Though many of us are in complete denial that it is already time to finalize our holiday travel plans, that time, is in fact, officially upon us. From exciting cities to pristine beaches, and from mountain villages to exotic villas, these ten hotels and resorts provide unique holiday experiences that you are sure to love. Whether you are continuing annual traditions or looking to establish new memories, the personalized events, services and amenities at our top ten favorite holiday hotels and resorts will provide the picture-perfect getaway for you while savoring every minute spent with your friends and family…
To better prepare for the Holidays, we went to one of our trusted travel advisors to get some tips when planning your getaway. Eric Hrubant, President and Chief Travel-Planning Officer at CIRE Travel said, “The holidays are a special time to travel with friends and family. With that said, I highly recommend travel insurance for clients traveling over the holidays. During this time of year, weather delays, cancellations as well as the sheer number of people traveling can create snafus that can ruin your holiday. When flights are overbooked, those without a seat assignment are the first to get bumped. Make sure that you have a pre-reserved seat. If you’re arriving at a hotel after 8pm, call ahead and let them know. In busy situations (like the holidays), hotels get over-booked and if you arrive late in evening, there is nothing worse than “getting walked” (to another hotel). Call your hotel in advance and make them aware of your late arrival and even ask them to “pre-register” you so don’t have to worry about getting walked.”
Where: Artic Circle, Finland
Why: Santa Claus’ Secret Forest… need we say more?
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel provides a unique blend of luxury comfort in the heart of Arctic nature, local Lappish traditions and modern Scandinavian design. In contrast to the meticulously designed accommodation and nest-like coziness, the panoramic views from the windows provide impressive spectacles of the forest and Arctic skies: the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun can be admired from the comfort of your bed. Enjoy the localized experience with the exceptional restaurant that serves culinary delights prepared in stylish surroundings using Arctic ingredients.
Step into your very own Christmas fairytale! Begin your journey by discovering the secrets of the Elves, and then have an unforgettable meeting with Santa Claus, and take part in fun holiday activities at Santa Claus Secret Forest and SantaPark. The unique surroundings and the hotel’s enchanting programs, conducted with uncompromising expertise and world-renowned Christmas know-how, are guaranteed to delight “kids” of all ages and even guests with the highest standards. Inquire about their Christmas Fairytale Package.
Where: Prague, Czech Republic
Why: The Prague Christmas Markets are legendary…
There is no better place to call home when in Prague, as the Aria Hotel Prague is a boutique property just steps from the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Inspired by music, it is comprised of 51 luxurious suites and rooms that are dedicated to a specific style of music or a particular artist or composer. The five-star hotel harmonizes a unique musical concept with their posh accommodations, fine dining, exceptional service, endless numbers of amenities and even a private entrance to a UNESCO World Heritage garden.
Visitors from all over the world flock to Prague during the Holidays to experience the magic of the Christmas Markets where tourists and locals come together to celebrate the season. Here you can find ornaments, decorations, cookies and other local specialties such as wooden toys, clothing and scented candles. You will surely never be hungry or thirsty when visiting these markets, thanks to the traditional Czech foods made on the premises and their hot wine, grog and the warm honey liquor called medovina. By day or night, these markets will ignite the kid in all of us.
Where: Boca Raton, Florida
Why: A warm weather getaway with something for the entire family…
Nestled in a Mediterranean-inspired historic village and just a few steps from the stunning south Florida coastline, the resort is your luxurious home away from home. Many of the charming and sophisticated guest rooms come with a view of the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway, or the marina… and all guest rooms offer the latest amenities for your comfort. In true Waldorf Astoria style, their concierge services cater to your every need and nothing is overlooked. Discover an oasis of spa sensations at the award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa; meet friends and family for tennis at the renowned tennis academy; tee it up with everyone on the course; or spend the day jet-skiing, parasailing or even cruising the Intracoastal Waterway on their 55 foot catamaran yacht. A short ride aboard Mizner’s Dream shuttle boat transports guests to Boca Beach Club and half a mile of golden private beach. The opportunities are endless!
The resort is always beautiful, but it really comes alive for the holidays with beautiful lights throughout the property that is sure to put you in the holiday mood, as you enjoy their casual elegance in shorts and sandals. There is a full list of activities to compliment the decorations, including family beach bonfires, grand buffets and a host of events for the kids. There are a number of accommodations to fit all desires and budgets, but staying at The Beach Club is always a personal favorite (inquire about a lower level poolside room with lanai), but another great addition has been The Commodore Club Lounge available to the exclusive suites at the Yacht Club – certainly worth exploring when booking your Boca Resort getaway. Inquire about their Holiday Special Stay Packages.
