The Wall Street Journal
No more "leave on Friday back by Sunday." With Smartphone, Netbook and iPad in tow, New York home buyers looking for a second site are heading for greener, calmer -- and balmier -- pastures, sometimes several climate zones away.
Now, with telecommuting becoming the coveted mode--and traffic to and from some of the more typical getaway hot spots remains as challenging as ever--retreats in exotic (or at least temperate) locales are worth contemplating. In fact, some might be in quicker reach than Fire Island on a holiday weekend.
Kevin O'Brien is door to door, from his New York office to his Juno Beach, Florida condominium in four and a half hours. "It doesn't much matter to me where I am," he says on the phone from California, where he happened to be that day.
He's been bi-residential for eight years,
The construction manager travels between London, New York and San Francisco with fair frequency, managing the building of data centers. "I can fly from Palm Beach just as easily as I can from Newark," he says. Still surfing at 55, O'Brien says, "I'm a long way from retiring."
"If you're looking for a pre-retirement place, this is a pretty tempting time to buy," says Paul Bishop, vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors. "Affordable prices and favorable rates mean ideal conditions for qualified buyers."
While Juno Beach is so quiet you can hear the sea turtles laying eggs, the Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach will zip up your ohm.
Just half an hour from the Miami Airport and snugged between hot nights in South Beach and the cool shopping in Bal Harbor, Canyon Ranch combines a 430 unit condominium, hotel facilities, four swimming pools, and a world class spa on the longest stretch of pristine sand in Miami Beach.
Consistently ranked as one of the finest luxury spa destinations, Canyon Ranch is dedicated to wellness and healthy living. Under the supervision of a full time medical director, the 70,000 square foot fitness center features integrative health care with western and eastern practitioners offering everything from Pilates to yoga to experiential rain showers and reflexology.
For those that like it rough(er) there's a rock climbing wall, weight training and aerobics.
Also on site, three restaurants including the pool side cabana and five star dining at the ocean front Canyon Ranch Grill, featuring locally grown and organic produce and grass-fed beef.
There are 31 different home layouts in two gorgeous glass and steel balconied condominium towers on the grounds of the historic Carillon Hotel--the epitome of 1950s Miami modern style and the centerpiece of the property. Prices range from around three hundred thousand to five million dollars on the penthouse levels.
Flight Time from Newark: 2 hours and 55 minutes
If tropical breezes and a Caribbean port for your mega-yacht hold more allure, Porto Cupecoy in St. Maarten presents a spicy package.
Built around a "village square" with shops, restaurants, swimming pools, and a marina with 54 slips, the two- to four-bedroom condominiums range in size from 750 to 3,000 square feet, many with private pools and gardens.
Just over the hill from famed La Samanna, a world-class resort also developed by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., the homes at Porto Cupecoy are available furnished and unfurnished. But act quickly, they are more than 75% sold.
Flight time from JFK: 5 hours 5 minutes
Winging back from the Caribbean, Savannah seems downright suburban. But for vacations, winter stays, and retirement there are few places that can compete with its mix of mossy romance, flamboyant history, cultural sophistication, and a pearly beach on the Gulf of Mexico.
Just 12 miles from the historic center of the city, The Landings is a 6,500-acre gated community of 4,000 homes offering full resort amenities, including 6 golf courses, 34 tennis courts, a 48,000 square foot fitness and health center, and marinas.
Unlike many luxury gated communities, which are frequently homogeneous in nature and geared to the interests of retired residents, The Landings is a small town with a variety of neighborhoods , neighbors, home styles and prices. Upscale residents buy or build million dollar homes while houses that were constructed in the early 1980's are being renovated by young couples with children.
For many, the financial stability of The Landings holds particular appeal. The 36-year-old community and club are owned by the home owners' association. Debt free and with millions in reserve, the facilities and grounds are beautifully maintained.
Flight time from LaGuardia: 2 hours 45 minutes.