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Rethinking the “Mancation”

More and more men are getting away—together. From boozy bourbon trails to a male-centric spa retreat, here are four trip ideas for every group of guys

It’s time to abandon every preconceived idea about the “mancation.” Forget the stereotypically raucous bachelor parties, uninspired golfing getaways and old-fogey fishing trips. Instead, why not consider a carefully curated escape—one that requires a little more forethought, and a bit more creativity? From traversing Kentucky’s bourbon trail to speeding in sports cars, these trips will raise the bar for male bonding. 


What: Kalon Surf

Where: Dominical, Costa Rica

Sharpen your surfing skills—or learn the basics—while shacking up in a six-room mansion that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Kalon Surf’s weeklong program includes luxe accommodations, a private chef, hikes through the jungle and four hours of surf coaching a day at various beaches. The company takes care of all the small details—surfboards, sunblock, professional photos—plus a laundry list of other things you’d never even think of, like a daily video analysis of your performance, lunches served on the beach and a day set aside for recovery and massages. Guests can book individual rooms or rent out the entire mansion for the week.

Prices start at $2740, not including flight; to book: KalonSurf.com 


What: Spa Solage at Solage Calistoga

Where: Napa Valley

Sure, Napa Valley might seem like the perfect venue for a couple’s retreat, but a new spa program at Solage Calistoga specifically caters to groups of guys. The gorgeous 25-acre property’s Spa Solage offers men-friendly treatments like the Gentleman’s Organic Male Facial, which involves deep cleansing, toning, extractions and hydration. Beyond the new therapies, the spa is known for the “Mudslide” treatment that takes place in the on-property Bathhouse and Mud Bar. It’s a three-part series that begins with a custom mud body mask, followed by soaking in a geo-thermal pool, and concludes in a restorative sound/vibration chair. With beautiful suites and a Michelin-starred restaurant, you might find yourself forgetting that the real reason people go to Napa is for the wine.

Rates vary. To book: SolageCalistoga.com


What: Bourbon Trail

Where: Kentucky

Begin your journey into bourbon-soaked bliss by booking a driver. Mint Julep Tours is the best in the area—they’ll transport groups via limo on a custom tour from one distillery to the next. Start out in Loretto at Maker’s Mark. The distillery itself is scenic, but the highlight for most comes after the tour, when you can hand-dip your own bottle of Maker’s in their signature red wax. Next, head to Woodford Reserve, Kentucky’s smallest and most historic distillery that dates back to 1797. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find Jim Beam American Stillhouse, the largest producing bourbon distillery in the world. Sip on some of the distillery’s 12 different bourbons in the tasting room, and then spend the night in Louisville. For a more classic experience, we recommend the Brown Hotel, and for modern luxury in a boutique setting, check in to 21C Museum Hotel. You’ll be able to tackle the rest of the bourbon trail in two days. If you have extra time, drive to Buffalo Trace where Pappy Van Winkle is bottled. It’s not part of the official bourbon trail, but well-worth visiting.

Prices vary according to itinerary. For more info: BourbonTrailTours.com 


What: BMW’s M Power Experience

Where: Nürburg, Germany

For car racing enthusiasts, the chance to experience Nordschleife—one of the world’s most legendary, treacherous race tracks—is the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. BMW’s M Power Experience is a two-day training course that teaches participants fundamentals like seating position, steering technique and handling, all behind the wheel of a current BMW M Model. Before the course is complete, drivers will take on individual sections of the 20.8 kilometer (12.9 mile) Nordschleife track—and in doing so, understand why it’s commonly referred to as “Green Hell.” Fully immerse yourself by staying overnight at Lindner, a local hotel that overlooks the racetrack.

Prices vary according to the training course selected; to book: BMW.com