December 25 could be the most special day Bali has seen in 38 years.
Penelope Walsh finds out how the Indonesian island will be marking the occasion
Christmas in Bali may not sound so festive. However, according to a hotel on the Indonesian island, this Christmas is particularly special as it is the first time the full moon has coincided with the holiday since 1977. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, located in the spiritual hub of Ubud, will celebrate the day with aplomb.
Christmas celebrations at the resort will focus on yoga, meditation and wellness, with open-air classes under the full moon at the new Dharma Shanti River Terrace, on the banks of the Ayung River.
In Balinese culture, the “purnama” (full moon day) is an important one and coinciding with December 25, will spark festivities including the arrival of Santa Claus – Balinese-style by river raft – who will then take younger guests surfing in Jimbaran Bay. Definitely not your average Christmas. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Ubud, Bali, www.fourseasons.com/sayan (+62 361 977 577).
For an Arabian-themed festive experience head north to Ras Al Khaimah. Indulge in a barbecue on the beach at Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach or tuck into a traditional feast at Al Waha restaurant at Banyan Tree Al Wadi. www.banyantree.com.
Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona
Get into the festive spirit at Barcelona’s annual Christmas market, which dates back to 1786 and takes place under the imposing Gothic building on Avenida de la Catedral. All kinds of handcrafted Christmas decorations and gifts are on offer. www.catalunya.com.
The Alpina Gstaad
Spend Christmas in the snowy Swiss town of Gstaad. Enjoy skiing and ice skating, plus holistic treatments at the resort’s Six Senses Spa. Then tuck into a five-course menu at the Michelin-starred Sommet restaurant afterwards. www.thealpinagstaad.ch.