Top 20 Christmas Vacation Ideas
Christmas is a popular time to get away with the family and celebrate the holidays. Whether you are planning a trip to a nearby resort or to a tropical beach, our list of Top 20 Christmas Vacation Ideas is a great place to start. These hotels and resorts offer travelers something unique: spectacular ocean views, luxurious spa treatments, scenic golf and activities for kids. When planning the ultimate Christmas vacation, it's a good idea to book your rooms and airline tickets early because prices generally increase the closer that you get to the holidays.
Terranea Resort in Southern California
A quick weekend vacation from Los Angeles, Terranea Resort in Southern California is a spectacular getaway for the senses. You'll be surrounded by unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean in your room, suite, by the pool and while getting pampered at the spa. Most of the rooms and suites face the ocean and measure at least 450 square feet in size, giving you plenty of space. Ask for a room with a view of the ocean. The Spa is a 50,000 square foot oasis with scenic views and an array of treatments. Signature services include an invigorating foot treatment which incorporates Crystal Quartz. If you are planning a family trip, the property offers a number of activities you can enjoy together, ranging from hiking and biking to falconry and horseback riding. Room rates start from $395/night (310-265-2800, 866-802-8000, website.
Cristallo Palace in Cortina
A winter vacation at Cristallo Palace Hotel in Cortina, Italy, is filled with great skiing, gourmet food, romantic views and relaxing at the spa. Guests are accommodated in tastefully decorated rooms and suites with rustic touches. Each room has a Carrara marble bathroom with hydro massage tub, perfect for relaxing after a day out on the slopes.
Junior Suites overlook the surrounding mountains. Decor is very romantic, with golden, blue and beige tones, mouldings and hand-painted wood. All Junior Suites but one have a large private terrace. Amenities include natural hypoallergenic latex mattresses, flat screen LCD television, jacuzzi tubs and high speed Wi-fi internet connection. Cortina is a famous European winter destination. In addition to downhill skiing, there is snowboarding, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, fitness and more. The wellness center has an indoor swimming pool, spa and gym (+39.0436.881111, website).
Lake Villarrica in Chile
Lake Villarrica is a beautiful adventure destination in Southern Chile offering families an array of activities, ranging from sailing and kayaking to hiking and natural springs. On the south end of the lake sits the Villarrica Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, covered with snow year-round. The hotel has a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, luxurious rooms and suites, and several dining options.
The Kids' Club is open daily and has scenic views of the lake. Children under 10 get to participate in singing and dancing, or play with toys and watch movies. Older kids can play table tennis or take a pastry class. There is also a children's playground. The Kids' Club is complimentary to hotel guests. Aguas Verdes Restaurant offers a kids' menu and serves international cuisine overlooking the lake. The Aquarius Bar located at the spa serves light meals and fresh juice. In-room dining is available 24 hours a day which can be a great plus when traveling with kids. Book a balcony room overlooking the lake or a Junior Suite with a separate living room to have more room when the kids go to bed. Rooms at the hotel start at 205 USD, Junior Suites from $410 (56-45-245 00 00, website.
Listel Hotel Whistler
The Listel Hotel Whistler is a mountain getaway located in the center of Whistler Village, Canada, steps from the Conference center and 100 meters from the ski lifts. In the winter, go skiing, snowboarding and sledding, and in the summer explore mountain hiking and biking trails in the area. The property has 98 deluxe guest rooms and suites. All rooms have down duvets, full bathroom, small refrigerator, cable television, coffee/tea making facilities, Play Station, and WiFi Internet access for a fee.
This is a pet friendly getaway, so you can bring your beloved pet with you on your trip. Dine at the Bearfoot Bistro and take a tour of its 20,000 bottle wine cellar. The Champagne Restaurant and Bar adjoins the Bearfoot Bistro and offers a more casual atmosphere, serving such bistro classics as Steak Tartare and Mussels and Steak & Frites. Whistler is approximately a two-hour drive from Vancouver and the property is located at the base of Whistler Mountain Gondola. There are scheduled bus trips from Vancouver Airport and you will most likely not need a rental car once you reach Whistler. Room rates range from $249 for a Deluxe Hotel Room to $799 for a VIP Suite (800-663-5472, 604-932-1133, website).
