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Posts Tagged ‘Four Seasons Hotel’

6 of the best destinations to visit in December

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The holiday season is in full swing, though this December certainly doesn’t look like any other.

Whether you’re planning for this year or already dreaming about next, December has long been a popular time for travel, since many people have paid time off for the holidays and students can get a break from school. And there are some destinations that, no matter how unfamiliar the world may seem, are simply best seen with a dusting of snow or a flash of holiday tinsel.

For people who are seeking close-to-home getaways now or planning future trips for next winter, these are the six destinations we’re most excited about for December, including warm-weather getaways, places with iconic outdoor holiday attractions and mountain towns with snow sports perfect for physical distancing.

Just remember, it’s still incredibly important to focus on flexible travel plans, pay close attention to the guidance from local and national officials and medical experts and be mindful of testing and quarantine requirements if you’re leaving town. Take thoughtful steps to minimize your risk of coronavirus exposure and always prioritize your health — and the health of everyone around you — by wearing your mask, keeping your distance, washing your hands frequently and more.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out the most exciting and promising destinations for 2021 and learn how to minimize your risk of getting sick no matter where or when you travel.

For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

a view of a city at night: Philadelphia. (Photo by Claire Gentile/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Philadelphia. (Photo by Claire Gentile/Getty Images)

One of the few cities in the country still hosting its annual Christmas market, Philadelphia is a perfect destination for travelers in search of the holiday spirit. Head to LOVE Park to explore the Christmas Village, which features traditional timber booths, glittering lights and the aroma of German delicacies, including bratwurst, glühwein and lebkuchen (gingerbread).

The City of Brotherly Love has also welcomed a flurry of new hotel openings this year and last, and if you haven’t visited in a while you might be surprised by the number of new places to bed down. Some of our favorites include the Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia, which welcomed its first guests this summer; the new Hyatt Centric Center City; and the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Center and The Notary Hotel, an Autograph Collection property, both of which opened in the summer of 2019.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to love Philadelphia this winter — including how accessible it is for travelers who are seeking close-to-home adventures reachable by car or train.

TPG tip: Want to make sure your trip to Philadelphia includes plenty of time spent in the great outdoors? Head to the Poconos, a scenic mountain region just an hour and a half from the city with waterfalls and rivers that’s perfect for winter hiking and cross-country skiing.

Las Vegas, Nevada

a view of Las Vegas Strip at night: Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Sattlberger/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Sattlberger/Getty Images)

The next time you travel to Sin City, you might be surprised at how much has changed. Gone are the opulent self-service buffets, and most clubs and parties remain closed. Shows are beginning to reopen, but you shouldn’t expect the same variety of performances.

But in many ways, your trip to Las Vegas may be better than expected. Gone are the impassable crowds, and with social distancing policies, travelers may find this new version of Las Vegas to be far more comfortable and less stressful. Travelers can also find incredible deals on hotel room rates, and free parking has made a popular comeback.

Gallery: Places You Can Escape To During Quarantine — If You’re Rich (GOBankingRates)

a tree next to a body of water: Who doesn’t dream of escaping from the limitations of COVID-19 to somewhere tropical, remote, exotic or exciting? For most of us, however, due to costs and restrictions, getting much further away than driving distance is mostly a pipe dream. Read More: Airline Warns of Slow Recovery for Air Travel For the uber-rich, however, travel, even under heavy restrictions, is a no-brainer. Those with the cash to go anywhere they can afford are seeking out locales with limited numbers of people, and low or declining COVID-19 infection rates, according to CNBC. These range from tropical respites such as private islands to coastal towns with access to surf and sun. From private jets to luxury villas, the rich know how to quarantine in style. Here are five places the rich are visiting to escape quarantine. Last updated: Dec. 7, 2020

In late October, Las Vegas also welcomed Circa Resort and Casino. This splashy opening marked the first new-build hotel in downtown Las Vegas since the 1980s, the first adults-only resort in the city (guests must be 21 or older) and it’s also home to the world’s largest sportsbook.

Another reason to consider a trip to Las Vegas this December or next? You don’t have to worry about sweating it out in 100-degree weather.

