Trip Ideas

Not Home for the Holidays

Not everyone is driving home for Christmas. Some of our favorite jetsetters, from Richard Branson to Alain Ducasse, are clocking up the airmiles with festive stays in Barbados, Paris, Cartagena and beyond. Read on for serious travel envy.

See recent posts by Devon Knight


Virgin boss Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands

"I’m one of the luckiest people in the world in that I can invite family and friends to our beautiful little Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. It's a place where we can pull up the drawbridge and do everything family and friends like to do at Christmas — for us that means tennis tournaments, walks and sails around the island and carol singing by a big bonfire on the beach."


Chef Alain Ducasse in Provence

“We are staying home this year but if we were going way, I would choose my country hotel, L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, in Provence. It's a haven of peace and quiet and the perfect place to take a big group of friends. Last year chef Benoit Witz cooked us a feast of lobster and chestnuts, wild mushrooms, and wild salads. Maybe next year we will stumble across some truffles and local cheese, too.” 


Fashion designer Henry Holland in the Maldives

“I’m off to the Maldives with my boyfriend because it’s the most remote place I could find and has the fewest activities on offer. Our agenda is intentionally blank! I’ll be wearing a festive sweater on Christmas morning despite the 80 degree heat — it’s one tradition I can't miss.” 


Interior designer Silvia Tcherassi in Cartagena

"I'll be spending Christmas with friends and family in Cartagena as usual. I grew up just along the coast in Baranquilla but have lived in Cartagena for years. We'll all stay at my hotel, of course, and celebrate New Year's Eve with a big party. We decorate the garden in bright white lights and have a long meal at the hotel's restaurant, then it's live music and dancing until the early hours."


Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in Upstate NY

“My family and I are heading to the small town of Lewiston near Niagara Falls for a traditional Christmas and lots of cooking. We’ll prepare a huge breakfast feast of hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream, Syrian bread, scrambled eggs with lamb and a tomato cucumber salad. Butchers Pat LaFrieda is preparing lamb for our Christmas dinner and I’ll make mulled wine and attempt to cook at least one dish in the fireplace.” 


Textile designer John Robshaw in Egypt

“I always go away for the holidays and this year I’m heading to Egypt for a seven-night cruise down the Nile with Oberoi. I’m sure they’ll have the ship decked out in its festive finest, so I don’t have to worry about decorating, and I’m looking forward to seeing the small towns along the Nile and exploring Alexandria.” 


Chocolatiers Rick and Michael Mast in Brooklyn

“We’ve invited family from across the country to celebrate the holidays with us in Brooklyn, and yes, they’ll be lots of chocolate. For us, family and chocolate make a perfect Christmas." 


Interior designer Jonathan Adler in Palm Beach

“I jet down to Palm Beach with the other members of my throuple: my husband Simon Doonan and our Norwich terrier, Liberace. Since I spend the entire year making groovy stuff for people to give at Christmas, I like to relax with a book, TV and paddle boarding.” 


Chef Marc Murphy in Paris

"My family and I are continuing our Parisian Christmas tradition this year and heading back to the apartment we rent near the Odeon. Our plan is always to sleep in and live like Parisians — lots of wandering, museum visits and eating as many chestnuts and crepes as possible. We'll go for lunch at Chez Robert et Louise in the Marais, where everything is cooked on an open fire, and never miss the escargots at Bistro Allard on the Rue Saint-André des Arts." 


Restaurateur Bruce Bromberg in Zimbabwe

“My wife and I have been venturing to a new country in Africa every year since getting married in South Africa in 2004. This year we’re taking our four-year-old daughter Tanner to my brother’s new safari lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, just a few miles north of Victoria Falls. The location is stunning and I’m hoping for lots of sightings of elephants, hippos and crocs in their natural habitat."


Hotelier Kit Kemp in Barbados

“I like to go somewhere sunny in the winter, so I’m very happy to be swapping England’s chilly Christmas for Barbados this year. We’re taking our extended family and renting a house near St. James on the calmer west side of the island. We keep things low key, but my children always go to the parties at Harbour Lights on the island's south coast. I'm just looking forward to watching the fireworks on the beach on New Year's Eve, and leaving my winter coat at home.”



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