21 December, 2011
Christmas, Travel

Christmassy Getaways – The Ultimate Escape from Hong Kong!

21 December, 2011
Forget decking your own halls this year – for the ultimate Christmas break, boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith suggest a getaway to the cosy Cotswolds, snow-dusted Stockholm or food-fabulous Tuscany, all places where you have a lot more chance of actually seeing snow than Hong Kong.Best for Christmas in the country: Ellenborough Park, Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Style Fifteenth-century chateau
Setting Postcard-perfect Prestbury

Set on 90 gorgeous green acres, Cotswolds boutique hotel Ellenborough Park offers the quintessential British country Christmas experience. At this grand sandstone manor house, a two-hour drive from London, the festivities kick off on December 24 with afternoon tea in the Great Hall, followed by a chichi champagne and canapé session, and a sumptuous four-course dinner. If you venture out for midnight mass and carols, you’ll be warmed up upon return with mince pies and mugs of mulled wine.

Early morning gift-opening sessions give way to a hearty Cotswolds breakfast. In between feasting, slip into one of seven treatment rooms for a blissful spa treatment, rug up and stroll through the gardens, or work up an appetite in the gym and sauna. Rural pursuits include clay-pigeon shooting, archery, fishing and horse-riding. Before you know it, it’ll be time for the traditional turkey and plum pudding lunch, all washed down with more champagne (don’t mind if we do).

Best for ice-cool Scandi style: Berns Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden

Style Gilded glory
Historic nightlife palace

If you’re after an idyllic winter wonderland, the Swedish capital is as close as it gets to a fairy-tale Lappland vacation. Iconic Stockholm stay Berns Hotel  melds opulent drinking dens and modern dining spaces with 82 cosy yet chic rooms, so you can sip martinis and party with Sweden’s style set before slipping under the covers.

For a classic Scandi-style Christmas lunch, amble over to nautical but nice Stockholm Harbour bolthole Hotel J. Decked out with wreaths, ribbons and baubles over the holiday season, the fireplace-flaunting dining room is the place to go for Julbord, the traditional Swedish Christmas spread that includes gravlax (cured salmon), rollmops (pickled herring), smoked meats, sausages and the wicked potato dish, Janssons Temptation. Shots of schnapps are guaranteed to add to the festive cheer.

Best for a gourmet getaway: Castiglion del Bosco, Tuscany, Italy

Style Grape estate
 Verdant Val d’Orcia

Food and festivities go hand in hand, so why not say buon natale this year with an Italian epicurean escape. Luxe Tuscan getaway Castiglion del Bosco, an 800-year-old estate in a Brunello winery, near Sienna, makes for the ultimate gourmet stay. Discover the secrets of cucina Italiana with a Tuscan cooking class, and enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner and decadent lunch in the hotel’s famed restaurants, Il Drago and Osteria la Canonica.

You’ll also have the chance to visit the local abbey and hear soul-stirring Gregorian chants, and any last-minute gifts can be snapped up on a shopping trip to Florence. Back at the estate, there’s a sauna, steam room and enoteca (wine-tasting room) for all-out indulgence.

To book a Smith boutique hotel stay this Christmas, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, if you sign up as a Smith member, you can enjoy exclusive offers at more than 850 hand-picked hotels and holiday houses around the world.

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