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8 Warm-Weather Spots Where You Can Escape for the Holidays (Even During COVID)

I’ve been dreaming of a white (sand) Christmas.

This year, things have changed. Christmas parties are being scrapped (doctor’s orders) and relatives are planning for a Zoom-night around the Yule Log. What once made the holiday season so magical is temporarily having to be put aside. So, if the thought of decorating your home and baking up batches of cookies for so few bums you out, why not just say, “Forget this, I’m going to the beach”?

For those looking to make the most of this weird year, we found the destinations perfect for your holidays away from home.

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Casa El Paraiso

WHERE: Samaná, Dominican Republic

The only thing cold about this Christmas vacation will be the plunge you take into the rental’s infinity pool. If you’re wanting to enjoy your holidays with an ocean view, look no further than this private-bungalow Airbnb. With an open concept that allows you to feel at one with nature, you’ll forget why you ever preferred a cold, stuffy Christmas. But, as with all international travel, make sure to check the CDC’s travel recommendations regarding the Dominican Republic before departing.

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Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita

WHERE: Mauritius

Four Seasons is offering 20% off your bookings between now and November 30—which is the perfect time to book your holiday trip to the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, which is scheduled to reopen on December 1. If you’re looking to splurge (because why not call this trip a Christmas gift to yourself?!), the private villas here all come with their own garden and pool, making it easier than ever to social distance. And a short walk from the beach, you can change things up and open presents under a palm tree this year.

Mauritius is requiring a 14-day quarantine for all travelers–some might take that as a loss, others might take that as an opportunity to spend more time relaxing in a stunning place far from home.

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Oceanfront in Kailua

WHERE: Oahu, Hawaii

Queue up Mele Kalikimaka as you sit poolside, enjoying a Christmas Mai Tai. At this oceanfront rental in Kailua, Oahu, you can watch the sunrise and the waves roll in—a nice alternative to watching snow pile up in your driveway. It’s the closest house to the ocean in all of Kailua, meaning you can step outside your door for a quick dip in the water. Spend Christmas Eve hiking the island and the following morning opening gifts pool-side.

INSIDER TIPTo visit all Hawaiin islands, inbound visitors have two options: a 14-day quarantine (extended to November 30) or pre-travel testing. To find the best option for you and your travels, check out their restrictions here.

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The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

WHERE: Maldives

Head to the Maldives to experience the holiday season like never before as you explore the ocean wonders that await just outside of your hotel door. The St. Regis Maldives, which reopened last month, revealed the John Jacob Astor luxury package for those looking to really splurge during the holidays. (Warning: it’s very expensive.) It includes a three-bedroom villa with a private pool, gym, and spa. Of course, you can also go for one of the property’s private luxury villas that are either overwater or beachside. So for Christmas, grab some sun on your deck and take a plunge into the stunning water of the Indian Ocean. Why exchange gifts you know will be returned when you could just book a trip here and call holiday shopping done?

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Sundial Beach Resort

WHERE: Sanibel, Florida

At the Sundial Beach Resort and Spa in Sanibel, Florida—an island outside of Fort Myers—you can enjoy the holiday seasons in luxury. Forget about the stress that planning a socially-distanced Secret Santa caused you as you enjoy a deep tissue massage at the spa, and allow the sun to wash away your holiday worries as you sit pool and ocean-side in a socially-distanced cabana. This is sure to be a Blue Christmas thanks to the calm and picturesque waters of the Gulf.

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Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

WHERE: French Polynesia

For another worthwhile splurge this holiday season, head over to Bora Bora. This island in French Polynesia is a hotspot for the rich and famous—divers, keep an eye out for Kim’s missing earring—but this holiday season, it can be for you and your loved ones as well, with Bora Bora’s Four Seasons offering a promotion to get you traveling once again. Stay in a picturesque bungalow over the ocean, where a dip into the famous blue waters is only a jump away, or head to shore to get some sun while the hotel bakes fresh Christmas cookies. Doesn’t it sound nice to spend the holidays living carefree?

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A Catalina Condo

WHERE: Catalina Island, California

It might not be the most tropical or sunniest on this list come December, but it is the perfect getaway for those in the Southern California region looking to experience a laid-back Christmas. This stunning rental offers ocean views, access to tennis courts, a rare Avalon beach, and plenty of space to relax in this holiday season. And before the big day, shop local by exploring the town’s one-of-a-kind stores that offer handcrafted pieces, allowing you to take a piece of the island and this unique holiday memory home with you.

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Villa Costa Brava

WHERE: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

While the resorts of Cabo might be all the rage, we want to keep it simple and safe for you this holiday season. Avoid the crowds of popular resorts by checking into the Villa Costa Brava, where it’ll be hard to decide what comes first Christmas morning: gifts or an ocean walk. And at night enjoy your private pool patio or drink something cool as you take a dip into the hot jacuzzi. With all this space to roam and enjoy, you might be able to forget this past year (at least for a moment, we hope).