Omni Tucson National
The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa is a 650-acre vacation retreat in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. The property has luxury accommodations, 36 holes of scenic golf and a luxury spa. Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, the Pima Air & Space museum, and the Old Tucson Movie Studios are all less than 45 minutes away by car, giving you plenty to explore. Choose from 167 oversized and elegantly appointed guest suites. Accommodation options include rooms, suites, casitas, and haciendas, some with fireplaces, spacious living areas, dining alcoves, and fully equipped kitchens.
Try one of the the 7 Casita Suites which measure 750 square feet in size and include a king-sized bed, dining alcove, partial kitchen and a living area with a queen-size sleeper sofa, fireplace and wet bar. The Catalina Grille overlooks the 18th hole and is open for breakfast and dinner. Legends Bar and Grill is a sports bar right off the eighteenth hole and the Cabana Bar serves poolside cocktails. Room service is also available. Fly to Tucson or Phoenix and rent a car. The property is just 18 miles from Tucson International Airport and 1.5 hours from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. In the summer rates can be as low as $89 per night but they increase in the fall, winter and spring to approximately $199 per night (520-297-2271, website).
The Lodge at Sea Island
The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club is a relaxing beach getaway in southeastern Georgia. The hotel is set along five miles of private beach and has 40 luxury guest rooms and suites, offering guests privacy and five star service. Vacationers have access to an array of activities and facilities, including the Learning Center, tennis center, boating, fishing, and a 65,000-square-foot spa and fitness center. If you are planning a family trip, Camp Cloister offers activities for kids, including cooking and fishing.
Explore five miles of sandy beach on your own, or sign up for Nature Tours. Work out at the fitness center and unwind at the spa with one of the customized body treatments or massages. The hotel continues to win honors and awards for its attentive service and beautiful setting. There are three 18-hole championship courses where you can play tee off in a scenic setting, as well as improve your game with clinics, private, and group lessons. The AAA Five-Diamond destination overlooks the St. Simons Sound, Atlantic Ocean and the Plantation Course. Guest rooms measure at least 700 square feet in size and are furnished with overstuffed chairs and hardwood floors. The property offers 24-hour butler service and other luxury amenities. Rooms start at $395 per night. You can also stay at The Cloister at Sea Island.
Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica
Casa Del Mar is an elegant romantic getaway for couples located in Santa Monica, a renowned Southern California seaside community. Spend your days relaxing at the spa, lounging by the pool overlooking the ocean, or exploring local boutiques. The property's interior recreates the glamor of the 20s, with spacious rooms, damask and velvet draperies and opulent Italian marble baths. The best place for sunbathing is on the Palm Terrace which features a plunge pool surrounded by chaise lounges and chairs. The terrace is elevated above the sandy beach below to provide scenic views of the water.
The resort has a health club offering massages, facials and beauty services. When booking your massage, ask for one of the Massage Cabanas on the pool deck overlooking the Pacific. Massage rates start at $105 for an hour. Oceanfront is a 75-seat restaurant serving a New American menu and West Coast wines. The restaurant is casually elegant with scenic views of the ocean. The lobby lounge serves a selection of light California Cuisine and offers live entertainment in the evening. The lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable rattan chairs. Casual dining is offered on the Palm Terrace with seating for 75 guests. Poolside service is also available during the day. Browse more romantic spa getaways for couples and weekend getaways in California. Casa Del Mar is a great weekend getaway from Los Angeles, just a few miles away. Plan a romantic spa getaway for couples. Non-ocean view room rates start at $435 per night; ocean view room rates start at $555 (800-898-6999, website).
Gaylord Palms in Orlando
Gaylord Palms Hotel is a fun getaway, offering a choice of accommodations, dining and activities. The hotel is near Walt Disney World and other Orlando theme parks. The property in features 4.5 acres of gardens and waterways, a full service spa and fitness center and a pool for adults in Florida. For kids, there is a dedicated pool and playground with a water slide, waterfall and sand play area which is great for little ones. Coquina Dunes Recreation Park has a golf putting course where you can have fun with the whole family. Other great activities include sand volleyball and croquet lawn. There are five restaurants and lounges, live entertainment nightly and many shops.
