13 Haute Hotels That Make for the Perfect Last-Minute Holiday Getaway

In the summer months, as much as New Yorkers happily flee their 13.4-mile-long metropolis for the Hamptons and Parisians abandon the City of Lights in favor of the Côte d’Azur, there’s something about winter travel that seemingly every jet-setter adores. Whether it’s the escape from the sometimes punishing cold or the cheerful energy of the holidays (or perhaps both), we aren’t entirely sure, but one thing we do know is: No matter where you decide to go, you really can’t go wrong—especially because the holiday programming at so many of the world’s most design-centric spots is making up for a rather low 2020 season.

From the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis to Nordelaia in Piedmont, Italy, the haute hotels with tasteful holiday-specific offerings—a 1,600-square-foot suite decorated by Saks Fifth Avenue, a *Home Alone–*inspired experience at an underground hotel bar, and dueling two-story evergreens—are enough to put anyone in a festive frame of mind.

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One of the sprawling suites at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis features sweeping views of the city, including the most famous landmark: the Gateway Arch. Photo: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

The Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis

There are few collaborations more stylish than the Four Seasons and Saks Fifth Avenue, but, for the entire month of December, the two are coming together in one of the hotel’s 1,600-square-foot suites. The Saks Fifth Avenue St. Louis visual merchandising team, who decorates the department store’s iconic holiday window displays, will outfit the suite with the same festive panache.

Not to mention: Guests can enjoy champagne and chocolate waiting in their suite upon arrival, a private in-store styling consultation in the Fifth Avenue Club, a Saks Fifth Avenue gift card, and holiday gifts (available for purchase through Saks Fifth Avenue) with gift-wrapping and delivery before arrival. It’s a holiday miracle, to say the least.

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Nordelaia, which comprises an 800-year-old former farmhouse and a contemporary multistory structure housing the hotel’s restaurants, sits within a valley in Italy’s Piedmont region.Photo: Nordelaia


Reconnecting with nature is more restorative when there’s a luxurious component involved. However, when nature really is at the very heart it can be just the perfect medicine. Case in point: the 12-guest-room 800-year-old former farmhouse that has since been transformed into Piedmont’s Nordelaia in the Montserrat area of Italy. Designed by Rose Murray, founder of These White Walls and the visionary behind London’s Hide restaurant, Nordelaia is completely inspired by the surrounding Italian wilderness. Murray notes, “The old farmhouse sits very much in reverence to its natural surroundings, with the rooms facing the incredible views across the Piedmont valleys below, which inspired us to design the interiors in harmony with the surrounding natural setting.” In fact, many of the rooms are named after the seasons, with color palettes to match. “The draw of each of the seasons in this region—from verdant summers to truffle-rich autumns and snow-blanketed winters—influenced our decision to define each of the four rooms on the Legacy floor as an ode to those seasons.”

Complementing the centuries-old farmhouse turned boutique hotel is a new three-floor structure that houses Nordelaia’s two dining concepts: a ground-floor Piedmontese ingredient-focused bistro, and L’Orto, a fine dining restaurant whose kitchen is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Andrea Ribaldone. As for Murray’s most beloved elements of the sacred spot? “I love the feeling of openness and seamlessness we managed to create, despite the old building having quite a humble footprint. Also, the huge double-height arched windows that we added to the restaurant building. The views of the valley are most delightful here.”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island’s unique-shaped swimming pool is a relaxing refuge from the Florida heat.Photo: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island’s legendary lobby bar, is famous for its signature Smoked Old-Fashioned cocktail, which is served in a dome filled with billowing smoke, but, until December 29, the lobby bar will play host to the S.S. Amelia Island gingerbread pirate ship. And for anyone who would prefer to eat gingerbread rather than admire it from afar, there’s an opportunity to build and decorate a gingerbread house alongside the hotel’s pastry chefs.

Otherwise, book a few nights in any of the sanctuary-quality guest rooms or suites, all of which feature a balcony and an ocean view, and recharge for the year ahead.

