Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones
Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Experience Christmas Magic in European Capitals
There's something magical about celebrating the holidays in Europe's iconic capitals. From the glittering lights of Paris to the festive markets of Berlin, these cities come alive with Christmas spirit. Wander cobblestone streets lined with twinkling trees, inhale the scents of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, and soak up centuries of holiday traditions. Experiencing Christmas in a European capital should be on every traveler's wish list.
One of the most enchanting places to spend Christmas is Vienna. This imperial city decks out its palaces, public squares, and winding lanes with sparkling decorations. At the center of it all is the Christkindlmarkt in front of the grand Rathaus. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it's one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Europe. Sip warm punch, nibble on potato pancakes, and browse stalls overflowing with handmade ornaments and toys. Don't miss the chance to ride the Wiener Riesenrad, the iconic Ferris wheel featured in The Third Man. Gliding high above the city, you'll enjoy stunning views of Vienna dressed in her holiday best.
Prague is another fairy tale destination come Christmas. The whole city emanates old-world charm with church spires peeking above red-tiled rooftops. Wenceslas Square dazzles with lights and a towering Christmas tree, while impromptu choirs fill the air with carols. Spend the afternoon exploring Prague Castle and watch the changing of the guard before losing yourself in the winding lanes of the Old Town. Stop for a mug of svařák, or mulled wine, and wander through the Christmas markets on Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Don't forget to sample the trdelník, a chimney cake rolled in sugar and cinnamon.
Looking for Christmas glitz and glamour? Head to Paris. Stroll the Champs-Élysées to admire its festive illuminations before making your way to the Eiffel Tower. Sparkling with 20,000 lights, this iconic landmark is a sight to behold. Make time to experience Parisian Christmas markets big and small, from the bustling Marché de Noël des Tuileries to the intimate Saint-Germain-des-Près Christmas Village. And be sure to treat yourself to some of Paris' seasonal delights, like oysters, foie gras, and the yule log dessert known as bûche de Noël. You'll never forget celebrating Noël in the City of Light.
Of course, no discussion of European holiday magic is complete without London. Regent Street glitters with thousands of lights strung overhead, while storefronts dazzle with colorful displays. Covent Garden Market brims with handmade gifts, sweet treats, and carolers. And Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland entices with rides, an ice rink, circus shows, and Bavarian-style food and drink. Don't miss the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, donated each year by Norway in thanks for Britain's WWII support. Top it all off with a ride in a classic London black cab decked out in Christmas lights.
Berlin is another not-to-be-missed holiday destination. In front of the grand Charlottenburg Palace, sip glühwein and nibble gingerbread hearts while the Snow Globe theater performs. At the medieval-themed WeihnachtsZauber market, kids can decorate cookies with the elves. And at Alexa mall, a massive light show with over 1 million LEDs synchronizes with the music. An ice rink at Alexanderplatz and festive light displays along Unter den Linden and Kurfürstendamm complete Berlin's Christmas wonderland.
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- Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Experience Christmas Magic in European Capitals
- Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Indulge in a Luxury Ski Getaway in the Rocky Mountains
- Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Soak Up the Sun in Tropical Beach Destinations
Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Indulge in a Luxury Ski Getaway in the Rocky Mountains
A luxurious ski vacation in the majestic Rocky Mountains is the ultimate way to celebrate the holidays in style. From posh slopeside lodges to gourmet dining experiences, these world-class resorts pull out all the stops to pamper their guests.
One of the top luxury ski destinations is Aspen, Colorado. With four renowned mountains, over 5,300 skiable acres, and an average of 300 inches of champagne powder each year, Aspen offers some of the best skiing and riding in the Rockies. Stay slopeside at the iconic Little Nell hotel, just steps from the Silver Queen Gondola. This Relais & Châteaux property exudes contemporary Alpine elegance; think cozy gas fireplaces, lavish furnishings, and stunning mountain views. Five-star service includes a dedicated ski valet, luxury car transfers, and access to exclusive amenities like a fleet of Audi test drive vehicles. Apres-ski, unwind with a spa treatment or sip craft cocktails at Ajax Tavern. With its Michelin-starred on-site dining at Element 47, The Little Nell provides the ultimate in luxury, location and service.