TPG tip: Whether you’re traveling to Las Vegas this December or next, leverage elite status matches to get Caesars Rewards Diamond Tier benefits during your next trip (available until Dec. 31, 2020)

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

a group of people standing on top of a snow covered mountain: Steamboat Springs. (Photo by Zach Shortway/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Steamboat Springs. (Photo by Zach Shortway/Getty Images)

Want to enjoy wide-open spaces and fresh mountain air this winter? Steamboat Springs, an authentic ski town in northern Colorado with plenty of old-school charm may be the best place in the country to get your turns this year.

With exceptionally dry snow, an Old West aesthetic and an average of 314 inches of powder every year, there’s a reason Steamboat Springs is a perennial favorite among skiers and snowboarders. But for travelers planning a last-minute December getaway, there are new reasons to keep this town at the top of your list.

Starting Dec. 19, Southwest Airlines will fly new seasonal routes from Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Denver (DEN) to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), the closest gateway to Steamboat Springs. JetBlue is adding nonstop service from New York-JFK. During ski season, United, American and Alaska also serve Yampa Valley Regional. And while other major ski areas are requiring reservations, Steamboat isn’t, which might make planning your ski vacation less stressful.

TPG tip: If you really want to make sure you’re avoiding other people, this might be the year to take to the backcountry. At the Bluebird Backcountry ski area, which officially opens this year and will be the first resort of its kind in North America, there are no lifts: Guests will ski uphill or “skin” to the top of their run. It’s just 30 minutes from Steamboat Springs, and there are warming huts, a lodge, gear rentals, ski patrol and 1,200 avalanche-evaluated in-bounds acres.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

a large body of water with buildings in the background: Hilton Head, South Carolina. (Photo by Dennis Govoni/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Hilton Head, South Carolina. (Photo by Dennis Govoni/Getty Images)

It’s easy to see why so many snowbirds head to South Carolina’s Lowcountry to wait out the winter. In December, this barrier island experiences mostly mild weather and has plenty of holiday spirit.

Take part in a Jingle Bell Run, enjoy the twinkling lights on the harbor at The Sea Pines Resort and get into the holiday spirit at South Beach Christmas Village (get a wave from Santa, listen to live music outside and enjoy a complimentary cup of cocoa around the fireside).

Hilton Head Island is drivable from many major metropolitan areas across the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Travelers can also fly into Hilton Head Airport (HHH), though there are many more flights into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which is about 40 miles away.

TPG tip: Hilton Head Island may be best known for its timeshare resorts, boutique properties and luxury home rentals, but you can also use your points to offset the cost of your stay — especially if you have a stash of Marriott Bonvoy points. Book a room at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa (Category 5) or the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa (Category 6).

Dominican Republic

a group of people walking on a city street: The Dominican Republic. (Photo by Maremagnum/Getty Images) © The Points Guy The Dominican Republic. (Photo by Maremagnum/Getty Images)

With relatively easy entry requirements, the Dominican Republic is a practical tropical getaway for travelers craving an international escape. To help stop the spread of coronavirus, all travelers will have their temperature checked on arrival, must abide by social distancing and wear face masks, according to the Ministry of Tourism. But the nation is no longer requiring negative COVID-19 tests, which continues to be one of the biggest barriers in the travel industry.

Consider booking a room at the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda — the first resort to open in this undeveloped region — which opened in January and is spread across 50 acres. Or head to Punta Cana to check out the new all-inclusive Serenade Punta Cana Beach, Spa & Casino Resort. And for travelers with Radisson Rewards points, there’s the just-opened Radisson Blu Resort & Residence, also in Punta Cana, which marks the brand’s first all-inclusive property in the world.

TPG tip: Leverage airline alliances to get the best deal on an award flight to the Dominican Republic. Consider using Turkish Miles & Smiles for a United flight, Flying Blue miles if you’re traveling with Delta or British Airways Avios, which might make the most sense if you’re flying American Airlines from the southeast.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo by Jim Wiltschko/EyeEm/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo by Jim Wiltschko/EyeEm/Getty Images)

A gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg isn’t just a summer retreat. In fact, this mountain town may be one of the best places to drop your bags for the holidays. Located in eastern Tennessee, visitors will discover a great year-round getaway with mild weather and a number of seasonal activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and even snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg (the state’s only ski resort) and the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration at Dollywood.

With over 5 million lights, holiday performances (including classic carolers and Christmas-themed musical theater) and, for the first time ever, festive “Merry & Bright” fireworks displays set to holiday tunes, few places in the country will be conjuring the Christmas spirit quite like the Dollywood theme park. Smoky Mountains Christmas will run until Jan. 2, 2021.

