The Christmas season might be over, but that doesn't mean you still can't take a trip down to winter wonderland. In fact, most people tell us that's the best time to travel — after all, it's still blizzarding in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. How to make the best out of your upcoming wintry escape? Snag an unconventional abode to keep you and your company all warm and snuggly, with these top picks listed by luxury tour operator Scott Dunn. Whether it be nestling in a treetop hotel or living it up in a majestic castle straight out of a fairytale, one thing's for sure — we wish time would finally come to a standstill over there.
Aldourie Castle in Loch Ness, United Kingdom
Look no further for your Scottish fairytale retreat. Aldourie Castle encapsulates the entire dreamy package with its magical blend of traditional and contemporary, while you lose youself in the castle's maze of turrets, nooks, crannies, and secret doors. For an immersion into the stunning natural surroundings (the castle overlooks the shores of the famous Loch Ness), go on a hike or a thrilling boat trip to discover the mysteries of the infamous Loch Ness monster.
Chalet Husky in Val-d'lsère, France
Next to the powdery slopes of Val-d'Isère sits Chalet Husky, a luxurious Scott Dunn chalet which marries quintessential elements of a traditional French chalet with fresh, contemporary interiors. Think beautiful wood panelling, cobbled walls, and stylish fur throws. This alpine retreat is perfect for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, with a whole range of slopes catering to different levels — accessible via an 8-minute walk from the chalet. Apart from skiing, there's an abundance of alternative snow sports as well, like walking trails and ice skating. For days spent indoors, there is something for every member of the family. Facilities include a large pool with rainbow lighting, a hammam, sauna, on-site massage treatment rooms, a gym, and games room with indoor climbing.
Treehotel in Harads, Sweden
Nestled in the tall pine forest with spectacular views of the Lule River, the rooms at this Treehotel are suspended four to six metres above the ground and are accessible by ramp, bridge, or electric stairs. Talk about a remarkable exemplar of design at its finest. A golden tip? Head straight for The Mirrorcube room, as it features a unique camouflaged mirror exterior, revealing a crystal clear view of the trees in their natural habitat. Outdoor activities include going ice fishing at the Lule River or even building very own igloo. If you're lucky, you'll even catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights.
Mandarin Oriental, Prague in Czech Republic
Don't let its famous name fool you — this Mandarin Oriental is unlike no other. Combining contemporary elegance and the city's rich heritage, a stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Prague will be one that evokes dreamy nostalgia. Housed in a former renaissance monastery, this indulgent bolthole is discreetly embellished with soothing sand-coloured walls and arched doorways. Strategically positioned in the city's Mala Strana, you may easily opt for a 15-minute trek up the hill to the iconic Prague Castle. After a day's worth of walking, don't forget treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at their avant-garde spa, pristinely located in a renaissance chapel.
Rosa Alpina in Dolomites, Italy
In the quaint village of San Cassiano in the Italian Dolomites, Hotel Rosa Alpina is a beautiful family-run hotel to come back to after a day out conquering the icy slopes. Apart from feasting your eyes on breathtaking snow-capped peaks and impressive glaciers (just outside your window), you'll get to enjoy Rosa Alpina's traditional alpine style interiors and individually designed rooms. To maximise your stay, opt for their private mountain cabins, set at an altitude of 2000 metres. Come morning, your breakfast will be delivered alongside mountain bikes for you to make your way down. Talk about impeccable service.
For more information, visit Scott Dunn.