We all do December differently. For example, some spend the last month of the year listening to holiday tunes while happily sipping peppermint mochas, embracing “the most wonderful time of the year” to its fullest capacity; alternatively, others actively dread the cold weather so much that they can’t stop compulsively looking at flight fares intended to whisk them away to somewhere warm. Wherever you fall in between this juxtaposition of wintertime attitudes, we’ve rounded up five fantastic trips to take next month.
Miami is always a good idea, from its trendy nightlife and beautiful beaches to its lively art scene and world-class hotels. Soak up the sun while laying sand-side in South Beach (perhaps, after lunch at one of the area’s many cafes with outdoor patios?), shop designer stores galore at the Miami Design District, explore the hipster-y establishments of the city’s Wynwood area, and if you love architecture, mosey around the grounds of the historic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Why Visit in December: Taking place in Miami Beach every December, the famed Art Basel fair debuts modern and contemporary artwork from five continents’ leading galleries (the event goes from Thursday, Dec. 1 to Saturday, Dec. 3). And this year, the festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the Art Basel Miami Beach show, so it’s sure to be a memorable one.
Where to Stay: Set in a historic 1920s building in the iconic Little Havana neighborhood, Life House Little Havana is the perfect balance between Miami’s famed Art Deco design and traditional Mission-style architecture. The 33-key stay — located just steps from the vibrant Calle Ocho area (a hyper-local Cuban neighborhood that’s light years away from the chaos of South Beach) — is dressed in dark woods, brass-detailed furnishings, and hand-woven rugs, creating a modern feel throughout the guest rooms and suites. For breathtaking views of Miami’s skyline, head to the tropical-inspired Terras rooftop restaurant and bar to enjoy Latin American-inspired dishes and cocktails. That said, alternatively, if you need some beach time in your life, we suggest staying at The Setai, a Bali-inspired oceanfront hotel in Miami Beach (the inner courtyard makes you feel as if you’re actually in Indonesia).
St. Andrews, Scotland
Northeast of Edinburgh lies St. Andrews, a seaside Scottish town that helms the title as the birthplace of golf. Replete with lush golf courses, including the legendary Old Course with the historic Swilcan Bridge and the ruins of St. Andrews Castle with its medieval dungeon, this town’s storied past is displayed through its numerous vestiges.
Why Visit in December: There’s no better way to get into the spirit of winter and the holiday season than cozying up to a blazing fireplace — Scotland’s “sweater weather” will have you packing a stylish autumnal-meets-winter wardrobe.
Where to Stay: With picturesque views of St. Andrews and the Old Course, Rusacks St Andrews is not only a luxurious stay, but also a monument to the game of golf and its founders. Guest rooms and suites flaunt original Scottish-style interiors: warm woods, plaid-patterned trappings, as well as emerald green and burnt orange accented furnishings, make up the decor. When it’s time to admire the first and 18th holes of the course, head to the stay’s One Under Bar for a much-needed pint after a day of hitting these legendary links.
Boa Vista, Brazil
A countryside haven that’s an hour outside of Sāo Paulo — opt to do Brazil’s biggest city for a few days, and then shortly after, spend a week relaxing in this bucolic haven.
Why Visit in December: Given its location below the equator, there’s no better time to visit Brazil than now for sun-seeking beings. Plus, you get the best of both worlds with Brazilian Christmas celebrations and New Year’s Eve festivities taking place this month.
Where to Stay: Impeccably designed by Brazilian architect, Isay Weinfeld, Fasano Boa Vista is a sophisticated countryside retreat. The hotel equips a contemporary exterior with panoramic views of its resident lake — guests can take a refreshing dip here — as well as plush furnishings in guest rooms and suites. Explore the resort’s 500 acres of natural beauty through golfing and horseback riding, or if in the mood to do absolutely nothing, simply relax alongside the hotel’s pristine infinity pool in one of their luxe chaise lounge chairs.
New York City, NY
New York City is one of the world’s most iconic metropolises: The Empire State Building, Central Park, The High Line, and charming West Village neighborhood, are a tiny taste of what the “Big Apple” has to offer. If you want to head to Brooklyn, Williamsburg is a great place to start.
Why Visit in December: There’s really nothing quite like the holiday season in New York City. From ice skating in front of the Rockefeller Center’s famed Christmas tree to walking around Central Park with hot cocoa (or a hot toddy, whatever floats your boat) in hand, December is a cheerful time of year in Manhattan. Visit the Bryant Park Winter Village for ice skating at The Rink, charming gift shops, and festive dining at The Lodge Bar + Food Hall.
Where to Stay: Either Hotel Barrière Fouquet’s New York — a newly-opened slice of pure French luxury in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood (seriously, it’s the best of the best when it comes to chic stays) — or The Moore — a cool contemporary boutique hotel that doesn’t break the bank in the Big Apple’s Chelsea neighborhood. (Notice how we recommended two places FAR AWAY from Manhattan’s Times Square?)
Río San Juan, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic destination of Rio San Juan boasts some of the nation’s prettiest beaches and natural beauty. Lots of that flora & fauna is undisturbed — you can expect to see native birds perched atop branches, tropical fruit trees, and the occasional feral boar roaming around.
Why Visit in December: Since December marks the start of Whale Season in the Dominican Republic, heading to this warm-weather destination allows you to witness this incredible migration phenomenon.
Where to Stay: Set on its own private peninsula, ÀNI Dominican Republic is an exclusive 14-suite resort with 270-degree panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from sunrise to sunset. Sleek tropical contemporary design dresses the hotel’s spacious, open-plan suites: pine ceilings; coconut-wood detailing; and seaside-inspired, neutral-toned furnishings decorate these spaces. Rejuvenation beachside, amongst the lush jungle, or at the lavish spa. (Opt for the spa’s signature ÀNI “Holistic” Massage: an aroma therapy oil massage where spa technicians utilize a unique blend of warm oils to energize, relax, and purify the body.)
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