With the Christmas Holidays creeping ever closer it is only right that Swide serves up some alternative ideas for where to welcome in the festive feelings.
Getting Christmassy in Nashville
Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville
First up we’ve got a hotel that can proudly claim that it's the ‘most Christmassy’ place to rest your weary head. Gaylord Opryland Hotel (quite the name, no?) puts anyone who thinks that draping a tree with twinkling lights and a couple of electronic waving Santas is festive enough to shame. Located in Nashville, Gaylord Opryland Hotel lights up Christmas with more fairy lights then you can shake a stick out and an atmosphere that will warm any scrooge’s heart. Appropriate for young families or grandparents treating grandchildren, this year is guaranteed to be their most spectacular yet. If you want to spoil those in your life with music, lights and a heavy dollop of fun, then this is the place for you. For more information: Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Making snow angles in Sweden
If you are the kind of person who thinks that Christmas isn’t complete without snow and adventure then how does spending your holidays at Sweden’s famous ICEHOTEL sound to you? Already recommended by Swide, ICEHOTEL are offering the perfect chill during the festive season and promise to warm you up with a vodka or two at their ICEBAR. You can opt to relax or take part in once-in-a lifetime activities like a Husky sledge tour, lessons in ice sculpting, Moose safari on horseback or a chance to catch the Northern Lights striding across the night sky. How you spend your Christmas Day at the ICEHOTEL is up to you but you can not miss the torchlight lit procession to a little church where you will enjoy Swedish carols mixed in with a couple of more recognizable numbers. If see your fancy your frozen festivities taking place in the deep freeze then ICEHOTEL is the place for you. For more information about their Christmas packages: Discover the world here
Working up an appetite in Caracas
If cooling your heels isn’t on your agenda this year then get yourself on a flight to Caracas, Venezuela. Not only will this be a warmer way to spend your Christmas holidays but it is also the perfect place for those who want to work up an appetite, by roller-skating. From the 16th December the religious proceedings of Christmas begin and churchgoers attend early morning church services. These are attended by most but the residents make a point to attend at least one of these services and the residents of Caracas have a very unique tradition of getting there via roller-skating. Streets are closed until 8.a.m to let you get to your destination safely and then, after the service, everyone rushes home to tostados and coffee. But who says that you have to stop there, roller-skating is a must when there and, as you can tell, they happily encourage it. If you still have energy to burn then take part in a sport that is growing in popularity. Find yourself a beach and a surfboard and turn your hand to Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP). I’m sure that after all that you would want to put your feet up for a while, well there is no better place to do this than at Pestana Hotel (1ª. Avenida Urb. Santa Eduvigis, 1.071 Caracas, Venezuela), offering you breath taking views of the mountains and over looks Parque del Este. From here you will be able to get to the coast and dip your feet in the Caribbean Sea. For more information about the hotel: Pestana Hotel
Mummers of Latvia
Mumming through the ages
Mumming is a tradition that has roots that date back to Middle Ages in England is now a practice that has been adopted globally. It involves the donning of costumes and street performance by groups of mummers and also house-to-house visits, which are actually more common. The act of mumming is international and it is in Latvia that this activity is at its most intensive around Christmas. It is common for those involved to dress up as horses, cranes, goats, wolfs and bears or for those who want to play it safe you can dress up as a tall woman, stout man and for you who want to stand out from the crowd, why not be a hay stack?
Christmas time in Latvia is also closely linked with winter solstice celebrations and if you are in Riga during December then you had better hop down to the Riga Christmas Market to grab some traditional decorations to hang in your hotel room before going mumming. Speaking of hotels, check-in to Hotel Bergs (83-85, Elizabetes Street, 1050, Riga) for some 5-star treatment in the heart of Bergs Bazaar, where you have access to the historic centre. Take a look for yourself here: Hotel Bergs
Be a beach bum on Bondi
If you would rather top-up your tan then wrap up warm, then do what thousands of us from around the world do and jump to Australia’s party capital, Bondi in Sydney. Leave the scarf at home and strut your stuff on Bondi beach with nothing more than your this-season swimwear and a Santa Claus hat to hide your modesty. While the day away in the sun warming you up ready for your Christmas dinner with a twist. Do as the Aussies do and enjoy a picnic in Centennial or Hyde Park with loved ones or why not take that turkey to the beach. If the beach isn’t your thing, or you would rather keep the beach at a convenient distance then you should make your way to Darlinghurst where you will find the Medusa Hotel (267 Darlinghurst Road, between Liverpool & William Streets Darlinghurst). With it’s mix of heritage-listed Victorian mansion formality and flair of colour and design, Medusa hotel is situated in an area steeped in history (the Darlinghurst Gaol for example) and also boasts some of the favoured night spots and also its own little Italy. For more information about the Medusa Hotel
Written by Ben Taylor