8 holiday homes for festive family getaways

Travelling to spend the Christmas holidays together as a family doesn’t have to mean making do with sleeping bags on your sister’s family room floor, or crushing together in impersonal hotel rooms. Book an entire holiday house and make it a real home-from-home for the festive season—one with a great kitchen, fireplace, and a spacious dining room perfect for Christmas meals and celebrations with extended family.

  1. Luxury ski retreat in the French Alps

    This classic chalet puts you within easy reach of Chamonix’s nursery slopes and ski lifts as well as the resort's ice-rink, swimming pool, and array of lively festive events. Sleeping 11 in five en-suite bedrooms, it oozes cosy chic with its log fire, soft fabrics in warm colours, and wooden floors, ceilings, and wall panelling. The kitchen is well equipped; the convivial dining room fits 12. Mod cons include a heated boot and ski room and a hot tub on the terrace to steam away piste-weary muscles while gazing at the snow-clad mountains.

  2. Laidback lakeside living near Madrid, Spain

    In upmarket Las Rozas just 20 minutes from the Spanish capital, this four-bedroom 16-person holiday home with its glowing parquet floors blends contemporary and classic decor to stunning effect. There’s a private swimming pool in the extensive gardens with their lake views, but in winter cocoon yourselves indoors, taking advantage of the vast sectional sofas ideal for family get-togethers, the stylish dining area looking over the warming hearth, and the sleek kitchen. Kids love the vast “penthouse” bedroom, including three bunk-beds and a playroom area.

  3. Historic home-from-home in the Dolomites, Italy

    Modern luxuries meet heritage in this 15th-century property in the small town of Valle di Cadore, encircled by snowy peaks and 15 minutes from the nearest ski slopes. The indoor saltwater pool beckons you to swim in a setting of exposed stone walls and dreamy Dolomites views; beside it are a chromatherapy shower, hot tub, games room, and gym. Decor is opulent—think stone-flagged floors, antiques, chandeliers, original wall frescoes, and even gilded cherubs over the open fire. You’ll be torn between the cosy beamed kitchen with its dining table and the 12-person dining room, decked out with a twinkling tree for the festive period. Five en-suite bedrooms sleep up to 12.

  4. Sociable ski chalet in the Swiss Alps

    Sleeping 10 in five bedrooms, this super-comfortable wooden chalet a few minutes’ walk from the main piste down into La Tzoumaz has eye-popping mountain views from its vast windows. The open-plan kitchen, living room, and dining area is perfect for family time, with its fireplace and underfloor heating, but kids can also escape to the separate TV lounge. Well-thought-out kitchen equipment includes fondue and raclette sets for those planning an authentic mountain dining experience. You get a 10% discount on Savoleyres, Verbier, or 4-Valleys ski passes—and your very own sauna to return to and warm up in after your adventures on the slopes.

  5. Country house hideaway in Norfolk, England

    On the edge of a conservation village, this Elizabethan manor stands out for its quintessential country house interiors and gorgeous grounds with topiary, peacocks, and woodland, plus a pool, tennis court, and croquet lawn. That said, in the depths of winter you’ll more likely be dining by candlelight in front of a blazing fire in the beamed Great Hall, or gathering in front of the welcoming hearths in the drawing room or two sitting rooms. The kitchen blends new and old with its Aga and electric cooker. Eight bedrooms, some with claw-foot tubs, sleep a total of 18. Kids adore the funky attic dorm for four with its home cinema, as well as their chill-out room with flat-screen TV, books, and board games.

  6. Boutique Bolthole in the Black Forest

    The living is easy in this designer holiday home with its boutique-style decor and mountain views, with space for up to 10 in four luxurious bedrooms—one featuring hand-crafted wooden bunks. The contemporary open-plan living space and dining room share a chic ceiling-hung Cocoon fireplace, while the sleek adjoining kitchen is kitted out with next-gen appliances to suit even the most demanding of cooks. You’re just a three-minute walk from scenic Lake Titisee and 7 km from the Lenzkirch-Saig chairlift. Don’t miss the Ravennaschlucht Christmas market.

  7. Beachside bliss and Northern Lights spotting in Iceland

    Overlooking Álftavatn Lake a 50-minute drive east of Reykjavík and handy for the sights of the Golden Circle, this spectacular contemporary villa sleeps 14 in four bedrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer awe-inspiring views over the water to the mountains, as do the outdoor infinity hot tub and fire-pit on the lake beach with its volcanic black sand. You might get lucky and spot the Northern Lights too. The open-plan living and dining area is spacious yet cosy, with expansive sectional sofas, a wood-burning stove, and animal-hide drapes.

  8. Fantasy farmhouse in the Netherlands

    You can live like a gentleman farmer in this stylish rural property dating from 1910 and combining original features, historic artworks, and luxurious antiques with modern amenities including a heated indoor swimming pool and a sauna. Keen cooks will swoon at the beam-ceilinged, flagstone-floored kitchen with its 10-burner island, while families can sink into the living room with its log fire and warm decor, or gather around the palatial dining table or in the library. The 10 bedrooms sleep up to 20 in comfort and charm. In the eastern Netherlands close to the German border, you’re about 13 km from the Slangenburg Castle and the amenities of Doetinchem.

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