Nearby Snowmass Village is home to some of the longest and widest groomed runs in Colorado. Base yourself at the brand new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, the latest outpost from Aspen Skiing Company. Inspired by the great national park lodges, the Limelight combines luxe amenities with a fun, lively ambiance. Sleek rooms feature cozy gas fireplaces and panoramic mountain views. Spread out in spacious condo suites with full kitchens, ideal for families or groups. Outside your door lies Snowmass' pedestrian village, brimming with shops, restaurants and après options. Just grab your gear and walk right to the slopes. Unwind after a day on the mountain at the Limelight Lounge with craft beer, artisanal snacks and live music. For fine dining, hop the shuttle to sister property The Snowmass Club for Rocky Mountain cuisine with amazing vistas. With ski-in/ski-out access, sublime views and laid-back luxury, the Limelight Snowmass is slope-side lodging redefined.
Vail, Colorado is another iconic luxury ski destination, renowned for its expansive back bowls and European village charm. The Four Seasons Resort Vail epitomizes Rocky Mountain elegance, from its timber and stone lodge exterior to the warm, inviting interior. Sink into your Rocky Mountain-inspired suite with stone fireplace and soak tub, unwind at the Rocky Mountain-inspired spa, then dine on modern alpine cuisine at Remedy bar. Four Seasons also offers ski concierge service, preferred reservations at Vail's premier on-mountain restaurants, ski valets, priority access to lifts and personalized ski instructions upon request. For the ultimate in exclusivity, rent their luxury 5-bedroom private residence with designer furnishings, media room, fitness studio and more. Guests staying in these penthouses also enjoy a dedicated chef, butler, housekeeper and driver. After a day exploring Vail's terrain, return home to cocoon in your own private slopeside sanctuary.
Beaver Creek Resort is Vail's more intimate neighbor, renowned for its groomers, gladed runs and villages modeled after Italian Alpine hamlets. The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch brings understated Rocky Mountain elegance to Beaver Creek. Their spacious resort rooms and suites evoke a vintage ski lodge ambiance with exposed timber beams and stone-clad gas fireplaces. Unwind at the 21,000 square foot Ritz-Carlton Spa with Rocky Mountain-inspired treatments. Five on-site restaurants span from family friendly to fine dining. Ski valets and personal ski assistants ensure a seamless experience on the slopes. An in-house ski concierge arranges everything from private lessons to lunch reservations on the mountain. With personalized instruction from Beaver Creek Ski School pros, beginners can take their first lessons in confidence. For the ultimate luxury, book their 4-bedroom Residence, nestled slope-side with full chef's kitchen, great room with fireplace, home theater and direct access to Bachelor Gulch runs. The Ritz-Carlton provides legendary service in an intimate alpine setting.
In Deer Valley, Utah, the Montage Deer Valley provides ski-in/ski-out access, a refined alpine setting and the brand's signature hospitality. This slopeside retreat envelopes guests with rustic luxury design, including custom furniture, Montage 's Signature Bed and local artwork. Five dining venues range from relaxed to elegant. Unwind in the 35,000 square foot alpine-inspired spa, then enjoy nightly s'mores and winter activities like sleigh rides. With ski valets, personalized ski instruction and preferential reservations at Deer Valley's famed on-mountain restaurants, Montage Deer Valley delivers luxury in every detail.
Ski trips don't get more luxurious than in Telluride, Colorado. The Madeline Hotel & Residences Telluride sits directly on the slopes above Mountain Village. Built in the style of traditional European ski hotels, Madeline's luxurious accommodations boast mountain or valley views, plush fabrics and heated marble floors in the bathrooms. Slopeside amenities include ski valet, storage and direct gondola access. Madeline also offers exclusive programs like First Tracks, allowing early morning skiing before lifts open to the public. Guests can customize their stay with options like in-room spa services, ski and snowboard instruction, backcountry guides and more. Telluride's unmatched scenery, world-renowned skiing and intimate charm make this former mining town a top choice for an extravagant yet laid-back slope-side getaway.
