Festive Holidays Await Abroad


Imagine how incredible it would be to kick off Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2024 with an unforgettable journey that you’ll remember forever. Picture yourself surrounded by the magical glow of holiday lights in some of the most stunning places on earth. Whether you’re wandering through charming European Christmas markets, soaking up the festive vibes in tropical paradises, or enjoying peaceful snowy landscapes, this holiday season promises pure enchantment.

Picture yourself diving into the festive spirit at destinations worldwide, each offering its own special charm and cultural richness. From lively city streets decked out in sparkling decorations to quiet getaways nestled in serene natural settings, there’s a perfect spot waiting just for you. Imagine sharing laughter, music, and delicious seasonal treats with your loved ones and new friends, making memories that will warm your heart for years to come.

Take this chance to create lasting memories and embark on a journey filled with discovery, renewal, and excitement. As you say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new, immerse yourself in thrilling adventures and the promise of fresh beginnings. Whether you’re drawn to exploring ancient traditions, savoring mouthwatering local cuisines, or simply unwinding amidst breathtaking scenery, the possibilities are endless and ready for you to explore.

If the thought of these extraordinary experiences sparks your curiosity and sense of adventure, don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s work together to turn your dreams into reality and plan a holiday escape that exceeds all expectations. This is your opportunity to embark on a transformative journey where every moment is filled with wonder and each destination invites you to create unforgettable experiences. Embrace the festive spirit and embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories to treasure for a lifetime.

Northern Lights in Finland

Finland welcomes travelers to explore the enchanting Lapland, providing a magical Christmas experience. Winter sports like husky-sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling are all possible, or you can do a dog-sled tour above the Arctic Circle in the wild areas unmarred by city lights. And with the long nights, the odds of seeing the Northern Lights are very good!

I love the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, which offers cozy treehouse suites and glasshouses, each with its own private sauna. For an indulgence, you could splurge for one of their suites that sit in their own tranquil location on a slope in the woods. Panoramic windows ensure breathtaking views of the northern skies and midnight suns right from the comfort of your bed. This boutique hotel is an extraordinary blend of luxurious comfort, Arctic nature, Lapland traditions, and chic Scandinavian design.

This destination is truly otherworldly. 


Nothing says Christmas quite like Charles Dickens’s London, with so much to relish! You could see Hogwarts in the Snow at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour (and also see the Forbidden Forest and Diagon Alley).  See the Christmas lights and sparkling displays such as those on Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and more. Ice skating on the Christmas rink at the Natural History Museum is becoming a tradition after 17 years. Or you can view Christopher Wren’s architectural marvel and attend a free concert of Christmas music at St. Pauls. 

This year, The Langham, London, partnered with the Royal Academy of Music to rejoice in the joy and hope the festive season brings through the universal language of music. Musical performances and music-inspired dining will make this Christmas one to remember. This 157-year-old west London landmark hotel goes full throttle when it comes to Yuletide. Not so keen on musicals? The festive tea in Palm Court, created by Michel Roux Jr and executive pastry chef Andrew Gravett, is green, red, and gold. And just stunning to behold, never mind eat! Meanwhile, over at the Artesia bar – originally a 360ft well at the front of the hotel – serves custom holiday cocktails.


Rome is known for its beautiful nativity scenes. My half-Italian mother collected nativity scenes from all over the world, and there’s a fabulous exhibit called 100 Presepi which features creches from every corner of the globe. Outdoor ones include those at the Piazza di Spagna (near the Spanish Steps) and Piazza del Popolo. A visit to the Piazza San Pietro in front of St. Peter’s basilica, where the annual Christmas crib is displayed, is quite an experience. You can even celebrate Christmas Mass at the Vatican. And you can visit the Christmas markets, such as the one in Piazza Navona or Piazza Mazzini to pick up Italian candies or toys or to enjoy street musicians and artists.  

