When you are seriously contemplating trading in the freezing weather and the bulky gear for a more temperate climate, white sandy beaches and crystalline azure blue water, then you might consider spending the Christmas holidays in Anguilla or St. Tropez.
Both these destinations provide exciting experiences, balmy breezes and fun in the sun for you and your family. Please read on regarding some experiences that can be had in these two locations – including places to eat – should you decide to spend your Yuletide celebrations with palm trees instead of pines!
Only about 14,000 people live on the British territory island of Anguilla. With its 33 beaches, the island is an exemplary spot for some Yuletide rest and relaxation. You won’t find any shopping malls, casinos, cruise ships or high rise hotels. Instead, there are locally-owned boutiques and galleries run by local residents. There are fewer than 20 hotels on the island. Visitors who make their way to Anguilla usually walk away smitten. They become enamored by the island’s smooth reggae vibes, sultry beaches and terrific food.
December is Anguilla’s busiest month! It's bumper-to-bumper at the Anguilla airport during the last two weeks of December. Private jets are all lined up as celebrities and socialites flock to the island to celebrate Christmas in style. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is idyllic without the rampant humidity. Beaches also become more active in December with groups gathering and games ensuing.
Delicious Christmas Dinner
There are some Anguilla restaurants serving delectable Christmas dinners. Gathering around a table with loved ones to enjoy a meal is one of the many ways Christmas is special. Here are some venues you may wish to consider for your festive meal:
Originally constructed in the late l700’s, the lovingly restored Warden’s Place, one of Anguilla’s oldest buildings is home to KoalKeel Restaurant, where you can dine, shop for vintage rums, have tea and pastries, browse among antiques, and bask in another era. It is also well-known for serving one of the island’s most delicious Christmas dinners.
For Christmas evening Veya will be featuring a special starter and main course as well as choices from its regular menu. Candles flicker in the night on the stylishly appointed tables at Veya. Soft jazz plays while chic patrons mingle and sip signature cocktails. There are ample portions of eclectic fare such as traditional fish soup, butter poached lobster with spinach risotto and crispy parsnips, red snapper with basil mashed potatoes, citrus garlic sauce and avocado. Veya is also known for serving some of the best lobster fritters on the island. Top off your festive meal with chocolate lava cake with toasted almond ice cream.
Dolce Vita Italian Beach Restaurant & Bar
This romantic beachside pavilion serves up some seriously delicious Italian cuisine to go with its attentive service. The pasta is freshly made and stars in dishes like linguine alle vongole: linguine with littleneck clams in olive oil, garlic and white wine. Also noteworthy is the Gorgonzola gnocchi, and pappardelle with duck sauce. For dessert? How about the Nutella cheesecake? Fans of Italian wines are likely to find new favorites.
Hibernia Restaurant and Art Gallery
The setting for the creative dishes served at Hibernia is a gorgeous wood-beam cottage overlooking the ocean on Anguilla’s east end. The Zen garden has a waterfall and artifacts from Bali. This intimate restaurant is known for its delicious, yet avant-garde pairings. Try the long-line fish served with gratin of local pumpkin, shitake mushrooms and an essence of bitter oranges grown on site. Have a peek in the wee art gallery stocked with finds from the owner’s travels.
Mango’s Seaside Grill
You will appreciate the sparkling fresh fish dishes at Mango’s Seaside Grill. The choices here are teeming with flavor and are light and healthy. The spicy whole grilled snapper is a hit as is the Cruzan rum-barbecued chicken. The warm apple tart and coconut cheesecake will tantalize your palate. Adding to the luxury of the restaurant are a comprehensive wine list and a Cuban cigar humidor.
Villa Le Bleu
Villa Le Bleu is one of the most exciting, glamorous beachfront vacation homes in Anguilla. This stunning 11-bedroom residence sits on about 2.5 acres of tropical gardens and presents a majestic view of Little Harbour. With room for up to 22 guests, there is plenty of space to celebrate the festive season in style. Nine bedrooms are in the main house, while the other two are in a separate cottage. There are two outdoor pools, a spacious deck area and a beachside hot tub. You and your family will enjoy two small, natural beaches, a beach pavilion and a tennis court.
Anguilla has a rapidly growing arts scene. Creativity is thriving on this little island. You may wish to investigate these two venues:
Devonish Art Gallery
Devonish Art Gallery showcases the works of artists Courtney and Carrolle Devonish. Admire wooden sculptures scattered around the gallery, colorful pictures with Caribbean motifs, and beaded jewelry. White walls contrast against the brightly-colored art, making for a vibrant energy. This is a lovely place to purchase a one-of-a-kind, local work of art.
