Happy Holly-days

We’re yet to brave Regent Street, the tree isn’t up yet, we’re drowning in party invitations and we have a to do list as long as the kids’ Christmas stockings… Now would be a really terrible time to simply drop everything and go on holiday, wouldn’t it? But like the naughty little elves we are, the idea of boarding a plane and leaving it all behind right now is, we’ll be honest, sorely tempting. (Sorry Santa, you’re on the backburner – have passport, will travel!) We give you our three-of-the-best festive getaways to er, get away from it all… if only for a quick-stop spot of refuelling and relaxation before we’re fully ready to tackle the craziness of Christmas.


First up, the winter wonderland that is Dresden at this sparkly time of year. While we can’t guarantee a beautiful blanket of snow (here’s hoping!), Dresden’s historic old town is just right for a festive mooch around the Christmas markets. Boutique hotel, Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss is in the heart of the action and offers contemporary-chic accommodation behind a pretty, period façade. Along with the most luxurious Swiss-style hospitality you’ll find the alpine-inspired Purovel spa, fashioned around a 15th century stone cellar. Don’t tell Rudolph et al, but we think we’ve found our perfect hiding place… Rooms start from £102 on a bed & breakfast basis, based on two people sharing a Swissotel Advantage Room (www.swissotel.com/dresden)


If you’re going to insist on some fluffy white stuff this winter, you’ll find plenty of it atop the French Alps. Cheval Blanc Courchevel is a contemporary ski-in, ski-out maison, set in the picture-perfect Jardin Alpin of Courchevel, and with just 37 cosy rooms and suites, you’ll discover an intimacy and warmth that doesn’t just come from the spa’s luxurious hammam. Including the 1947 – a two-Michelin-starred restaurant by Yannick Alléno, The White, perfect for all-day dining, a cigar lounge and le Carrousel and Paddock for younger guests, you’ll be forgiven for not getting much skiing in. Superior rooms start from €1,520 on a half board basis, based on two sharing (www.chevalblanc.com)


And if you just can’t bear to tear yourself away from Royal Britannia this Yuletide, you’re either slightly mad, or have outsmarted us and booked yourself onto an envy-inducing rural recharge in the Cotswolds – courtesy of Dormy House. Set in a picturesque 400-acre private estate, this renovated 17th-century farmhouse almost effortlessly combines character with relaxed glamour and luxury. With an on-site spa (and numerous pools) offering treatments with the help of cult brand, Temple Spa, and restaurant menus packed with delicious locally-sourced dishes including pheasant with chestnut gnocchi and twelve hour braised octopus, you may never want to step outside the sanctuary that is Dormy House. Room service, anyone? Rooms start from £230 per night including breakfast, based on two sharing (www.dormyhouse.co.uk