By PAUL RUBIO
According to the American Consumer Credit Council, the average American spends $935 on Christmas gifts, but we all know people who fork out thousands for the holidays. This year, think twice about wasting money on the latest consumer fads or even cut a few peeps from the gift-giving list.
Be selfish and use some of that Xmas kitty to start the year in style. Or go totally altruistic and surprise someone special in your life with a grand vacation or a mini staycation.
All I Want for Xmas is… A Private Island
A one-stop shop for serenity, beauty, gastronomy, spirituality, relaxation, and devotion, Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos champions the distinctive inspirations of “Eat,” “Pray,” and “Love” within a single private island. The island’s barefoot luxury is seductive and irresistible, best appreciated on aimless ambles to clandestine coves and uninhabited sandbars or cocktail in hand lounging poolside. The food at Parrot Cay is so blow-your-mind delicious that each meal is nothing short of experiential. parrotcay.como.bz
All I Want for Xmas is… An Overwater Bungalow
Hands down the two ultimate destinations for the overwater bungalow experience are the Maldives and French Polynesia. If you can’t fork out the cash for the 1K/night often commanded by hotels in Bora Bora and the Maldives, try the Hilton Moorea Spa and Lagoon. The overwater huts here perch over the world’s most crystalline waters; and they happen to be more affordable than similar product on other islands around the world. Request suites numbered between 71-75, 82-87 or 105-109 and prepare to indulge in the some of the world’s most breath taking scenery. www.hilton.com/FrenchPolynesia
All I Want for Xmas is… A Winter City Experience
Whether visiting for the first or the fourteenth time, Boston imbues visitors and residents alike with a patriotic spirit and a sense of American enchantment. In America’s great city of “firsts,” the Lenox Hotel is revered as one of the country’s first luxury hotels. The Lenox boasts the only in-room wood burning fireplaces in Boston, and the hotel’s authentic British pub, Solas, was shipped over from Liverpool. It’s all within short walking distance to GLBT institutions like Club Café and the gay-friendly South End. lenoxhotel.com
All I Want for Xmas is… A Taste of Old Florida
Florida’s Southern Belle, the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, is a classic, oceanfront resort in an untouched part of Old Florida, in close proximity of pristine state parks like Fort Clinch, Big Talbot Island, and Little Talbot Island. Charming amenities such as the ubiquitous Adirondack chairs facing the wide swaths of ocean, and the cozy, fireplace-lit seaside common room make this resort idyllic in both summer and winter. The resort recently unveiled its new $18 million dollar spa, with a revamped menu that includes novel additions like “Heaven in a Hammock.” ritzcarlton.com/AmeliaIsland
All I Want for Xmas is… Sundrenched Relaxation
If you don’t feel like standing and posing in a one-piece or two-piece at a crumbling, overpriced Art Deco hotel on South Beach, seek sunny refuge a dozen miles north at Acqualina Resort & Spa. A self-contained world of high-end seaside fun, Acqualina sits on Miami Beach’s finest sands and boasts amenities that outshine almost any South Beach trendsetting hotel. Nightlife options are limited, but the point here is simplyunapologeticrelaxation. acqualinaresort.com