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What are the Best Luxury Holiday Destinations Right Now?

What are the Best Luxury Holiday Destinations Right Now?

Looking for a winter 2020 luxury holiday vacation destination? After the year that we’ve just endured, who isn’t? We’re in the mood for some joy and freedom – but what are the best places to go to find them in this miserable coronavirus era? Our intrepid correspondent Jillian Tangen is breaking down where to go this year: the best destinations for a luxury winter holiday vacation right now, during COVID 19 2020-2021. Spoiler alert: whether you’re seeking sand or snow, there are actually some good options, dear reader.

The best destinations for a luxury holiday vacation right now

The most wonderful time of the year is going to look a little different this year.  Yes, there will be plenty of yummy treats, glittering lights and good cheer, but instead of big family gatherings, festive concerts and trips to far flung destinations, the holidays are going to be about staying closer to home, hygiene and social-distancing – much like this past summer.

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After months of hunkering down and finally adjusting to this “new normal” for the long haul – work pods, anyone?, it’s no wonder many are itching to get away for a holiday break.  But as we all know, embarking on a trip during a pandemic comes with some caveats.  

While it’s impossible to say for sure that it’s 100% safe to travel, health experts generally agree that closer-to-home, precaution-filled excursions filled with outdoor activities and social distancing are lower risk.  Not to mention, mask wearing – whether in public spaces such as lobbies or on airplanes – is a must.  As is knowing the rules for your destination, as some places require quarantines or Covid-19 testing beforehand.  

Still, with a little planning it is possible to enjoy a memorable winter trip this holiday season while engaging in the CDC’s recommendations.  Cold weather outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating and even hiking are ideal options for those ready to brave the cold.  And for those who prefer water in its liquid form whilst paired with a fruity frozen drink, there’s a number of places open in the US and nearby that offer year round swimming, golfing and tennis.  Your comfort with flying versus driving to either?  That’s up to you.

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From warm sun soaked pool days in Palm Springs and Arizona to snow covered Christmas villages in upstate New York and New England, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite holiday vacation ideas for winter 2020.  Pack your bags and fire up your “out of office” auto reply. Here are our picks for an outdoor friendly and socially distanced holiday vacation. 

The best places for a luxury holiday vacation right now in this 2020-2021 COVID 19 era

team sun

1. scottsdale

Scottsdale Arizona’s warm, lush desert landscape offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure year round.  Climb 2,700 feet to the peak of Scottsdale’s most iconic natural landmark, Camelback Mountain to enjoy stunning views of the Valley of Sun and the surrounding desert landscape.  Opt to roam through 140 acres of Sonoran flora at the Desert Botanical Garden and it’s more than 21,000 desert plants.  Or unleash your inner cowboy and saddle-up for a Western-style horseback ride at MacDonald’s Ranch.

luxury winter holiday vacations

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destination this year: Scottsdale, Arizona. Courtesy Photo.

The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows is located at the base of Camelback and features plenty of patios and private terraces, as well as three pools making it perfect for a socially distanced retreat.

2. palm springs

If you are looking for an “eat, sleep, pool, repeat,” kind of vacation, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Palm Springs and more specifically the La Quinta Resort & Club.  It’s a perfect place to enjoy a little sun minus the crowds thanks to the resort’s Spanish style Casita’s featuring private patios with hot tubs.   

luxury winter holiday vacations

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year: Palm Springs, California. Courtesy Photo.

And if a little action is more your thing, you can hit the links at any one of the resort’s five legendary golf courses or opt to perfect your forehand at their tennis and pickleball courts.

3. savannah

The so-called “hostess city of the south” city of Savannah is worth a visit year-round, but it’s especially charming in the winter when the temps hover in the comfortable 60’s.  Spend afternoons exploring the stunning squares dotted with Spanish moss trees (perfect for family pictures), take a holiday friendly stroll down River Street or if you dare, let a ghost tour guide you through the city’s history that includes the beautiful Southern Gothic style Bonaventure Cemetery.

luxury winter holiday vacations

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year: Savannah, Georgia. Courtesy Photo.

For accommodations, the Perry Lane Hotel is our pick.  It’s located within walking distance of the iconic Forsyth Park. It offers bike rentals so that guests can easily and safely explore the city.  The hotel also features a local art collection, a partnership with an architectural tour guide, live music performances, a lending library, private yoga classes and in-room spa treatments too.

4. st. barths

For those looking to escape the country entirely and dive into crystal clear waters with coral reefs, the island of St. Barts reopened to international travelers (including US citizens) in late June. Visitors are required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, taken within 72 hours of arrival in addition to a second test for those staying longer than 8 days. 

luxury winter holiday vacations

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year: St. Barts. Courtesy Photo.