Choose from 1,406 guest rooms and suites decorated in different styles, such as "Key West" or "Everglades." The 106 hotel suites and nine presidential suites offer families and groups additional space to relax and unwind. Guest Room with 1 King or 2 Queen Beds measure 410 sq ft / 37 s qm and can accommodate up to 4 guests. Other options in this category include Atrium View and Emerald Bay. One Bedroom Executive Suites measure 625 sq ft /56 sq m - 725sqft and can accommodate up to 5 people, which makes them very comfortable for families. There is One King bed and a sofa bed. The 831 sq ft to 960 sq ft 1 Bedroom Suite is the most spacious.
During the Christmas holidays, the resort is especially fun to visit. There is a 54-foot Christmas tree and 2 million holiday lights. Kids enjoy visits with Santa and ICE! featuring The Nutcracker and amazing ice sculptures and slides. Watch artists carve ice sculptures right in front of you and enjoy Live Stage Shows with popular holiday music. Facilities include a lap pool, Separate Men's & Women's Lounges and a Steam room. Enjoy an array of rejuvenating treatments at the hotel spa, including couples' massages, facials, body wraps and more. The spa is available to guests 18 years of age or older. Children ages 16 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
If you are planning a wedding, ask about Bachelorette Parties & Bridal Showers which can be personalized to your wishes. The Spa Coordinator can help you with luxurious Wedding Party and Thank You gifts.
Room rates start at $199 per night. The hotel frequently offers deals and packages, including summer deals, nightly resort credit, free breakfast and more. The spa package starts at $329 USD and includes either a massage or a facial for two. Christmas at "Gaylord Palms Package - Includes Tickets to ICE" package starts at $225 and includes a family photo (407-586-0000, website).
The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary
The Fairmont Palliser is a historical landmark hotel in downtown Calgary, Canada. The hotel offers luxury guest rooms, a health club and three restaurants. Work out at the fitness center, swim in the indoor saltwater pool and relax in the whirlpool or the eucalyptus steam room. 405 guest rooms and suites offer bathrobes, down duvets, a work desk and a coffee maker. The Rimrock offers fireside dining and a Canadian themed menu. The Death by Chocolate is a decadent dessert buffet that a chocoholic should not miss. The Oak Room, decorated with leather wingback chairs and vaulted ceilings, serves lighter fare. Obsessions Deli also offers lighter meals. Fly to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and take a taxi to the hotel. Room rates start at $149 CAD per night (403-262-1234, website).
The Langham, Sydney
The Langham, Sydney (previously The Observatory Hotel) is a luxury getaway with elegant rooms and attentive service. The hotel is located near the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and central business district. The hotel, which dates back to 1865, has 96 elegant guest rooms and suites. Amenities include flat-screen televisions, iPod docking station, four telephones and touch-control air conditioning. Select from three types of suites: Junior Suite, Langham Suite and Observatory Suite when planning your stay. Several Junior Suites have a private balcony, offering guests scenic views of Darling Harbour and the city skyline.
Dine at Galileo Restaurant, a five-star restaurant serving fine French cuisine and award-winning wine. The spa offers treatments by la Prairie, and a menu of signature therapies. Nearby attractions and activities range from boutique shopping to unique adventures. Room rates at the hotel start at AUD 285 per night.
Arion Resort near Athens
Arion Resort is a beach and spa resort located just a short drive from Athens in Greece, offering vacationers luxury service, many activities, a beautiful sandy beach and healing treatments at the spa. After you are done touring the historic sights in Athens, check into this hotel and relax on the beach. This Luxury Collection hotel offers a great way to cash in your Starwood points for a well-deserved vacation. You will also have access to the Les Clef d'Or Concierge who can answer any questions you may have about the area and help you plan your trip. Ask for help with dinner reservations, golf tee times and romantic touches such as a floral arrangement when you check in. Some of the area attractions to explore include Lake Vouliagmeni and its famous underwater cave, Cape Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon, and Syntagma & Constitution Square.
