Check out some of our favourite hot and cold holiday destinations
It’s winter and the snow has arrived. We’ve braved treacherous – OK, slightly slippy – weather conditions on our way to the office. Some of us have even succumbed to long johns. So, as the seasons change, we’ve decided to do a seasonal blog post. We are sharing three of our favourite hot and cold destinations. Whether you’re chasing the sun or the Aurora Borealis, we’ve got some inspiring places for you to consider. Expect reindeer safaris, UFO shaped huts in trees and glass igloo hotels.
One of the finest winter holiday destinations. Experience Lapland at this stunning arctic retreat, and stay in a glass igloo hotel. Yes, that’s right, your very own igloo: don’t worry, it’s attached to a warm log cabin. There’s a double bed in each igloo, so you can fall asleep at night watching the Aurora Borealis flashing in the sky. If you aren’t satisfied with the Northern Lights flashing above your igloo, you can hop on a husky – or reindeer! – driven sleigh and go aurora hunting. Be warned, there’s no internet signal in the log cabins – you’re in the wilderness. But with plenty of reindeer and the Northern Lights to keep you company, you won’t want to stare at Facebook that much.
From glass igloos in Finland we move onto the Tree Hotel in Northern Sweden. This is another great location if you want to see the Northern Lights. You can stay in a UFO shaped cabin in a tree. If that’s not exotic enough, you can stay in a Bird’s Nest shaped cabin that camouflages itself in the trees: you’ll truly be at one with nature. You can go skiing in the forest, and then jump on a snowmobile for a spot of Aurora hunting. As you’re way up North near the Arctic Circle, this is the perfect location if you want to get away from the rat race and enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation. If you like to be on the move there’s plenty of winter sports to keep you active. In the small village of Harads you can dine on seasonally sourced local delicacies.
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Exploding geysers, volcanoes and cascading waterfalls – these are some of the wonders you’ll see as you tour Iceland’s Golden Circle. The three main stops are Thingvellir Park, the Great Geyser and the Gullfoss Waterfall. Thingvellir Park is a Unesco World Heritage site. It’s also home to the world’s oldest parliament. The first Icelanders arrived in the Dark Ages, having fled Norway. The tiny state that emerged was one of the first democracies. At Thingvellir Park, you’ll learn about the origins of democracy and the birth of Iceland itself. The island sits on shifting tectonic plates between the American and Eurasian continents, making Iceland a hub of geological activity. There are 200 volcanoes in Iceland. It’s believed that the island was formed out of molten lava tens of millions of years ago. Iceland fits our theme perfectly, as it seems to be made of fire and ice. Glaciers vie with volcanos for your attention. You will see the Great Geyser itself. Lava beneath the earth’s surface heats the rocks and sends boiling water shooting into the air. You’ll see hot springs and pools of bubbling mud. Continuing the geological theme, the last stop on the Golden Circle tour is the Gullfoss Waterfall; it’s so powerful you can feel it ringing in the air. Gullfoss is often crowned by huge rainbows – if you’re in Iceland it’s a must see.
Experience nature and luxury on this French Polynesian island. You can go snorkelling in the Coral Gardens and see stunning marine life. If you’re feeling daring, you can go shark and stingray spotting. Or, if lethal fish aren’t your thing, dine in style at the Bora Bora Yacht Club. This is one of the most popular Island destinations in the world. Bora Bora’s economy is almost exclusively supported by the tourist trade. You can stay in an overwater bungalow, and hear the sea lapping around you as you sleep. The setting is so spectacular, you’ll see why Bora Bora is a popular marriage destination. What’s more, you’re just a fifty-minuteflight to Tahiti – which brings us to our next location.
You may have seen this week’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby on BBC 2. The Brando Hotel was featured; named of course after Marlon Brando, who bought it in the 60s after falling in love with Tahiti. Today it’s one of the most celebrated hotels in the world. Leonardo Dicaprio, Pippa Middleton and Barack Obama have stayed there. The Brando is not cheap. A single room goes for over a couple of thousand per night, and a grander suite goes for over eleven thousand per night (gulp). So, unless these are small sums to you (if so call me), then this is a once in a lifetime destination.
This Caribbean island is close to Barbados. Ownership of the island pinged back and forth between the British and French empires so many times it’s tricky to keep count. Today, St Lucia is independent and one of the most popular holiday destinations: it has the best views of the Caribbean. As the setting is so romantic, there’s plenty of hotels geared towards romance. We can send you to an exclusive couples resort, where you’ll enjoy seven acres of tropical gardens ranged along Malabar beach. Alternatively, you can go on the BodyHoliday, and enjoy five days of pampering. When you’re ready to explore the island, there are 19,000 acres of rainforest for you to walk through. You can also visit the world’s only drive-in volcano.