Presiding over Canada’s Banff National Park like an Old World castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs combines more than a century’s worth of history with every modern creature comfort you could want. The hotel goes all-out for the holidays, with Christmas trees around every corner and an enormous gingerbread house in the lobby. Three ski areas are no more than a 40-minute drive away, and there’s also ice skating, tobogganing and sleigh rides just a 20-minute walk away in the town of Banff.
The Northern Lights are best seen in winter—and if you stay in one of these glass-roofed igloos, you won’t even have to get out of bed to do so. For the full wintry experience, sleep one night in an igloo and the next in the hotel, which is carved each year from snow and ice (as are the tables, chairs, and even plates in the restaurant). The property sits just south of the Arctic Circle and is frequently called the home of Santa Claus. Spend your days taking a reindeer safari or going ice fishing, and then warm up in the traditional Finnish sauna.
There’s no more classic winter destination than the Swiss Alps, and LeCrans combines the charm of a family chalet with the service of a five-star stunner. This ski-in/ski-out Travelers’ Choice winner is just two hours from Geneva, but it feels much further from the hustle and bustle: Sitting on the restaurant’s heated terrace, more than 40 peaks fill your view. In addition to the nearby downhill skiing runs, there are a variety of wintertime pursuits available, from the familiar ice skating and sledding to the less common snowbiking and dogsledding.
High up in the Apharwat range of the Himalayas (one of the world’s highest ski lifts is nearby), this resort melds cozy alpine cabin style and classic Indian opulence: Inside the pine and slate structure, you’ll find silk carpets and exquisite Kashmiri embroidery and crafts. The spa uses products and treatments developed by famed beauty brand L’Occitane, and the indoor pool has floor-to-ceiling glass walls that frame snow-laden firs in the winter months. This is one place where you can have a taste of winter even in summer, too: The surrounding peaks are dusted with snow pretty much year-round.