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The Gloriette in the Schönbrunn Palace Garden in Vienna in winter, with its reflecting pond frozen.

Extraordinary Holiday Getaways

Article by Regan Stephens 12.13.2018

Looking to do the holidays differently this year? Plan a private dinner in a Colorado mountain cabin, attend midnight mass at the Sagrada Familia, or skip the season altogether and retreat to the beaches of Bali for daily yoga.

Who says the holidays have to be spent at home? This season, gather with family and loved ones to experience a new destination together — and leave with memories to last a lifetime. From sipping mulled wine at the Christmas markets in Vienna to practicing your downward dog on the beaches of Thailand, these extraordinary getaways will help forge a whole new holiday tradition.

 

Dine in a Mountain Cabin in Colorado

An aerial view of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulf, surrounded by ski slopes and snowy mountains.

To channel a true winter wonderland, book a stay at one of the largest free-standing log cabins in North America. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch offers plenty of outdoor adventure, with options that go well beyond hitting the slopes (though when you do, take advantage of the property’s ski in-ski out access and ski concierge). Try snowshoeing or ice climbing, or take a dip in the heated, outdoor pool. Indulge in a soothing apres-ski spa treatment, and in the evenings, gather around the glowing fireplace in the resort’s Great Room, or at your suite’s own private version. For a truly unique holiday meal, plan an intimate family dinner at the historic Anderson’s Cabin, with a wood-burning fireplace and unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains and valley below.

 

Tour the Holiday Markets in Vienna

The Gloriette in the Schönbrunn Palace Garden in Vienna in winter, with its reflecting pond frozen.

Austria’s romantic capital city is even more fairytale-esque during the holiday season, when twinkling lights transform the streets into a dazzling spectacle, and ice skating rinks and Christmas markets add to the magic. Wander through the market stalls, stocking up on gifts and charming decorations while sipping mugs of mulled wine. Begin the day with a visit to one of Vienna’s famed coffeehouses, and make time to tour the grand Hofburg Palace and stroll down the Danube, stopping in to a cafe to sample some of the city’s best local wines. Arrange for tickets to a performance at the Vienna State Opera, or see the famed Vienna Boys' Choir’s annual ‘Christmas in Vienna’ concert, taking place on December 20 and 21 this year.

 

Ice Skate in Central Park in New York City

Skaters glide across the Rockefeller Center Skating rink in front of the Christmas tree at night.

The holiday season in New York City is something that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime,when city’s naturally frenetic cadence only adds to its festive feel. Stroll along Fifth Avenue to see the department store windows come to life with magical displays, see ballet dancers perform Balanchine's The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, and lace up a pair of skates to glide across the ice at Rockefeller Center or in Central Park’s iconic Wollman Rink, just a stone’s throw from the Ritz-Carlton, New York. While Rockefeller Center’s may get the most attention, the Christmas Tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art should not be missed. Spectacularly displayed in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall, the 20-foot tall tree stands behind an 18th-century Neapolitan Nativity scene. The lighting ceremony takes place each day throughout the season, and makes a lovely beginning or ending to a tour around one of the world’s most impressive collections of art.

 

Attend Midnight Mass at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

The stain glass that crowns the ceiling of the Sagrada Familia.

Spain’s culturally vibrant city on the Mediterranean is home to a host of beloved holiday traditions. Mild December weather makes it easy to spend ample time outside, exploring streets filled with nativity scenes and markets — the Christmas fair located outside of the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral is particularly long-standing, as is the one in front of Sagrada Família. And speaking of Antoni Gaudí’s cathedral, plan to visit for Christmas Eve Mass, which is unforgettable experienced in the famed architect’s Gothic and Art Nouveau masterpiece.

 

Practice Yoga in Koh Samui

The candlelit waters in the arrival pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui reflect the twilight sky.

For a holiday that’s as restorative as it is memorable, make for a destination that’s far flung — and far from the norm. The country’s second-largest island, situated in the Gulf of Thailand, is known for its powdery white-sand beaches, lush rainforest and impossibly blue water. Charter a sailboat and spend the day on a breezy adventure, stopping along the way to snorkel with the sea life and soak up the spectacular island vistas. Make a pilgrimage to see the nearly 40-foot-tall golden Buddha statue, and spend at least one day at The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui spa, with its yoga pavilion, lap pool, and treatments like the Samui’s Coconut Heritage, which draws on the island’s abundant tropical fruit to nourish skin and hair. Cap off each day with a sunset cocktail overlooking the water, and plan on making it a yearly tradition.

 

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Plan Your Stay in these Destinations


  • Bachelor Gulch

    Location Beaver Creek, Colorado

    Experience An escape to the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

    • Unparalleled ski-in, ski-out access
    • Exceptional Residential and Penthouse Suites
    • World-class spa with seasonal treatments
  • Vienna

    Location Vienna, Austria

    Experience A five-star hotel set in four historic 19th century palaces.

    • Luxury urban retreat at The Ritz-Carlton Spa
    • Viennese charm meets contemporary luxury
    • Elegant venues for dining and dancing
  • New York, Central Park

    Location Midtown Manhattan

    Experience Sweeping Central Park views from your hotel room

    • Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best
    • Steps away from Central Park
    • Just one block from the famed 5th Avenue
  • Barcelona

    Location Barcelona, Spain

    Experience A beachfront hotel overlooking the Mediterranean

    • Mediterranean and city views
    • 5 outlets, including a two Michelin-starred restaurant
    • The highest spa in Barcelona
  • Koh Samui

    Location Koh Samui, Thailand

    Experience The Samui Way of Life

    • Embrace soothing luxury in 175 ocean-front suites and villas
    • Immerse in a unique outdoor street food dining experience at Baan Talat
    • Relax and renew at the spa with treatments inspired by natural local ingredients and healing practices