Several travel-centric holidays have come and gone since the start of the pandemic: Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day, to name a few, plus the months-long school vacation otherwise known as summer. But the upcoming November and December holidays are likely going to be the trickiest to navigate, as no other time of year is as synonymous with travel, celebrations and gathering with friends and family. Luckily, while things may need to look a little different than in years past, it’s still possible to safely toast to health, happiness and the end of 2020—thanks in part to unique hospitality packages like these. From a Mexican resort offering private meals cooked by a Noma co-founder to a luxury city hotel allowing buy-outs of its club level, here are six spots that have introduced lively ways to enjoy the season—while staying in your bubble.
This year, private vacation club Exclusive Resorts is offering its members the chance to celebrate the holidays with a focus on privacy, security and personalized service. Book a residence on Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo—one of the club’s flagship locations—and enjoy three options for your Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve meal. For the ultimate in alone time, order the three-course menu of prepared foods for contactless delivery to you home (all guests have to do is warm it all up.) Go bigger by booking a private chef, who will cook a four-course meal in-residence; some of the offered dishes for Thanksgiving include grilled pineapple and organic arugula salad with tomato confit, grilled beef tenderloin and garlic jumbo prawns, and crêpes Suzette. Or, if you’re feeling comfortable venturing out, take the group to the on-site Poro Poro Clubhouse to indulge in Chef Nicolas’s gourmet holiday meals. Pre-made menu starts at $52 per adult, $25 per child; private chef menu starts at $68 per adult, $32 per child.
Hospitality company onefinestay’s stylish rental properties can be found all over the world, from San Francisco and New York City to Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond. Many of them already offer year-round add-on services like chefs, nannies and butlers, but for the upcoming holidays, the company has introduced a new Festive Magic menu of special experiences. Some of the standouts include a curated tablescape by Vogue contributor Alice Naylor-Leyland, which will be delivered to the rental property along with an optional floral arrangement (starting at $500); a Christmas tree, either pre-decorated or ready for you to adorn (starting at $250); virtual or in-person baking lessons featuring local seasonal treats like gingerbread and panettone (from $120 per person); and at-home wreath-making kits (from $200). Private festive city tours, grocery-stocking and wine and Champagne delivery can also be arranged, as can a virtual visit with Santa, who will chat with kids about their holiday wish lists and offer a few surprises (pricing upon request). Note that offerings may vary depending on the location.
Auberge Resorts Collection Los Cabos
Auberge Collection’s two Los Cabos resorts—the elegant Esperanza, located on a private beach, and the contemporary-chic Chileno Bay—are teaming up to offer an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal for their in-house guests. Via a partnership with Chef Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of the original Noma, guests will have the opportunity to have the world-renowned chef cook for them in their villa, or to join one of the intimate group dinners he’ll be hosting at the properties. The private, in-villa dinners are only available November 24 to 26, for up to 10 guests, and include wine pairings. The multi-course group dinners will take place at Esperanza’s oceanfront Cocina del Mar on November 27 and on Chileno Bay’s beach (where the chef will cook over a live fire) on November 28. For all the meals, Chef Refslund will incorporate ingredients fresh from the Sea of Cortez and local organic farms. Prices for the private in-villa dinners start at $5,000 for November 24 and 25, and at $7,500 for Thanksgiving evening. Group dinners start at $145 per person.
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
This holiday season, gather the gang in the Mile High City to take over the entire club level of one of Denver’s top luxury hotels. The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, is offering guests the chance to buy-out its 12th floor, which includes two suites and 12 deluxe rooms to accommodate up to 36 travelers. You’ll also get exclusive, keyed access to the 2,700-square-foot Club Lounge, which is outfitted with big screen TVs and cushy living and dining spaces, as well as Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the hotel’s culinary team, an open bar including wine, beer and spirits, and Friday morning breakfast. Early check-in and late checkout can also be arranged. Pricing starts at $25,000 per night for up to 36 guests, including Thanksgiving dinner and one breakfast.
Available at AKA’s luxury serviced residences in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and London, the New Holiday Traditions Package focuses on safe and fun ways to reunite for the celebratory season. Book two or more suites for a minimum of one week, between November 20 and January 3, and enjoy a 10-percent discount on the accommodations, each of which comes with living and dining areas and a full kitchen that can be pre-stocked via a grocery delivery option. Guests will also receive a welcome gift of wine, cocoa and keepsake mugs, and a curated list of recommended local shops, activities and photographers who are available to take family portraits at special AKA rates. Depending on the property, guests can also take over on-site areas for private use; a conference room can be turned into a private dining room, for example, while a screening room can be booked to stream classic films or watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Visit the site for a list of participating properties and rates. Note that some properties are offering the option to privatize full floors, while two locations—AKA Sutton Place and AKA West Hollywood—require a one-month minimum stay.
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa
Enjoy the holidays by the seaside at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Montauk’s only year-round resort. This November, guests who book one of the cottages or private residences can opt to have Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the chef and served in the comfort of their accommodations. The special menu will feature a whole roasted turkey carved tableside, as well as stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and other seasonal favorites. Younger guests can also join in on special activities like arts and crafts sessions and a resort-wide scavenger hunt, all practiced with safety in mind. In December, suites and cottage can be decorated with your choice of Christmas tree, festive lights or a Menorah with gelt and candles. Meals can also be enjoyed in-room at this time, or you can book one of the eight beachfront private bungalows—each with firepit—to savor the seasonal menu. Cottages and residences start at $1,200 a night.