We get it, you’re working under pressure and before you know it, Christmas is here and you need to get away for the week – fast. In order to expedite the process and to make your life just a bit easier, here’s a fabulous quartet of last-minute Yuletide getaways. There’s something for everyone, from jungle wilderness to traditional snowy peaks.
1. For party-ready yuppies: Le Grand Bellevue (Gstaad, Switzerland)
Le Grand Bellevue is the stuff of Wes Anderson movies – and which, over the years, has hoisted the likes of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Valentino, the Aga Khan, Brigitte Bardot and Madonna. Since 2013, however, it’s buzzed with a vibe more redolent of Soho House than the Grand Budapest Hotel. Don’t ski? No worries. There are unforgettable adventures such as a guided hike followed by a private mountainside meal or a private hot-air balloon flight above the mountains, complete with a gourmet champagne picnic.
2. For thrill seekers: Wild Coast Tented Lodge (Yala National Park, Sri Lanka)
Need a little adrenaline jolt to kickstart the New Year? We’ve found the perfect place in which to wind down as 2017 fades into history, while indulging in nature’s best thrills for the 12 months ahead. Stay in one of the 28 tented “cocoon suites”, which put regular “glamping” to shame. Take a bath in a freestanding copper bathtub with a panoramic jungle view after a long day of safari. Or just hang out by your own watering hole – 16 suites cluster around the pools where animals regularly congregrate – much to the viewing pleasure of guests.
3. For high-maintenance couch potatoes: São Lourenço do Barrocal (Alentejo, Portugal)
If you’re searching for a holiday that offers a true recharge, stay in one of the cottages or guest rooms at this restored farmhouse hotel, winery and spa. The estate is deeply rooted in its surroundings, and a thriving winery is at the heart of its regeneration. Venture out on bicycles to explore the Neolithic monuments that dot the landscape or, should you wish to go farther afield without leaving the comfortable confines of your winter retreat, astronomers are on-hand for night time stargazing. Feast on slow-roasted veal cheeks, acorn-fed pork or traditional bread stew at the farm-to-table restaurant, where organic produce is sourced from trusted local suppliers, and all accompanied by a drop or two from the nearby vineyards.
4. For zen gurus who still like to shop: Hoshinoya (Tokyo, Japan)
Why should a visit to Japan involve choosing between the bright lights and big-city atmosphere of Tokyo or the traditional ryokan experience of Kyoto? At Hoshinoya, this is no longer a relevant conundrum. Situated next to the Imperial Palace in Otemachi, Hoshinoya has recreated the ryokan experience in the capital, so you can shop all day and then retreat into the meditative calm of the hotel. The entire place is carpeted in soft tatami matting and each floor has an exclusive common lounge where guests can enjoy seasonal teas and snacks, while at night alcohol is served to bring out the sense of community and zen of a ryokan. Beds are futons and from the afternoon through till midnight, guests can relax in a hot-spring bath with open roofs, savouring the warmth in the chill.