'Tis the season! Are you the type to head to New York City for the Rockefeller Center tree and lavish window displays? Or are you Caribbean-bound this time of year for some R&R? Either way, Oyster.com has found a destination and a hotel to suit your needs. So whether you're planning on packing a parka or a bikini, check out our list below of the best places to stay this holiday season.
New York City
From Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to the tree at Rockefeller Center, New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays and so do New York City hotels, with over-the-top decorations like the tree at The New York Palace.
Rooms at the Trump International Hotel and Tower offer great views of the parade on Thanksgiving, while The Pierre is not only decorated for the holidays but is just blocks from the famous window displays at Barney's. And it wouldn't be Christmastime in New York if you didn't ice-skate at Rockefeller Center next to the massive Christmas tree -- some years, it is 100 feet tall! The Loews Regencyis one block away from the rink.
In December, the temperature in Costa Rica hovers around the mid 70s: reason enough to make a trip down south. With long, sandy beaches, natural hot springs, misty rainforests, and some secluded, untouched retreats, Costa Rica is the ultimate spot for a romantic trip away from all of the hustle and bustle that the holiday season brings. Two-and-a-half hours from the airport, Hotel Punta Islita has unparalleled views, a stunning infinity pool, and a ruggedly beautiful beach.
Costa Rica also has beautiful sunsets almost every night, like the one on the beach at The Four Seasons Costa Rica. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the view!
Although on the opposite coast, San Francisco is much like New York City in the way it celebrates the holidays; there's an annual turkey trot, a lighting of the tree at Pier 39, and several parades and fairs. The world-renowned San Francisco Ballet also celebrates by performing The Nutcracker. Guests staying at Hotel Whitcomb will be just blocks from the show.
Not only a great jumping off point for your holiday shopping (the plaza is bordered by Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue), Union Square is home to an ice-skating rink and a Christmas tree during the holiday season. Kids can even visit Santa Claus at Macy's and visitors who stay at The Westin St. Francis can watch the ice-skaters from their window!
Want to avoid crazed shopping but still get in a heart-pumping workout? Aside from offering fewer crowds, warmer temperatures, and a beautiful landscape, Maui is a great place to escape the winter cold and pursue outdoor endeavors. One of Maui's most popular pastimes is surfing and there are beaches for all levels of surfer. Hamoa Beach, about 10 minutes from the Travaasa Hana, is for more experienced surfers who are used to rough waves, while the waters at the Four Seasons Maui is perfect for beginners.
When in Maui, one should snorkel -- Maui's waters are home to dolphins, colorful fish, and sea turtles, like the one at Black Rock at the Sheraton Maui Resort, where cliff-diving is also a popular activity. Good snorkeling beaches can be found at Makena Beach and Golf Resort and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa as well.
Everything seems more important with "national" in front of it, and the National Christmas tree is a popular site during the winter in the Capitol. The tree lighting, broadcast live, will take place of December 1st but the tree can be enjoyed through the new year. The W Washington DC, The Willard Washington D.C., and the JW Marriott Hotel Washington, DC are all just a short walk from the tree and the National Mall.
ZooLights is a lights show put on by the National Zoo every year. Not only does it feature sparkling lights, but also ice sculpture demonstrations, carolers, crafts, and storytellers, and parts of the zoo remains open at night. Families hoping to check it out may want to stay at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, only a 4-minute drive from the zoo.
The Dominican Republic is not only a popular beach destination, but a golf destination as well. Numerous resorts are home to top-notch courses, like Teeth of the Dog at Casa De Campo in La Romano. The top-ranked golf course in the Caribbean, Teeth of the Dog boasts pristine links at a par 72 and the resort has two other golf courses, all designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye. For those who prefer to spend their holiday lying on the white sand beaches of Punta Cana, there are still plenty of spots to perfect their swing in the area like Tortuga Bay, Punta Cana Hotel, and Catalonia Bavaro Beach.
After hitting the links, visitors to Dominican Republic can do what they came for -- relax and unwind as a holiday treat. Many hotels in the area feature spas with indoor and outdoor facilities. Enjoy an open-air couple's massage at the Punta Cana Princess (and be glad the temperatures are in the 80s) or check out the luxurious spas at Dreams La Romana and Paradisus Palma Real.