Thanks to the curator of this museum, Colville Perry, pieces of Anguilla’s past have been lovingly salvaged. In fact, Perry received the Order of the British Empire from the late Queen Elizabeth for his outstanding contribution. There is a wide range of artifacts from Anguilla’s past housed in the library, including tools from the Arawak occupation, slave shackles, and 19th century household items.
Activities and Experiences
Activities and experiences in Anguilla can be as unique and customized as you would like them to be. Here are four choices you might enjoyable:
Deep Sea Fishing
Go deep sea fishing in style with a private executive fishing charter. The charter includes an on-board chef, cigars, special premium rums and entertainment. Prepare to catch Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and other species. After the fishing expedition, head back to the chef’s restaurant where he will prepare the catch to your liking and then return to the boat for live entertainment.
A private helicopter tour gets you and yours up close and personal with Anguilla’s azure-blue waters. Get swept up into clear Caribbean skies for a new perspective of Anguilla’s off-island cays. Fly over Rendezvous Bay, Cove Bay and Maunday's Bay and swoop over to Anguilla’s North Shore to West End Bay and Meads Bay. The pilot takes time flying over each beach pointing out sights and landmarks along the way.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
If you have dreamt about riding a beautiful horse on a deserted beach or gliding through warm waters on horseback, that dream can come true in Anguilla. Even those who have never ridden a horse before can experience this magical moment. Choose from 30- or 60-minute rides on a horse from Seaside Stables. Horseback riding down the beach is incredibly relaxing, the horses' pace and movements, soothing and meditative.
Private Charter Diving Excursion
The turquoise waters of Anguilla are a diving paradise. You can charter your own, private vessel to take you to the most fantastic dive spots in Anguilla. With seven sunken ships, 20 reefs and five wall dives, you have many options from which to choose. All equipment is included, you just sit back and relax. If you would like to stop off at Prickly Pear for lunch, you can enjoy this off-shore key with a lunch of lobster, ribs, chicken, fish, shrimp and all the rum punch you can drink.
The rich and famous have been flocking to St. Tropez since the late 19th century. That certainly hasn’t changed and today, the beautiful peninsula is renowned for its exclusive beach clubs, luxury mega yachts and exquisite fine dining establishments. It is also heaven for those who love the outdoors. It’s easy to overindulge on creamy tarte tropézienne and local rosé wine while in St. Tropez, but then you can work off those extra calories by wandering the coastal path. The winding rocky route starts just outside La Ponche and curves around the peninsula, past secluded coves, hillside steps, sprawling beaches and lavish villas. There is always something to see and do in this stunning French Riviera town.
Enjoy Christmas Dinner in Style
This restaurant in Hôtel La Bastide de Saint-Tropez, will be hosting Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch. There will be a set menu, however, you will also be free to choose off the menu. Some choices include ossobuco alla Milanese with polenta cremosa, Toscana filet of beef in a Chianti wine reduction with carrot puree, and sautéed spinach, or authentic Tagliatelle carbonara.
Les Santons is in a distinctive inn set in a backdrop of stone and light in the heart of the peaceful village of Grimaud. It is an absolutely gorgeous venue for celebrating the festive season with your Christmas meal. Expect appetizing and well-devised classic cuisine such as scallop tarte fine and Aquitaine caviar, roast saddle of lamb, and rum baba.
Additional St. Tropez Restaurants
Au Caprice Des Deux
When you have a yen for an authentic French meal head to Au Caprice Des Deux. The restaurant is owned and operated by brother and sister Sonia and Stephane Avelin. The staff is friendly, competent and unassuming. The ambiance is romantic and elegant. Try this off the menu: Fresh spinach salad with parmesan and truffles and on to perfect lamb cuts served with truffle mashed potatoes and vegetables. To conclude, savor the decadent chocolate fondant.
Auberge des Maures
Auberge des Maures is one of the favorite dining spots for St. Tropez locals. The oldest restaurant in town serves generous portions of delicious Provençal cooking like braised beef stew, tapenade-stuffed lamb shoulder, lobster and skirt steak grilled over a fire served with eschalot sauce. There are many excellent options on the menu, so plenty of choices for everyone, whether fish or meat. The service is friendly and attentive.
