27 Thursday September, 2012
There are only 88 days until Christmas, but there is still time to book a fabulous festive escape for you and your family. Here are 7 of our top picks:
1. Pampering Christmas in the Maldives
If R&R is of the upmost importance to you over Christmas, nowhere provides this quite like the Maldives. From swimming in unbelievably see-through seas, to enjoying able-fingered massages, gourmet food and excellent service, the Maldives has all the ingredients for an utterly spoiling Christmas holiday. The Conrad Rangali is a fantastic all-rounder: it is great for families (it has a kiddie spa which does ice cream facials!) and it has one of the best house reefs for snorkelling and scuba diving. The Taj Exotica is also fantastic if you can't wait to get straight to the beach (the transfer from the international airport in Mali takes mere minutes) and the food is the best in the Maldives; Gili Lankanfushi is the ultimate 'barefoot luxury' castaway experience - simply stunning; and the Anantara is perhaps the most luxurious resort in the Maldives - a superlative spot to see and be seen.
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN THE MALDIVES OVER CHRISTMAS - Taj Exotica, The Waldorf Astoria, W Retreat, Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Conrad Rangali, Anantara
2. Cultural Christmas in Sri Lanka
If you're after a cultural escape, nothing beats Sri Lanka's historic forts and temples, peaceful tea plantations and palm-fringed fishing beaches – perfect for family bonding over Christmas. Sri Lankans are serious about Christmas and Galle is the place to be during festive season - there are some very moving carol services which make it feel nice and festive. The Amangalla gala dinner is at the helm of the celebrations with rows of beautiful vintage cars lined up in the ramparts in front of the hotel and fairy lights in every tree. We highly recommend staying for the New Year's Eve party and fireworks - you'll have a personal butler, swing jazz music wafting through your suite and freestanding bathtubs to scrub up before joining the beautiful people downstairs in all their understated finery.
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN SRI LANKA OVER CHRISTMAS - Amangalla, The Fortress, The Lighthouse, Kandy House, Tea Trails, Club Villa
3. Far-flung Christmas in Indonesia
The vast archipelago of Indonesia holds endless treats for tropics-lovers: emerald paddy fields, whispering volcanoes, pristine white beaches and warm turquoise seas. You can look forward to some tongue-tingling food, exotic architecture, diverse Muslim and Hindu cultures and some of the best resorts and villas on the planet. Our top Indonesian experiences for Christmas are: volcano-climbing and Borobudur temples in Java; bustling beaches and peaceful hill towns in Bali; charmingly laid-back Lombok; the best scuba diving in the world in Raja Ampat and luxury surfing and relaxation at Nihiwatu Lodge on the Robinson Crusoe island of Sumba.
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN INDONESIA OVER CHRISTMAS - Misool Eco Resort, Oberoi Lombok, Nihiwatu Lodge, Puri Ganesha Bali, Amanjiwo Java, Amankila Bali, COMO Shambhala Ubud, Alila Villas Soori, Alila Villas Uluwatu
4. Charming Christmas in Vietnam
Direct Vietnam Airlines flights from the UK mean it has never been easier to visit Vietnam and we have plenty of stylish options still available over Christmas. With her French cafés, buzzy atmosphere and 1600km of blazing white beaches, Vietnam is guaranteed to charm. Head to Hanoi to slurp phở, dodge mopeds and meander through the crumbling French colonialism of her graceful Old Quarter. The best place to stay over Christmas is the historic Sofitel Metropole with its vintage Citroens and elegant poolside cocktail bar. For rejuvenation, the UNESCO-protected Halong Bay beckons. Wind down on these jade-coloured waters studded with towering limestone islands and traditional fishing boats by sleeping on a glamorous 1930s Indochine junk, the Halong Jasmine. A kick-ass family holiday - your kids will agree!
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN VIETNAM OVER CHRISTMAS - Sofitel Hanoi, Halong Jasmine, Nam Hai - Hoi An, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay - Nha Trang
5. White Christmas in Bhutan
A land of prayer wheels and pristine Himalayan air, whispering forests and snow-dusted mountains, Bhutan is the ideal place to forget the stresses of a busy year. Enjoy a spiritual Christmas escape trekking across sacred mountains, visiting monasteries, markets and museums, and bedding down in supremely elegant luxury lodges. Although Bhutan can be visited year round (springtime is the most popular season), what many people do not know is that winter is also a great time to go. The weather is predominantly dry and bright, views are crystal clear and, though chilly and crisp, there is nothing like warm blankets and wood fires at a luxury property to make you feel snug and content. Perfect for a Christmas with a twist.
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN BHUTAN OVER CHRISTMAS - Amankora Paro, Amankora Thimphu, Amankora Bumthang, Uma Paro, Uma Punakha
6. Colourful Christmas in India
Balmy Backwaters and beaches, exquisite forts, palaces and temples, vibrant people and colourful saris and turbans at every turn… If you're hankering for something a little different for your Christmas holiday, India is an extremely inspiring environment, particularly evocative for children. With a strong religious Christian population, Kerala is a great destination for a Christmas holiday - churches are full and you will hear groups of people in the streets singing Christmas carols. For an even more alternative Christmas, a cruise down the Ganges' Hooghli river would be magnificent - The ABN Sukapha only has 12 cabins so over the course of the cruise you'll get to know the handful of other guests as you venture into the heart of rural India to fascinating riverside villages that are otherwise inaccessible. Sip G&Ts on the sun deck as you enjoy the adventure and celebrate Christmas with new found friends!
HOTELS THAT ARE STILL AVAILABLE IN INDIA OVER CHRISTMAS - Marari Beach Resort, Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom Lake Resort, ABN Sukapha
7. Temples for Christmas in Cambodia
From the lure of majestic Angkor Wat, to the hottest new eco-friendly private island resort in Asia, Cambodia is one of our most up-and-coming destinations for culture + beach. Siem Reap has some world-class luxury hotels that are very boutique and charming - our favourites are the Amansara and La Residence. Explore the jungle-clad temples of Angkor on a dawn bicycle ride or get an eagle's eye view with a hot air balloon ride. Next, fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to the coast by car, plane or helicopter. Encircled by the clear, azure waters of the Koh Rong archipelago, the ultra exclusive Song Saa Private Island Resort offers spacious villas (all with private pools and wraparound views), beautiful driftwood decorations, incredible food, and perhaps the most comfortable beds in the world. Emphasis is on sustainability and their Life Centre is a great place for kids to learn about conserving marine life and local culture. The staff are lovely and would make Christmas a very special experience for guests.
HOTELS THAT STILL HAVE AVAILABILITY IN CAMBODIA OVER CHRISTMAS - Amansara, La Residence, Raffles Grand D'Angkor, Song Saa Resort
Please get in touch to plan your Christmas holiday with one of our consultants: +44 (0)20 7289 6100 / firstname.lastname@example.org