Many travelers are choosing to spend the end-of-year holidays at a vacation destination – whether it’s a tropical island in the sun, a nearby cozy mountain lodge or an exotic, far-away locale.
Perhaps you seek a Caribbean island with balmy days and nights – or you may prefer a colder clime where ski slopes stir your adventurous soul. No matter, there are places all over the globe that offer the joyous adornments of the holiday season.
Here are a few to consider.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis.
The “12 Days of Christmas Island-Style” is celebrated at Nisbet on the serene Caribbean island of Nevis. There’s everything from a visit with Santa to a champagne toast when the clocks strike midnight Dec. 31.
Guests enjoy Christmas carolers, an eggnog reception, Rudolph and friends at crab races, stargazing to watch for Santa’s sleigh, a wine tasting party at the Great House, a rain forest hike, a beach barbecue dinner party and more.
Three dozen guest cottages are set among lush landscapes along a half-mile stretch of white coral sand. Daily breakfast is served at the poolside restaurant, and afternoon tea, tennis, croquet and snorkeling are available.
Rates from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1, 2001, start at $500 per couple, per night, double occupancy; children under 2 stay free.
With the soaring popularity of cruise vacations, there are wonderful choices for everyone’s taste and budget.
Temptress Adventure Cruises feature excursions for the nature lover. There are ecoadventure trips to remote sites of the world which preserve the natural beauty of the area. Two seven-night sailings, one Dec. 20 and one Dec. 27, find the 100-cabin Explorer cruising the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and gliding through the Panama Canal. Prices start at $1,995 per person, double occupancy.
This different kind of cruise is a great family experience, for children see how another culture celebrates Christmas. For information, call 800-336-8423.
Radisson Seven Seas luxury ships have five exotic cruises that celebrate the holidays in style.
Here is one of them: On Dec. 22, on the 32-guest Paul Gauguin – 50 percent of cabins have private balconies – a seven-night voyage sails the Society Islands round trip from Papeete to Raiatea, the cultural heart of Polynesia. Among stops along the way are Bora Bora and Moorea.
There’s a retractable water-sports platform and an optional scuba diving program. Prices start at $3,095 per person. For information, call 800-477-7500.
Celebrity Cruises to the Caribbean go all out for the holidays, including Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There is Mass, candle lightings, festive decorations and a nondenominational service to bless all the passengers on Dec. 31. A gala dinner on New Year’s Eve also schedules children’s activities for appropriate ages, available on all six Celebrity ships including the new Millennium with ice skating rink, rock climbing wall, mini golf course and more. Prices for a seven-night cruise start at $1,049 per person. For more information, call 800-437-3111.
Canoe Bay, Wis.
A cozy hideaway in Wisconsin’s Lakes Region, Canoe Bay is a romantic, intimate retreat, and a member of the prestigious Relaix & Chateaux. Nine suites and 10 cottages are scattered around the resort’s centerpiece, Lake Wahdoon, one of three private lakes on this wilderness estate. The striking “organic” architecture of the accommodations, dining room, library and boathouse blend with the natural scenic landscape.
Guests can walk for miles through the glorious countryside. The resort is noted for its superb cuisine. Cross-country skis and snowshoes are available. Rates start at $270 per night, per room. For more information, call 715-924-4594.
Doral Park Avenue Hotel, New York City
The dynamic “city that never sleeps” becomes even more energized during the holiday season. The Doral Park Avenue Hotel has fashioned a “Born to Shop Weekend Package” now through Dec. 24 to make getting those hard-to-find presents easier and more fun.
A “shopping basket” is provided each guest – an elegant wicker welcome gift with many amenities, including a Metrocard Fun Pass, one-day unlimited rides in the city, a copy of “Born to Shop New York” guide, an assortment of fresh fruit and mineral water – and a bottle of soothing foot lotion to relax aching feet at the end of the day.
The package is $275 per room, per night for Friday, Saturday or Sunday night stays. For information, call toll-free 877-99-DORAL or 212-973-2500.
Le Manoir Richelieu, Quebec
For a short, but delightful, winter getaway, this handsome resort near Quebec hosts a Christmas Eve package offering dinner in the ballroom with entertainment, a magician, a visit from Santa and Christmas brunch. On Dec. 25, there is appropriate entertainment. The rate is approximately $200 Canadian, for two, for the one-night stay.
Another offering finds arrival on Dec. 31, staying New Year’s Eve with dinner in the ballroom with a quintet, dancing to a nine-piece orchestra and a New Year’s Day brunch in the ballroom with gala entertainment.
The rate is approximately $260 for two for the one-night stay. For information, call 800-441-1414 or 514-954-2899.
The beauty of Hawaii seems even more splendid at holiday time. The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on Maui, spacious and handsome, has designed two holiday offerings through Dec. 15. The five-night “Shop and Spa” package offers ocean-view accommodations, three days of spa treatments and $200 gift coupons for the Shops of Wailea, the stunning new shopping center opening in November. This package starts at $2,986, double occupancy.
The “Shape Up for the Holidays” package includes five nights in ocean view accommodations with a high-energy fitness curriculum, three lessons with a personal trainer, a basket of Spa Grande products. This package starts at $2,230, double occupancy. For information, call 800-888-6100.
On the beach at Waikiki, on Oahu, the exquisite Hotel Halekulani – “house befitting heaven” – offers several “Lifestyle” programs for personal rejuvenation and many colorful celebrations. The holiday highlight comes when Santa arrives on his surfboard to deliver presents to the eager guests right on the beach. Prices start at $310 per room, per night. For information, call 800-367-2343.
Gaslight Village, Wyoming, N.Y.
This charming town, between Buffalo and Rochester in upstate New York, has more than 70 buildings that compose a National Historic District. The Gaslight Christmas Shoppe, Lydia’s Attic and Silas Newell’s are three shops among the myriad stores open now through Dec. 31. There are Christmas ornaments and gift items from around the world.
Visitors enjoy this region, rich in scenic splendors, particularly Letchworth Park with its magnificent falls, hiking and horseback riding trails. And Corning, N.Y., with its marvelous museum and glass workshops, is not far away. Several bed and breakfasts and country inns are particularly cozy here. The Hillside Inn – with full-service restaurant, pub and library – has 48 acres for outdoor activities. Rates start at $60 per room, per night; breakfast included. For information, call 800-544-2249.
The southern grace and charm of this gentle city is captured at the elegant Charleston Place, a hotel that is simply magical during the holiday season.
Carolers and children’s choirs fill the air with traditional Christmas music. Specialty boutiques hold gifts for everyone’s tastes. A special gift package includes accommodations for six nights on the concierge Club Level, daily breakfast, afternoon tea, a Christmas tree in each room, a private carriage ride, a Magnolia Plantation tour and much more. As part of the package, arrival must fall between Dec. 21-24 at a cost of $2,000.
A rooms-only rate is available starting at $99 per night, Sunday through Thursday. For information call 800-860-4095.