Luxury hot spots to escape the cold
The polar vortex has Americans dreaming of hot sun and sugary beaches.
So what are some of the hottest hot spots for the wealthy—or even the merely affluent—right now?
Lia Batkin of In the Know Experiences, which provides vacation advice to the wealthy, CEOs and celebrities, offered up three choice resorts popular with luxury travelers and guaranteed to warm you up.
Sugar Beach, St. Lucia
Formerly known as the Jalousie Plantation, this resort has gotten a $100 million renovation from Viceroy and is now one of the top luxury destinations in the Caribbean.
It has 100 acres of rain forest leading down to a white-sand beach (the sand brought in from Guyana). With a top villa, you get your own butler and a mobile device with which to message the butler.
The property has abundant pools, sun decks and lounge areas, and its spa has tree-house treatment rooms.
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Rooms start at about $700 a night in the high season and go up to $3,000 for the the most desirable villas. The resort is running a "Linger Longer" special with a seventh night free.
Sugar Beach is also becoming popular with celebrities. According to media reports, Matt Damon and his wife rented the entire resort—for an estimated $500,000—for a party to renew their vows.
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, Nicaragua
Though Nicaragua is known more for political waves than beach waves, its Emerald Coast is emerging as a beach destination.
The $250 million Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, the country's first five-star resort, is the jewel in the crown. Each of the 1,670-acre spread's 37 accommodations has an ocean view, as well as its own pool and staff.
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The spa features six private treatment casitas; the beach club has dining, lounge areas and a swimming pool. The 18-hole golf course was designed by David McLay Kidd.
The least expensive tab is a Bohio with a golf course or mountain view, at $500 a night. The Casona Don Carlos, a stand-alone spread, starts at $6,700.
Eden Rock, St. Barts
If you want to warm up like a rock star, there's always the Rock Star Villa at Eden Rock in St. Barts. Even on an island defined by the rich and famous, this accommodation is over the top.
The villa has four bedroom suites, including one with a white-gold-tiled bathroom. Amenities include a private gym and a whiskey bar with 40 different blends. It's also got a swimming pool, spa pool, sun decks and loungers and private access to the beach.
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The villa comes with 24-hour personal staff, including a butler, as well as choice of cars in the Rockstar Garage.
The defining feature, however, is a recording studio equipped with the same console that John Lennon used to produce his song "Imagine."
The song title is fitting: At a cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per night, it's a place most of us can only imagine staying.
—By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.