I love La Posta Vecchi Hotel, 35 minutes outside of Rome, which overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea. This hotel was once a Renaissance villa for the noble Orsini family and then the seaside home of J. Paul Getty, and is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels with exquisite Renaissance decor. You’ll enjoy jazz playlists while surrounded by Arezzo tapestries. You can also visit the Roman ruins of a villa built in the 2nd century BC or the Etruscan tombs of Cerveteri. Utterly Roman and utterly romantic, this hotel also offers delicious gourmet food and also a stunning indoor pool, spa, and beauty club. They describe the breadth of their destination as from pastures to the Palatine Hills. I love that! 


When I think of the holidays in Vienna, I think of classical concerts.  Perhaps because of the annual tradition of PBS’ broadcast of Great Performances “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration.” The Musikverein is probably the world’s most prestigious and best classical music venue. And they are presenting a concert of Christmas songs in 9 languages this year, among many other performances.

Vienna also hosts a variety of Christmas markets that specialize in unusual gifts, unique art, or great food. The aroma of roasted almonds or caramel apples mingles with fragrant candles and soaps. Don’t miss a taste of lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread) or a stollen. My favorite cookie is the spekulatius because they are similar to the Polish ones my mom used to make. Finally, Christkindlmarkt offers a romantic ice skating trail through a park too. 

Among the last grand palaces to be built in Vienna, the Palais Coburg Residenz is now a sophisticated hotel in the city center. Set just behind the Parkring with views of Stadtpark, the hotel is an era-bending blend of medieval brick walls, starkly modern elements, and antique furnishings. With only 34 suites, you know you’ll be treated like royalty.  Oenophiles will appreciate their barrel-vaulted cellars that house over 60,000 bottles and enjoy tasting some extraordinarily-prized labels in the red-leather wine bar.  This hotel is also home to a two-Michelin-star restaurant by chef Silvio Nickol. This stunning retreat is chic and very cool!  


A white Christmas in the Austrian Alps is a special treat.  The magnificent alpine scenery is always in view and awe-inspiring. There is no better place to go for a skiing holiday than Lech Zürs am Arlberg ski region which has been a favored destination for nearly a century. With many awards for skiing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing, this cosmopolitan destination is a top favorite among winter sports enthusiasts. You can also enjoy 27 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails and winter paths for snowshoe walkers and winter hikers. 

Thurnhers Alepenhof is a winter fairytale retreat. This five-star hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access, complimentary ski instruction, and excursions. You can take a day or afternoon off and indulge in some rejuvenation at their spa. Their indoor pool with a counter-current system offers excellent outdoor views and a variety of saunas and steams. Enjoy some ski gymnastics or ski stretching too. Enjoy some cocktails in their Coco’s Lounge or share some delicious fondue for Christmas Eve. Incidentally, this year, their traditional Gala Dinner is a complimentary gift for guests to welcome them back after all that we’ve been through. 


The blue and gold of the landscape along the Baja peninsula in Mexico is a glittering backdrop to see in the new year. One&Only Palmilla offers glamor and delights as well as sunshine and fun over the festive season, and yes, there is still space available for 2022. You can enjoy one of their many immersive culinary classes to learn how to recreate authentic Mexican dishes. Sample some tequila in a masterclass and discover the history and traditions of tequila while your teacher guides you through the various styles and flavors.

Slide some oysters down on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and enjoy the festivities with live entertainment, carollers, and sketch artists. You can paint ornaments or enjoy a movie night. Go whale-watching on your own chartered yacht. Retreat to a private beach cove where you can float on a bed suspended above the soft white sands or swing in an ocean hammock. Gaze out on the serene beauty of the Sea of Cortez and its dramatic rocky cliffs with a personal waiter on hand to cater to your every need. And on New Year’s Eve, see in 2023 on the beach with fireworks and music.


Here's where you'll find inspiration and insights on travel & wellness — usually, both at the same time! Linger here a while, and let's chat soon.

hi, i'm cassandra

Pre-Departure Checklist

Packing mishaps range from inconvenient (heading to the Bahamas without a swimsuit) to disastrous (leaving something in your fridge that'll turn into a science experiment before you get back), but most are preventable. We've created this ultimate packing list to help you pack well, every time.


Be awed by escapades you didn’t even know were possible. And savor an impeccable holiday that makes you feel like a star before, during, and after your trip.