Christmas is a magical time at home for many, but lots of us would willingly board a plane and exchange winter attire for beachwear. Our destination specialists have shortlisted four destinations across the globe, for those in hot pursuit of a villa or tailor-made holiday in the sun this coming Christmas.
A Spiritual Escape
For those wishing to escape the commercial side of Christmas, the perfect remedy is surely a spiritual retreat to rejuvenate and restore balance. Kamalaya, in Koh Sumui, is a beautiful resort centred on a cave where Buddhist monks once congregated to meditate. Head into the New Year afresh with a choice of wellness programmes including Embracing Change, Relaxation and Detox. However, the festivities won’t go totally unmarked as guests will be entertained with Christmas carols, a classical Thai dance show and a beautiful lantern release on the beach.
Weather: On the east coast of the Thai peninsula, the dry season begins in December and sunshine is accompanied by refreshing breezes (max day temperature 29°C).
A Family Celebration in the Caribbean
St Anne’s Point, Antigua
Five-bedroom private villa St Anne’s Point can comfortably accommodate multi-generational families and is enviably located within walking distance of stunning beaches and the historic English Harbour – perfect for combining time together at Christmas around the fifty foot pool as well as embracing the local party atmosphere. On Christmas Day people pack up a picnic and flock to the Yacht Club at Nelson’s Dockyard to enjoy a Champagne Party with live music. Celebrations continue when the island plays host to ‘Minival’ on New Year’s Day, complete with moko jumbies (stilt walkers) and a steel band.
Weather: November sees the end of the hurricane season, so typically December is drier and temperatures are less humid (max day temperature 29°C).
Slow Travel Down Under
Lord Howe Island, Australia
Lord Howe Island is a small Australian island in the Tasman Sea known for its sweeping views, subtropical forests and fish and coral rich waters. Leave the modern pace of life behind and enjoy being off-grid where you will be one of only 400 visitors permitted on the island at any one time. The pace on the island is deliciously slow. Bikes, one taxi, and optional shoes to walk in are the only modes of transport on the island, unless you count a glass bottom boat that is used daily to explore the floor of the lapping lagoon. Being separated from its big sister, the island receives only fortnightly deliveries so it relies heavily on the use of produce sourced from local vegetable gardens and whatever the ‘catch of the day’ may be. The snorkelling is divine, as are the many walking trails and look-out points. Accommodation comes in the form of either Capella Lodge, a luxury boutique retreat or the more rustic option of Arajilla which combines excellent cuisine and Ayurvedic spa treatments in a timber yurt.
Weather: December marks the start of Australia’s summer with Lord Howe Island enjoying warm temperatures (max day temperature 23°C).
Christmas in the Desert
With guaranteed good weather, Europeans flock to Oman during the winter season and, although not a Christian country (Omanis follow the moderate Ibadi Islamic faith), the spirit of Christmas is observed, especially in the resort hotels along the coast near Muscat. The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, for example, has a huge Christmas tree and Santa arrives by camel to the delight of younger guests. Sea temperatures are around 24 degrees Celsius and there are opportunities for snorkelling and spotting dolphins in the Damaniyat Islands. It’s not all about the beach, however; there are magnificent walking trails and amazing, fairy-tale Arabian forts in the Al Hajar mountains with opportunities to swim in refreshing wadis. For something really special, book your own private camp in the desert and watch the sun rise over the dunes on Christmas Day morning before a celebratory dinner.
Weather: Oman is a year round destination, however it can be a little chilly in the evening in the mountains (max day temperature 27°- Muscat).
For more suggestions on where to spend this Christmas in the sun, contact the luxury travel specialists at Red Savannah on +44 (0)1242 787800.