Looking to make last-minute Christmas travel plans while still retaining the charms and comforts of home? These amazing festive stays around the world tick all the boxes and then some, mama!
Who says you have to spend Christmas cramped in your living room, surrounded by chaos? At Smith & Family, we say get away – give your family the world this Christmas. Instead of watching Elf, take your own elves carol-singing, ice-skating, dog-sledding and more…
Europa House Apartments, London, United Kingdom
It’s hard to beat London at Christmas – even Scrooge would feel his spirits lift at the sight of the city’s twinkling festive lights, tree-graced shops, buzzing bars and restaurants and lark-like carol singers. If you want to pretend you’re spending Christmas in your own Edwardian townhouse, check into Europa House Apartments in mellow Maida Vale, a 20-minute hop from central London. You’ll have helpful staff on hand to sort out any requests and reservations, plus your own secret garden to roam around in. There’s also a toy cupboard that’s jam-packed with tricks and games; did we mention the personal concierge for kids? N.B. If you still can’t decide what you want for Christmas, Europa’s striking design pieces by Tom Dixon and Mark Brazier-Jones might inspire you. The only hard bit? Leaving.
Smith Extra: A branded reversible canvas tote and a £10 Hamley’s voucher
Portetta Hotel, Courchevel, France
Bing Crosby isn’t the only one dreaming of a white Christmas, but don’t leave your chances of snow to the fates. Instead, dust off your ski poles and salopettes for Portetta Hotel in picturesque Courchevel – the stuff that Christmas fairytales are made of. The hotel has a ski-in, ski-out location right by the slopes; when you’re tired from the day’s adventures, relax at the hotel with hot chocolate and gingerbread men for the kids, red wine and raclette for the grown-ups. Additional icing on the Christmas cake comes courtesy of the fantastic games room for little ’uns, the Darphin spa designed for post-slope rejuvenation and Porchetta’s good-looking, multiple-bedroom suites. Pleasingly, the hotel has a ‘more is more’ approach to Christmas, offering carol singing around the fire with mince pies and mulled wine on Christmas Eve, as well as a special Christmas menu for kids, and little Christmas treats in your room on the big day. Treat yourself to a family snowmance. Santa might not know about this winter wonderland, but now you do.
Smith Extra: A bottle of Savoie wine
Treehotel, Norrbotten County, Sweden
Just when we thought we knew what hotels looked like, along came Treehotel to make our eyes widen with excitement all over again. We’re talking ladder-strung, branch-hung treehouses with madcap mirrorball and bird’s nest designs, buried in the depths of a Swedish Lapland forest. It would be impossible not to feel festive in the face of wintery once-in-a-lifetime activities, from dog-sledding and midnight horse-rides to trekking and snowshoe tours. Hard as it may be to leave Treehotel, even briefly, it’s worth pootling around pretty Boden – especially when the Christmas market is on – and warming up with mulled wine (or hot spiced apple for the little ’uns). Don’t dawdle afar – you’ll want to get back to the hotel’s tree sauna, indoor whirlpool plunge bath and open-air hot tub – little Smiths will go nuts for the monkey bars and zipline.
Smith Extra: A free two-hour sauna session with snacks
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates
Craving some Vitamin D and lashings of winter sun? If we were your doctor, we would prescribe a Christmas trip to Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, whose charms include a spoiling Thai-style spa set in hanging gardens, desert-spying rooms styled with Arabic opulence and an eye-boggling sunbaked-sandscape setting. Lest this all sound a bit grown-up, factor in kid-pleasing dune-bashing drives, horse-riding, archery and thrilling 4WD desert tours for the whole family. Our Christmas present to you, if you book with us, is a free camel trek (well, naturally). Christmas at Anantara will be marked with courtyard carols (plus seasonal refreshments and a performance by the Qasr Al Sarab choir), before Santa himself makes an appearance and doles out treats for the lucky little ones in attendance.
Smith Extra: A desert-valley camel trek for the whole family (children must be aged 4+)
The Surrey, New York, United States
Christmas in New York – what could possibly be more festive? At the Surrey, your Yuletide cheer comes with a generous dose of old-world elegance and contemporary glamour: we’re talking sumptuous paisley carpets, glittering chandeliers, claw-foot bath tubs, baby grand pianos and so on. (It’s Christmas, but in the best of taste.) Thanks to the Surrey’s Upper East Side Setting, you also have Central Park at your disposal – take the little Smiths ice-skating at Wollman Rink or bundle them up for a horse-drawn carriage ride. The Surrey will lend you bicycles, so you can wheel around the Big Apple; back at boutique base-camp, make time for the brilliant spa and Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud restaurant. Distractions for small Smiths include sticker books, video games, board games, books, puzzles, crayons and craft supplies. If you decide to have a movie night, hotel staff will bring up your desired DVD along with some freshly popped popcorn and other treats. Bliss.
Smith Extra: Seasonal children’s amenities, such as tickets to the Central Park Zoo in summer
Smith & Family gives you the best price, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival. Book online at smithandfamily.com or by calling the expert Travel Team toll-free on +1 800 905 326.