Just in time for the holidays, the island’s iconic Eden Rock situated above St. Jean Bay will reopen October 22nd with brand new accommodations including private villa rentals as well as strict Covid safety measures to ensure guests have a luxurious yet safe stay.  Plus who wouldn’t want to say goodbye to 2020 entirely in the ultimate style?

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5. bermuda

Bermuda has always been a long weekend destination for East Coasters, with its pink beaches and year-round warm weather.  Amid the pandemic, however, it’s become even more appealing thanks, in part, to the country’s intensive Covid-19 screening for travelers and low case counts. Visitors are required to fill out a travel authorization form and show a negative Covid test upon arrival, followed by a rapid test at the airport and another on the 4th day of your trip. 

luxury winter holiday vacations

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year to avoid covid 19: Bermuda. Courtesy Photo.

Make the sprawling Rosewood Bermuda in Tucker’s Point, your home base so you can enjoy plenty of sand and sun outdoors as well as golf, tennis and ocean adventures like reef exploration.

team snow

6. deer valley

Located about 40 minutes from Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountain range is the ski haven, Deer Valley.  The storied ski-only resort (meaning no snowboarders allowed) can only be described as a Disney World for skiers thanks to its premium snow conditions, precision grooming, limited lift tickets (even more so than usual during covid) and surreal natural beauty.  

winter 2020

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year: Deer Valley, Utah. Courtesy Photo.

The Montage is the perfect spot for families to stay during the holiday season.  December is chockablock with festive happenings.  It includes holiday stocking deliveries, family snow tubing, caroling and an annual reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

7. woodstock

The New England town of Woodstock, Vermont seems as if it were made for Christmas trips. The small town celebrates the holidays with aplomb. The town’s yearly Wassail Weekend features outdoor music, an equestrian parade, horse-drawn carriage rides and a lighting of the Woodstock tree and yule log.  And for those looking to hit the slopes, both Killington Resort and the Woodstock Inn Nordic Center are within close proximity.

winter 2020

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year: Woodstock, Vermont. Courtesy Photo.

Stay at the beautiful and centrally located Woodstock Inn & Resort off Main Street which blends historic details with modern luxuries.  Guest rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces and handcrafted bed frames. While outdoors the resort consists of over 2,000 acres with over 30 activities for guests to enjoy.

8. yosemite

Winter is the perfect time to explore a US National Park like Yosemnite.  In addition to tranquil quiet and respite, you can take in awe-inspiring views of (and hopefully trips to) Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point and Half Dome as well as enjoy both downhill and cross-country skiing at Badger Pass.

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year during covid 19: Yosemite, California. Courtesy Photo.

The park is also home to the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel, considered the crown jewel of the national park lodges.  It’s the perfect spot to start your socially distant winter getaway.

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9. jackson hole

Whether you want to explore the slopes or a national park, Jackson Hole is another great winter getaway option.  During the winter Grand Teton National Park and the Teton Range receive a wintry blanket of snow perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, while Jackson Hole transforms into a downhill skiers dream.

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations this year during covid 19: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Courtesy Photo.

Enjoy the outdoors even more at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.   Each guest room is equipped with a private balcony overlooking the spectacular Grand Teton Mountain Range. It has an outdoor seating area and fireplaces.  Alternatively, stay in one of the property’s spacious Private Retreats for even more seclusion.

10. lake placid

Lake Placid, best known as the host site of the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. Lake Placid is a picture perfect winter destination and our 2020 winter vacation destination in New York’s Adirondacks.  The Olympic spirit is still very much alive in this small town and families will love trying out some of the area’s Olympic experiences together like skiing Whiteface Mountain or skating on the speed skating oval.  The town is also home to the newly opened  Cliffside Mountain Coaster, which is the longest mountain coaster in North America.

The best luxury winter 2020 holiday vacation destinations during covid 19: Lake Placid, New York. Courtesy Photo.

You won’t find any crowds at Lake Placid Lodge.  There are only 30 rooms at this luxe, serene wooded resort and you can enjoy “snow bonfires” by the lake, complete with hot chocolate and s’mores, or opt for a ride in a bobsled down one of America’s only bobsled tracks (with a professional driver, of course) at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

The best places for a luxury holiday vacation this season

Those are our picks for where to go for a luxury winter holiday in this COVID 19 era, which seems sure to extend from 2020 into 2021.  No matter where you choose, or if you opt to drive or fly – be safe.  And do be sure to follow your state’s quarantine rules upon return.  Happy holidays and safe travels.

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter hereAnd see luxury in a new light.

This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier and a former Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross-country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.

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