The world's best travel destinations to spend Christmas this year
Can't stand the thought of an overcast Christmas at home? Whether you want a beachside resort or a log cabin in the Arctic, we have you covered
To some people, the idea of leaving the confines of their house - let alone their home city or country - for Christmas is a completely alien and terrifying prospect. But how many times have you stopped to think about what a destination Christmas might look like? Warm, balmy sunshine instead of gloomy cumulonimbus? Aurora Borealis instead of broken fairy lights? A poolside martini instead of cheap mulled wine? Suddenly, it doesn't sound so bad...
So if you're looking to pack your bags this Christmas for an adventure, here are some of the best destinations around the world to enjoy the festivities with friends and families.
Getting off to a somwhat dramatic start we have PrivateFly and White Desert Antarctica, who have launched exciting new itineraries for 2021/2022 Christmas and New Year. These new itineraries offer guests the chance to travel safely and in style with their own group in a private jet, operated by PrivateFly, from New York or London (other destinations can also be offered) directly to Cape Town.
Here, guests will have a couple of days at their own leisure to explore this dynamic city, before embarking on a second private jet journey, operated by White Desert, to the interior of Antarctica, a journey made by fewer than 700 travellers a year. Spend Christmas on the frozen continent - even if it is a little far from the North Pole...
Showcasing snowy chic at its finest, L’Apogée Courchevel is located at the peak of Courchevel’s exclusive Jardin Alpin, at the very top of the former Olympic ski jump. The ski-in/ski-out, 55-bedroom hotel is one of Europe’s most stylish Alpine retreats and the perfect place for an elegant, socially distanced festive escape.
Reopening for the season on 17th December, L’Apogée has plenty of festivities in mind; on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, Father Christmas will make a pit stop bearing gifts for all the lucky children staying at the hotel. Adults meanwhile can ring in the New Year at a glamorous black-tie dinner themed ‘The Cotton Club by L’Apogée’.
Right on the tip of the private Pearns Point peninsular, on Antigua’s western coast, Pearns Bay House provides a design-led, modern minimalist alternative to the colonial Caribbean style. Created by renowned Dutch designer, Piet Boon, Pearns Bay House is a haven for design or art lovers. Clean lines give way to an eclectic mix of international art and sculpture, from the Hurricane Girls that stand proudly over the pool, to the large paintings from Indonesia and beyond.
Accommodating up to 12 people in 6 super-king ensuite bedrooms, it’s the perfect place for groups of families or friends to celebrate together. Vast living areas give way to terraces that wrap the house looking across the azure beyond with spaces to lay, lounge or dine. An outdoor kitchen and infinity pool offer the perfect ingredients for outdoor living at its finest.
The team at Off the Map Travel works with experiences and destinations that allow people to explore hidden wonders of our planet - and their new Arctic exploration itinerary might be their best yet!
Snowmobiling, dog sledding, Northern Lights and snowmobiling are all part of the fun on the Reconnect Under the Aurora package, which the brand says was "created to give multi-generational families the opportunity to travel with exclusive use of all facilities, to allow for undisturbed quality time together".
Hôtel Plaza Athénée makes a perfect spot for exploring Paris over the holiday season with various festive dining experiences and special events. Indulge in an exquisite array of sweet festive delights by award-winning pastry chef Angelo Musa, including freshly baked-pastries, sandwiches, cakes, and the famous rich hot chocolate.
Guests can choose to dine at the newly relaunched Le Relais Plaza on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to enjoy Jean Imbert’s festive menus or celebrate New Year’s Eve with a lavish gala dinner. The hotel’s famous Parisian brunch will be available over the festive season, with delicious menus for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, complete with live music and a chilled glass of champagne.
Having opened its doors earlier this month, the one-of-a-kind Raffles The Palm Dubai is the place to be seen this winter. Located on the best private beach on the West Palm, this palatial beach palace is the perfect location to escape this winter, offering transformative rejuvenation and tranquillity alongside first-class dining and entertainment within this ever-popular beach-side City.
Amenities include Raffles 24-hour personal signature butler service, eight unique dining options offering the finest European and International cuisine, an award-winning spa and many more spectacular facilities.
Sun-seekers wishing to escape the winter cold and spend the festive season in the sun, should look to South Africa’s Babylonstoren – the much-loved hotel, working fruit and wine farm located in the Drakenstein Valley. In the heart of the Cape Winelands, surrounded by picturesque mountains, guests can spend the holidays chilling out by the pool or exploring the nearby vineyards.
Every aspect of Babylonstoren is led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the property’s expansive garden. In September 2021, Babylonstoren expanded its kitchen garden to accommodate the growing demand of freshly harvested vegetables for Farm Fresh boxes and two restaurants, Babel and Greenhouse.
Milan awaits with five-star festivities this season. For a true Italian Christmas, guests can book a luxury stay and be treated to daily breakfast and the famous chocolate afternoon tea at Il Salotto.
Sit back in a sumptuous armchair in the heart of the hotel and indulge in the signature homemade Panettone and festive canapés. The hotel can take care of every festive event this season, whether it’s a cocktail party with colleagues or a glamorous gala dinner – the elegant event rooms have been beautifully restored to create bright spaces which capture the famous Milanese charm.
With the news that India is reopening its doors to foreign tourists arriving by charter flights from 15th October and to those arriving on regular commercial flights from 15th November, there is no better time to book an Indian escape than this Christmas.
Taking place from 19th Dec 2021 - 2nd Jan 2022 (15 Days), this magical tour has been designed to give guests a balanced, varied and full experience of the state of Rajasthan and of India over the Christmas period. From Delhi, visit the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra before criss-crossing south to Udaipur, taking in some of the most famous highlights this part of India is so well known for on the way.
The magic of Christmas comes to life at Ellenborough Park when the hotel traditionally decorates the fifteenth-century manor and grounds with hundreds of lights, transforming the enchanting landscape into a wonderland.
Arrive on Christmas Eve and admire the glittering Christmas trees illuminating the sweeping driveway, before being greeted with a heavenly glass of mulled wine and freshly-made mince pies. Once settled into their luxurious rooms, guests can cosy up by the glorious open fire in the Great Hall or explore the surrounding grounds, in time for the local carollers who will arrive to perform before dinner. Relish a delectably festive menu, complete with confit duck & smoked chicken terrine, treacle-cured salmon, slow-roasted longhorn beef fillet and poached cornish turbot.
This Christmas, The Lowell brings guests a traditional New York Christmas and offers a cosy, seasonal hideaway in the heart of the city. The beautiful, landmarked hotel on East 63rd Street, between Madison and Park Avenues, is a short stroll from many New York highlights, the iconic department stores on 5th Avenue and just blocks from Central Park.
After a day of shopping, discovering the city or ice skating at the Rockefeller, guests can retreat to the warmth of The Lowell and cosy up by the open log burning fireplaces in their suite – truly a rare find in the city. Lit upon request, they can choose from a menu of aromatic logs suitable for any mood.
Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is the perfect bolt hole to escape to for the festive season. A chic tropical paradise where every whim is taken care of, courtesy of their so-called "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere" fully-inclusive concept.
Each overwater villa comes with a private butler who will curate a collection of experiences to make the festivities of 2021 memorable. From searching for dolphins, swimming with mantas and snorkelling with turtles alongside our resident marine biologists to the array of sports on offer or a secluded picnic on Dream Island, a desolate sandbank.