Where To Go In December
The holiday season is approaching, which means Christmas markets are in full swing, ski resorts are opening and there is winter sun to be had in the southern hemisphere. Here, we have curated our favourite destinations for December, from New York City to South Africa.
London is magical in December. Its elegant streets and townhouses are festooned with Christmas lights, trees, garlands and decorations and there are fewer more festive places to be. Many of its best hotels come into their own too, with Claridge’s and The Connaught being among our favourites to check into. It’s also the perfect month to explore the English capital’s dynamic restaurant scene: try the new St John in Marylebone and Petersham Nurseries, an old classic. If you want to feel extra Christmassy, book in for ice skating at Somerset House.
Lake Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany
No-one does Christmas markets quite like the Germans, and this year, we’ll be heading to the three spe ctacular ones at Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. Try the one at Bad Wiessee on all advent weekends for twinkling lights by the lakeside, artisan makers, performances by the Tegernsee alphorn blowers and horse-drawn carriage rides. Stay nearby at either: the newly opened Tegernsee Suites, with their modern Scandi-style interiors, fully-equipped kitchens and roaring fireplaces; or the family-run Bio Design Boutique Landhaus St. Georg with its comfy countryside aesthetic and excellent locally-sourced breakfasts.
St Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Part of the mega Arlberg ski area, St Anton opens up for the new season on December 3rd, making it the ideal resort for an early ski trip where you can take advantage of its endless runs, off-piste and superlative apres vibe. Last year, the extraordinary new Ullrhaus Hotel opened its doors, bringing a Nordic design and creative vibe to St Anton — as well as a slick spa. Alternatively, you can opt for the Himmlhof , where you’ll find a more alpine aesthetic, with a fantastic terrace for those sunny winter days.
New York City, US
Much like London, New York is a dream during the holidays, with its handsome avenues decked out in their festive finery, skating in Central Park and the Rockefeller Christmas tree. Stay at The Greenwich in Tribeca, where you’ll want to while away hours in the Library room in front of the fire and in its Japanese-inspired Shibui spa. And, of course, you’ll want to sample as many of the Big Apple’s best restaurants as you can — our must-books include King for its northern Italian-inspired menu and the classic Polo Bar in Midtown.
Berkshires, Massachusetts, US
This pocket of western Massachusetts draws in a stylish crowd in winter thanks to its beautiful mountain scenery and endless hikes, postcard-pretty New England towns, farm-to-table food scene and art galleries. Our pick of the best places to stay has to be Life House, which opened earlier in 2022. Formerly a 1970s lodge, it has been reimagined as a writer’s retreat and is now absurdly cosy with a library, outdoor fire pits and a small drinking den for late night cocktails. When you’re not gathering around the fire with fellow guests, visit nearby Lennox with its strong literary heritage.
Franschhoek Mountains, South Africa
December is one of the best months to get away to South Africa, and particularly its stunning winelands. This winter, we have our eyes on Franschhoek mountains, where you’ll find Sterrekopje, a biodiverse farm hotel nestled in its foothills. Designed to regenerate earth, body and soul, it has 11 sanctuaries and suites peppered across the 50 hectares of farmland, with the option to stay for either a 2,3, 5 or 7-night journey. You’ll leave feeling rested, inspired and connected.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Fast becoming one of Mexico’s most desirable small cities, the colonial-style San Miguel de Allende is a kaleidoscope of colour with fantastic markets and restaurants, a buzzing wine scene and must-visit galleries. The place to stay is the newly opened La Valise, which has six suites and an enviable rooftop, as well as incredible surrealist art by Pedro Friedeberg embedded into many of its walls. Combine it with a trip to Mexico City for a lengthier Mexican break.
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