6 Exotic Trips To Take When You Only Have A Weekend

Photo: Danny Lehman/CORBIS/Getty Images.
Summer is officially underway, but you still have time to plan a weekend escape. And although there are plenty of fine options here in the States, there are also some incredible international cities that are totally doable for a short trip.

Depending on your departure city, some of these locations are less than three hours away. For East Coasters, even Europe is an option — especially if you can take a Friday or Monday off.

Whether you're looking for an exotic beach or an urban oasis, we've rounded up six amazing spots outside the U.S. that are perfect for a summer weekend jaunt. From Mexico to Bermuda to Barcelona, your quickie dream getaway awaits.
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If you live on the East Coast, getting to Bermuda takes less time than driving to the Hamptons or flying to Miami. Really — it's about a two-hour flight. The island nation is tranquil and full of greenery and pastel colonial homes. The atmosphere is perfectly tropical and the beaches are prime for recreation (which might be why it was chosen to host the 2017 America's Cup). Lose yourself in the pink sands and crystal-clear waters, and don't forget to sample the local Bermudian cuisine.

Where To Stay: Cambridge Beaches is among the finest, most luxurious options on the island. The 300-year-old property boasts 87 rooms, a high-end spa, and three on-site restaurants.
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London, United Kingdom
Want to experience London before Brexit becomes official? You can get there in under seven hours if you're traveling from Boston or New York. (Not much longer than a flight to L.A. or San Francisco.) If you can take a true summer Friday, fly out on Thursday night, and you'll have a full 48 hours to explore the city before returning on Sunday. Burn through your credit cards in Covent Garden, catch a West End play, hit the spas (the W London Leicester Square is perfect for a quick fix), or just get lost in the city’s bustling streets.

Where To Stay: Milestone Hotel London is a five-star boutique hotel that puts you in the heart of Kensington on the west side of the city (about 30 minutes away from the airport). The hotel dates back to 1689, overlooks the Kensington Gardens, and is just 10 minutes from the Royal Albert Hall.
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Barcelona, Spain
This beachside city’s energetic art scene, bohemian vibe, and Mediterranean climate make it a fantastic escape. About a seven-hour overnight flight from New York, Barcelona is filled with breathtaking architecture, from the Gothic quarter to Gaudí's surreal buildings up north. The famed La Rambla street is prime for shoppers; head up from the beach to discover boutiques with hip fashions and avant-garde interior design. Also, Barcelona can be a great place to Tinder — you know, just in case that’s important.

Where To Stay:
Hotel Arts Barcelona is as luxe as they come — and by the beach. Occupying a high-rise building marked by a glass-and-exposed-steel facade, the hotel features 483 sea- or city-view rooms (plus suites and duplex apartments), terraced gardens, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa on the 43rd floor, and six restaurants and bars ranging from informal to Michelin-starred.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ottawa Tourism.
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Ottawa, Canada
Canada’s capital city may not get the same attention as Montreal or Toronto, but with a hefty dose of Victorian architecture, cultural attractions, and the great outdoors, it has just as much to offer. Plus, it's only a hop, skip, and an hour-and-a-half flight from the Northeast. A 20-minute drive outside the city, you’ll find Nordik Spa-Nature, North America’s largest nature spa, best known for its regenerative baths. For a more active day, set out on an urban adventure with Ottawa City Rafting, or rent a bike and cycle through a few of the city's 373 miles of recreational pathways, stopping at historic sites along the way. Presumably, you’ll have worked up an appetite at this point — exactly what you need for C’est Bon Cooking’s three-hour, gourmet walking tour of Ottawa.

Where To Stay:
The modern, quirky rooms at the newly opened, four-star Alt Hotel by Le Germain are priced at around $120 a night all year round. This place gets bonus points for its eco-conscious standards and 24-hour Altcetera Café.
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Photo: Danny Lehman/CORBIS/Getty Images.
Panama City, Panama
Nestled between Central and South America, there's loads to do and see in Panama, but the city can still be done in a weekend. Stay in the historical district of Casco Viejo, full of colonial charm and nightlife hot spots. Devote a morning to hiking and zip-lining in the Anton Valley, or venture out and explore the San Blas Islands (a cluster of 365 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited). Panama City is six or seven hours from the West Coast, five hours from New York, and a mere three-hour flight from Miami.

Where To Stay:
The Ace Hotel group opened the American Trade Hotel several years ago in a restored landmark building in Casco Viejo. The property is said to stand at the ecological and cultural crossroads of the Americas and is deeply connected to both the historic Old Quarter and the new Panama City. While the style is colonial, rooms are outfitted with all the modern luxuries.
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Photo: Greg Vaughn/Getty Images.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
As one of Mexico’s top beach destinations, Puerto Vallarta has long been a popular escape for vacationers (and is particularly friendly to the LGBTQ community). Old Vallarta (or the Romantic Zone) is filled with cobblestone streets and more shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants per square foot than anywhere else in town. Playa Los Muertos in Old Vallarta is a great place to plant yourself at a beachfront restaurant or bar for prime people-watching, or browse authentic souvenirs to take a piece of Mexico back home.

Where To Stay:
CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a modern beachfront resort that's a bit quieter than the hustle and bustle of Old Vallarta. Rooms and suites have ocean and beach views, and amenities galore.
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Photo: Andrew Bain/Getty Images.
Bogotá, Colombia
Just a three-hour flight from Miami (or five hours from Dallas), Bogotá is a thriving Latin metropolis in the Colombian Andes region. Loaded with cultural attractions, the La Candelaria neighborhood features Spanish Colonial and Baroque-style homes, churches, and buildings that house libraries and museums — including the Fernando Botero art museum and El Museo del Oro. For some light adventure, visit Monserrate, a mountain that dominates the city center. Find upscale restaurants, bars, and shops in Zona Rosa and Zona G ("G" for gourmet).

Where To Stay:
B.O.G. Hotel was the first member of the Colombian Design Hotels (now a network of 250 international hotels). Filled with a combination of textures and colors inspired by gold and emeralds throughout its contemporary space, there are 55 lavish rooms and suites, a trendy bar and restaurant on the main level, and a rooftop pool and bar overlooking the shopping and nightlife of Zona Rosa.

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