The spa overlooks Saronic Gulf and offers many rejuvenating treatments. Soak in the hydrotherapy pool with a view of the sea and have a healthy snack at the Health Bar. There is a fitness center, sauna, steam room, an indoor heated pool and a whirlpool. Resort facilities include a pool with sea views, tennis courts, jogging paths, water sports, and access to the nearby Glyfada Golf Course. Ask for a room or suite with a view of the water.If you are planning a honeymoon, book one of the fully renovated bungalows which offer plenty of privacy. Rates start at Euro 325 or 25,000 Starpoints (30-210-8902000, website.
Abu Dhabi's Yas Waterworld
The tornado waterslide at Abu Dhabi's Yas Waterworld is world's first and largest hydromagnetic-powered, six-person tornado waterslide. The slide is 780 feet long and terminates with giant snake mouth and fangs as visitors zoom through to end up in a pool. Other adrenaline-inducing rides include the world's largest surfable sheet wave for flowboards and bodyboards. Test your surfing skills at this unique attraction in the United Arab Emirates.
The 1,800-foot coaster The Bandit Bomber is the first in the world with onboard water and laser effects. Riders can shoot jets at targets, drop water bombs and trigger special effects, while people below can spray them as they pass. Yas Waterworld (www.yaswaterworld.com/en) theme is the Lost Pearl from Abu Dhabi's heritage. Visitors follow the story of a young Emirati girl on a quest to find a legendary pearl. Pearl-diving exhibits are offered in the park and a giant 26-foot pearl sits at the top.
Banyan Tree Lang Ko in Vietnam
Located on the Central Coast of Vietnam, Banyan Tree Lang Ko is a luxury getaway with 49 spacious private villas, each with its own pool, perfect for relaxing in the sun and getting outdoor massages on the deck. Many of the villas are set on a hill above the ocean and offer incredible views from the bedrooms and living areas. Lang Ko used to be a quiet Vietnamese fishing village. The property offers a Sea Sports Center, Marine Lab, Fitness facilities, Yoga, nature and cultural tours. Take romantic walks along the shore or try a variety of water sports.
Hill Villas are set high above the ocean, surrounded by uninterrupted views. The Dining Area offers plenty of space for entertaining with fabulous ocean views. Vietnamese-inspired design of the Lagoon Pool Villa is great for couples and honeymooners. Bathrooms offer deep soaking bath tubs surrounded by tropical plants. The Golf Club offers a Sir Nick Faldo-designed 18-hole, par-71 championship golf course surrounded by mountain and ocean views. The staff can set up a private table on the ocean's edge. Thu Quan offers gourmet snacks throughout the day. Saffron is the signature restaurant, serving traditional Thai dishes with a modern twist. Azura serves Italian dishes, including seafood and delicious appetizers. Villa rates at the resort start at $531 USD per night.
Angsana Resort & Spa Bintan
Angsana Resort & Spa Bintan, located in the northwestern tip of Bintan Island, Indonesia, overlooks Tanjung Said Bay and the South China Sea. The property has a stylish spa, calm tropical ambiance and attentive service. In addition to relaxing by the pool and getting pampered at the wellness center, guests can choose from a number of activities, including tennis, banana boat rides, Catamaran sailing, mountain biking, snorkeling, fishing and canoeing. Guests receive special privileges at the Banyan Tree Resort golf course. If you are planning a family trip, there is a Kid's Club for children ages 3 to 10.
Choose from 120 rooms and suites decorated in a rich Balinese style. Plan your trip between May and October since November to April is monsoon season, so the sea may be too rough for some water sports. From Singapore, take a 45-minute high-speed catamaran ride and a 10-minute drive. Browse more great getaways. Room rates start at US $190 on weekdays, from US $225 on weekends (+62-770-693-111, website).
