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Ultimate Last-Minute Holiday Escapes for Urbanites

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Those who call some of the world’s most hectic cities home, and might think it difficult to escape the festive frenzy of the holiday season, may be surprised to learn of these luxurious retreats within close proximity that offer a slower pace and a sought-after sense of remove.

With lavish décor and bespoke seasonal activities, in addition to their already astonishingly luxurious accommodations and amenities, these holiday havens just might lure you outside of the city this year.

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For the Angeleno

When it’s time to escape the congestion of Los Angeles’ sprawling urban landscape, Angelenos can head north along the California coast to find the best of both worlds—a beachside escape turned true winter wonderland—at Rosewood Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara County’s newest ultra-luxury resort.

The fresh-faced oceanfront resort presents one of the country’s largest Christmas tree displays, in addition to an inspired on-property installation of Santa’s House, where guests of all ages can attend an assortment of festive, family-fun activities.

Celebratory services include a specialty holiday brunch offering, themed spa treatments, and comprehensive accommodations packages; such as the Merry Miramar Package, which provides guests a personal, in-room Christmas tree, monogrammed stockings and a mistletoe turndown service!

PHOTO: Rosewood Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara, California. (Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

For the Londoner

Long regarded as one of the world’s top winter destinations, even among the Royals, the Scottish Highlands provide an ideal escape for Londoners in need of a reprieve from metropolitan living. And, no single site brings to life the warmth and traditions of a true Victorian Scottish Christmas better than Braemar’s The Fife Arms.

Selected as The Sunday Times’ Hotel of the Year 2019, this restored 19th-century coaching inn combines all the richness of its Victorian heritage, complete with a vast collection of original antiques and architectural details, with the edginess of incorporated contemporary artworks.

This holiday season, this singular Scottish haven is celebrating with festive activities offered each day leading up to Christmas, including a wreath-making workshop and a live reindeer parade. On Christmas day itself, guests will join a local artisan in creating their own Christmas bauble amid live musical performances, and enjoy a four-course traditional Christmas luncheon.

For the Florentine

The picturesque rural landscapes and rolling hillsides of Tuscany provide an ideally serene setting for a holiday getaway. Among the region’s bucolic beauties is Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, one of the oldest and best-preserved estates in Tuscany.

Those visiting this elegant, Italian countryside retreat will find each of the hotel’s private villas bedecked in tasteful, festive décor, which supplies the ideal backdrop in which to savor authentic food and wine, and exchange gifts with friends and family.

It’s hard to imagine anything quite so alluring as the prospect of a genuine Tuscan Christmas celebrated in one’s own palatial country villa. The property is currently offering a special Christmas Villa Celebration package, which includes holiday meals, artisanal cooking classes, wine-tasting tours and trips to Christmas markets in nearby Siena—a magical, welcoming Old-World city that teams with cultured ‘dolce vita’. Castiglion del Bosco’s New Year’s Eve package also on offer and provides many of the same perks, plus a private fireworks display on the big night.

For the New Yorker

When you’ve had enough of the city’s Yuletide spectacles and holiday crowds, it may be time to head out to nearby Hudson Valley—easily reached by car, bus or train—where you can enjoy reconnecting with friends and family at a more relaxed pace, and amid some spectacularly peaceful outdoor surroundings.

Mohonk Mountain House, founded in 1869 is an authentic Victorian-era castle resort situated among 40,000 acres of pristine forest. Itself a National Historic Landmark, this iconic resort is certain to deliver a spectacular holiday experience and hosts extensive holiday festivities to delight guests of all ages.

Halls are decked with awe-inspiring Christmas trees, handmade wreaths, kissing balls and even elaborate gingerbread houses in celebration of the season. Exciting wintertime activities onsite range from reindeer tracking or hunting for the holiday yule log to ice skating in the rustic open-air pavilion overlooking breathtaking Lake Mohonk.

Those who favor sand and surf might opt instead for a getaway to Gurney Montauk Resort & Saltwater Spa, one of East Hampton’s most luxurious new lodgings and Montauk’s only oceanfront resort destination.

The year-round, high-end getaway recently revealed seven multisensory themed “igloos”, each featuring a distinctive design that informs its activities and cocktail pairing, with themes that range from Santa’s Workshop and Northern Lights to Après Ski and even Astrology.

When, at last, it’s time to retire to the privacy of their own space, guests can bask in the glow of their personal in-room Menorah or Christmas tree.

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