It’s been… a bit of a year. We’re only halfway through 2020, but it’s already thrown a lot at all of us. With everything that’s been going on, we all deserve a holiday; we’re so excited that the world of travel is opening up again, and what better time to arrange a big celebratory getaway than Christmas?
So you can see the year out in style and gear up for 2021 the right way, we’ve been thinking of the most picture-perfect places to spend Christmas this year. Our list comprises the very best snow-capped adventure destinations and the ideal spots for fitting in some end-of-year pampering.
So, start gathering your winter wardrobe and prepare for a snowy escape to take in the best of the great outdoors, make the most of the winter landscape and make some once-in-a-lifetime memories.
Arctic Treehouse Hotel
Could there be anywhere more perfect to celebrate Christmas than in Lapland? The photogenic Arctic Treehouse Hotel enjoys views out over the Lappish forest that defy belief. The hotel is located in Rovaniemi, which is actually the Official Hometown of Santa Claus – it really doesn’t get more festive than this.
All of the suites here have floor-to-ceiling windows for prime northern lights viewing opportunities, while some boast private saunas for ultimate relaxation after a day of exploration. Seven of the suites feature a kitchenette, perfect for whipping up a quick plate of Christmas Eve treats to leave out for Santa. Interior design is inspired by light-filled mornings in the surrounding forest.
When you don’t fancy venturing out into Lapland’s wilds, find innovative Lappish cuisine at the hotel’s Rakas panoramic restaurant. At Christmas time the hotel puts on a range of programmes for the season, including a gingerbread baking class, a tour of Santa’s toy factory and a private meeting with the man himself.
Northern Lights Ranch
Explore Finland’s northernmost reaches at the secluded Northern Lights Ranch, which promises luxury in the midst of snowy adventure. This is the place to head for a peaceful, relaxing holiday to get away from the year’s stresses. Around 15 miles from Levi Ski Resort and far from any light pollution, the nights here are dark and crisp – perfect conditions for catching a glimpse of the elusive aurora borealis to complete a perfect getaway.
16 Sky View Cabins each offer two glass walls and a glass roof (heated, so snow won’t ruin your view) for taking in the cinematic skies and magnificent, hauntingly beautiful surroundings. For a truly glamourous Christmas, the Deluxe Cabin also has its own outdoor hot tub. For those travelling with more than a partner, Superior and Deluxe Cabins have additional space that can be converted to sleeping quarters for another adult or up to two children.
There’s a heart-shaped ice rink that’s perfect for a romantic evening skate, as well as a picturesque snowshoe trail that starts within the hotel grounds. After a day of adventure, there can be little more relaxing than renting the outdoor sauna and jacuzzi facilities for an evening of unwinding amongst the snow.
There are few hotels more spectacularly located than the Retreat Hotel, which sits perched on the edge of Iceland’s famous geothermal Blue Lagoon in the heart of the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula. It’s not just easy on the eye outside, either. The interior of the hotel features typically sleek Scandinavian design, with lots of earthy tones and natural woods.
If you’re spending the festive season here, hopefully relaxation was on your list to Santa. The amazing lagoon itself has restorative properties, and its mineral-rich waters offer incredible geothermal healing. There’s a mask bar, sauna, in-water massages and even an in-water bar to enjoy. Then there’s the wonderful Retreat Spa, where treatments, massages and therapies will deliver the happiest of Christmases.
Suites at the hotel offer glorious views out of the main lagoon from floor-to-ceiling windows. The two-room Lagoon Suite has its own private lagoon, perfect for the ultimate Christmas morning.
For Christmas holidays with more than a bit of style look no further than Arctic Bath. Bursting with unique design features and Scandi chic, this is a fantastic choice for a modern Arctic holiday.
The hotel is just a ten-minute walk from the nearest village, but feels like its own world. Surrounded by pine forest and topped with pollution-free skies, this place is truly magical. During the winter the local Sámi people often keep their reindeer in this area, so you might even be joined by Rudolph and friends on your retreat.
The interior features lots of local wood and stone, and cabins are either on land or over the water. Water Cabins, connected to the land by a floating walkway, are perfect for couples, while Land Cabins have five beds and an outdoor deck area – fantastic for families or friends on a festive retreat. Pulling out all the stops this Christmas? Try the Suite, complete with spiral staircase, amazing glass frontage and cosy living space perfect for two.
Outside, a vast array of activities includes forest cycling, canoeing, white water rafting, moose safaris and plenty more. The hotel also runs wildlife photography courses, so you can return home with an album full of photos perfect for next year’s Christmas cards.
We couldn’t think about winter holidays without mentioning the Icehotel. Exactly what it says on the tin, this amazing structure is constructed of ice – though we promise you’ll get a warm welcome.
There are two structures here – Icehotel 365 which stands year-round (protected from the warmer months by solar power), and the original Icehotel Winter, which is available from December to April and is reconstructed with new art and sculptures every year.
Staying here is, without doubt, a unique experience, and one for the bucket list. It doesn’t get much more ‘winter wonderland’ than staying in a hotel made entirely of ice, so it’s highly recommended if you’re after a particularly cool Christmas. Ice rooms are maintained at around -5°C, and guests are provided thick blankets, reindeer pelts and sleeping bags worthy of an intrepid polar explorer.
Spent a chilled evening at the Ice Bar, where your champagne will be served in a glass made of – you guessed it – ice and dine on exceptional cuisine. To push your experience to the limit, we recommend trying the ice menu tasting experience for a special dinner.
If your idea of a winter break involves being immersed in the Arctic experience, surrounded by fresh snow and nestled in the countryside, Javri Lodge might be just the ticket.
Guests at this adult-only chalet have a Finnish sauna, swimming pool and cosy lounge at their disposal. The lodge comprises 13 rooms, and can be rented exclusively – perfect for a family getaway, as children are welcome when the whole lodge is hired.
Groups of up to ten guests can head out for organised group activities. The lodge has UKK National Park – Finland’s second largest – on its doorstep, so there’s really no end to the outdoor adventures you can take part in on your winter holiday.
Whether you’re husky sledding, snowmobiling, ice swimming, tobogganing or skiing, you’ll never find time to be bored. Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the wintry outdoors, head inside for all the pampering you can handle. If relaxation is on your Christmas list, the two Finnish saunas, gym, range of massage treatments and swimming pool here will be perfect.
Once upon a time, spending Christmas in a treehouse would have been nothing more than a pipe dream (or an unfortunate accident). Enter Swedish design – TreeHotel offers an entirely new concept of the treehouse, with accommodation perched amongst the towering pines of the Swedish wilderness.
The treehouses here aren’t your standard log cabin structures, either. There’s a humungous bird’s nest, a giant mirrored cube, a UFO and the confusingly named Blue Cone (which is postbox red) to choose from. Staying here is an amazing, whimsical experience – though it might be a bit more challenging for Santa to deliver your gifts with you sleeping amongst the treetops!
Whether your Christmas holiday is going to be all-action or completely blissful, this is a superb choice for a one-of-a-kind European break. For relaxing days, spend time at the sauna, doing yoga, touring a local brewery, dining al fresco or foraging in the forest. For a bit more adventure, there’s always hiking, fishing, ‘Fat Biking’, horse riding and even moose safaris… so your Christmas can be more than the same old paper hats and board games.
We’re now booking holidays for late 2020 and early 2021. Get in touch with our team to start planning your next snow adventure.