Where to travel in December

By Issy D’Arcy Clark for High Life magazine

Photography by Getty

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From Christmas in New York, to skiing in Norway, we’ve gathered together the places to go in December when the weather gets chilly. If you’d rather a little sunshine instead, we’ve got that covered too, in the form of chic Miami and dreamy Mauritius.

The beach…


Relax during December, with average temperatures of 25°C on the island of Mauritius. Kick back on picture-perfect white sands or liven things up with water sports or zip-lining through jungles. Go scuba-diving and plunge into the Indian Ocean at Roche Zozo, off Blue Bay on the southern coast, to experience colourful coral reefs and creature encounters. Venture south west to find wild dolphins and enjoy the revitalising spray of sea water on a catamaran.


If you’re looking for a great range of dining choices, then look no further than Constance Belle Mare Plage. Choose from seven enticing options, including La Spiaggia – a romantic beachside restaurant serving sparkling Champagne and imaginative Mediterranean fare. Or the exclusive Blue Penny Cellar, which specialises in innovative cuisine paired with extraordinary wines, in a fabulous wine cellar setting.


Set in lush tropical gardens, LUX* Grand Gaube is enveloped by undulating coves, the calmest of lagoons and is blessed with two tranquil beaches and two spectacular swimming pools. There’s an impressive range of water based activities to try from this hotel’s idyllic secluded peninsula setting, from windsurfing to PADI scuba diving courses.

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  • Ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza skating rink, New York City © Alamy

    Christmas time in the city

    The Rockefeller Center tree is usually about 23m tall and is topped by a Swarovski star made up of around 25,000 crystals.

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  • Graffiti in the Miami’s Wynwood District, USA © Getty Images

    Did you know…

    Wynwood Arts District plays host to over 70 art galleries, quirky shops, antique stores and public art installations.

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  • Beach huts on the shoreline in The Bahamas © Getty Images

    Collecting shells

    No visit to The Bahamas is complete without a helping of conch, a type of sea snail. You can eat it raw with lemon juice, stewed in soup or fried in fritters.

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The city…

New York

There are few places as magical as New York at Christmas. Slip on skates and glide across the ice at the Rockefeller Center, beneath an 80ft Christmas tree that lights up the Big Apple each year. Ride on a horse-drawn carriage through a snow-dusted Central Park or wander along Fifth Avenue for festive window displays and Christmas gift shopping in Macy’s. Visit one of many Christmas markets across the city and treat yourself to hot chocolate and snack on crepes as you wander.


Soak up the foodie joys of the secret burger joint in Le Parker Meridien. Try not to inhale your food, as you tuck into a melt-in-the-mouth cheeseburger, with all the tasty fillings, crispy bacon extra and lip-smacking golden French fries. Share a pitcher of beer with friends or slurp on a delicious Oreo milkshake. Order an epic chocolate brownie for dessert, with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream, to top off a spectacular New York dining experience.


Bed down at New York Hilton Midtown, where halls are decked with holly and you’ll feel like a guest of Santa himself. Savour the superb location when you stay here, close by to big city sights and a short walk from the year-round charm of Central Park. After a long day of exploring in the winter chill, cosy up in your comfy bed and grab a morning treat from the coffee shop to warm you up before heading out again.

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The family trip…


Soak up the beauty of a Norwegian winter wonderland with a visit to Trysil. Norway’s largest ski resort is an easy two-and-a-half hour transfer from Oslo by bus. When you’re not skiing greens with the family, there are plenty of December activities to keep you busy including sleigh rides and dog sledging. If you want a break from the minus temperatures, warm up inside with hot chocolate, bowling and swimming pools. Soak up the views of the Trysilfjellet Mountain or if you’re ready to ride the red or black pistes, you can drop the kids at ski school for a few hours.


Whether you’re skiing all day, playing in the snow or splashing about in a pool, feed your appetite at Radisson Blu Resort. Head to the Chill Bowl & Dine for an American diner feel, with bowling lanes and pool tables too. Treat the family to ice-cream, snacks or drinks when you’re having fun at the Pool Bar and need to top up energy levels. Visit the Hill Buffet Restaurant for a variety of American, Scandinavian and English breakfast selections, before heading to the hills.


Make the most of family time with an apartment stay at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort and Residences. Enjoy an alpine feel here, with beautiful touches of log fires and cosy lounges. Indulge in a full breakfast every morning, before you venture out for a day on the mountain. Or take the kids to the games room, swim in the indoor pool or take in your surroundings at the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. There is a ski rental shop on your doorstep, as well as spa access, a bakery and après bar.

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The big trip…

The Bahamas

Flee the British chill and head to the Bahamas for the ultimate Christmas holiday in the sun. Swap turkey and sprouts for rock lobster in a spicy Creole sauce and guava duff served with rum custard. The rainy season ends in November and hurricanes don’t kick in until June, so December is the ideal time for a visit, with average temperatures hitting up to 26°C. Don’t miss the Junkanoo parade, a carnival of colour and culture. It traditionally begins on Boxing Day and is one of the Caribbean’s oldest street festivals, dating back to the 17th century.


Be spoilt for choice with a variety of tantalising cuisine at the Atlantis Bahamas. With its 21 restaurants and 19 bars/lounges, there is something for everyone. Indulge in Japanese flavours at celebrity chef restaurant, Nobu. Enjoy the casual atmosphere of Virgil’s Real BBQ and enjoy a slap-up platter of marinated meats. The Point Restaurant and Bar serves fresh seafood dishes, salads, and key lime pie for afterwards – but its main selling point is the lovely sunset view.


Treat yourself to an All Inclusive adults-only retreat, with a stay at Warwick Paradise Island. Enjoy the twinkling lights of Nassau harbour at night, unwind poolside with a cocktail and feel holiday fresh with a few spa treatments. The hotel has a great location, near the golf course, water park and a heap of beaches. A few days here will help you forget about all your winter woes.

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  • Swimming with dolphins in Tamarin, Mauritius © Alamy

    Amazing encounters

    Spot fins in the waves, under the fin-shaped shoreside mountains. Tamarin bay is great for dolphin watching

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The wild card…


The cooler weather of December brings a brilliant opportunity to explore this quirky, cool city. With lows of 16°C and highs of 27°C, you can venture around the exciting arts and beer-drinking scene of Wynwood one day, then sunbathe on Miami beach the next. For a Christmas feel, visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical park or enjoy the merriment and holiday lights glisten at Pinecrest Gardens. Elsewhere, Yuletide activities include a classic performance of The Nutcracker by the Miami City Ballet.


Famous for Champagne and brunching, fish tacos and fresh seafood, Miami has some high scoring food joints. Make the most of the selection at the The Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Soak up the oceanfront views of Dilido Beach Club, enjoy crispy calamari and watermelon crush cocktails. Enjoy Sunday brunch in Bistro One LR: bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and a vast buffet selection.


Sleep in style at The Confidante by Hyatt, set on the world-famous and beautifully art deco Miami Beach, complete with two heated pools and a rooftop spa. Immerse yourself in the tropical gardens, play some table football with drinks, then lounge on the beach or poolside. Venture along the boardwalk by foot, or if you’re brave enough, by rollerblades, then explore the cool culture, fashion and shops along Collins Avenue.

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