Where: Mayfair, London
Why: This is the picture-perfect elegant London experience…
There is nowhere quite like Claridge’s, and we love their attention to detail during every step of your stay. The hotel was established in 1856 and soon attracted royalty; and later became an English institution, as movie stars, statesmen, fashion designers and global dignitaries loved the art deco landmark. Step into the lobby and prepare to be whisked away to an age of timeless art deco glamor. You are always treated like an old friend by the entire staff as they continue their dedication to service that made them famous.
From the talk-of-the-town tree to the mesmerizing decorations, Claridge’s is synonymous with Christmas. Join the other guests and the incredible hotel staff for a Holiday getaway of comfort, joy and unbridled luxury. The festive menus are beyond your wildest imagination, and the special holiday afternoon teas are an absolute must-experience during your stay. From the traditional Christmas markets to the magical ice rinks, London is filled with festive activities and events during the Holidays and Claridge’s will work with you to curate a London Holiday getaway for the record books. Inquire about their Christmas Package that includes three nights in a breathtaking room or suite, a welcome bottle of champagne and festive treats, storytelling and crafts for children courtesy of entertainers Sharky & George, a horse-drawn carriage ride around Mayfair and a fabulous Christmas lunch, not to mention countless other magical touches.
Where: Co. Clare, Ireland
Why: Words cannot describe the beauty of this decorated castle at the Holidays…
Though there is no way to predict the weather you will have in Ireland during the holidays, you can guarantee yourself a simply enchanting getaway when staying at Dromoland Castle. Built in the 16th century, the imposing baronial façade wraps around a startling interior that seamlessly marries historic opulence with five-star services. Dazzling Waterford Crystal chandeliers, hand-woven Venetian silk wall coverings, ancestral oil paintings, hunting mounts and glorious stained glass set the tone, and by the contemporary comforts modern travelers expect – spacious bedrooms, Egyptian cotton bed linen, exquisitely appointed bathrooms, modern Irish cuisine, glamorous cocktails and a chic spa. Take advantage of every minute, and stroll the 450-acre estate, tee off on the world-class golf course, take afternoon tea by the roaring fire, savor every bite of the delicious cuisine or simply lounge while cherishing the lovely surroundings.
Christmas at Dromoland is a favorite time of year, when the Castle is filled with the unmistakable sounds and scents of this magical season… logs crackling in open fires, the sound of laughter and glasses clinking to toast a new year – what could make a more perfect setting for your festivities this year? With twinkling lights, luxurious rooms, lavish Christmas decorations, warm mince pies, mulled wine and their spectacular gingerbread house, Christmas at the Castle is a truly special experience. The Festive Afternoon Tea is the perfect way to spend the afternoon, and their scones are a personal favorite that might just be life changing! Be sure to inquire about their tempting “Christmas at the Castle” promotion, which is a three-night getaway that epitomizes the delights of the festive season with dining events, games and entertainment for the entire family.
Where: Paris, France
Why: A getaway to Paris never disappoints, especially at the holidays…
Synonymous with style, romance, excitement and luxury – Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and Le Meurice of Dorchester Collection has welcomed guests to the heart of Paris for over 200 years. The entire team is on hand to guide you through this enchanting world of glamour and culture that seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern. From the chic rue de Rivoli to the iconic Eiffel Tower via the stunning river Seine and the Tuileries garden, you will discover some of the world’s finest views, cuisine, museums, theaters and luxury shopping.
With a beautifully opulent setting and plenty of festive surprises, Le Meurice is the perfect place to celebrate in style. Join them for a luxury stay this season and they will treat you to a delicious daily breakfast and a chilled bottle of champagne to toast the occasion. Le Meurice’s talented pastry chef will create a remarkable array of seasonal treats for Le Tea Time de Noëlincluding gourmet sweets such as Lemon and Royal Gala Apple, peanut cookies, pistachio tart and his annual Yule Log (this year’s Yule Log will feature hints of lemon and fresh herbs). Inquire about their “Festive Season” promotions to make the most of your stay.
Where: Krabi, Thailand
Why: Amazing villas and out-of-this-world service and amenities…
It is next to impossible to put into words the feeling guests have when staying at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property. You will discover a captivating blend of traditional culture and contemporary comfort, and let’s not forget the views that simply cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world. This journey of a lifetime showcases the luxury beach resort’s local culture that reveals itself via exceptional culinary offerings, amenities, and the warmth and hospitality of the locals.