Villa Bellazard is a gorgeous contemporary residence set atop the scenic hills of St. Tropez. Embraced by lush Mediterranean foliage, this home offers the utmost serene and secluded moments away from the town's nightlife, fantastic fine dining, and glamorous beach clubs. A serene monochromatic palette harnesses the ample sunlight beautifully, imparting an ethereal glow to the glass-embraced great room at all hours of the day. This aesthetically immaculate home features a great room, library, and a superb gourmet kitchen perfectly outfitted for fantastic fine dining experiences. Nine sumptuous ensuite bedrooms accommodate up to 18 guests in the utmost comfort, style, and discretion. The glamorous focal pool is outfitted with an adjacent pool house, offering an outdoor kitchen ready for all-day and night entertainment. This home is the ideal place to celebrate Christmas with your loved ones.
St. Tropez has attracted many artists to settle here, giving rise to an arts scene with many exhibition spaces, studios and museums. These four venues are worth checking out:
Citadelle de Saint-Tropez/Musée d'histoire Maritime
This modern museum is housed in the dungeon of the village citadel. Learn all about St. Tropez heroes such as Bailli de Suffren, General Allard or Hyppolite Bouchard, as well as thousands of the nameless who served the nation aboard the navy’s vessels or who faced stormy seas aboard merchant ships. You will also broaden your knowledge of St. Tropez by learning about the town's daily life and relationship to the sea, through traditional fishing techniques and its history for the last 500 years.
Galerie Des Lices
Galerie Des Lices is the largest gallery in St. Tropez displaying works of some of today’s greatest modern artists. If you are an art lover looking to expand your collection, you will have a grand time choosing just the right piece. Perhaps a sculpture by Armand or Cesar, audacious photography by Philippe Shangti or even a piece by the contemporary maestro, Damien Hirst? It will be enjoyable choosing.
Le Musée de l'Annonciade
At home inside a 16th century chapel, this small museum is a great example of how St. Tropez was an important avant-garde center at the beginning of the 20th century. The Annonciade museum was built in 1922 and houses impressive art works from 1890 to 1950, including some of the greatest French artists such as Matisse, Derain and Marquet. Artists whose pieces are shown at the museum based their work upon the study of color, light as well as shape.
Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma de St. Tropez
This museum has many surprises, each one as interesting as the last! You can see a replica of a 1960s-era police office, enter a retro cinema entirely dedicated to the history of the Gendarmes, go along the Nationale 7 (the famous holiday route) riding shotgun in a 2 CV, party in St. Tropez, get acquainted with Romy Schneider and Brigitte Bardot in their home during filming for And God Created Woman (1956) and The Swimming Pool (1968).
Activities and Experiences
There is no shortage of things to create lasting memories in St. Tropez. Remember to have a camera at the ready for these four:
There is another way to discover the wonders of the area: a catamaran cruise in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. Rent a luxury catamaran with a skipper to discover exceptional places in the middle of the sea in an area rich in wonders. You will also have the chance to stop at a deserted beach for a few hours or longer. It is a unique way to discover the region while in the lap of luxury. You and your family can get a brand new perspective of the area with a St. Tropez luxury yacht charter.
Explore the Old Port
Stroll the quays of the picturesque old port with its yacht-lined harbor. The Bailli de Suffren statue of a 17th century naval officer gazes out to sea in front of beautifully-kept, sable-colored townhouses. Beneath the archway, next to the tourist office, seek out the daily morning fish market on place aux Herbes. Take in some modern art, visit the citadel, eat some scrumptious seafood and discover local maritime history.
Horseback Riding in the Vineyards
Horseback riding through the nature reserves, gorges, vineyards and mountain top towns and the beautiful coastline of the French Riviera is the ideal way to explore the area. There are a couple of equestrian centers offering lessons and private riding sessions. Perhaps a canter on the beach at sunset?
Kayaking at the Ramatuelle Nature Reserve
La Réserve Ramatuelle overlooks one of the most beautiful bays on the Côte d’Azur, with a spectacular view over the endless sea, a vast private estate nestled in the Mediterranean scrubland, lulled by the song of cicadas. It’s a place away from the buzz, far from the crowds and noise. The ideal way to see this nature reserve is in a kayak, gliding along the clear, turquoise water.
As you can see, there is much to experience in these two marvelous destinations, even during the winter months. If you would enjoy spending your festive holidays in a place of sun, sand and wonderful experiences, you might choose either Anguilla or St. Tropez. Both destinations are sure to be conducive to creating lasting Christmas memories. We invite you to contact an LVH client relations professional to discuss planning your Christmas vacation in one of these wonderful destinations. Not only will you be staying in a luxurious home, but you will also receive full services and support along with a personalized itinerary ensuring you enjoy every single moment of the time you spend with your loved ones this holiday season.