Christmas means different things each of us, ranging between much looked-forward festive time spent with family to a stressful, last-minute struggle to get everything and everyone together.
But what better way to turn the situation around – and avoid any unnecessary stress – than to go on holiday to avoid it all?
All-inclusive hotels can take all the thought and worry out of the holiday season, meaning you can sit back and enjoy while all the cooking and cleaning is taken care of.
Longer-haul destinations such as Cancun or St Lucia provide a week of festive bliss spent on a sun-drenched coast, while closer to home you can visit Turkey or Cyprus for a dose of sun alongside historical charm.
The only choice you have to make is where to go – we’ve rounded up a selection of some of the best all-inclusive Christmas breaks.
The Yucatan Peninsula’s most well-known destination is a popular long-haul all-inclusive choice throughout the year, thanks to an abundance of things to see, a lively atmosphere and excellent weather. Even in December you can expect average daily highs of 30C, so it’s an ideal destination for relaxing on the white sands and azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, and you can make the most of all-inclusive drinks deals before exploring the town and the Hotel Zone party area in the evenings.
The area surrounding Cancun is one of exceptional natural beauty, so venturing further out of your resort is a good idea. The beaches and Mayan ruins of places like Tulum and Chichen Itza are some of the most famed in Mexico, while natural sites including cenotes (limestone sinkholes) and the vast Mesoamerican Barrier Reef offer plenty of swimming and diving possibilities.
Thomas Cook provides several packages to resorts in Cancun, such as the Royal Solaris. This beachfront resort has a large pool and terrace area, with five different restaurants offering both a la carte and buffet options. Rooms are stylish and spacious, and many offer sweeping views of the coast.
From £2,647pp including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Heathrow and one piece of checked luggage per passenger. Departing 23 December 2023.
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Antalya is a resort town located on Turkey’s aptly named Turquoise Coast, in the southwest of the country. It welcomes millions of tourists every year, all eager to see the cobbled streets and russet-roofed buildings of its historic Old Town and a picturesque sunset around its harbour. While it may be a little chilly for sunbathing in December, there are plenty of excellent beaches to stroll on, including Mermeli and Konyaalti.
For days when you want to venture out, the area around Antalya is home to plenty of natural and historic sites. The Duden Waterfalls and Sapadere Canyon are the two most striking sites, while history buffs can learn about Greek and Roman ties to the area at the Apollon Theatre and Amphitheatre. Christmas celebrations are lively here, with a vibrant expat community and large celebrations around areas such as Lara Beach.
Book a stay at the Lara Barut Collection resort courtesy of Jet2Holidays. Make the most of the all-inclusive package at any of the six bars or 12 restaurants, before enjoying the indoor and outdoor pools. Rooms here are slick and trendy.
From £1,242pp including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from Manchester, one piece of checked luggage per person and airport transfers. Departing 22 December 2023.
Dubai does Christmas with a heavy sprinkling not of snow, but everything glitz and glamour, so it sure does sparkle come 25 December. The desert metropolis welcomes holidaymakers with average temperatures of around 22C and almost no rain during December, making it a literal hotspot for a sunkissed Christmas escape.
Ski Dubai, a winter wonderland where Santa wanders the decked-out halls, the festive markets in Madinat Jumeirah and Bab Al Shams 13m high Christmas tree with carols and hot chocolates certainly cure the traditional Christmas cravings – so why shiver through another frigid UK winter?
With Tui, all-in offerings at the JA Beach Hotel have got Christmas dinner covered. A top-notch dining scene including a floating seafood restaurant meets golden sands on the private beach, a parasol-peppered poolside and an exhilarating waterpark ideal for travelling with children.
From £3,380pp including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Stanstead, airport transfers and 20kg checked luggage per person. Departing 20 December 2023.
This famed Moroccan city provides an entirely different type of Christmas experience, but could be a great way to completely remove yourself from the stress of the festive period. Weather here is pleasant in December, with average highs around 20C, though nights are a little more chilly at around 10C. It’s a more peaceful time to explore the city’s varied attractions and neighbourhoods, from the eccentric Jardin Majorelle to the vibrant Jemaa el Fnaa.
While some of Marrakech’s hotels and neighbourhoods will be decorated and in a celebratory mood in lead up to Christmas, life will go on as usual for most inhabitants. This makes it a good time for exploring the historic Medina and neighbourhoods such as Gueliz and Ville Nouvelle, where French influences meet great tourist attractions and old, ochre buildings are contrasted with newer, more European-style developments.
