The chilly winter months tend to hinder certain activities, from outdoor hikes to lounging by the pool. But you can embrace the season for a great winter getaway. Luxury hotels are offering a slew of fun packages, everything from VIP treatment at Christmas parades to lacing up your skates for unlimited time on the ice rink. Before you settle on staying put while the temperatures drop, check out our picks for the ultimate winter “chillcations.”
Hop across the pond for a stay at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. The luxury Knightsbridge hotel is getting into the holiday spirit and offering VIP access to some of the season’s best family events with its Candlelit Christmas with Harrods package — after all, the legendary store is just down the block from the Mandarin. Available through December 24, the offer includes a one-night stay with a free roll-away bed, full English breakfast (either in room or at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal that overlooks Hyde Park) for two adults and one child, as well as a Christmas candle by London-based perfumery Ormonde Jayne. Kids will receive their own welcome gifts, including a Harrods 2013 teddy bear, a personalized letter from Father Christmas (the British Santa Claus) and an assortment of sweet treats, too. Once you’ve all had your fill of sugary bites, head to the Harrods Christmas Grotto (through December 24) to meet the bearded fellow himself with a VIP ticket.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
If your ideal winter escape involves rays of sunshine and swaying palm trees, Five-Star Hotel Bel-Air fulfills both of those requirements and more. The Spanish Mission-style hotel’s LA Winter Escape package (available through March) not only includes a $75 daily breakfast credit, but also a $250 credit to use for a future stay at its sister property, Five-Star The Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as complimentary valet and high-speed Internet. No proper vacation would be complete without a bit of imbibing, either, so you’ll also receive two seasonal cocktails at The Bar & Lounge. Inspired by both the bar’s celebrity portraits by photographer Norman Seeff and legendary musicians behind the holiday season’s festive music, winter drinks include the Brown Sugar (Courvoisier VS, calvados, lemon juice), Run Run Rudolph (Tanqueray No. Ten gin, lemon juice, Luxardo Sangue Morlacco) or Baby It’s Cold Outside (Myers’s dark rum, Hennessy V.S, cream, nutmeg).
The Little Rock hotel has been around since 1870, and for good reason. Various political figures have flocked there over the years, including former U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Bill Clinton, and the Southern charm of the Four-Star hotel makes for a memorable trip. The Meet Me at the Capital package provides standard offerings, such as accommodations and complimentary valet parking, but the culinary perks are the cherry on top. Enjoy dinner at Capital Bar and Grill with delicious plates such as pimento grilled cheese with a side of Parmesan herb fries. Afterward, watch the Ted Ludwig Trio perform (Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. to midnight), and sway to the sweet sounds of jazz guitar before calling it a night. Come sunrise, start your day off with breakfast at chef Joël Antunes’ Ashley’s. Dishes such as the signature chocolate French toast topped with peanut butter and sautéed bananas or flaky buttermilk biscuits with housemade breakfast links and spicy sausage gravy will hit the spot before you hit the road.
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga.
Positioned on Lake Oconee between Atlanta and Augusta, this Four-Star hotel is a scenic getaway during the winter months. Georgia’s winter temps are nowhere near as frigid as those found in Chicago or New York City, but the mildly crisp weather does allow for certain chilly activities. The property’s Fire & Ice package (offered November 24 through February 22) is a fun option for families — you’ll receive a resort view room, valet parking and breakfast for two at Georgia’s Bistro, where you can nosh on plates such as shrimp and grits or eggs Benedict. The highlight of the package, however, is that you get unlimited ice skating time at the hotel’s 6,000-square-foot rink. While it’s not on the lake, you can still spot the water through the tent flaps and trees for a slice of scenery as you skate. Once you’ve sufficiently practiced your triple toe loops and sit spins, a delicious s’mores turndown amenity will be waiting for you.
Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah
If you haven’t quite mastered the art of stuffing a turkey, head to Utah’s skier’s paradise, Park City, for Thanksgiving. Four-Star Montage Deer Valley is upping the ante for this food-driven holiday by offering a whole host of events throughout Thanksgiving weekend. On November 28, visit Four-Star restaurant Apex for a delicious buffet ($75 for adults, $30 for kids) of butternut squash soup, rosemary roasted leg of lamb, garlic mashed potatoes and apple-cranberry crisp with vanilla sauce. Families should get a photo taken out on the Vista Terrace between 1 and 4 p.m. — the backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains will make for a frame-worthy picture. The rest of the weekend affords a variety of festivities, too, including a children’s treasure hunt on November 29, as well as a family obstacle course, holiday storytelling with s’mores (featuring housemade marshmallows) and the resort’s third annual tree lighting with a gourmet hot chocolate bar on November 30.
Photos Courtesy of Montage Deer Valley, Dorchester Collection and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC