The Anti-Christmas | 10 destinations to escape to this Christmas

By Katherine Sparshatt,

All that festive spirit starting to get to you? We know the feeling; Christmas can be overwhelming and all-consuming, so sometimes the festive season can be just as jolly on a silent flight away from it all.

We’ve combed our data to find the top destinations favoured by those looking to escape the cold and over indulgence, yet each place still promises to make the season special. So, if you are looking for a sunny alternative, we have the answers…

No. 10 Barbados

Sugar Bay Hotel

Barbados needs no introduction with its white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, palm trees and luxury resorts that take our breath away.

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For a relaxing time in the sun, stay at Sugar Bay, a chic and family friendly resort that offers plenty of activities and distractions, from boogie boarding to video games. To relax, head to the Karma spa or simply relax by the pool and order your favourite cocktails at the swim-up pool bar.

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Everyone knows that at Christmas the most important part is the food, and thankfully the resort has four different on-site dining locations. The Lazy Mongoose Pub offers a relaxed vibe whilst the Sizzling Steak House does exactly what it says on the tin. For romantic dining or special occasions the Reef restaurant serves up delicious food with Caribbean flair.


No. 9 Miami Beach

The Setai Miami Beach

Miami is a whirlwind of cool. The kind of place where you’ll see white Lamborghinis pull up at gas stations with thong-clad owners stepping out, it’s like an alternate universe to winter in the UK. Enjoy sun, sea, sand and great nightlife this Christmas.

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Stay at the Setai, Miami, for a luxurious stay that is a feast for the senses. Located in Miami’s historic art-deco district, the hotel features three temperature controlled swimming pools, beach access and beach bar, a calming spa with a variety of treatments to cure almost any ailment, and restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world.

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The hotel recently launched its latest restaurant addition, Jaya. Under the helm of Head Chef Mathias Gervais creates delicious and innovative dishes drawing on influences from Thailand, Korea, India, China and Japan.


No. 8 Malta

Casa Ellul

The sunny island is full of history and otherworldly landscapes. Malta is a laid-back retreat for a quiet and relaxed Christmas featuring excellent food, boat trips around the island, ancient architecture and friendly locals.

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Check in to Casa Ellul for a chic boutique hotel experience, surrounded by grandeur and luxury. Think modern furniture, old Spanish tiles, free standing baths, high ceilings and cosy, fluffy bed spreads.

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Of all the suites our favourite is Suite 7, featuring an outdoor hot tub on the private terrace with views over the city. The furniture is chic and kept to a minimum whilst soft lighting makes the room appear cosy without being dim. It’s the perfect private space to enjoy the festive season.


No. 7 Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis with colonial relics, temples of every faith, incredible markets, tasty food and so much to see and do you will never get bored.

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Step inside the Hotel Icon, a seriously cool design hotel in Hong Kong’s beautiful harbour area. Enjoy breath-taking vistas, a well-equipped Angsana Spa, an outdoor rooftop pool and fitness centre, plus some of the finest Cantonese food in Hong Kong at the Tsim Sha Tsui styled as a chic brasserie café.

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If you are looking to have a really stylish Christmas then check in to the Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam, where you will find eloquent furniture pieces, one-of-a-kind art and floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the city and harbour. Divine.


No. 6 Goa

The Leela Hotel

Goa is renowned for its white sandy beaches, laid back lifestyle, spice markets and all night parties. Goa is popular with an international crowd and features some stunning colonial architecture from its days as a Portuguese colony.

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Stay at The Leela hotel; a luxury 5-star hotel straddling both the beach and the river, it offers stunning lagoon views, a private golf course, beach access and plenty of lush vegetation and gardens.

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Whilst at the Leela be sure to pop into the Italian restaurant, The Riverside, popular with previous guests and boasting views over the river. You should also try out the signature Indian restaurant Jamavar for some sumptuous local dishes.


