If it weren’t for business or holiday trips to visit the in-laws, most folks would find it excruciating to travel in the winter. Hotels know this, but it’s the savvy ones that make braving the cold worthwhile by having everything from fireplace butlers to ice skating rinks within your reach. Here are five places with so many cool amenities they have us warming to the idea of doing more December travel.
Fireplace Butler at Taj Boston
Warm up by a wood-burning fireplace when you book a suite at Taj Boston. At the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel you won’t have to worry about lighting it yourself—a complimentary fireplace butler builds and ignites a fire whenever you’re in the mood, quite a perk for those cold Boston nights. Kick things up a notch by taking advantage of the in-room firewood menu; selections include fragrant cherry and maple, long-burning oak, high heat-emitting birch and a special Taj blend of woods. The wintertime amenity is only offered between November and March.
S’mores at Keswick Hall at Monticello, Charlottesville, Va.
Gather around Keswick Hall at Monticello’s fireplace for a classic wintertime treat. The Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel in Charlottesville, Va. offers s’mores throughout the winter (in December it’s available Friday and Saturday afternoons). Roast marshmallows and prepare your gooey dessert while taking in Keswick’s Great Hall holiday decorations. Everything is provided—marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers and sticks for roasting—and all you have to do is show up with an appetite.
Ski Services at Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, Utah
The ability to ski right out to the slopes from Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge is one of the main draws of this luxe mountainside resort. Another perk? Ski valet services that eliminate hassles before you hit the mountain. Inside the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s ski locker room you’ll be welcomed with warm drinks as expert valets prep your gear and offer recommendations for the best runs of the day based on weather conditions. After time on the slopes, return to the locker room to stow your skis and have them cleaned while your boots are dried overnight.
Fireplace Dinner at Barnsley Gardens Resort, Adairsville, Ga.
Skip the mild North Georgian chill and dine by the fireplace in your private cottage or suite at Barnsley Gardens Resort. A four-course dinner, served by a personal butler, is an ideal addition to a stay at the cozy Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains (about an hour north of Atlanta). Another must-do? Exploring the resort’s 3,300 acres, which include Godfrey Barnsley’s rebuilt Civil War-era home and a Jim Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course, which is usually open even in the dead of winter.
Winter Activities at Blantyre, Lenox, Mass.
Explore the gorgeous grounds of Blantyre, a Tudor-style mansion in the Berkshire Mountains. Snowshoe across the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star country inn’s 117 acres or cross-country ski your way through the trails—all equipment is complimentary to guests. Take a break and head to the warming hut where you can cozy up in a comfy chair, play pool or watch TV on one of the two widescreens. After you’ve thoroughly thawed, visit Blantyre’s ice-skating rink. Surrounded by lights, the rink is an idyllic, romantic way to end a day of wintry pursuits.
Photos Courtesy of Blantyre, The Indian Hotels Company Limited and Stein Eriksen Lodge