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Artistic hardly does the spaces at the Inn of Five Graces justice. One of the suites’ bathrooms is completely outfitted in colorful mosaics, much like an ancient sanctuary. Photo: The Inn of Five Graces

The Inn of the Five Graces

Set within the colorful Barrio de Analco, a national historic landmark in Santa Fe, the Inn of the Five Graces is like an adobe and stone relic of rustic Spain. And each of the 25 guest rooms, all of which boast wood-burning kiva fireplaces, showcases both handcrafted artisan-made decor and one-of-a-kind Silk Road style, inspired by intricate network of land-based routes employed by international traders for over 1,500 years. It connected the East and West in more ways than one, and that connection is the design ethos behind The Inn.

The boutique hotel’s centerpiece is easily the spa, where exposed adobe walls, elaborately designed ceiling panels, and centuries-old statues come together in a peaceful oasis. There’s nothing like a deep Nirvana massage, performed with arnica oil and warm Ayurvedic herbal packs to stimulate circulation and relieve muscle tension for the holidays.

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Conrad Punta de Mita in Litibu, Nayarit, in Mexico, may be quite a sizable resort, but every space—whether it’s the guest rooms, lobby, or the beachfront restaurant, Árbol—feels intimate and warm.Photo: Victor Elias

Conrad Punta de Mita

Set within a charming village on the eastern edge of Mexico in Riviera Nayarit, Conrad Punta de Mita is strictly for those with an aversion to a traditional white holiday season—especially because daytime temperatures rarely dip below 80 degrees. And this place does not take the holidays lightly: From a five-course agave dinner led by the executive chef and agave expert Ana Martinez, to evening s’mores around private fire pits (with an à la carte cocktail service, there are quite a few festive activities on offer. Plus, on Christmas Eve, Conrad Punta de Mita is hosting a Huichol shamanic energy-cleansing ceremony followed by a traditional American Christmas dinner buffet, and just a few days later, be sure to wander down to the Kermesse festival for classic Mexican street food and live music.

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Set within the historic Portman Square, the recently opened Nobu Hotel’s two-story lobby is an architectural marvel worth exploring.Photo: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Though plenty of hotels feature an impressive food and beverage program, few are built around it. The recently opened Nobu Hotel in London’s highly stylish Marylebone neighborhood was designed around the renowned Robert De Niro–backed Nobu restaurant on the 249-room hotel’s second floor. Another element totally unique to this London spot? Nobu Pilates, a full-fledged studio that is definitely not your typical hotel fitness center. In fact, it’s a massive, light-flooded space that hosts specialized classes for nearly every part of the body. So, if you’re looking for a way to spend the morning after an evening of exclusive sakes and chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s miso black cod and yellowtail sashimi, sign up for a pilates class.

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Collins Cottage is one of two residence-style accommodations that Newport Beach’s Lido House decorated specifically for the winter holidays.Photo: Lido House

Lido House

Lido House, right smack dab in the middle of Newport Beach, has solved the age-old dilemma of spending the holidays at home or traveling to a different city. Having debuted at the beginning of November, Lido House enlisted local designers at Grace Blu and Blackband Design to curate two of its private cottages with a California-cool edge for the winter festivities. The cottages, dubbed Balboa and Collins, feature more than 1,500 square feet of space spread across three stories and charming holiday decor. Think traditional-style stockings on the mantle, contemporary ornaments on a delicious-smelling Douglas fir, sparkly, white tinsel trees, and hot cocoa making kits. Plus, booking a stay in either residence includes a private in-cottage dining experience prepared by The Mayor’s Table executive chef partner Riley Huddleston, breakfast at the same Newport Beach eatery, and two 50-minute holiday-inspired treatments at Boost Spa.

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The Dominick in downtown Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Photo: The Dominick

The Dominick

Few American cities are as highly coveted a destination as Manhattan during the month of December. And Soho’s The Dominick is making a solid case for celebrating downtown: Until the 25th, The Dominick’s decor concierge is providing guests with a curated menu of holiday-themed offerings, including a mini holiday tree, twinkle lights, and a selection of SoHo-specific ornaments. Guests can even choose to have the tree predecorated before their arrival or opt for hosting an in-room tree-trimming party with family and friends. Did we mention there’s also an in-room variety of sweet and savory holiday treats and cocktails?

