The festive season is well and truly in full swing – but to make the most of the Christmas break, why not check into one of these four hotels for a last-minute getaway? With dog sleds, snowshoeing and wilderness landscapes on tap, each one is a dreamy winter wonderland.
Forget taxis: at this lodge in northernmost Sweden on the shore of Lake Väkkärä, the only way to arrive is as part of a dog team, either riding, wrapped up, in the sled or driving your own huskies. Other privately guided activities on offer in this wilderness landscape 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle include snowmobile rides across the frozen tundra, ice fishing (the chef will cook up whatever you catch for dinner), and a master class in ice sculpting. When it starts to feel a little chilly, head back to the three-bedroom cabin and warm up in front of the cosy wood-burner.
Tucked between the Montana Rockies and grasslands, this lodge is just outside the
Yellowstone National Park – meaning it’s perfectly placed for Nordic skiing on 85 kilometres of woodland trails, downhill skiing on 300 runs at neighbouring Big Sky Resort and full moon snowshoeing. Secluded, cosy cabins are scattered among the trees (they were restored in 2016), and come with porches out the front and wooden stoves inside. Other top experiences include venturing into the back country to spot bison, elk and steaming geysers; fly-fishing for rainbow trout on the Gallatin and Madison Rivers; and booking in for a horse-drawn sleigh ride to a lantern-lit cabin for a prime-rib dinner.
The San Cassiano ski resort is one of the biggest draws for a winter stay at this chic hotel in the Italian Dolomites. Cross country skiing, heli-skiing, sledging and ice climbing can all be arranged, too. Yet, there is also plenty here to keep families amused during downtime: from watching movies in the cinema room to splashing about in the pool, to morning yoga sessions and relaxing in the sauna. Rosa Alpina also has a reputation for its excellent food: take your pick from wood-fire oven cooked pizzas followed by chocolate soufflé in the Wine Bar & Grill; or family-style fondue dinners in the Stube and the six- or 12-course ‘Cook the Mountain’ tasting menu at three Michelin star restaurant St. Hubertus.
An hour’s drive from Inverness in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, this private, 100-square-kilometre reserve has four lodges for guests. The largest is Alladale itself, a Victorian Manor house that sleeps 14, and which comes with its own private chef and the backdrop of an ancient pine forest. The smallest is Ghillie’s Rest, an intimate two-bedroom cottage by the River Alladale with a galley kitchen for cooking up a hearty feast and glorious views along the glen. All the country pursuits you’d expect are available: clay pigeon shooting, deer stalking, cycling, hiking and 4×4 guided tours of the area – but if it snows, simply hole up by the fire and look out at the incredible surroundings.
London-based freelance journalist Emma Love specialises in writing about interiors, design and travel for titles such as Elle Decoration and Condé Nast Traveller, where she is a contributing editor. She also writes for publications such as the Financial Times and the Guardian.