Wild Alaska

Winterlake Lodge, a checkpoint on the Iditarod sled dog race
Winterlake Lodge, a checkpoint on the Iditarod sled dog race © Jeff Schultz

Backcountry Alaska has a lot to recommend it: it is relatively easily accessible from major US west coast airports and then there’s the sheer volume of Great Wide Open that awaits: thousands of empty miles of tundra, glacier, and ample opportunities to admire the Northern Lights. Hiding between the Trimble and Hayes glacier and the Tordrillo mountain range is Winterlake Lodge, a comfy eco-property operated by adventure outfitters Within The Wild. Beyond the heli-skiing, glacier trekking and day-long snowshoe outings, Winterlake is known for being a checkpoint on the Iditarod sled dog race, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in March. It’s the perfect excuse to go in 2022: Winterlake has its own overnight dog camp on Trimble Glacier, where you can learn the ins and outs of the sled and cook over the campfire. Or you can stay back at the lodge and enjoy chef-owner Kirsten Dixon’s long-standing Iditarod Ice Cream Social tradition, whereby guests nosh on a delectable dessert spread alongside top dog mushers as they rock in and out. From $2,400 for a three-day minimum stay, withinthewild.com


Arctic and Antarctic agendas

Le Commandant Charcot boasts 123 and is kitted out for high polar exploration
Le Commandant Charcot boasts 123 and is kitted out for high polar exploration © Studio Ponant/Nicolas Dubreuil

The luxury adventure cruise company Ponant was created by officers of the French Merchant Navy, with the idea – in the 1980s, still a quite innovative one – to access remote places on refined, luxurious ships with sustainability a core value. Two months ago, it launched its first high polar exploration ship: Le Commandant Charcot is a polar-class PC2 vessel with 123 cabins, bells and whistles aplenty – and a state-of-the-art hybrid electric-liquefied-natural-gas propulsion system that keeps it in line with the mission to get deep into little-explored territory without compromising its pristineness (a research platform and equipment has been fitted out for onboard scientists as well). Antarctic agendas – The Weddell Sea, the Peter I Islands – are up first, with a move to the Northern Hemisphere, and Greenland, in spring. From €12,250 for an 11-night itinerary, ponant.com


Mad for Megève

One of the two living rooms at Zannier Le Chalet’s private chalet
One of the two living rooms at Zannier Le Chalet’s private chalet © Zannier Hotels

Zannier is a small but wide-ranging hotelier; it has only a handful of properties, but these are mapped across Namibia, Cambodia and now Vietnam. It started out in France’s Megève, however, with an ultra-private mountain-ski retreat. Zannier Le Chalet will reopen for the season on 16 December, and the news is the debut of the property’s private chalet, which has taken over one of its three buildings. Eight bedrooms sleep 18 guests across three storeys; there are two living rooms (one more of a cosy bar/den), a private spa, cinema, and games rooms for kids (or adults; it is a holiday). The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass means you get access to Chamonix and Courmayeur as well; and the team at the chalet can organise private ski-touring, trekking, bobsleigh rides and snow biking. Rooms from $590 a night; private chalet from €150,000 a week, zannierhotels.com


Dash to the Dolomites

Bolzano is Italy’s gateway to ski heaven: the country’s best mountains and most storied hotels, from Cortina to the Alta Badia, are all within easy driving distance (plus it’s a lovely little city). Good news for the Dolomite-bound, then, that from mid-December the Sky Alps service is launching a direct flight from Gatwick to Bolzano on Wednesdays and Sundays, allowing for the perfect long-weekend ski escape (or a cheeky early-week one). The fleet is smartly fitted-out De Havilland Dash DHC-8-Q400s (the “Q” is for quiet); the payoffs are a few days’ pleasures along the lines of Rosa Alpina (now an Aman partner hotel) in San Cassiano and La Perla in Corvara: both gorgeous hotels, both home to top chefs (Norbert Niederkofler and Simone Cantafio, respectively – the latter is a protégé of Gualtiero Marchesi, newly installed and ready to wow guests). Sky Alps, from €135, skyalps.com; Rosa Alpina, from €620, rosalpina.it. La Perla, from €550, laperlacorvara.it


 A Reykjavik retreat

The Roman and Williams-designed interiors of the Reykjavik Edition
The Roman and Williams-designed interiors of the Reykjavik Edition © Joe Thomas

Should a glam winter city break be what you’re after, think Reykjavik, where the newest of the Edition Hotels properties has just opened its doors. The Reykjavik Edition is right at the centre of the capital’s action – the Old Harbour, shops of Laugavegur Street, and various culture venues are all within easy walking distance. Not that the slick five-storey new-build, Roman and Williams-designed interiors, and rooftop bar-restaurant (with the Michelin-starred chef from Dill, Reykjavik’s top table, overseeing the dining), aren’t possibly reasons enough to consider holing up for the duration of your stay. From about £404, editionhotels.com

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