Christmas & New Year Travel
Tired of spending the festive season surrounded by the same old scenery? December is the perfect time to escape the gloom of winter and travel to an exotic destination across the globe.
1. New York, USA
Why New York? It's the most wonderful time of the year. Spending the festive season in New York is a childhood dream of many. The setting of 'Miracle on 34th Street' and 'Home Alone', the city that never sleeps comes alive even more throughout the winter months. Temperatures often fall below zero, and when it snows it buckets down, covering the streets and parks in a blanket of white. New York is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world, especially Manhattan, where you will find the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre and Central Park.
Where to Stay: Recommended by Xclusive, The New York EDITION Hotel is set in an ideal location, with dazzling views of the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park and the Hudson River. Alternatively, situated on the cusp of Central Park, you will find the Ritz Carlton. Boasting it's own in-house spa and fitness facilities, this chic 5-star hotel is in a prime location to explore the city.
Things to Do: The list is endless. In the run up to Christmas, The Rockefeller Centre is resplendent during this time of year, with the world famous Christmas tree and ice-skating rink. Spend a day shopping at one of the many Christmas markets or department stores. No trip to New York would be complete without seeing the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. A holiday tradition, dating back to 1932, Radio City delivers an enormously entertaining show with state-of-the-art special effects and talented dance acts, all at the worlds largest indoor theatre. With Christmas out the way, Times Square is the hub for all New Year's Eve celebrations. With millions in attendance and watching worldwide, the Times Square ball drop has been a global tradition since 1907! Alternatively, if you prefer something a little more low-key, embark on a New Year's Eve cruise, which includes an open bar and appetizers, as well as a champagne toast while you watch the fireworks at midnight.
Where to Eat: New York is home to some of the finest restaurants in the world. One of the finest dining experiences in New York is Eleven Madison Park, headed up by Swiss culinary genius Daniel Humm and is actually rated as the third best restaurant in the world! Sumptuous food, exemplary service and also proudly holds 3 Michelin Stars. An evening here will no doubt surpass your every expectation. Located within the Mandarin Oriental, Xclusive recommends Asiate. Breathtaking views of Central Park and food to match.
Nearest Airport: Teterboro airport is nearest to New York City, where various transfers can be arranged to get you to your end destination, ranging from a helicopter to a traditional 'yellow cab'.
2. Nassau, The Bahamas
Why Nassau? Those seeking to escape the cold and vacate to a warmer climate, look no further than The Bahamas. The vast paradise island that boasts some of the clearest waters in the world where the winter is actually the perfect time to visit. Relaxing days on the beach give way to wild nights, as The Bahamas gets ready to ring in the New Year.
Where to Stay: The majority of the hotels on the island are luxury paradises. Perhaps the most luxurious and well known is The Atlantis. Situated on Paradise Island, there are actually three hotels, however the most luxurious of them all is The Royal Towers. You have access to pretty much every facility in the hotel including the grand casino if you fancy your hand at a game of blackjack or roulette. The majority of the rooms are a matter of steps away from the sea, a pristine private beach and various gourmet dining restaurants.
Things to Do: When it comes to seeing in the New Year, Nassau does things a little unconventionally. The Atlantis Hotel throws a masquerade ball for its residents and offers prime viewing of the Marina Village fireworks. Bahamians are well known for their crazy Junkanoo street parades which often lead to informal beach gatherings if you fancy something a little more cultural. While Christmas is widely celebrated, Boxing Day and New Year's Day usually bring larger celebrations.
Where to Eat: Cafe Matisse, located in the heart of downtown Nassau, serves the best Italian food in the city. Attentive service, flawless food and an extensive menu, but be sure to make a reservation! The Atlantis Hotel also has a number of excellent dining options, 21 restaurants and 19 bars ensures there is an option for everyone. Cafe Martinique, originally made famous for its appearance in the James Bond film Thunderball, is a culinary treasure in Marina Village. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has recreated the luxury and legendary ambiance of the restaurant, offering a delectable menu of classic French gourmet food.
Nearest Airport: Lynden Pindling International Airport is the largest international gateway into the country.
3. Paris, France
Why Paris? Noël à Paris. No introductions needed. Paris is well renowned for its food, culture, fashion, art and architecture, rarely disappointing anyone who visits. If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the festive season, you will find yourself thrust in front of a city that sparkles with bright lights and decorated trees that line the boulevard toward the Champs-Élysées.
Where to Stay: Paris invented the luxury hotel. 1898, the opening of the infamous Ritz Hotel. Hôtel du Louvre, receiver of the first ever 5-star rating in 1887. Today, there are almost fifty, five-star hotels and in addition to this there are also a handful of deluxe palace hotels. La Reserve is a delightful 5-star hotel, which boasts more suites than rooms and will provide any guest with an intimate and elegant Parisian Xperience. Set aback from the Champs-Élysées, a modernised Haussmannian building which has a small but decadent spa and treatment rooms set around a ostentatious indoor pool. Alternatively, luxury is epitomised at the Shangri-La Hotel. The location is stunning and the service you receive with no doubt leave you speechless. Pick the perfect room and you will find yourself with a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower.
Things to Do: The city is compact enough that the majority of the main attractions are easily accessible on foot and many are actually free to enter. The Parisian's get into the festive spirit in November with the famous light switch on along the Champs-Élysées. The boulevard is lined with no less than 160 authentic chalets and also a Christmas market which has a variety of seasonal events to liven up the worlds most beautiful avenue. The Grande Parade will make its way along the avenue from 10am to 6pm on January 1st with carnival floats and brass bands making for an unforgettable atmosphere. On New Year's Eve itself there isn't an official fireworks show but instead there is a light show at the Eiffel Tower when the clock hits midnight. There are however unofficial fireworks across the city and indeed the wider Paris district throughout the evening. One of the more popular ways to see in the New Year is on the Seine, where the boat parties and extravagant dinners on offer make for an incredible end to the year. For those keen to carry on after midnight, there's no better place than along the Champs-Élysées. People begin to gather from early evening, armed of course with the requisite champagne bottles.
Where to Eat: Paris is one city where the phrase 'spoilt for choice' doesn't seem adequate enough, with thousands of eateries in the Metropolitan area alone. Xclusive recommends a visit to either Epicure or Le Cinq for succulent French Cuisine. Make the evening extra special and dine at the infamous 58 Tour Eiffel. Located on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, Chef Alain Soulard offers high-quality, modern French cuisine, combining tradition and originality with breathtaking views over the Trocdéro, Palais de Challiot and the beauty of the Eiffel Tower's structure.
Nearest Airport: The most popular private jet airport is Le Bourget as it is conveniently positioned for easy access directly into the heart of Paris.