Where to Take Your Family For the Holidays

By Laura Begley Bloom  •  November 26, 2019


‘Tis the season to be merry—and to bring the kids on an incredible vacation. Here are five destinations where you can create lasting memories together.

Gone are the days when mom and dad just went to the toy store and stacked presents under the tree. Enlightened parents say they believe experiences matter more than things and that the gift of travel creates far greater memories than the latest video game—not to mention valuable opportunities for family bonding. Looking for inspiration for a holiday trip this year? Check out these five locations.

 

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

With rich traditions inspired by a confluence of cultures, including the ancient Anasazi, Santa Fe is a magical place to spend the holidays. One of the city’s most storied traditions is the Christmas Eve Canyon Road Farolito Walk, when thousands of farolitos (candle-lit lanterns) and luminarias (small bonfires) line the street. Kids will eat up the Santa Fe Chocolate Trail, which winds through town and includes samples of local sweets and hot chocolate. For children with a sense of curiosity, there’s the mind-bending fantasyland of Meow Wolf and the creepy crawly Harrell House Bug Museum, with the largest collection of mounted insects in the world. For little ski bunnies, the nearby Ski Santa Fe is home to Chipmunk Corner, which offers top-notch instruction for beginners and a kids-only slope. Base yourself at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, a boutique property that’s close to all the action and pampers its youngest guests with kid-sized robes and bedtime stories.

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Riviera Maya, Mexico

 

The holidays are often called the festive season, and there’s nowhere more fiesta-ready than Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Other than the beautiful beaches, the highlight of a visit to this region is the collection of Mayan ruins, like nearby Tulum, or a swim in an underground sinkhole (called cenotes), which you can do at Xcaret, a Mayan theme park. Xcaret also hosts a colorful holiday celebration on El Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (December 12) that’s a must-see. For something more spiritual, seek out the candle-lit processions called Las Posadas, which are held throughout the area from December 16 to January 6. They end with Christmas carols, a fiesta, and the breaking of a piñata. Want to inspire your children’s creativity and awareness of the global environment? Head to Rosewood Mayakoba, where kids can go on a mangrove tour with a biologist, take yoga classes, compete in EcoBingo, and enjoy Mayan storytelling.

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Tuscany, Italy

 

During the holiday season, Tuscany comes alive with Christmas markets in almost every town. In tiny San Quirico d’Orcia, traditional wooden houses sell seasonal foods and kid-friendly shows are held in the medieval fortress. Then there’s Siena, which has a 14th-century-style market on December 5 and 6. In Montepulciano, a Christmas village takes over the city center from November 21 to January 6. Want to bond over food? Stay at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, an 800-year-old estate that can organize an in-villa cooking class or a truffle hunt. While the sophisticated flavor of truffles might be lost on some young palates, kids will get a kick out of wandering through the forest with highly-trained hunting dogs. Another memorable way to explore Tuscany? Floating over the landscape in a hot-air balloon.

VISIT ROSEWOOD CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO

Bangkok

 

Why not spin the globe and spend your holidays in Asia? Whatever your kids can dream of, they’ll find it in Bangkok. The kaleidoscopic Unicorn Café is one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the world, serving everything from rainbow pasta to pastel cakes. Give back by taking a cooking class at Courageous Kitchen, which helps feed and train kids at risk and offers special sessions for families. At Sea Life Ocean Bangkok, Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, children can dive with sharks and spot marine life from a glass-bottomed boat. Art in Paradise is a museum filled with optical illusions that make for the coolest photo ops ever—imagine posing atop a giant 3D wave. You won’t want to miss Muay Thai Live, which combines two must-do activities: a Muay Thai kickboxing show and a visit to one of Thailand’s famous night markets. And then there’s Rosewood Bangkok, which welcomes young Rosewood Explorers with the ultimate amenity: tents set up in the room, setting the scene for the best holiday getaway ever.

VISIT ROSEWOOD BANGKOK

Abu Dhabi

 

The United Arab Emirates might not be the first location that springs to mind when you think of a holiday getaway, but the mind-bending capital city is filled with family-friendly attractions. Case in point: Yas Island, where you’ll find Yas Waterworld and its waterslides and surf machines; Warner Bros. World, the land of Bugs Bunny meet-and-greets and superhero training; and Ferrari World for F1 simulators and the fastest roller-coaster in the world, the 149 mph Formula Rossa. At the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, kids can learn about falconry and even hold the magnificent birds. Kids will also love the new Children’s Library, where they can read about sand dunes and scale a giant “book mountain.” Another cultural must-visit is The Louvre, which has special audio guides for kids and a children’s museum. The place to stay? Rosewood Abu Dhabi caters to kids with family programming that ranges from cooking classes to local craft-making.

VISIT ROSEWOOD ABU DHABI

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Uncover our musings on travel, art, fashion, and culture from the legendary personalities who embody the spirit of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.