Hot-tubbing, Japanese style
Japan has become the place to ski for reliable snowfall and exotic settings.
Just over three hours from Tokyo, the Nagano region, host of the 1988 Winter Olympics, offers easy access to the Japanese Alps.
Check into the new KAI Alps, a ryokan, or country resort, from Hoshino Resorts.
The slopes of Hakuba are a quick shuttle ride away, but you’ll probably have a hard time leaving the 48-room inn with classic Japanese architecture, indoor and outdoor hot springs baths and traditional kaiseki dinners – chef-planned, multi-course meals.
Take after-dinner tea in one of the traditional snow domes, known as kamakuras, in the courtyard.
Rooms from 25,000 JPY ($220) per person; 81-50-3786-1144, kai-ryokan.jp
White Christmas on the White Continent
Get a white Christmas guarantee with Exodus Travels during a 17-day trip to Antarctica.
Embark from King George Island and cruise the Antarctic Peninsula in the long light of the Southern Hemisphere summer while wildlife-watching for colonies of penguins, albatross, fur seals and elephant seals.
Follow the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to South Georgia Island for a Christmas Day feast, then make a safari at the Falkland Islands, using Zodiac launches to get close to gentoo, magellenic and rockhopper penguins and South American sea lions.
Departs Dec. 14, from $15,295 per person; 844-227-9087, exodustravels.com.
Ball drop bonanza
Located in Times Square, The Time New York Hotel is offering a deluxe New Year’s Eve package in its triplex penthouse, including an in-suite champagne bar, a fortune teller to do some prognosticating among the party and food — including caviar pizza.
For the morning after: detox juices and breakfast in bed.
From $9,999; 212-246-5252, thetimeny.com.
Of markets and music
Combine two European holiday traditions – Christmas markets and New Year’s concerts – in one well-timed river trip with Crystal Cruises.
The 13-day Danube cruise begins and ends in magical Vienna, where a festive market surrounds City Hall in 140 decorated outdoor stalls, brass bands and strolling carolers.
The 154-passenger Crystal Mozart travels in both directions on the Danube, calling in Bavaria to snowshoe, taking a side trip to musical Salzburg and docking in Budapest for a black-tie-optional champagne dinner on New Year’s Eve.
Back in Vienna, attend a private classical concert at the elegant museum Belvedere Palace for a regal start to 2018.
Departing Dec. 23, from $4,735 per person; 844-743-5322, crystalcruises.com.
Holy Land holiday
Celebrate the holidays in Israel, nexus of many faiths, with Abercrombie & Kent.
Over eight days, the “Crossroads of History” trip plunges back in time, hitting the ancient Roman capital of Caesarea and the portside city of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the Phoenicians.
Cruise the Sea of Galilee and see many sites associated with Jesus’ early life in Nazareth.
During your over two days in Jerusalem, visit the Islamic shrine Dome of the Rock, Old City bazaars and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, before a send-off dinner at the Dead Sea Jewish stronghold Masada.
Several dates available, from $5,495 per person; 888-611-4711; abercrombiekent.com.
An ornament pilgrimage in Poland
From Christmas Eve feasts known as Wigilia, to the glitter-dusted ornaments of Christopher Radko, Poland is renowned for its Christmas traditions.
MIR Corp.’s unique trip to Poland during the holidays captures Krakow, Warsaw and the Polish Highlands at their most festive.
Visit a factory that produces hand-blown ornaments, learn to make pierogi with a private chef, last-minute shop at the market in Krakow and enjoy the night-before-Christmas feast in the home of a Polish family.
Departing Dec. 18, from $3,995 a person; 800-424-7289, mircorp.com.
Elaine Glusac is a Chicago-based freelance writer.