Around the corner in Pigeon Forge, the annual Winterfest light festival gives visitors even more ways to experience the magic of the season. Just remember, it does snow in the Smoky Mountains, so do your research and make sure you’re careful to avoid any winter road closures.

TPG tip: Cozy up around the outdoor fire pit at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Gatlinburg Downtown by Marriott (from 30,000 points per night) or the Park Vista by Hilton Doubletree, which has great views of Gatlinburg and is perfect for families. Or, consider renting one of the area’s many cabins, which have the benefit of kitchens — perfect for avoiding public places — and other wintertime amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces.

Featured photo of Hilton Head Island by Whitney Carlson/EyeEm/Getty Images

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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Best US Cities to Visit in December

Bellagio conservatory

This beautiful country has everything you would need on a vacation, no matter the time of year you decide to visit. If you live there you can always find new and amazing places to visit and enjoy.

From mountains, forests, rivers, two oceans and a wide variety of national parks you can always find an exciting new traveling experience. Wintertime is a good of a time as any to take off and enjoy yourself, so here are some of the best US cities to visit in December!

Chicago, Illinois

Beautiful Chicago taken from the lake Michigan

Beautiful Chicago taken from the lake Michigan

Even though it’s in the northern part of the country this city is a great December destination. If you decide to visit the Windy City this time of year you will have a whole lot of different destinations and events to spend your time on.

Some of the best Christmas shows are taking place right there in Chicago so you don’t want to miss out on the famous Nutcracker or the Christmas Carol. With a large number of events, the 19th Winter Wonderfest could also be the perfect place to spend some family time. And for those of you who didn’t finish your holiday shopping, the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue offers a lot of the best shops in the World!

Where to Stay in Chicago in December: Hilton Chicago and the Willows Hotel are both excellent choices for those traveling with their families. Freehand Chicago is also an option, and quite an interesting one at that if you’re looking for a spa!

Asheville, North Carolina

If you want an amazing mountain view but want to avoid the Rocky Mountain states because of the crowds you can always go to Asheville, NC in the Blue Ridge mountains.

This historic city has milder winter temperatures and offers a lot of spectacular hiking routes all year round. Asheville also offers a lot of family tours like all things gingerbread in the Omni Grove Park Inn. The National Gingerbread House Competition is held there every year and it offers a great experience for kids and parents alike. A visit to the Downtown, a Lazoom bus tour or seeing the Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum could also be great ways to spend time this December.

Where to Stay in Asheville in December: For a more touristy feel, you can rent a room at the Holiday Inn, and you definitely wouldn’t make a mistake. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Asheville is also a quaint option, and the one best suitable for children.

Read more: Destination in Asia this December

Key West, Florida

If a warm and tropical holiday season is what you are looking for Key West, FL could be the perfect place for your December vacation!

Exploring the Winter Artisan Market, Holiday concerts and Bazaars or going on a Christmas Holiday adventure with jetskiing and snorkeling sounds like a great way to spend this cold month. However, the most famous part of the Key West holiday season is definitely the Key West Lighted Boat Parade at Schooner Wharf. Everything from small boats up to huge luxuries yachts is lightened up in beautiful Christmas lights and this unique experience could leave you breathless.

Where to Stay in Key West in December: Seashell Motel is a great and reasonably priced place to stay in Key West, especially if you have a big family. For a more luxurious December in Key West, try the Banyan Resort or the Sheraton.

New York City, New York

Breathtaking sunset in New York

Breathtaking sunset in New York

No list like this would be complete without the Big Apple. The tree lighting ceremony at the Rockefeller center is the best tourist place if you’re visiting NYC this time of year.

The gingerbread house in Madison Square Park and ice skating in Central Park are amazing for the whole family. NYC also has the largest offer of winter and holiday markets and doing your Christmas shopping in this city could result in some of the best holidays presents for family and friends. And of course, if you are there on New Year’s Eve the ball drop in Times Square is a world-famous event that you wouldn’t want to miss out on!

Where to Stay in New York in December: Now, this is a place where all the options are available. Cheap, expensive, luxurious, remote, romantic… There’s no point in describing just a couple of bedding options in a city that’s as great as New York. If you’re really out of ideas, try The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel.

St. Louis, Missouri

Panoramic view of St. Louis

Panoramic view of St. Louis

This midwest city with its moderate winter temperatures is an awesome December destination.