Marrakech is particularly affordable over Christmas; opt for Riu Tikida Palmeraie, offered by Tui, for a stay in a spacious double room with a terrace, three different restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools and a range of sports facilities, from tennis to beach volleyball courts.
From £815.98pp including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Gatwick, one piece of checked luggage per passenger and airport transfers. Departing 19 December 2023.
Though traditionally held in high regard as a summer destination, far fewer people will have experienced what Paphos has to offer during winter. There’s a distinct holiday atmosphere around the city, where festoon lights and festive decoration adorn the streets, Christmas markets cover town squares and there’s a notable lack of tourists. There are plenty of events, religious or otherwise, right up until 6 January, and across the rest of the region you’ll find idyllic harbours, golden sands (like those at Coral Bay and Blue Lagoon) and visit-worthy landmarks such as the Tomb of Kings or the Acropolis and Odeon.
EasyJet Holidays offers plenty of Paphos packages, such as a stay at the Louis Phaethon Beach hotel. Set on the shores of Yeroskipou Beach, this resort features excellent pool, waterpark and sporting facilities, as well as three different restaurants for buffet and a la carte options.
From £1,098pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Gatwick, one piece of checked luggage per passenger and airport transfers. Departing 23 December.
Les Deux Alpes, France
A festive ski trip to the Alps guarantees a white Christmas, celebrated in a charming Alpine village with plenty of decoration, lively street shows and dozens of pistes to explore. Les Deux Alpes is known for its glacier area and reliable snow cover, with 220km of pistes and excellent beginner and intermediate areas. A more affordable and laid-back resort, it is top choice for families. There’s usually a lively apres scene at any time of the season; add to this a series of festive processions, parades and other events, and Christmas celebrations here will be snow-filled and energetic.
Book a stay at the Hotel de la Valentin with Crystal Ski. At meal times you can enjoy a buffet at breakfast and dinner along with lunch in affiliated restaurants and plenty of post-ski snacks and drinks. The hotel itself is close to the resort centre and just three minutes away from the lifts, meaning it’s easy to make the most of some morning skiing and evening apres.
From £765pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from Edinburgh and airport transfers. Departing 23 December 2023.
The sparkling ivory sands of St Lucia will ensure an entirely different White Christmas for those who decide to visit. December is the start of dry season, so the weather is ideal for a fly-and-flop break on the Caribbean Sea – expect highs around 30C, with the addition of street parties and local festivities galore.
This idyllic island is full of typical Caribbean charm, from the proliferaiton of palm tree-lined beaches to the colourful capital of Castries. The west coast is home to the best beaches and the Twin Pitons, the most recognisable landmarks on an island replete with dense rainforest, verdant hills and calm, emerald waters. Places such as Soufriere and Rodney Bay are laid-back, sleepy villages that provide plenty of opportunities to hike, scuba dive or take a tour of the island.
British Airways Holidays offers several all-inclusive packages to St Lucia, with a stay at the Bel Jou among the best value. This adults-only hotel is centred around a series of outdoor pools and plenty of terrace seating for enjoying panoramic coastal views, with rooms that are modern and spacious. Meals are provided buffet-style, though the capital is just four minutes away if you want to try some other Caribbean cuisine.
From £2,490pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Heathrow and one piece of checked baggage per person. Departing 20 December 2023.
The Canary Islands are the warmest place in Europe during the winter, owing largely to their location off the west coast of Africa. Tenerife is the most popular of them, where Christmas temperatures hover around 20C and a plethora of all-inclusive hotels host sun-drenched festive celebrations. The southwestern coast is the resort hub, though the capital, Santa Cruz, is a great day trip idea.
Warmer weather means Christmas on the beach is certainly on the cards in Tenerife, but the pleasant highs also provide an opportunity to comfortably explore the rest of the island. Away from surfing and scuba diving on the coast, Mount Teide National Park, home to the highest peak in Spain, is an obvious starting point, with other sites including the Palmetum botanical gardens and the verdant Anaga Rural Park.
For a more affordable Christmas stay, opt for the GF Gran Costa Adeje, courtesy of British Airways Holidays. It sits right on the beachfront of the Costa Adeje, with four pools for guests to enjoy and contemporary rooms that offer pool or sea views. Meals come in a series of buffets, with dinners at the Dinae restaurant offering a mix of international cuisine and several bars providing snacks and drinks throughout the day.
From £1,680pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, return flights from London Heathrow and one piece of checked luggage per passenger. Departing 21 December 2023.
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