Where to travel in December


By Issy D’Arcy Clark for High Life magazine

Title photography by Getty

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From Christmas in New York to skiing in Norway, winter wonderlands await. Fancy a spell of sunshine instead? We’ve got that covered with chic Miami and dreamy Mauritius. Whatever you’re looking for, we’re here to help you plan the perfect December holiday.

The beach…

Mauritius

The island of Mauritius boasts an average temperature of 25C in December. Kick back on picture-perfect white sands or liven things up with water sports. Go scuba diving and plunge into the Indian Ocean at Roche Zozo, off Blue Bay on the southern coast. Board a catamaran and feel the revitalising spray of sea water as you sail under the beaming sun.

Eat

If you’re looking for a great range of dining choices, then look no further than Constance Belle Mare Plage. Choose from several enticing options. Revel in the romance of La Spiaggia, a beachside restaurant serving sparkling Champagne and imaginative Mediterranean fare. Or soak up the sophisticated atmosphere at Blue Penny Cellar where innovative cuisine is paired with extraordinary wine in a fabulous cellar setting.

Stay

Set in lush tropical gardens, LUX* Grand Gaube is enveloped by undulating coves and the calmest of lagoons; the immense property is blessed with tranquil beaches and spectacular swimming pools. There’s also an impressive range of water-based activities to try in the idyllic secluded peninsula setting, from windsurfing to glass-bottom boating.

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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 topped with a Swarovski star. Fly from London to New York in December from:£567 pp

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

    Did you know…

    The Wynwood Arts District is home to Miami’s original street art museum: the Wynwood Walls feature work by artists from all around the world.

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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 the iconic sparkling Christmas tree. Stroll through a snow-dusted Central Park or wander along Fifth Avenue to gaze at festive window displays and shop for Christmas gifts in Macy’s. Visit one of many Christmas markets across the city and treat yourself to hot chocolate and crepes as you wander.

Eat

Indulge in the foodie joys of the understated but utterly delicious Burger Joint in Thompson Central Park. 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.

Stay

Bed down at New York Hilton Midtown and savour its superb location – you’ll be close to big city sights, just 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…

Trysil

Soak up the beauty of a Norwegian winter wonderland with a visit to Trysil. Norway’s largest ski resort is around two and half hours from Oslo by bus. When you’re not hitting the ski slopes, there are still plenty of December activities to keep you busy. Zip down one of Norway’s longest toboggan slopes (kids must be aged 10 or older for this experience) and seek out the Northern Lights on an Aurora tour. If you want a break from the minus temperatures, warm up inside with hot chocolate, bowling and swimming pools. Ready to ride the more extreme pistes? You can drop the kids at ski school for a few hours and take some time out to test your skills.

Eat

Whether you’re skiing all day, playing in the snow or splashing about in a pool, feed your appetite at Radisson Blu Resort. Fuel up at Hill Breakfast & Buffet before taking to the pistes. Take a break and grab a quick bite at Wagna, the food truck, or warm up with a hot drink at Mt Mocca. Then head to Chill Bowl & Dine in the evening – expect an American diner atmosphere with bowling lanes, pool tables and arcade games. Alternatively, take a seat in Brasserie T’s relaxed dining room for a slap-up steak on the mountain.

Stay

Radisson Blu Resort’s family rooms are a great option if you’re planning on bringing the whole gang. Modern decor and handy amenities make for a comfortable stay at the foot of the mountain. Make the most of the slopes and then head to Radisson Blue Resort’s indoor Adventure Pool which provides plenty of fun with four swimming pools. Then, when you want to relax your muscles, sit in a Finnish sauna or Turkish steam room for a soothing experience at nearby Alpine Spa.

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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 26C. Don’t miss Junkanoo Festival, a carnival of colour and culture. It’s one of the Caribbean’s oldest street festivals with massive celebrations taking place annually on Boxing Day.

Eat

Be spoilt for choice with a variety of tantalising cuisines at Atlantis Paradise Island. With its 42 restaurants, bars and lounges, there’s something for everyone at this super-resort. Indulge in Japanese flavours at celebrated restaurant Nobu. Sample conch fritters and fried snapper with sweet plantains at Pisces. Ocean Club Clubhouse serves up casual fare in a breezy atmosphere – but its main selling point is the gorgeous view of golf greens and glittering water.

Stay

Treat yourself to an all-inclusive, adults-only retreat 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 its own private harbour and white-sand beach. Let serenity sink in as the sea breeze washes away your winter woes.

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  • A school of dolphins playing in the clear water of the Indian Ocean © Getty Images.

    Amazing encounters

    Spot fins in the waves, under the fin-shaped shoreside mountains.

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The wild card…

Miami

The cooler weather of December brings a brilliant opportunity to explore this quirky, cool city. With lows of 16C and highs of 27C, 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, see the holiday lights at Pinecrest Gardens or watch a classic performance of The Nutcracker by the Miami City Ballet. Elsewhere, Yuletide activities include the enchanting NightGarden light show at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Eat

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 oceanfront views at DiLido Beach Club as you dine on crispy calamari and sip sangria. On Sundays, head for brunch at Bistro One LR where dishes like steak and eggs can be enjoyed alongside bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Stay

Enjoy a stylish stay at Mandarin Oriental, set on prestigious Brickell Key with glorious waterfront views. Indulge in a treatment at the five-star holistic spa, wade through sparkling water at the infinity-edge swimming pool and dine on a terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay and Miami’s glimmering skyline – you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the water. Make your way to Mary Brickell Village for buzzing entertainment and pop to the nearby Design District for a spot of gallery hopping.

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