Concerts from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Disney Junior Holiday party for the kids and the performance of Pride and Prejudice are just some of the awesome events to visit.  Of course, there are a lot of historic sites and museums you would want to visit while in St. Louise such as the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum. For animal lovers, you can always go to the St. Louis Zoo or visit the Lone Elk Park with its numerous wildlife such as elks, deers, and others.

Where to Stay in St. Louis in December: Drury Plaza Hotel, Hyatt Regency, and Four Seasons Hotel are just some of the luxurious spots of St. Louis. The former two are also very close to the arch, so you’ll also quite possibly enjoy a unique view.

New Orleans, Louisiana

This amazing Louisiana city will give you a unique look at the holiday season.

The holidays start off with the annual Krewe of the Jingle parade and its just the first of many parades in this wonderful city. Also, Luna Fête is an awesome event with a huge display of amazing lights that get bigger and better every year. The evening at this festival will give you a great art show with all the local food, drinks, and craftsmanship.

Read more: Beaches in Florida this December

Another holiday tradition is the Celebration in the Oaks which will take you on a walk through the City Park with its historic oaks illuminated in wonderful holiday-themed lights. NOLA is definitely one of the best US cities to visit in December!

Where to Stay in New Orleans in December: On the outside, there’s something rustic about Royal Sonesta in New Orleans. But when you enter this hotel, you’ll be amazed at how clean and elegant everything is – just right for families with children.

Big Sky, Montana

Mountains in Big Sky home of the biggest skiing resort

Mountains in Big Sky home of the biggest skiing resort

For adventurers and people who enjoy extreme sports look no further!

The biggest ski resort in the states got you covered. With more than 5800 acres for skiing and over 300 named skiing paths, you are for sure going to have a holiday filled with sports activities. Taking a zipline up to the 11000 feet top will give you a dramatic view of the surroundings and a once in a lifetime experience.

The notable Christmas Stroll festival is also something you wouldn’t want to miss out on with a tree lighting ceremony, carolers, food, drink, music, and fireworks. And if you are by car and have the time, make sure to visit the Yellowstone National Park which is just an hour away!

Where to Stay in Big Sky in December: Big Sky Resort is on the more expensive side, but the beauty of its surroundings is unmatched. It goes without saying that the interior is simply breathtaking as well. If it turns out to be too expensive, give Huntley Lodge a chance – it’s got all the style, but with a more reasonable price tag!

Kauai, Hawai

On the other end of the spectrum, a visit to Hawaii is very popular in the December holiday season.

Making a sandman on the beach, which is a Hawaiian take on the snowman, or going to see the Nutcracker with a Hawaiian twist to it is just a couple of awesome things to do on a December trip to Hawaii.

The annual Festival of Lights is also a site to see and you can enjoy it with carrols played on the ukulele make your day! Decorated palm trees and fireworks on beaches are breathtaking in this warm tropical climate. And if it’s underwater scenery you want to see make sure to check out the Hanalei Bay, Kee Beach or Tunnels Beach.

Where to Stay in Kauai in December: Kauai Beach Villas sit beneath lovely palm trees, looking out at some of the most gorgeous beaches you can imagine. It’s also quite affordable, which is amazing considering how great the location is. If you want to go all-in on this Hawaii trip, stay at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort And Spa.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Unforgettable nights in Las Vegas

Unforgettable nights in Las Vegas

For a more adult December vacation, Las Vegas is definitely the place to be during the holiday season.

Other than hitting the casinos there is a whole lot of concerts, stand up comedies, musicals and other amazing shows you can visit any day of the week!

Although primarily for adults, there are also family activities in this amazing city. Visiting the Bellagio Conservatory and other wonderfully decorated botanical gardens is a great family activity. The Great Santa Run on December seventh is an awesome event that sees Santa Clauses racing down the streets of Vegas and it’s definitely fun for the whole family.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas in December: Much like in New York, there are also way too many options to choose from. Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay, and many others decorate the Las Vegas skyline. Pick any you like really – Vegas is not about being picky!

Conclusion

The states have so much to offer to a traveler that there is a whole lot more of other places and activities to see and do. These are just some of the best US cities to visit in December and a trip to any of these will make for a wonderful time.

Falling in love with amazing landscapes, visiting small towns and other huge cities is also on the menu for every traveler with a thirst for adventure. Whatever your choices are for the upcoming holiday season make sure to enjoy it and share love and happiness with your family and friends. Happy holidays!

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