1. Jamaica – Strawberry Hill
Nestled in Jamaica’s majestic Blue Mountains, Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa is a stunning hide-away owned by Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell. Everyone from Reggae king Bob Marley to U2 and Grace Jones have come here to chill, and their photos and hit records are prominently displayed. The cozy boutique property boasts 12 Georgian-style cottages (decorated with chic, understated flair), the Caribbean’s only full-service Aveda Concept Spa, nouvelle Jamaican cuisine and panoramic views. The property’s lush gardens and stunning infinity pool will leave you sighing with blissful delight. Holiday deals include the “Tis the Season to be pampered” package featuring delicious spa treatments. For more information visit here.
(Image courtesy of Strawberry Hill)
2. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
There’s always a new, hot and hip hotel in Sin City, but nothing says Las Vegas quite like Caesars Palace. This legendary resort oozes luxury, from its swanky accommodations, 26 restaurants and cafes, gardens and pools, to casino gaming and A-list entertainment. For the holidays, pop by the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace for a gourmet hot chocolate (try chocolate Chai with white chocolate truffles), or soothe your senses with special holiday spa services. For New Year’s Eve, pop princess Rihanna will host festivities that promise to be oh-so-fab at Caesars’ Pure nightclub. For more information go to www.visitlasvegas.com
(Courtesy of Caesars Palace Las Vegas)
3. National Harbor, Maryland. Gaylord National Resort.
Gaylord does Christmas on steroids: Inside this glass-encased mega-hotel on the Potomac River, (10 minutes from Washington, D.C.) there’s a 60-foot glass Christmas tree, an indoor snowfall, and two million (yep, you read that right) dazzling lights. Don’t miss Gaylord National’s ICE! Display, a winter wonderland created of ice—a whopping two million pounds. The fantastical exhibit (this year’s theme is Dr. Suess) has been hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans. Dress warmly: the display is kept at a brrr-y cold 9 degrees.
Christmas on the Potomac” runs through January 9.
(Courtesy Gaylord National Resort. National Harbor, MD)
4. La Mamounia Hotel, Morocco, North Africa
In the historic city of Marrakech, La Mamounia is named after its renowned 200-year-old gardens. Since 1923, the iconic hotel has welcomed royalty, celebs and jet setters with its traditional Moroccan hospitality. Following a major restoration, La Mamounia re-opened in 2009 with some 200 guest rooms and suites, an opulent spa; state-of-the-art fitness center; tennis courts; indoor/outdoor ozone pools; five bars and three signature restaurants. Fun amenities include homemade ice-cream served daily at poolside. Holiday festivities range from children’s chocolate-tastings, and fine dining with themed Christmas Eve menus, to a New Year’s Eve soiree, featuring flavored champagnes, and beats by international DJ Miss Vixen.
(La Mamounia, Anson Smart)
5. The Roxbury, Catskills, New York
The Roxbury has so much mojo, it hardly matters that it’s nearly three hours away from its famous neighbor, Manhattan.
Overlooking stretches of the Delaware River, this not-so-ordinary boutique motel recently underwent a va-va-voom expansion. New accommodations embrace vintage themes in TV or film, and even the honeymoon suite (dubbed Amadeus’ Bride) melds Versailles with Vegas, complete with gilded, golden touches and bling. Rooms feature everything from 85-gallon soaking tubs and Egyptian cotton towels, to WiFi, large tvs, even mood lighting and fresh flowers. Holiday packages include discounts on new rooms and suites.
(Courtesy of The Roxbury Motel)
6. La Samanna, St. Martin, French West Indies
From the late Jackie O, to a certain African-American comedian, this glam beach-front resort is rightfully celebrated by discerning travelers as one of the best in the Caribbean. Besides luxe accommodations and superb service, the team here truly thinks of everything: airport transfers to the resort by boat, painting and treasure hunts for the kids, even bio-degradable flatware for an eco-friendly beach picnic. La Samanna’s French Caribbean fare, world-class wine cellar, and a new cheese cellar promise an exquisite culinary experience. Holiday travelers can book through the resort, or consider Music and Commerce, a New York based company which has relationships with high end clients globally. “We can often work out deals for clients depending upon when they travel and the level of service they desire,” says partner John Aduna. “If a client sees a option that the resort is currently offering, we may be able to enhance it if the vacation is booked through us.
(Image courtesy of La Samanna)
7. Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
Montage Deer Valley just opened its doors, but the fanfare’s already begun for this oasis aimed at skiers and outdoor lovers. Situated amidst the mountains of Park City, Utah, Montage Deer Valley promises unrivaled ski-in/ ski-out access to one of America’s top ski resorts, and some 200 deluxe rooms and suites. Envision a host of activities for the holidays and year-round: hiking, biking,
golf and fly-fishing, bowling, billiards, and a game arcade.
(Courtesy of Montage Deer Valley)
8. The Betsy, South Beach, Miami
Spend your holidays hanging out with the beautiful people in sexy South Beach. The Betsy is a landmark hotel along famed Ocean Drive, complete with 62 rooms/suites that are beachside havens.
Upscale yet laid-back, The Betsy boasts a courtyard pool, a rooftop deck with views of the Atlantic, and Wellness garden offering spa treatments and yoga. Sip cocktails at the lobby bar, or dine in style at BLT Steak. You’ll also find the holiday spirit alive here year-round: the hotel’s philanthropy has benefited an AIDS center in Zimbabwe, American veterans, the homeless and others.
(Image courtesy of The Betsy)
9. Eden Rock – St. Barths, French West Indies
From Beyonce and Jay-Z, to Mariah Carey and Usher, the glitterati have long called St. Barts their playground. The Eden Rock hotel is famous for its cool, sexy vibe. Perched on a rocky bluff that juts out over an azure sea, the luxe accommodations include villas (with names like Villa Rockstar) right on the beach. Guests enjoy perks ranging from an on-site art gallery and fashion boutique, to delectable gourmet cuisine.
To ring in 2011, revelers can enjoy midnight fireworks and an after-hours bash with New York DJ Jesse Marco, sure to keep the party hot `til the wee hours.
(Courtesy of Eden Rock- St. Barths)
10. The Palma Royale, Panama
With both Latin and Caribbean flavor, Panama is ideally suited for holiday travel because mid-December ends the rainy season. Everything’s very green and the weather is gorgeous — 80s and sunny.
Panama City boasts its share of high-end hotels, and a Waldorf Astoria, Trump hotel and condo, as well as a new luxury Hilton will all be opening in 2011.
The Palma Royale hotel Bocas del Toro has a solid reputation, but won’t break the bank. Make it your headquarters as you savor Panama’s lively, welcoming culture.
(Courtesy of The Palma Royale Hotel)
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Sure, the economy has been awfully Scrooge-like lately, but Santa promised a little extra in your stocking this year.
So why not break with tradition (or start a new one), and get away for the holidays?
Be it a sun-splashed jaunt to Jamaica, zipping down the slopes in Utah, or strolling through exotic gardens in Morocco, we’ve scouted 10 domestic and international destinations that offer everything from Mother Nature’s wintry spell, to balmy breezes.
So grab your jingle bells and join our holiday ride —minus the sleigh. And if you can’t make it this year, mark your calendar for 2011.