Sometimes the best way to spend the end-of-year festive period is to be in a foreign land, surrounded by new inspirations and unique holiday cheer. The time away not only gives you a well-deserved break away from the daily grind, but also the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture and climate – making the experience all the more memorable.
Leading up to the year-end festivities, we have handpicked our top five festive retreat that will take your breath away, and make for an unforgettable holiday abroad.
1. Ice Hotel, Swedish Lapland
Nowhere screams Christmas like Scandinavia which, come December, is dusted in a thick coat of snow. The world-famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, a small quaint Swedish village of 1,100 local residents, is one mesmerising highlight of the region which makes it to our top five hotels.
Every year, celebrated artists and designers are selected to work on new hotel architecture and structure, made from a combination of snow and ice from the nearby Torne River.
A stay in Ice Hotel is the definition of what Christmas may mean to many – a winter wonderland to call home, spectacular Northern Lights to enjoy at night, and homely Christmas cuisine prepared up by loving chefs – all this with a touch of whimsy. Snuggle in an ice bed topped with cosy layers of fur and shearling with your loved one, or enjoy some outdoor fun at the local Christmas Games. Guests can also join a tour of the area while being led on a sledge by some friendly hardworking huskies, and if you’re lucky, you may just get a sighting of Santa…
2. The Palace Hotel, New York City
One of the best ways to be immersed in the Christmas spirit is to be in a city that never sleeps, so you can enjoy the cheer round the clock. New York City is a giant festive party during the month of December which boasts carolling at the subway stations, incredible window displays at department stores and dazzling decorations. You can’t help but be in awe of this winter wonderland!
The place to stay is The Palace Hotel which is superbly located in Midtown on Madison Avenue amidst all the key city sights. Guests are greeted by a breath-taking 30-foot tree in the hotel’s courtyard entrance, and a three-foot gingerbread house complete with an accompanying chocolate train.
At the turn of Christmas Day, join the throngs of warmly dressed people to witness the switching on of the famed Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree lights. Or take romantic horse and carriage ride through Central Park where you can see the glistening lights in the distance amidst the snow dusted trees.
3. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is the finest place to stay in this buzzing city, which makes it even more of a standout choice during the festive period. The hotel pulls out all the stops to provide guests with the best experience they can offer – a visit from Santa, tempting gourmet meals by well-known French chef Pierre Gagnaire, and if you are looking for something a little more retro-inspired, a festive dinner at The Chinnery which will bring you back to days gone by. You can look forward to steaming mulled wine and roasted chestnuts while feasting on classic festive favourites.
Much like the Big Apple, you will find the streets and shopping malls in Hong Kong packed with shoppers and tourists well past midnight – more so in December than any other time of the year. An all-round unique experience, with a flavourful blend of Asian culture with Western festive spirit, Mandarin Oriental promises to be an unforgettable getaway.
4. Nikki Beach Koh Samui, Thailand
If there were a resort which knows how to throw a party, Nikki Beach on Koh Samui would be it. Despite being situated on a relatively remote island, the property has no problem attracting the festive mobs in the lead up to celebratory occasions, all year round.
Go on a warmer Christmas getaway and lounge in the hotel’s well-known pool or take a stroll along the neighbouring Lipa Noi beach, before the night festivities begin. If you are a guest of the hotel during the Christmas period, be prepared to fill your stomach with sumptuous festive meals specially crafted by the in-house chefs. Anticipate glazed holiday ham steak, herb brined sous vide turkey breast, and their special Christmas blondie brownie.
Soak yourself in merriment of the fellow guests and hospitable staff and you’ll find it hard to leave when your flight home nears.
5. Tanjung Rhu Resort, Malaysia
For those craving minimal travel time but still wanting that complete escape, look no further than Tanjung Rhu Resort on Langkawi island, which is located off the North-western coast of Malaysia and only a 1.5 hour-long flight from Singapore.
The warm Asian climate coupled with the property’s private stretch of powder white sand and accompanying clear waters, offer a stunning view all the way out to Thailand’s coast, making it a true festive escape for couples and families alike.
To ring in the end-of-year occasions, the resort hosts a special Christmas Eve Gala dinner on 24th Dec, and also a New Year’s Eve Gala on the 31st, where festive delicacies are served and guests can mingle with one another.
If you’re getting ready to book your year-end escape, be sure to check out www.zuji.com.sg and like www.facebook.com/zuji.com.sg today to get updated on ZUJI’s latest promotions. For extra special value deals, look out for getaway packages on the new ZUJI Exclusive website at exclusives.zuji.com.sg.