FROM COZY-CHIC MOUNTAIN RETREATS TO IDYLLIC BEACHSIDE ESCAPES, THESE FESTIVE RESORTS ARE SURE TO SWATHE THE ENTIRE FAMILY IN HOLIDAY CHEER
BY AMBER GIBSON
THE RITZ-CARLTON, BACHELOR GULCH Colorado
For a mountainside getaway, Colorado’s premier luxury ski resort is a great ski-in, ski-out choice for families. Earlier this year, the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch completed an extensive multi-million-dollar transformation of guest rooms, suites, and the club lounge in honor of the hotel’s 20th anniversary. Club level rooms are definitely worth the upgrade for sumptuous culinary presentations throughout the day, including a decadent dessert bar every night. The hotel is two hours from Denver and a 30-minute drive from Eagle County Airport. Multi-bedroom penthouses and residences are perfect for families, with views of Beaver Creek Mountain or Vail Valley, and many rooms and suites include replaces and walk-out balconies. There are even ski nannies to help children get into their gear and to and from lessons.
The Bachelor Gulch Express high-speed quad chairlift is just steps away, and the outdoor pool is heated year round. After a day on the slopes, book a treatment at the 21,000-square-foot spa and fitness center with 19 treatment rooms and rocky grottos for relaxing. The miner’s mud wrap is 100 minutes of pure bliss, beginning with a full body exfoliation and soothing body wrap, followed by a hydrotherapy bath and full body massage.
Sakaba is the resort’s newest restaurant, with an incredible omakase menu featuring shown in daily from Japan. For hearty winter fare, Wyld serves duck carnitas and wild king salmon with chanterelles and winter truffle vinaigrette. Pair your meal with the Ritz-Carlton’s own private label single-barrel bourbon distilled by Breckenridge Distillery.
Rates start at $1,049 for rooms and $1,949 for suites. 0130 Daybreak Ridge Rd, Avon, Colorado, ritzcarlton.com/en/ hotels/colorado/bachelor-gulch
FAIRMONT HOTEL Vancouver
Fairmont has four hotels in Vancouver, but this glorious castle in the city with its chateau-style green-clad copper roof and watchful gargoyles is the original, operating in the heart of downtown Vancouver since 1939. Queen Elizabeth II was a frequent guest during her reign, and everyone from Diana Ross and the Supremes to James Earl Jones have stayed here over the years. In 2019, the hotel completed a $75 million five-year redesign of all 557 guest rooms, suites, and public spaces. Three heritage suites on the 14th floor are the most extravagant, where the royals historically stayed, and where bedroom scenes for Fifty Shades of Grey was filmed. The original solid bronze door plaques have been preserved, along with the original English black walnut wood panels in the parlour.
Christmas holidays are an especially beautiful time to stay here. Vancouver’s annual Festival of Trees is hosted throughout the lobby, a charitable display of more than 20 Christmas trees decorated by local groups to benefit the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. And for high-end holiday shopping, the most famous international designer brands are all located within a few blocks from the hotel. This year the Christmas buffet is back, taking over the Hotel Vancouver’s opulent ballrooms, and afternoon tea is exceptionally festive, served on custom china made in England. Book a room on the ninth floor Fairmont Gold level for an elevated hotel within a hotel experience. You’ll skip long check-in lines and enjoy a dedicated concierge team along with refreshments and culinary presentations throughout the day in the gold lounge.
Rates start at $350 for Fairmont Gold. 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, fairmont.com/hotel-vancouver
THE JOULE Dallas
This 160-room luxury boutique hotel is an artfully modern transformation of a 1920s neo-Gothic landmark in downtown Dallas that was once home to the Dallas National Bank. The property could be a veritable art museum, with myriad artworks including original pieces by Andy Warhol and Ellsworth Kelly, plus more than 70 large-scale mosaics by mid-century artist Millard Sheets.
Guest rooms feature custom Italian millwork, rainfall showers, deep soaking tubs, and excellent minibars. Local touches like Niven Morgan bath amenities and Kate Weiser chocolate bonbons don’t go unnoticed either. A corridor of glittering gold mosaic horses leads to the subterranean spa, where exclusive Biologique Recherche facials are available, along with sumptuous hours-long body treatments customized with your preferred scrub, wrap, and massage techniques. There’s a reason locals recommend this as the best spa in town.
You’ll dine well during the holidays too. Whole caramel apple crumb pies, bourbon pecan pies, and chocolate peppermint cream pies can be ordered for pick-up all season long, and peppermint chocolate martinis and Grinch sours are offered at modern Texas brasserie CBD Provisions. Sassetta, the Joule’s elegant Italian restaurant, will serve a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on December 23 and 24 with bacalao dip, scallop crudo, cioppino, pasta vongole, and roasted branzino al forno with ricotta cannoli and spumoni opera cake for dessert.
Rates start at $267. 21530 Main Street, Dallas, thejouledallas.com
GRAND VELAS LOS CABOS Cabo San Lucas
Grand Velas Los Cabos is easily the most luxurious all-inclusive resort in all of Cabo, and this crescent-shaped building draped with bougainvillea has become an icon for romance and family celebrations. All 307 suites at this beachfront property have ocean views and private terraces, and many suites have personal plunge pools too. Even at high occupancy during peak season, it never feels crowded here and service is always attentive.
Five gourmet restaurants and several casual all-day dining options are included in the all-inclusive rates, with the most exclusive being the eight-course tasting menu at Cocina de Autor, helmed by two-star Michelin chef Sidney Schutte. A glass of champagne whets your appetite for the extraordinary flavors to come, from black truffle butternut squash to lobster with foie gras pearls and green apple. There is always a thoughtful vegetarian tasting menu available too, with highlights like watermelon carpaccio that looks remarkably meaty and beetroot for dessert, with sourdough ice cream and smoked almonds. Schutte will even fly in from the Netherlands to cook you a private dinner on the beach upon request.
For the holidays, in-suite decorated Christmas trees and pre-wrapped toys for children of all ages can be pre-ordered in advance. Separate clubs for kids and teens feature game rooms, movie theatres, and extensive programming, and there’s even a designated baby concierge to pamper the smallest family members. Plus, the resort offers regular cooking classes, including gingerbread house workshops, and children can write letters to Santa, who arrives by helicopter on Christmas day. Nighttime shows range from a glow party with special light engineering to a traditional Nutcracker show with ballet and acrobatics.
Rates start at $928 per adult per night. México 1 Km 17, Tourist Corridor, 23405 Cabo San Lucas, loscabos.grandvelas.com