Celebrate the Holidays in Style: Top Destinations for Quality Time With Loved Ones - Soak Up the Sun in Tropical Beach Destinations
Short days and frigid temps have you dreaming of sunny shores? Skip the fake fireplace background on your next Zoom call and head for real tropical splendor. At these world-class beach destinations, you can toast the holidays barefoot in the sand, then ring in the new year reveling in warmth and sunshine. Leave your parkas behind and soak up the sun, island style.
Hawaii tops many travelers’ wish lists, and with good reason. Consistently balmy weather and palm-fringed beaches make this island chain a safe year-round bet. Avoid the crowds of Oahu and head to Maui or Kauai for a more relaxed vibe. Top picks on Maui include crescent-shaped Makena Beach, with translucent waters perfect for snorkeling. Or watch for humpback whales from golden Ka’anapali Beach, where a paved path connects the sands to neighboring towns. For a colorful dose of local culture, don’t miss the nightly cliff diving ceremony at Ka’anapali.
On lush Kauai, magnificent Poipu Beach has calm waters well-suited for keiki (children). Nearby Brennecke’s Beach offers great snorkeling amid volcanic rock outcroppings. And the pristine shores of Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s north shore boast incredible mountain views. For an added thrill, catch a wave at Hanalei’s famed surf break.
Looking for an exotic blend of lush jungle and white sand? Look no further than Costa Rica, where beach time comes with a side of adventure. See leatherback turtles nest at Playa Grande, set within Marino Las Baulas National Park. Then test your surfing skills at Playa Jacó on the central Pacific coast. Hike in Manuel Antonio National Park, home to idyllic beaches backed by the rainforest. Or take a boat to the remote beaches lining the Osa Peninsula. Costa Rica offers diverse ecosystems and coastlines to match.
Dreaming of talcum powder sands and turquoise seas? The Caribbean calls. Known for breathtaking beaches and chilled-out vibes, this region boasts an array of enticing island options. Jamaica dazzles with its iconic 7-mile beach at Negril, famed for its sunsets. And Montego Bay’s Doctor’s Cave Beach offers clear waters alongside water sports galore.
On Grand Cayman, Seven Mile Beach impresses with its uninterrupted stretch of white sand. Stingray City sandbar offshore provides a chance to swim with friendly stingrays. And on bucolic Cayman Brac, plunge from the cliffs at Pillar Point or simply soak up the serenity.
The Bahamas beckon with over 2,000 islands and cays to explore. Catch some rays on Paradise Island’s Cabbage Beach, or take a quick ferry to Rose Island for miles of untouched beach. Bimini wows with its pink sand, while remote Harbour Island claims 3 miles of tropical perfection. With turquoise waters as far as you can see, the Bahamas offer a beach for every mood.
Speaking of pink sand, Bermuda delivers with its famous beaches in pastel hues. Horseshoe Bay Beach takes the title of most popular thanks to its curved stretch of sand. But other favorites include Jobson’s Cove, with its mix of pink and olive hues. And secluded Warwick Long Bay boasts Bermuda’s longest pink swath. Quaint seaside cottages provide accommodation with flair. Trade icy streets for sunny mojitos and pink sand strolls.
Looking for luxe with your lounge chairs? Mykonos in Greece dazzles jet-setters with its whitewashed Cycladic buildings, electric nightlife and see-and-be-seen beaches. Agua and Ornos Beach attract beautiful people by day, while Paraga Beach is party central once the sun sets. But tranquil lesser-known Marathi Beach still offers Aegean views without the crowds. Sip ouzo, dine waterfront, then dance until dawn under the stars. Mykonos brings the glitz and the glamour.
Halfway around the world, Bali beckons beach lovers to its tropical Indonesian shores. Dreamy white sand, warm aquamarine waters and sheer cliffs set a striking backdrop. Try world-famous Seminyak for sunset seafood dinners on the sand. Down south, Padang Padang entices with its secluded surf spot. And Mengiat Beach hides a secret cave for the intrepid to find. Immerse yourself in Bali’s one-of-a-kind mix of Hindu traditions, exotic cuisine and endless beaches.