Sand to snow: two ways to spend Christmas 2015

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For many of us, Christmas is synonymous with sub-zero temperatures, mulled wine, and the soothingly angelic sounds of red-faced carollers, but this is not for everybody, and the festive period is beginning to take on a distinctly hotter identity for the travel-conscious amongst us.

Celebrate in the snow

© Hotel of Ice

© Hotel of Ice

If indulgently decadent eggs are synonymous with Easter and fasting is synonymous with Ramadan, then snow, snowmen, and snowballs are synonymous with Christmas. Indeed, for many, a festive getaway without snow is like a Jacuzzi without bubbles.

Well, awaiting those on a festive quest for luxury, minus the buzzing hoards of moaning tourists, is Romania’s Ice Hotel. Situated next to the Bâlea Lake in central Romania’s Sibiu County, the country’s breathtakingly picturesque landscape is home to one of the world’s most spectacular hotels.

Free from swarming tourists and set against a stunning backdrop, visitors can shut out the world while counting the stars in the mill pond-like sky. Tranquillity, peace, and serenity are in unrivalled abundance at this awe-inspiring facility.

With only two chalets open all year round, this is a perfectly isolated romantic festive destination. Marvel at the expertly sculpted wings of this magnificent architectural achievement. A truly unforgettable experience.

Celebrate in the sun

© Alyaka

© Alyaka

For those wishing to sun themselves instead of frolic in the frost, the Thai island of Koh Kood is the perfect Christmas substitute.

Labelled by many as Thailand’s last accessible unspoiled island, you can relax in the island’s touristless moonlit waters. Whether taking a romantic winter break for two or a family trip, there is no finer island on which to embrace the luxury of nature: beautiful untouched rainforests, unexplored creeks, and crystal clear waters await you.

Use local boats to pay spontaneous visits to the equally enchanting surrounding islands, and encounter unimaginable wildlife. This is as far from snow and sleds as it gets, but with indulgent massages, white sandy beaches, and majestic waters, a sun-drenched trip to Kho Kood is just as hypnotising and relaxing.