“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Destination – Great Places to Spend the Holidays

Here are four good ideas for a special holiday getaway from Travel + Leisure. Check out 10 Great Places to Spend Christmas for six more.


Go for Old-world ambience, New England coziness, Beacon Hill’s cobblestone streets dusted with snow, roasted lobster instead of Christmas turkey.

Where to Stay: A gas fireplace warms every bedroom at the XV Beacon Hotel (15 Beacon Street; doubles from $295), which combines classic details like an antique cage elevator with 21st-century amenities: CD players, high-speed data ports, a private phone number for each guest.

Holiday Dinner: The dining room at Locke-Ober (3 Winter Place; dinner for two $200), a blue-blooded institution since 1875, still feels like a gentlemen’s club. Lobster bisque, Dover sole, calf’s liver, and baked Alaska continue to draw the Brahmin faithful—and the food is actually delicious.


Go for Pecans roasting on the fire instead of chestnuts, eggnog laced with bourbon, choirs singing spirituals at Drayton Hall plantation.

Where to Stay: The 21-room Wentworth Mansion (149 Wentworth Street; doubles from $385) dresses in subdued Victorian finery for the holidays with magnolia wreaths, old-world Santas, and two grand Christmas trees in the foyer. Every room has its own fireplace. On your pillow at turndown: chocolate truffles.

Holiday Dinner: At Peninsula Grill (112 N. Market Street; dinner for two $110), chef Robert Carter puts a radical spin on such low-country favorites as black-eyed pea, country ham and mushroom soup, and rack of New Zealand lamb with coconut-mint pesto.


Go for a quiet celebration in the Canadian city that Harriet Beecher Stowe described as “a mountain of churches”, a triwl in one of the many outdoor ice-skating centers.

Where to Stay: After a day of shopping in the frosty air, check into a hotel with a heated outdoor pool: the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure (1 Place Bonaventure; doubles from $95) or the Omni Mont-Royal (1050 Sherbrooke Street West; doubles from $145).

Pre-Holiday Dinner: The majority of restaurants in predominantly French-Catholic Montreal are closed December 24 and 25, so it’s best to have a fabulous meal before Christmas day. At the loungey, elegant Restaurant Globe (3455 Rue St.-Laurent; dinner for two $170), chef Alex Rolland’s duck breast with Japanese eggplant and black cherry sauce is a perfect stand-in for goose.


Go for “Jingle Bells” with a salsa beat, palms and exotic flora instead of pine trees, evening strolls through a 500-year-old Spanish colonial city on the Atlantic.

Where to Stay: Hotel El Convento (100 Calle de Cristo, Old San Juan; doubles from $325), a converted 354-year-old Carmelite convent, has 72 rooms with handcrafted colonial furniture. The Water Club (2 Calle Tartak, Isla Verde; doubles from $199), billed as Puerto Rico’s only beachfront boutique hotel, has 78 rooms overlooking the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Holiday Dinner: The 160-year-old La Mallorquina (207 Calle San Justo, Old San Juan; dinner for two $50) is known for its family-style cocina criolla, or traditional Puerto Rican feasts: seasonal favorites include lechón (suckling pig), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and pasteles (yucca and meat wrapped in a banana leaf).