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5 Must-Try Travels to Book This Season

A wine festival, glamping, and more


Willows Hotel & Spa

When you vacation at a casino, you want to keep the noise and excitement at the gaming tables, not tramping down the hallway at all hours or splashing you in the pool. That’s the idea behind Willows Hotel & Spa, an all-suite, 21-and-over tower set at the opposite end of Viejas Casino from the main resort. There’s a new way to treat yourself at every turn, from the adults-only saltwater pool to the pillow menu (your choice delivered on a silver tray) and custom Amazon Alexa attending every room. Prepare for your lucky streak with the Final Decision, a tasty whiskey amaretto sour, at Locale Kitchen + Lounge. When you’re ready to settle in and count your winnings, the Charlie Foxtrot at The Grove Steakhouse is a blueberry lavender lemon drop that goes down like candy.

From $170


If you’ve ever wanted to practice mindfulness from the master, Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta is hosting a wellness retreat November 1–4 with Deepak Chopra headlining the four-day experience. The beachfront resort a few miles from Puerto Vallarta will host healthy cooking workshops, classes ranging from aerial yoga to spinning, and guided meditations, plus temazcal therapy—a steam bath purification ceremony with roots in Mexico and Central America—on the beach. On November 3, the Oprah-approved guru will lead the keynote speech, sign books, and host a dinner. And if you’re still not feeling Zen, a final-night margarita won’t kill your vibe.

From $1,299 per person for a double


Glamping just got easier. New San Diego company Alter Experiences sets you up in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park or various sites within Cleveland National Forest with a sleeping bag, lounge area, outdoor kitchen space (BYO food and drinks), and standard amenities like a first aid kit and portable light. For your bed, choose between a Stout Bell tent or the Tentsile, a hammock-like tent suspended between trees with different sizes that can fit one to three adults each. Next up, Alter is adding eco-domes to their lineup.

From $90 per night for two people


Nancy Silverton | Photo: Edgar Lima

The second annual Valle Food & Wine Festival returns October 5–7 to Valle de Guadalupe, with celebrity chef food stations, wine tastings, artisan markets, live music, kids’ activities, and more. The lineup includes Nancy Silverton (LA’s La Brea Bakery), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco), and Rick Bayless (Chicago’s Topolobampo), as well as Baja poster chef Javier Plascencia, who will be hosting the main festival that Saturday at his open-air Finca Altozano restaurant overlooking vineyards. Can’t make it? Follow us on Instagram @sandiegomag to get a peek at the food, chef-lebrities, and of course, the wine.

Tickets from $40–$850


Sonoma’s Gaige House has always been known for its Asian modernist decor, but after new renovations (and a name change), Gaige House + Ryokan has reopened and is fully embracing its Eastern influences. That includes rooms in the style of ryokans (Japanese inns), each with a traditional soaking tub and yukata robes, plus a new meditation space, individual Zen gardens, and forest bathing activities.

From $429 for the Ryokan Zen Studio

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