No. 5 Bangkok

Lebua Tower Club

There might be slightly more rain than any other month in Bangkok, but there is likely to be less than there would be in the UK. Bangkok at Christmas is magical and although you won’t be able to completely escape the festivities, it’s comforting to know they are there for you to take or leave.

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Either way, it won’t be your average Christmas at home in front of the telly, because the Lebua hotel and the exciting city have so much to offer. The Lebua Tower Club is a palace on top of the world, occupying the 51st – 59th floors with 221 suites and the kind of luxury to make your jaw drop.

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The hotel features a large swimming pool, fitness centre, a spa offering Thai massage, synchronised head massage, plus facials and oil treatments. If you are feeling peckish the hotel offers several bars and restaurants but perhaps the most splendid of these is the Sky Bar located on the 63rd floor with incredible views over the city below.


No. 4 Marrakech

Es Saadi Marrakech Resort

December and January are a wonderful time to visit the bustling markets of Marrakech. There are far less tourists and the temperatures are still warm enough to walk around without a coat or scarf. The city is not immune to Christmas spirit, but it is certainly harder to spot the tell-tale signs of Christmas than other European destinations.

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Set in a historic building between the Old City and the Meara Gardens, decorated in tones of ochre and saffron, the Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is the perfect hotel from which to enjoy the best Marrakech has to offer.

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The hotel features a luxurious spa including a Dior Institute for special treatments and makeup tutorials where experts can show you techniques for accentuating your natural beauty.  The palatial complex also holds several bars and restaurants, shops selling local Moroccan crafts, a chocolaterie, several sports offerings such as out and indoor pools and tennis courts, and they can even arrange ski trips for you into the Atlas Mountains.


No. 3 Las Vegas

New York New York

Swap fairy lights for neon lights and head to Vegas for glamour and festivities of a different kind. Its desert location guarantees you warm temperatures but nothing like the sweltering heat of the summer, making it altogether more comfortable for wandering around admiring the outlandish and OTT architecture.

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Stay at the New York New York hotel for an experience you won’t forget. A wonderful scale model of New York’s skyline makes up the hotel’s facade, including a Big Apple rollercoaster and of course, casino.

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Enjoy the hotel’s various bars at famous New York landmarks including the bar at Times Square and a Nine Fine Irish Guys pub of epic proportions. If you are missing the boxes of Roses, Heroes and Ferrero Rocher that usually adorn Christmas then head to the Chocolate Bar for a cocoa pick-me-up.


No. 2 Benidorm

Villa Vanecia

Benidorm is a classic favourite ever popular for those seeking winter sun. It might not be able to command the kind of temperatures it can in the summer, but it’s certainly warmer and sunnier than the UK and nothing can beat the Mediterranean as a tonic for the soul.

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Book into the Villa Vanecia for a slice of 5-star luxury in the heart of Benidorm’s historic old town. Expect panoramic views of the Costa Blanca and personalised service that scrupulously attends to your every whim.

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Whether you spend your day in the spa, relaxing on the outdoor terrace or stuffing your face with fresh tuna steak in the gourmet restaurant, the stresses of Christmas are sure to roll off you as easily as the waves against the shore down below.


No. 1 Dubai

Nikki Beach Resort

Made a fool of yourself at the Christmas party and vowed never to drink again? Head to Dubai! There is nowhere better to escape from the cold weather and over consumption than a beautiful city with incredible architecture, a beach for you to recover on and all the shopping in the world.

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If you’re going to skip Christmas, then you can spend the money you’ve saved on a nice plush pad for yourself such at the newly opened Nikki Beach resort, where you can surround yourself with 5-star luxury. Accepting reservations from the 20th of December on-wards, the hotel features large open rooms with tasteful decor, plus an assortment of villas and suites to choose from.

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Indulge in the fabulous pool and beach club, or head to the Nikki Spa for some recuperation with facilities including a couples’ suite, Hamman, sauna, steam room, ice fountain and external vitality pool.

Looking for more winter sun inspiration? Check out our Ten private Island hotels to cure your winter blues.