If you yearn for a Christmas filled with snow white wonder, a magical escape of exhilarating ice-sparkled days and romantic wood-fire nights, then these top 5 luxury travel destinations will make your dreams a reality.
This fairy tale wonderland abounds with soaring castles, many of which now welcome guests with opulent 5 star resort facilities, quaint cobble-stoned villages and breathtaking alpine landscapes. Delight in the extravagant traditional celebrations of a magnificent European city in Zurich, where the country's largest market bustles around the most spectacular Christmas tree adorned with over 5000 Swarovski crystal decorations. Or discover bliss in an indulgent spa retreat nestled in the pristine snow-clad Alps. Allow the mountain air, and the world class wellness treatments, to revitalise your body, mind and soul. When you are ready to emerge once more, an alpine luxury tour by rail offers access to all the natural beauty of Switzerland, in first-class style and comfort. The Glacier Express is a 71/2 hour railway journey winding past ancient mountain forests, dramatic snow-capped peaks, glittering valley streams and idyllic sheltered meadows.
The unspoilt landscape of Norway, which extends across the Arctic Circle, delivers unforgettably magical winter experiences for the young, and young at heart. Hikers and skiers are captivated by its mountains, lakes, woodlands and waterfalls. Another remarkable geographic feature is the fjords. These ancient valleys, once carved by glacial activity, now form long, narrow inlets of the sea held tight between towering cliffs. In these cold waters you can have a close encounter with an awe-inspiring creature, the Orca (Killer Whale). Pods of these graceful predators gather here each year to feed on giant shoals of herring. Your Christmas luxury holiday would not be complete without travelling north to bear witness to the world's most enchanting Christmas light show, the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), which performs most brightly in the winter months.
3. London, UK
London does not often deliver a true white Christmas, with England more commonly experiencing snow from January onwards. However, this thriving metropolis more than compensates for its lack of snowflakes with a lavish season of winter charm and celebration. All this can be enjoyed whilst staying in the most sumptuous 5 star hotels London has to offer, including Rydges Kensington Plaza, an upmarket boutique hotel located in the exclusive area near Hyde Park, and The Ritz and Countryside, the ultimate in stylish and sophisticated accommodation. The streets are bright with festive decorations throughout the city, but of particular note are the West End West End Christmas Lights and the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree. This magnificent tree, usually a towering 20 metres high and over 50 years old, is given each year as a gift from Norway. Entertainment is also a top priority and there is something for every taste, from the fabulous English National Ballet Christmas season to gaudy pantomimes. There might not be snow but you can still enjoy the chill at one of the many outdoor skating rinks and, if you really want a deep freeze, you should visit the Absolut Ice Bar London.
4. Canada & Alaska
Immerse yourself in the expansive and raw beauty of North America with a luxury tour across Canada and Alaska. From the exquisite comfort of Goldleaf Seating on the Rocky Mountaineer Train, you will be awed by soaring snow-capped peaks and endless valleys of white dusted pine trees. On the seven night Alaska luxury cruise you will uncover the wonder of World Heritage listed Glacier Bay National Park, from its extraordinary landscape to its abundant wildlife including Humpback Whales, Orcas, Sea Otters, Northern Fur Seals and various bird species. An amazing experience you will cherish for a lifetime.
If skiing is your pleasure then winter in Japan will provide a wealth of inspiration. There are many snowfields to choose from, but Hakuba Valley is widely recognised as one of the leading international destinations for snowsports having hosted events for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Situated in the heart of the Japan Alps, a four hour train ride north-west of Tokyo, Hakuba Valley boasts seven ski resorts and spectacular scenery with rugged peaks reaching over 1000 metres. If you need a break from the slopes, there are a variety of luxury tours departing from Hakuba including trips to Matsumoto Castle, Nagano's famous Zenkoji Temple and the snow monkeys at Jigokudani hot springs. Call 13 70 71 or enquire online to speak to one of our travel specialists and begin planning your personalised itinerary.