Escape for the Holidays

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A holiday escape is one of the best ways to avoid some of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Taking a seasonal vacation doesn’t mean you have to skip the celebrations!

Many high-end hotels and resorts turn the holiday season into a special time. If you’re dreaming about creating some holiday memories without the usual holiday headaches, here are seven high-end escapes to fuel your fantasies.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona
Christmas at the Princess in the beautiful Sonoran Desert is marked by elaborate decorations, including illuminated displays in the resort’s lagoon that can be viewed from a holiday train. Guests are invited to enjoy Christmas Day brunch with special holiday food and beverages in the resort’s Palomino Ballroom. There’s also an outdoor ice skating rink, fire pits with s’mores and visits with Santa in his secret headquarters. The Scottsdale area boasts more than 330 days of sunshine per year, so you can spend the rest of the holidays hiking, biking or playing golf.

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida
This oceanfront resort first opened its doors in 1896 and quickly became one of the premier hotels on the exclusive island of Palm Beach. The holiday festivities begin Thanksgiving weekend with a Family Harvest Festival and Fall Carnival. The Christmas celebration plays up the hotel’s Italian Renaissance design with a lavish display that includes thousands of lights, ornaments, ribbons and bows spread throughout the extensive resort property. A holiday tea and Christmas dinner buffet are among the special events offered by The Breakers during the holiday season.

Keystone Resort, Vail, Colorado
If your idea of a holiday escape is a winter wonderland in the mountains, the Keystone Resort could be your wish come true. The focus at this luxury lodge is on outdoor activities, with three mountain peaks available for skiing, snowboarding and state-of-the-art snow tubing at Adventure Point. Special holiday meals are offered at the hotel’s seven restaurants on Christmas Day. Vail Village is the perfect nostalgic holiday destination, its streets lined with snow-blanketed Alpine chalets decorated with twinkling lights. Village festivities include a Winterfest celebration with ice sculptures and a torchlight parade.

The Roosevelt, New Orleans, Louisiana
This historic hotel marks the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas with its annual Teddy Bear Tea, with holiday treats for children of all ages, champagne for adult guests and a visit from Santa and his elves. Originally opened in 1893 as The Hotel Grunewald, this opulent resort was closed following extensive damage by Hurricane Katrina. Restored to its 1930s grandeur, The Roosevelt re-opened under its current name in 2009 and is now managed by Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, a world famous luxury brand.

The St. Regis Hotel, New York City
If you want some big-city holiday sparkle and glow, New York City is a favorite travel destination for holiday displays, outdoor ice skating and special holiday performances, not to mention some of the best shopping opportunities in the world. The St. Regis Hotel provides traditional luxury services in the heart of midtown Manhattan between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, with special amenities including complimentary rides in a classic Bentley limousine. Dating back to 1904 and updated with a $90 million makeover in 2013, the hotel’s holiday decorations are among the best in the city.

Claridge’s, London
The spirit of Christmas past is celebrated in high style at Claridge’s, where each suite has its own decorated tree in addition to a giant, lavishly decorated tree in the lobby. A luxury institution in London since 1856, Claridge’s caters to children during the holidays with storytelling, crafts and special treats on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For adults, the U.K.’s holiday attractions include historic churches and cathedrals, Christmas markets, concerts, ice skating rinks and lots of shopping. Claridge’s guests can also enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through Mayfair, Christmas morning carolers and filled stockings followed by a traditional Christmas lunch.

The Bel-Air Hotel, Los Angeles, California
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated holiday celebration, the legendary Bel-Air provides a glamorous setting with twinkling lights and decorations throughout the property. This exclusive hotel offers 12 acres of tropical greenery in the hills above L.A., styled like a private residence from Hollywood’s golden era. Guests can enjoy a special holiday meal from one of the city’s most popular chefs at Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air. Holidays at the Bel-Air Hotel include gingerbread-house-making classes for children and special holiday cocktails for adults.
Many other luxury destinations in the U.S. and beyond offer special holiday packages and activities. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a significant other or as part of a family group, a luxury destination could be your ticket to an unforgettable holiday season. ■

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