The Furnace Creek Resort is a historic property in California’s Death Valley. // © 2013 Furnace Creek Resort
Summer can bring soaring temperatures, but many hotels and resorts offer activities and amenities designed to distract clients from the heat and cool them down after a hard day of exploration. From water parks to private beaches to infinity pools with swim-up bars, these five hotels have plenty to do no matter how high the mercury rises.
Resort Life in Death Valley
Located in the middle of Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek Resort offers easy access to well-known park features and plenty of onsite summer fun for adults and kids alike. Just 17 miles from the resort Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and marked by vast salt flats that extend for miles. Artist’s Drive is also easily accessible, a nine-mile stretch of road that curves through ancient, layered claystone formations in a rainbow of tans and reds.
After spending some time exploring the geography off property, guests can keep cool in the resort swimming pool, learn about the region’s history at the Borax Museum or play darts and have a cocktail at the Corkscrew Saloon. Travelers that choose to relax in their rooms will find air conditioning, ceiling fans, a coffee maker, complimentary Internet access and satellite television.
Summer daytime temperatures average around 115 degrees, so carrying plenty of water and sun protection is key to Death Valley travel. The evenings may provide slightly cooler temperatures with averages in the 90s.
The resort is approximately 120 miles from Las Vegas; many guests arrive by car, but the resort also boasts its own landing strip for travel by private or charted plane.
Beating the Heat in Koh Tao
Bangkok can be swelteringly humid come the summer months with temperatures around 90 degrees and humidity at 80 percent or higher during the day. To escape the heat, many tourists and locals flock to the islands for cooler air. The island of Koh Tao, best known for scuba diving, is relatively easy to get to. Flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui take a little over one hour, then a high-speed ferry brings travelers to Koh Tao’s shore. Overnight trains and buses are alternative modes of transport and are less expensive.
There are a number of luxurious resorts on the island, but Charm Churee Village, as its name implies, is among the most charming choices, if a bit secluded. The resort is large, and guests travel to the lodge, beach and restaurants via densely forested paths. Rooms and suites have all the modern conveniences — air conditioning, room service, a balcony, a coffee maker and a refrigerator — but are rustic in decor. Sunset cottage rooms include expansive private balconies with lounge chairs that overlook Jansom Bay and the resort’s private beach.
Thanks to the plethora of onsite activities and resources, there’s practically no need to leave the resort. A wide range of massage services is available in beachside cabanas, and complimentary snorkel gear is ready at hand down by the water for use in the clear water of Jansom Bay. Scuba divers can take small-group shore or boat dives with the resort’s PADI dive center, and novice divers can take courses toward PADI certification. The resort also has two, full-service restaurants, both of which offer sweeping views of the Gulf of Thailand.
Adventures in the Arabian Desert
A 40-minute car ride out of Dubai sits the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, a luxury complex surrounded by rolling sand dunes in the Arabian Desert. Average temperatures in August are well above 100 degrees, but that doesn’t stop guests from partaking in one or more of the desert adventures organized by the resort. Travelers can go on a desert drive in an open-air Jeep, ride a camel as the sun sets, take a morning yoga class or practice archery skills. After a day of gallivanting in the desert, relaxation awaits at the infinity pool, complete with a swim-up bar, or at Satori Spa, where a full range of spa treatments can be scheduled.
The resort also prides itself on the wide variety of international cuisines available onsite. For traditional Arabian meals there’s Al Hadheerah, an elegant outdoor eating space within fort walls. Food is cooked at live stations, on grills and spits, and there is live entertainment each evening that ranges from traditional Arabian dancing to a falconry display. Other restaurant options include Masala, a kitchen that offers slow-cooked Indian fare, Le Dune Pizzeria and Al Forsan, a family-friendly restaurant with both buffet and a la carte menus.
Rooms at the resort are equipped with modern comforts including complimentary high-speed Internet, satellite television and air conditioning.
Heat Up in Costa Rica’s Natural Hot Springs
In Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, natural thermal hot springs heated by magma below the earth’s surface ebb and flow across the land. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is situated around five of these springs, and waterfalls and pools ranging from 77 to 122 degrees await guests. The waters are believed to have many health benefits. For example, the heat can calm aching or tight muscles and dilate the skin so that increased oxygen can reach tissues and aid in relaxation.
The thermal springs are not the only draw for Tabacon. There’s also an array of outdoor activities easily accessible from the resort’s location, and the site has a complete list of organized tours to consider. Top activities include rainforest hikes, ziplining, waterfall repelling, whitewater rafting, bird-watching and biking.
Back at Tabacon, guests can spend additional time relaxing with the help of the staff the Grand Spa, where a full treatment menu awaits. Rooms at the resort are also a great escape, each one furnished with pieces made by local artisans, cable television and a DVD player, a coffee maker and a mini bar. Those travelers staying in other nearby hotels can purchase a day pass in order to enjoy the hot springs.
The resort is approximately three hours from the capital city of San Jose, and guests can arrive via rental car or public bus.
Cave Dwelling in Australia’s Outback
The town of Coober Pedy, in Southern Australia, is known for its vast number opal mines and “dugout” residences — underground abodes built to keep residents and visitors cool despite the area’s scorching heat. At Coober Pedy’s Desert Cave Hotel, travelers can experience subterranean living in an underground suite with sandstone walls and high ceilings, though the hotel also has rooms above ground. Temperatures are warmest December through February, when daytime averages can be in the 90s.
Set in Australia’s Outback, Desert Cave Hotel is ideally located for exploring the rugged and sunburned landscape around it. Guided tours visit unique sites such as working opal mines, miles of colorful mesas in The Breakaways Reserve and “dugout” homes lived in by locals. On other tours participants go on a bushwalk through the Painted Desert, star gaze or visit the Coober Pedy cemetery and listen to ghost stories about the region’s first pioneers.
After hours in the sun, Desert Cave Hotel’s cooler underground spaces offer some respite. There’s a collection of shops, two restaurants and a game room and bar. Those willing to brave the sun’s rays can swim in the hotel’s simple outdoor pool.
All suites are equipped with television and Wi-Fi.