Can’t bear another family Christmas? Just want to get away? I have assembled my pick of the best luxury Christmas holidays for the luxury traveler.
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Amsterdam – For an Early Christmas.
Why Go? Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) arrives, usually waving at the crowds as he jets down the nearest canal in a boat filled with sweeties and controversial Zwarte Piets (helpers). Celebrate Sinterklaas on 5th December by hopping over to Holland.
Where to Stay? I love the traditional Intercontinental Amstel in Amsterdam, which I will review later this month and the Hyatt Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht boutique.
Don’t Miss: Putting your slipper out on the 5th to be filled with stocking-style goodies. Take a pair of skates. If you are lucky, the canals will ice up early, and you can skate your way around the city and beyond!
Northern Sweden – Turn the temperature down for the ICEHOTEL.
Why Go? Escape from the stress of getting everything ready for the festive season and celebrate a peaceful Christmas in the glistening winter wonderland of the ICEHOTEL. Enjoy traditional food and drinks, snowy adventures, ceremonies, and traditions of Swedish Christmas at ICEHOTEL. Christmas events include ICEHOTEL Christmas Games, a visit from Santa, dancing around the Christmas tree, and a historic village church concert dating back to the 1600′s. You can also do husky dog sledding and ice sculpting! Travel to Kiruna by plane or train: SJ, the Swedish train company, has daily departures all the way up to northern Norway, passing ICEHOTEL (Kiruna).
Where to Stay? You must spend a night in the ICEHOTEL, but you can combine this with a few nights in their “warm accommodation.”
Don’t Miss: The Northern lights.
Zurich – For yuletide tradition and sparkly lights.
Why Go? This is a sophisticated way to spend Christmas. Combine designer stores and exclusive hotels with a display of 12,000 crystal lights which marks the start of the season on November 21. Grab a hot chocolate and trudge around the snowy streets. The last time I was here before Christmas, there was a beautiful mini children’s choir (they must have been 5 or 6 years old) dressed and huddled together to form a singing Christmas tree- just magic!
Where to Stay? After a hard day of wandering the streets and stores, cozy up with a beer by the fire in the lounge of the Park Hyatt Zurich.
Don’t Miss: On December 19, after sunset. Children set candles afloat on the Limmat River near City Hall.
Whistler – For the perfect Christmas village.
Why Go? In America and Canada, they do Christmas so well. Bigger trees (not hard to achieve in the rocky mountains), more decorations, and a million sparkling lights. Whistler is just a wonderland before Christmas and this is also a cheaper time to ski with guaranteed snow at the top of the mountain. This is the perfect place to grab your coffee or eggnog in your red Starbucks cup and wander round this perfect snow-encrusted village.
Where to Stay? I have two favorites here. The Four Seasons Whistler which is clad in wooden beams with gorgeous rooms with fireplaces in them. The Fairmont Whistler also has lovely cozy rooms a giant Christmas tree in the foyer and a lovely bar area with a large fireplace.
Don’t Miss: Swimming and hot-tubbing outdoors in the snow, both the Four Seasons Whistler and the Fairmont Whistler have fantastic and warm outdoor pools. Life doesn’t get better than bobbing around in a warm pool as the snow falls on your head!
Hawaii – For Christmas on the beach.
Why Go? If the sun is shining, Elvis is warbling, and you have a warm breeze tickling your face, you must be in Hawaii. This is the ultimate way to beat the winter blues, and the lavish decorations keep Christmas at the forefront of your mind even though the sun is shining. Although Waikiki is not my favorite place in Hawaii, you must stop in here because it offers superb Christmas shopping and decorations.
Where to Stay? Spend a few nights at the Halekulani in Waikiki and then head over to the Four Seasons Maui to relax.
Don’t Miss: Christmas Shopping in the Ala Moana shopping center just outside Waikiki for Christmas goodies.
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