Regardless of traveling at the holidays with your family, friends or just two of you looking for a romantic getaway – Phulay Bay will not disappoint. We love the diversity of accommodations that includes exquisite villas that are the setting for your ultimate Thailand luxury getaway; as well as their more affordable Pavilions that you are sure to also love. Each of the resort’s luxury villas and private pavilions blurs the boundaries between indoors and out, showcasing personal pools and ocean and garden views. Escape to an oasis of spacious layouts, personalized butler service and traditional Thai design elements that will provide a “new” Holiday experience for many travelers, but one that you will never forget.
Where: Vail, Colorado
Why: An unforgettable European-like village in the United States…
As I have spent a number of Holidays in the idyllic destination of Vail over the years, Sonnenalp Hotel has the ability to make this already picture-perfect destination even better with their European elegance and level of service that is combined with an overall setting that provides guests with a stress-free luxurious getaway. Through five generations of family ownership, the Sonnenalp remains Vail’s most iconic hideaway. Consistently named among America’s top hotels and resorts, the Sonnenalp epitomizes the mix of alpine adventure and timeless European elegance that sets Vail apart. Deeply rooted in the community, it is the warmth of the Sonnenalp’s staff, its relaxed charm and unparalleled location that reveal the true heart of this world-class destination.
Celebrating the Holidays with friends and family in Vail is the perfect place for celebrations as the town and mountain come alive with the lights, sounds, events and cheer during the month of December. Despite heavy snowfall by day and night, Vail’s pedestrian village features heated streets and sidewalks, keeping them free and clear of snow and ice and allowing for a comfortable walk through the village that is primed for the Holidays with perfectly decorated hotels and storefronts. Vail Holidays is an annual event during December that provides a host of activities for the entire family, including the tree lighting ceremony, lantern walk, Torchlight Parade and fireworks. Start each day with the amazing breakfast at the Sonnenalp, where you can also enjoy your coffee or hot chocolate in their infamous large mugs that you will be sure to love.
Where: Going, Tirol, Austria
Why: The Green Spa Resort Stanglwirt is always the perfect destination…
Not only are the surroundings while at Stanglwirt more beautiful than a postcard, but the resort also far exceeds your wildest expectations when it comes to the number of amenities, selection of activities and level of service. This is Austrian hospitality at its finest. Whether it’s for a relaxed wellness holiday with good friends, a romantic 5-star weekend with your loved one or a varied trip with all the family: the Green Spa Resort Stanglwirt is perfection. No matter how you choose to spend your time around the resort, you will find a unique combination of beautiful scenery, luxury, sport, wellness, entertainment, and deep relaxation.
In our opinion, when your resort comes complete with their very own authentic Christmas Market, it simply does not get much better than that… At the loveliest time of the year, a visit to the Stanglwirt becomes a feast for the senses. The Stanglwirt Christkindl market on the terrace of the historic inn takes you back to the good old days, reviving ancient pre-Christmas customs in a convivial atmosphere. Untouched by commercialism and Christmas kitsch, the Stanglwirt Christkindl market brings back memories of what the region really used to be like in the pre-Christmas period. Indulge yourself with culinary delicacies, mulled wine, a visit from Father Christmas and traditional Tyrolean handicrafts.
Where: Palm Beach, Florida
Why: When it comes to beachside luxury, The Breakers is simply the best…
Arriving to The Breakers, you immediately realize you are in a place unlike anywhere else as it impresses the most discerning of guests with the amazing architecture, first-class services and endless amenities. With 140 acres of pristine acreage in the heart of Palm Beach, The Breakers has always been a personal favorite; and has also remained one of the most iconic properties in the United States for well over 100 years. The Breakers features 538 rooms and suites; 36 holes of championship golf; 10 Har-Tru tennis courts; luxury spa; a breathtaking oceanfront with a half-mile of private beach, Mediterranean-style beach club; four oceanfront pools; a Family Entertainment Center; eight distinctive restaurants and eight bars; and plenty of on-site boutiques.
If you want to spend the days staying active on the golf course or tennis courts; or lounging by the pool or reading a book on the beach; and then walk among the festive lights in the evening while feasting on world-class cuisine is your idea of a perfect Holiday getaway, then The Breakers is for you! The entire resort and staff celebrate the holidays with a festive transformation that delights and inspires its guests. Thousands of soft white lights wrap the 100 majestic royal palms and Canary Island date trees that borders the hotel’s 1,040 foot main drive; 170,000 twinkle lights, 8,000 ornaments, 12,000 feet of ribbon and 126 bows create a jolly atmosphere; and two 18 foot evergreen trees and a sculptural menorah illuminate the hotel lobby. This visually captivating décor, elevated dining experiences and an array of activities uphold this long-standing tradition, which embodies the heartwarming and joyful spirit of the season.