The festive season always provides a dilemma: stay at home for a traditional wintry carnival of celebrations, or disappear to somewhere beautifully warm, sunny and exciting. This year, why not enjoy the best of both worlds on a balmy beach escape with festive flavour? Here’s how to have an unforgettable festive holiday in the tropics.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, provides the perfect escape for those who want it all. Explore the glittering modernity of the city in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and discover the architectural and artistic brilliance of the new Louvre. Or how about a beach escape to Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort with just the nesting Hawksbill Turtles for company? For nature lovers, Sir Bani Yas Island is home to over 10,000 animals ranging from the Arabian oryx and giraffes to hyenas and cheetahs. And for those missing that classic festive element, the Al Maryah Winter Wonderland and Yas Winter Carnival provide a touch of the traditional European holiday season in the baking sunshine.
Dubai is the perfect place to enjoy the festive season. With luxurious hotels that spill out onto the sparkling waters of the Gulf, wonderful dining terraces and pampering spas, there is no need to worry about anything other than applying the suntan lotion.
Dubai, arguably the shopping capital of the world, is also the place to indulge in some festive shopping. Get into the spirit at the Al Seef Creek Festival, the market sells local products, there are festive-themed funfair rides, live music, an outdoor cinema and a petting zoo. Those after the full winter experience should head to the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink in The Dubai Mall, or take to the (artificial) slopes at Ski Dubai.
Somewhat surprisingly, Dubai isn’t the only festive beach escape to offer traditional winter sports. Those planning a trip to the Maldives can also strap on their skates at Jumeirah Vittaveli’s “ice” rink.
The Maldives are the ultimate romantic retreat for couples looking to kick off their shoes and live in their beachwear. Throw your towel down, crack the spine of a book, order a tropical drink and bask in the warmth of the constant sunshine, or pull on your diving mask and spend your time snorkeling the coral reefs.
For those yearning for some seasonal cheer, the Jumeirah Vittaveli Festive Circus, inspired by the film The Greatest Showman includes a festive tree lighting ceremony, a Festive Eve gala dinner, a visit from Santa and a New Year’s celebration featuring entertainers, food and fireworks.
For a quieter time, Kuwait—the epitome of understated luxury—represents a more sedate alternative to Abu Dhabi, Dubai or the Maldives, with the same beautiful beach and refreshing pool but with fewer distractions. The shopping malls are often bedecked in lights and decorations during the run up to the hoildays, ringing to the sounds of carols, while Santa appears in ‘snow-covered’ grottos. But really, a trip to Kuwait is all about rest and relaxation.
Discover more luxurious breaks at Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts