9 Unique ways to spend Christmas & New Year’s

Break the monotony of end-of-year holidays with a different kind of Christmas and New Years’ Eve break. Leave behind the stress, hassle and work normally associated with the holidays and instead treat yourself to some much deserved fun and festivities, or some rest if you’re so inclined.

We asked our member hotels to send us their most unusual, unique and interesting packages, offers and entertainment options for Christmas and the New Year and we’ve selected the best ones for your perusal.

You can be assured that in addition to providing you with something unique for the end of the year festivities, all the hotels and offers also give you world-class comfort, luxury and extras.

Chris Cornell from AudioslaveParty like it’s 1999 in the Swiss Alps

Montreux, in Switzerland, is renowned among music fans as the home of one of the world’s best annual Jazz festivals. Over the Christmas season it’s also home to one of the biggest parties in the country.  Every year the Montreux Music and Convention Center is host to a huge Christmas party with the best DJs in the world congregating there to play music throughout the night. If you fancy dancing Christmas away then you won’t find a better or more original venue.  The Convention Center is conveniently located within walking distance of the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic – and with rooms starting at 150CHF this December, don’t delay and enjoy a party to remember this Christmas.

Morning snow, afternoon swim in Cyprus

Enjoy a truly memorable Christmas day at the Londa hotel: start with a hot drink and breakfast up in the Troodos Moutains (an hour’s drive from the hotel) surrounded by snow before heading back down to the hotel in the afternoon for a swim in the sea or just a spot of sunbathing. This unique Christmas break relies on the weather permitting the combination of snow and sun, however should that fail the hotel, and its surroundings, offers plenty to do and see year-round. Rooms at the Londa hotel start at 124GBP and the hotel has two Christmas and NYE offers available until the end of December 2009: a NYE in Cyprus package and a Luxury Christmas Package package.

Relax in Florence

Best known for its rich cultural and historical heritage, Florence is also a great destination for end of year holidays with a difference. Monsignor Della Casa, located just outside Florence in a quiet, beautiful countryside resort, is offering couples a special massage during the holiday season complete with Champagne lotions. The hotel is also offering an exclusive luxury package until early January with a free night and breakfast package. Rates at the hotel start from 114GBP.

London's Serpentine LakeTake part in one of the oldest London traditions

London’s Serpentine Lake is a destination for the hardy in the annual Christmas Day swim. Established in 1864, the ‘Serps’, as they are affectionately known, is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the U.K. and each year the event attracts a raft of brave competitors who race the traditional 91m (100 yard) swim. If you wish to compete in one of London’s craziest, and most challenging, Christmas traditions we recommend booking a room at The Capital Hotel, right next to Hyde Park. It will be the closest shelter to warm up again once you come out of the water!

The Capital is also offering an exclusive Christmas package with breakfast, Champagne afternoon tea and parking included. Rates from 262GBP. Or try their Indulgence package which includes 2 nights’ accommodation, breakfast and access to the hotel’s spa. Rates from 452GBP.

Party, then relax, in style

The Quay Hotel in Wales is offering a Spa and Party combination for New Years’ Eve 2009 sure to please those who like to see the new year in style and need to recover for a day, or two, afterwards.

The hotel is offering: Spa treatments and a pre-pamper party in the hotel room for girls; Dinner in the hotel’s restaurant with sparklers and bubbles at the table as well as Champagne cocktails flowing all night; Jazz band; Sparklers and cocktails on the terrace at midnight; On New Years Day spend time in the sauna and steam room, before enjoying a renewing massage.

Sunrise from Teide VolcanoWatch the first sunrise of the year atop a volcano

Head to Tenerife this year for a truly unique way to celebrate the coming New Year. Stay at the luxury Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque where, following a special New Year’s Eve dinner and show at the hotel, you can book a limousine to take you to the top of the Teide Volcano and watch the first sunrise of the new year above the Canary Islands while toasting with snow-chilled champagne.

Toast New Year’s Eve atop a glacier

Toasting atop a volcano too hot for you? How about a glacier?  The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, is offering adventurous guests a unique New Year’s Eve experience with a Rolls-Royce and helicopter transfer from the hotel to a nearby glacier where you’ll enjoy a glass of champagne at 3,000 meters when the clock strikes midnight. Settings don’t get more unforgettable than this. Those less inclined to make it to the top of a glacier may also find the hotel’s special New Year’s Eve dinner appealing, with a Truffle menu designed by three-star Michelin chef Anne-Sophie Pic – 520CHF per person.

Party, fireworks and healthy New Year resolutions in the Philippines

Mandala Spa & Villas, located on Boracay island, is a luxurious spa retreat in the Philippines. The hotel is offering New Year festivities that balance both the need to party and your wellbeing and resolutions for a healthy new year. The island is often very busy during that time of the year, with plenty of people congregating to relax, rejuvenate but also party.

Before the clock strikes 12, guests have their resolutions set on living a healthier lifestyle: yoga in the morning, massages during the day, and a sumptuous vegetarian dinner at night. A few minutes before New Year, everyone is ushered through the resort to watch the beach fireworks that blast off from different hotels as well as from a barge a few meters from the shore. After that you can walk, share drinks, cheers, dance and bar-hop with strangers in their crazy hats and trumpets all night long. The party ends right in time for your next yoga class at 9 am. Mandala Spa & Villas is also offering a package until late December 2009 that includes breakfast, spa services and a free night. Rates from 140GBP.

Sleigh ride through the Black Forest

Schlosshotel Buehlerhoehe, in Baden Baden, Germany, has an offer for New Years’ Eve sure to leave a loved one truly impressed. The hotel has a host of special activities in its Christmas and New Years’ Eve program – from the more ‘standard’, such as gala dinners, parties and fondue evenings, all the way to the more unusual and memorable such as castle concerts, ballroom dances. However its most outrageous offering really is something else – a romantic sleigh ride through the wintery Black Forest. If you’re looking to impress your other half this new year, this could be the holiday you’ve been looking for.

Looking to book a trip? Check out the Trip Builder where you can request a quote local travel agents who are waiting to offer you custom prices on your trip.

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