The December travel hot list
Winter is upon those who dwell in the northern hemisphere, with the holiday season on its tail highlighting a variety of travel options. Those who want to escape the cold might be seeking an island fantasy like Anguilla, whose blue-chip resorts are readying themselves for visitors a year after Hurricane Irma. Avid skiers and snowboarders, meanwhile, are likely dreaming of hitting the slopes—whether it’s in Colorado or all the way out among the peaks in Italy. For couples or families looking to embrace the spirit of the holidays, a trip to Berlin checks all of the festive boxes. And adventurers with an urge to unplug may consider travelling to a remote part of Cambodia. With so many options, the hardest part will be deciding where to go—and which trip to save for 2019.
South Tyrol, Italy
Whether you plan to hit the slopes or not, a winter getaway to this mountain-filled province in Italy is nothing short of magical. And nothing beats a stay at a new or noteworthy property with jaw-dropping Dolomites views.
Take Bühelwirt, in the village of San Giacomo, an historic hotel that recently built a modern annexe—the brainchild of the fourth-generation owner and her husband. The addition has 20 rooms, a restaurant, and a spa, all designed with Scandi-inspired clean lines and neutral and natural materials. And it’s not far from epic Dolomites skiing.
About two hours southwest, in Lana, 1477 Reichhalter is a stylish new inn where just eight rooms are filled with antiques and books—but no phones or televisions. A homemade breakfast made with ingredients from local farms is the perfect fuel for a day on the slopes at Schwemmalm, or, for beginners and families, Merano 2000.
Continuing about 42 miles west, Hotel Weisses Kreuz is located in the Ortler Alps (the highest mountains in South Tyrol) in the charming village of Burgeis and about eight kilometres from travel. It’s made up of three buildings, including an 800-year-old mansion that opened a few years back. With 10 uniquely designed suites done up in natural materials, this is alpine chic at its finest. All guests have access to the amenities in the original building, including a restaurant and spa.
Europe during the holidays is the kind of spectacle that everyone should experience at least once. Case in point: The German capital, which celebrates with a number of traditional Christmas markets that might just blow your holiday-loving mind. Follow the scent of mulled wine to the iconic WeihnachtsZauber—whose name means “Christmas magic”—at the beautiful public square of Gendarmenmarkt, where you’ll find tons of crafts and food, plus musical and dance performances on the main stage. Alexanderplatz square, in Mitte, has a bustling market complete with a Christmas pyramid decorated with 5000-plus lights. For some more high-brow entertainment, the recently opened boutique hotel Orania.Berlin in Kreuzberg is hosting a concert series throughout December that will bring talents like the German jazz cult band Mo’Blow and French violinist Fanny Robilliard.
Photo: Auberge Resorts
Photo: Maurice Naragon
This gorgeous Caribbean island is finally ready for its post–Hurricane Irma close-up. On December 15, the Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection is set to debut after a top-to-bottom renovation that includes plenty of new amenities like a beachfront bar and expanded pool area as well as updates to its 46 Meads Bay‐view rooms. And if you can wait, early next year, the resort will welcome a two-bedroom beachfront villa, 15 beachfront and garden suites, and a reimagined spa.
Meanwhile, nearby, the 108-room Belmond Cap Juluca reopens on December 15, with updates like an infinity-edge pool, a spa that blends into its garden surroundings, and 25 beachfront villas or suites (joining its existing six private pool villas).
Photo: Krishna Adithya Prajogo
Photo: Krishna Adithya Prajogo
It’s not every day you have the option to enter a resort via a via a 380-metre zip line—but, then again, Shinta Mani Wild is no ordinary resort. The latest from hotel designer Bill Bensley is set in the off-the-radar South Cardamom National Park, located a three-hour drive from the capital of Phnom Penh. When it opens on December 21, its 15 suites will spare no luxury, the food will feature just-foraged wild plants, and activities will include guided hikes and the opportunity to explore estuaries on the property’s custom expedition boats.
In Siem Reap, meanwhile, innovative travel company 700’000 Heures—so called because we humans spend an average of 700,000 precious hours on Earth—is running a pop-up hotel inside a traditional Khmer house. Open through April (before popping up somewhere else), the temporary hideaway will offer native experiences like visiting local markets, riding an oxcart through rice fields, and meeting with archaeologists who are restoring the temples of Ankgor Wat.
Photo: Matt Power
Snow bunnies should jump at the chance to visit this classic winter wonderland—especially because Snowmass Village is about to finish the first phase of a a massive $835 million development project. On the hotel front, there’s the new 99-room, ski in/ski out Limelight Hotel—home to a five-storey climbing wall and the private Snowmass Mountain Club, which provides members with lockers, parking, and a lounge area right at the foot of the mountain—as well as exciting upgrades to the long-beloved Hotel Jerome (including the sexy subterranean Bad Harriett’s speakeasy). The mountain town is also the only location in the U.S. where snow polo is played, and from December 17 to 22, you can catch the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship to see teams compete in true Aspen style