Royal Isabela in Puerto Rico
Royal Isabela Golf Course & Resort is a luxury getaway in Puerto Rico, located on the northwestern coast, complete with dramatic oceanview golf and romantic accommodations. Located within the private community, Royal Isabela is surrounded by 1,800 pristine acres of native flora and fauna which has been carefully preserved during the construction of the resort. The 18-hole course offers spectacular views of the Atlantic coastline and a layout that will challenge players of all skill levels. The Academy offers lessons, allowing you to improve your skills.
Book one of the romantic Casitas which are located near the main inn. The Casitas have spacious 1,500-square-foot layouts with spectacular ocean views. The bathroom is a serene oasis with a separate tub, large shower and a private deck. The Restaurant at La Casa serves farm-to-table cuisine, using fresh ingredients from the River Farm and Gatehouse Garden. The hotel works with local fishermen and small family farms to find the best ingredients for the restaurant kitchen. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner on the terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the course.
Amenities include a Library, tennis court, croquet court, main pool, lap pool, fitness center, walking trails and private beach access. Other activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, yoga, massages, cooking classes, horseback riding and cheese making classes. Casitas start at $600 per night in the summer and from 1,150 in the winter, including breakfast. Golf starts at $125 per person per day (royalisabela.com, 787-609-5888, 855-609-5888).
6 Relaxing Family Christmas Trips
If you are looking to spend Christmas holidays on the beach, Melia Nassau Beach in the Bahamas offers pools and activities for guests of all ages. The resort offers 7 acres of water fun and the kid's pool has a waterfall feature. Rooms offer great ocean views which will make you forget that it's winter. The Bahamas feature tropical weather, white-sand beaches and wonderful snorkeling. In addition to the Sheraton, there are other hotels to choose from, including Atlantis and Bimini Bay Resort.
A quick getaway from Chicago, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa has a fitness center and a relaxing spa. The resort has three restaurants which serve delicious holiday meals. There is also skiing and snowboarding at The Mountain Top where families can take group ski lessons or hire a private instructor. Book one of the suites to have plenty of space. Moose Mountain Falls Waterpark at Timber Ridge Lodge (at Grand Geneva) offers heated watersides and tubing year-round. Guests of Grand Geneva can purchase day passes to the waterpark, but be sure to reserve well ahead of time, especially during the Christmas holidays.
Gaylord Texan Hotel offers shopping, indoor gardens, a full-service spa and fitness center. When it's colder in the winter, you can take walks, go swimming and dine indoors. Indoor gardens stay vibrant year-round. The hotel overlooks Lake Grapevine, and is located minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Relax and unwind at the 25,000-square-foot day spa and fitness center on your Christmas getaway before heading to one of the restaurants for a holiday meal.
Visit Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Aquarium of the Pacific while staying at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort in California. The oceanfront resort features Spanish-inspired architecture, ocean adventures, spa treatments and several sumptious restaurants.
If you are looking for romantic escapes, many hotels and inns offer Christmas specials couples. Whether you want to spend the holidays on a tropical beach, in a city or in the country, there is plenty to choose from. Grand Hyatt Bali in Indonesia has luxury suites and villas, Balinese spa, landscaped gardens and an abundance of pools. Balinese style buildings are surrounded by pools, creating romantic ambiance. There are 24 luxury villas set in the tropical gardens, perfect for a couples getaway.
Montage Beverly Hills is a spa getaway with a holistic approach to wellness, where you can spend your Christmas holidays aligning yourself to a new, healthier you for the new year. Beverly Hills is known for its shopping and dining. The hotel gardens provide a nice contast to the hustle and bustle of the city. Montage Beverly Hills has three gardens, each with a hand-carved fountain. Take a rest on one of the benches on your romantic walk through the lawns, sycamore trees and manicured topiaries.
Visit Napa Valley for Christmas and taste this year's best wines, accompanied by delicious cuisine. Stay at Auberge du Soleil which has a beautiful spa surrounded by private gardens. Book a treatment in the Melisse Spa Suite which was built with couples in mind, with a romantic fireplace. The hotel has just 50 suites, so you will not feel crowded on your getaway. The restaurant serves delicious cuisine and offers a great selection of wines, perfect for a holiday celebration.