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach.
An easy hop for west coasters, the Hawaiian islands are so gorgeous and so rife with five-star hotels (but not with Zika) that even East Coast mamas should make the trip. Oahu is home to Honolulu but also the less developed North Shore, a surfers’ paradise and a good choice for those whose hubbys plan to hit the breaks. For hitting the links instead, there are excellent courses on all the islands, including the exclusive Nanea course on the Big Island. If you can’t get a tee time (you’ll need a member to get you in), no sweat: the island’s huge range of ecosystems and the active volcano make the Big Island a great pick for smarty-pants couples who are interested in science as well as beach timei. Maui has the high-rise luxury brands and shopping, while Kauai, particularly its north shore, boasts some of the state’s most lush scenery and spectacular hiking trails. Lanai is an under-the-radar island that’s become a must-visit thanks to a new hotel (see below).
Where to Stay: Four Seasons rules the Hawaii hotel scene, from its new Oahu resort to the revamped hideaway on Lanai, as well as the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island, which consistently ranks as one of the top retreats in the world. In Kauai, we love the St. Regis Princeville in the north and Koa Kea in the south. Maui also has a great Four Seasons, or head off the beaten path to Hana and stay at the eco-friendly Travasaa for yoga, meditation and a more organic approach. If the busier Honolulu shores are more your style, check out the Modern.
From Santa Barbara’s sunny shores to Santa Monica’s hip restaurants down to the sprawling resorts of Orange County and San Diego, Cali’s got a lock on the poolside-and-chill plan. Take light hikes, eat great meals and do a bit of wine tasting (at least for dad) between afternoon naps and spa appointments. Pro tip: if you’ve got a business trip coming up to San Fran or LA, this is an easy weekend extension that lets you sneak in a babymoon without planning a separate trip.
STAY: In Santa Barbara, check out Belmond El Encanto, where rooms sit in individual bungalows and the location in a leafy residential neighborhood means max peace and quiet. In Santa Monica, Casa del Mar just emerged from a renovation and is looking fab. Farther south, check out the Park Hyatt Aviara and the Montage Laguna Beach for the well-known luxury brands and Auberge del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe for something more intimate.
P.S. We’re super smart obvi but we’re nowhere close to medical experts. Be sure to talk to your doctor and stay up-to-date on the CDC recommendations and travel warnings.