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The Loutrel’s Veranda Lounge, complete with coffered ceilings and, for the holidays, a towering Douglas fir, makes for a stylish spot to sip a stirred libation or two.Photo: Kim Graham Photography

The Loutrel

Having opened its doors last month, Charleston’s 50-room The Loutrel is going big for its debut holiday season. The new downtown haunt partnered with interior designer Elizabeth Stuart to quite literally deck the halls in local flora, including camellias, cypress, magnolia, and smilax, in addition to fresh citruses like kumquats. She also opted for oversized wreaths, soaring evergreens, twinkling lights, mistletoe, and sparkling mushrooms. Plus, twin Christmas trees finished with gilded palm fronds, and mossy tree skirts greet guests in the high-ceilinged Veranda Lounge (and lobby.) Perhaps the most festive area, though, is the rooftop terrace, which has taken on the look of an enchanted forest with grapevine branch trees, a family of life-sized deer statues festooned with richly hued velvet ribbons, and gleaming lights.

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In Hotel Eden’s elegant La Libreria, the Old Hollywood–inspired cinematic experience, Piccolo Cinema Eden is making a triumphant return to Rome.Photo: Dorchester Collection

Hotel Eden, part of the Dorchester Collection

From whimsical Christmas markets in Piazza Navona to centuries-old cathedrals adorned with expertly preserved frescos, Rome, throughout December, is easily one of the most historically festive cities in the country. And Hotel Eden, which neighbors the famous Spanish Steps, is going all out this year—especially when it comes to the treats on offer. La Libreria, the hotel’s grand study where guests and locals typically enjoy a carefully curated libation and light bite, will house a dessert trolley stocked with handcrafted artisanal chocolates and treats courtesy of Hotel Eden’s pastry team, including chef Fabio Ciervo’s signature Montblanc cake topped with dark chocolate and raspberries. Another holiday-specific culinary masterpiece is the Michelin-starred resident restaurant La Terrazza’s Christmas Eve dinner (or lunch): a creative take on a classic five-course experience. And for those who’d rather take part in the delicacies they enjoy, tie on an apron and join pastry chef Ezio Redolfi in the kitchen.

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One of Nantucket’s more charming outposts, the recently opened Faraway, has stuck to its nautical backstory in a big way—especially in its Sister Ship restaurant.Photo: Matthew Kisiday

Faraway Nantucket

Anyone in hot pursuit of an escape, is there anything more enticing than a place called Faraway? The new hotel brand’s first outpost opened over the summer in Nantucket with a 62-room shingle-style structure that’s equal parts bohemian and nautical, which makes sense considering the muse: a fictional female captain who sets sail with her all-women crew and returns home (to Faraway) with an assemblage of exotic and weathered treasures from around the world. The founders and designers, Blue Flag Partners, don’t intend for their new haunt to be a strictly summer destination, though. They and co-designer Life House are going out of their way to make sure locals and visitors alike know that Faraway is as winter-friendly as it is summer-encouraged.

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Noelle Nashville’s penthouse suite is nothing short of a luxury apartment with room service.Photo: Noelle Nashville 

Noelle Nashville

When it comes to stunning Art Deco relics from the early 20th century, downtown Nashville doesn’t exactly come to mind, but the Noelle is making us reconsider. Eleven months out of the year, the 224-room hotel is a luxurious oasis nestled within the city’s historic district, but throughout the month of December, a few key elements completely transform. Take, for instance, Hidden Bar, the hotel’s underground watering hole, which traded its typical decor for that of the McCallister’s Shermer, Illinois, home circa 1990. There are even on-theme Home Alone cocktails, including the tequila-based “TV Is My Life.”

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The Winter Garden in London’s The Berkeley hotel features five holiday-friendly dining cabins with a delectable menu on offer. Photo: Justin De Souza

The Berkeley

Like most structures that have managed to survive after several hundred years, Belgravia’s The Berkeley came from humble beginnings. From the early 1700s until 1897, it was the Gloucester Coffee House, a popular haunt on the corner of Berkeley Street and Piccadilly. Just before 1900, it took on a new name, The Berkeley, and business; it was now a boutique hotel for the city’s elite set. And in 1972, the iconic spot picked up its roots and moved to its current home on Wilton Place.

And for the holidays this year, the historic hotel is offering The Berkeley Winter Cabins: five supremely cozy huts decked with fragrant wreaths, soaring firs, twinkling lights, and flickering candles. Plus, the alpine-inspired menu will certainly get anyone in the holiday spirit with such winter-specific dishes as creamy fondue, indulgent veal schnitzel, and, of course, piping hot spätzle.

via Architectural Digest

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