Holiday travel will look different this year, and that’s largely because many people won’t be traveling.
A rise in COVID-19 cases and confusion on state travel restrictions have led many people to opt for a holiday at home (which is actually what the CDC recommends as the best option for protecting yourself and others). But for those set on traveling with their quaranteam for the holidays, many B&Bs, inns, and villa resorts are here to help—while also taking advantage of lower holiday traffic—by offering full buyout packages that make it just a bit safer to celebrate with your pod, both abroad and stateside.
Top Picks for You
WHERE: Adairsville, Georgia
This collection of 39 cottages is located on Barnsley Resort’s expansive 3,000-acre property, where options range from one- to seven-bedroom cottages that are capable of sleeping anywhere between six and 18 guests. Armed with wood-burning fireplaces, expansive kitchens, and clawfoot bathtubs, the cottages offer a cozy retreat in northwest Georgia’s Oothcalooga Valley, where more than one million holiday lights illuminate the landscape during the entire month of December.
Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn
WHERE: Minden, Nebraska
The White Hill Farm has been in the Burchell Family since 1915, the same year the city of Minden began its festive tradition of decking the town square with an impressive array of string lights and holiday decorations. Minden is now known as Nebraska’s “Christmas City,” and the Farmhouse Inn provides the perfect stay for groups of up to eight people throughout its four rooms.
Salty Sister at Morro Rock
WHERE: Morro Bay, California
An outdoor common area links the six individual suites at this SLO CAL boutique hotel located directly on the Morro Bay waterfront. Two of the suites (Suites 1 and 4) feature full kitchens with place servings for eight guests and the two ADA compliant suites (Suites 2 and 3) feature kitchenettes with place servings for four guests, making it easy to whip up a feast for 24 guests (although the hotel sleeps 18). Groups renting out the entire place have access to the roof deck with two natural gas fire tables and two separate basement game rooms with a Foosball table and Xbox.
The MC Hotel
WHERE: Montclair, New Jersey
Located just 45 minutes outside of NYC, this arts-focused hotel doubles as a gallery for local artists. The hotel’s “Bubble Package” is ideal for creating a “social bubble” with your holiday pod at the hotel, where a booking with a minimum of 20 rooms gets your bubble an entire floor to yourselves. Add on options include a Thanksgiving Dinner with decorations or a Christmas Dinner with a trimmed tree and a Santa appearance in your floor’s designated hospitality suite.
WHERE: Bend, Oregon
Luxury vacation rentals round out the accommodations on this stunning 640-acre property, where views of the snowcapped Cascade Mountains set the stage for festive gatherings. Groups booking any of the 1-, 3-, and 4-bedroom vacation homes at the Pronghorn Resort have access to the resort’s multiple golf courses, hot tubs, and outdoor adventure offerings.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
WHERE: The Maldives
Booking the ultra-luxe John Jacob Astor Estate home on Vommuli Island is a guaranteed way to host a holiday gathering to remember…but it definitely comes with a hefty price tag, starting at $25,000 per night. The 16,500 square-foot home rises two stories above the Indian Ocean where three bedrooms can accommodate up to eight guests. The package includes a champagne sabering to christen the stay, daily in-suite spa treatments, a champagne and caviar tasting cruise at sunset for the entire party, daily breakfast, and the option to also buy-out the entire subterranean restaurant, Decanter, for a private five-course wine-pairing dinner.
INSIDER TIPAs of September 10, all tourists will be required to present a negative PCR certificate upon arrival, and the Maldives will provide a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
Stillwaters Lakefront Resort
WHERE: Branson, Missouri
Even in the winter, Stillwaters Lakefront Resort feels like a summer camp, where afternoon crafting means making snow globes out of mason jars or holiday wreaths from pool noodles, and nightly activities include warming up with a cup of cocoa around an outdoor fire pit or soaking in the Ozarks in the Oasis hot tub. The resort offers one- to five-bedroom condos and studio suites, with many adjoining suite options for larger pods, oh, and an onsite market for last-minute holiday needs.
Sleeping Indian Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection
WHERE: Ridgway, Colorado
This working cattle ranch is just 47 miles northwest of Telluride, where a 40,000-square-foot home welcomes friends and families with up to 16 guests throughout its eight bedrooms. The views of Chimney Rock are impressive but not as impressive as the stunning Great Room, which was constructed with logs—some reaching 50 inches in diameter—from the 1988 Yellowstone fire. Guests are free to roam the fifteen thousand acres of the ranch for some hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and even heli-skiing.
Caerula Mar Club
WHERE: South Andros, Bahamas
Located on the largest and least inhabited island in the Bahamas, Caerula Mar features six private villas and 18 oceanfront suites that make social distancing (or doing a resort-wide buyout) a breeze. The island has its own international customs, and the resort offers private flight options from many major east coast cities and even some cities in the Midwest and Canada.
INSIDER TIPTravelers need to show a negative PCR test taken within five days of arrival, as well as apply for a required Bahamas Travel Health Visa.
The Inns of Aurora
WHERE: Aurora, New York
The quaint village that surrounds The Inns of Aurora is just as festively decorated for the holidays as the inns themselves, blanketed in sparkling snow and brimming with festive ornamentation. Three of the five inns (ranging from seven to 11 bedrooms each) are available as private rentals and quickly transform into a home for the holidays, with spacious parlors stocked with games in front of the fireplace and add-ons like private chef service and private candlelight yoga sessions.
You could book any of the multi-bedroom suites or one of the three seaside villas at The Loren, or you could go all in and rent out “The Residence.” This six-bedroom, 10,700-square-foot home sits on a 5.5-acre plot next to the resort, and comes with its own private beach, tennis court, pool, chef’s kitchen, media room, and more.
Washington School House Hotel
WHERE: Park City, Utah
There are 12 rooms at this historic-school-house-turned-boutique-hotel. Cozy common spaces outfitted in reclaimed oak barn wood floors and locally quarried quartzite put a chic spin on gathering with your pod for a holiday meal or for cocktails by a roaring fire. A full buyout comes with a 24-hour concierge, a personal chef, and access to the heated rooftop pool and firepit.
The Villas at The San Luis Resort
WHERE: Galveston, Texas
The five private villas that cover a quiet corner of The San Luis Resort are reserved for adults only when booked individually, but when you book all five at once, you can bring as many guests as you please (kids included!). The villa complex comes with a private pool area and fireplace, and lounge areas with a private bartender and waiter. Private in-room check-in is available, and each villa comes stocked with a complimentary bottle of Veuve Clicquot to kick off the celebration.
WHERE: Charleston, South Carolina
Live Christmas carolers and an appearance from Santa Claus himself on Christmas Eve are just bonuses for groups booking a stay at this 52-room inn. Book five rooms for a partial buyout or go all-in with a full private buyout that comes with holiday-inspired complimentary amenities like local artisanal chocolate truffle turndown service and warm winter bread backed by Saffron’s Bakery in the morning.
WHERE: Hawaii Island, Hawaii
Spend the holidays with your ohana by reserving this 30-acre estate. The Holualoa Inn sleeps up to 19 guests throughout its varied accommodation offerings, from suites at the inn to a cozy cottage and a recently renovated red barn with two private lanais and ocean views. Daily breakfast is complimentary, with as much 100-percent-estate Kona coffee your pod can drink!
INSIDER TIPOut-of-state travelers are now permitted to stay on Hawaii Island without quarantine by testing negative for COVID-19 prior to departure.