It is so nearly Christmas. Levels of excitement are reaching fever pitch here at Juliettes (if you have children, you’ll know exactly what we mean). While we are still working our stockings off finding last minute gifts for our customers, we are all looking forward to a well-earned Christmas break. No doubt all our customers are too, so we decided to put together a few of our ideas on getting the best out of your Christmas. We’ve chosen 3 of our favourite Christmas Cocktails, 3 fantastic Christmas Destinations and the 3 Best Places to Spend New Year. If we’ve missed the sleigh and you have already planned this Christmas down to the last brussels sprout, you could always start planning for next year.
While the recent snow was fun for a day or two, if the novelty has worn off and you are craving some winter sunshine, we have a couple of wonderful Christmas destinations in mind. Or, if you are sad now that the snow has melted away (or your part of the world didn’t see any), why not travel north and hope for a glimpse of something truly magical – and we don’t mean Santa.
Mozambique is the rising star of southern Africa and a destination to watch. Emerging from years of colonial rule and civil war, it is rapidly becoming known for its 1400 miles of spectacular, Indian Ocean coastline and chic resorts. With December temperatures in the high 20s Celsius, it is the perfect Christmas escape for chilly Europeans. Still a fledgling destination, they are learning fast and levels of service are most definitely getting there. Remember, though, that the official language is Portuguese, with another 20 languages being spoken, none of which is English. Go with an open mind and a phrase book and your Christmas break should go swimmingly.
The area on our wish list is the Bazaruto Archipelago with its pristine islands and wonderful warm seas. We’ve chosen the Azura Benguerra resort on Benguerra Island as our final destination. Reached by helicopter or speedboat, this luxurious beach lodge is in a National Park and surrounded by pure white sandy beaches. Each of the 19 secluded villas has a private infinity pool, air conditioning and a personal butler.
The Caribbean climate is perfect at Christmas. Like a beautiful British summer’s day with low humidity, temperatures in the mid 20s and barely a cloud in the sky. Whilst hurricanes Irma and Maria had a massive impact on many islands, there are large parts of the Caribbean that were untouched by the storms and are still very much open for business. The Bahamas, St Lucia and Aruba all offer luxury accommodation and plenty of opportunity for a spot of sunshine and relaxation, but our favourite Christmas destination for 2017 has to be Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands have long been a luxury destination so they understand customer service and attention to detail. Diving and snorkelling are spectacular among the coral reefs and where else in the world can you swim with stingrays? And Caymanians absolutely love Christmas. Wherever you choose to stay, you will be guaranteed a fantastically festive experience. Local gardens are traditionally refreshed with fresh white sand (to represent snow) and Santa Claus arrives on a bicycle to start the festivities.
The Ritz Carlton is always at the top of the list of places to stay but we have chosen the new Kimpton Seafire Resort. Grand Cayman’s first ever lifestyle resort is a state-of-the-art wonder, right on Seven Mile Beach. It is hosting a whole series of Christmas and New Year events and the most fabulous Christmas brunch – a Cayman brunch has to be seen to be believed. With front row seats to the island’s glorious sunsets that seem to set the sea on fire, you’ll see how the hotel got its name.
The Arctic Circle
If it’s just not Christmas without proper snow, you’ll need to head northwards, towards the North Pole – you might even catch a glimpse of Rudolph’s red nose in the night sky. Most of us, however, hope to catch sight of the elusive but spectacular Northern Lights. Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland all offer a plethora of Northern Lights spotting opportunities – with add-ons such as snowmobile safaris, husky sledding, 4×4 experiences and fjord cruises. You can choose from luxury hotels, ice hotels, traditional igloos and glazed pods. Imagine being able to lie in bed and look straight up into the Northern Lights as they pass above your head. And you don’t even have to get out from under the duvet. Many places have staff on watch who will alert guests as soon as the Aurora Borealis is spotted. You don’t have to hang around waiting for something which, let’s face it, is not guaranteed. Your choice of accommodation will depend very much on the level of comfort and luxury you expect. Or you may decide that the unadulterated joy of the experience is worth sacrificing a luxury star or two. The facilities at an ice hotel may be basic, but that’s not the point of it. It’s all about the fantasy.
Our team choice of Christmas destination has to be the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Lapland, Finland. Just for once, we have decided to forsake luxury for charm and adventure. On the edge of the wilderness, the focus here is on a real Lapland experience and a very good chance of spotting the Northern Lights. Some 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it is in optimal aurora viewing territory. Winter here is extreme but exceptionally well catered for. You can choose from basic two-person glass pods, traditional ice igloos, wooden log cabins with open fireplace, newer log chalets with a north-facing glass pod annexe, through to queen suites with carved four poster beds. All are snug, comfortable and warm – just what you need when it’s -45 Celsius outside.
With a fabulous celebration hall, a Santa house, spa and sauna, restaurants, a glass igloo bar and an incredible choice of activities ranging from reindeer and snow tank safaris to skiing and snow boarding, this is a magical family destination and a Christmas that everyone will remember.
Well, some of us are off for a spot of Caribbean sunshine while others will be snuggled up in front of a roaring fire, watching the Queen’s Speech and sleeping off a gargantuan Christmas dinner. Wherever you decide to spend this Christmas, we hope you enjoy every minute of it, and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.
Merry Christmas from the Juliettes Interiors team!