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The holidays are fast approaching. While you may occasionally have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, you also may have started dreaming about a truly extraordinary escape – something that combines personal luxury with unusual experiences. Good news! With the rise of luxury holiday homes available to rent around the globe, you can embark on an adventure uniquely tailored to you.

Reveillon Dinner in New Orleans

Arthur Frommer tells Travel + Leisure that “’[t]here’s no other city in America that quite celebrates the Christmas period in the way that New Orleans does.’” If you are a food lover, attending a Reveillon dinner is an experience you’ll never forget. It is based on a 19th-century tradition of serving enormous feasts leading into the holiday and immediately after. Frommer goes on to rave about the shows and concerts that flow through the city. New Orleans also throws one of the best parties in the world on New Year’s Eve. Alex Howard tells the magazine that “Jackson Square is kind of the main center, but there’s live music, a great fireworks display, and they drop the fleur-de-lis to usher in the New Years.’”

A Tropical Treasure Hunt

Musha Cay in the Bahamas promises to bring out your inner illusionist. This private island belongs to the legendary David Copperfield and is located in the Exumas. It offers the best of the Bahamas outside, including a whole world of exotic birds and animals. It is said that the squirrel monkeys have been taught to draw portraits of visitors, but only you will know for sure about the likeness. Enjoy a sail on the Catamaran, screen a movie on the beach and play a game or two of billiards on Houdini’s table. The extraordinary home boasts room for 12, and the property is fully staffed to cater to your every holiday whim. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, professional magicians’ assistants will offer to stage you an unforgettable treasure hunt.

Christmas Markets in Copenhagen

The magic of Tivoli Gardens is always hard to resist, but when the holidays come it puts on an impressive show. Cassie De Pecol tells Travel + Leisure that “‘If Tivoli Gardens doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.’” Ride the rides of the amusement park before tasting every treat and sample of Gløgg at the exciting market stands. You’ll love the music, the warm, friendly atmosphere despite the chilly temperatures and, of course, the peacocks strutting throughout it all. How should you see it? Rent a luxury holiday home just steps from Tivoli that also allows you to explore Christianshavn and visit the Little Mermaid before you go.

Flamenco in Spain

Málaga, found in southern Spain, has become one of the leading destinations in the world for a luxury getaway. Its history, architecture and culinary scene are just some of the reasons to make the trip for the holidays. Watch the concerts in Plaza de la Constitución, scour the Christmas markets and shop as you marvel at the festive lights of Calle Larios. Of course, if you are in town in late December, you can experience the extraordinary Verdiales Music Festival, known for its all-day flamenco dance competition. City home rentals abound in Málaga but consider the luxury of a countryside retreat for at least part of your stay. Casa Mary in Marbella is a beachside rental with 10 suite-style bedrooms, covered verandas, a swimming pool with a swim-up bar and tennis court. If the weather turns, you can move your festivities inside to the home theater and indoor pool before driving down to Málaga for another day of fun.

Northern Lights in Iceland

One of nature’s greatest shows is the Northern Lights. If spotting this stunning aurora is on your “must-see” list, consider a holiday home just outside Reykjavik. Award-winning photographer Chris Burkard tells Travel + Leisure that the city was “’easily one of the most amazing places I’ve spent Christmas.’” Enjoy the fireworks, festivals and treats that are seemingly on every corner. From there, retire to Brekka Cottage. Don’t let the word “cottage” fool you. This luxury property allows you to see the mountains and the ocean from the outdoor hot tub, while the Northern Lights dance against the panes of the home’s enormous picture window.

Skiing in Aspen

The beauty of Aspen cannot be overstated, and for an avid skier or outdoors enthusiast, a chance to spend the holidays high up in the Rockies may be too much temptation to resist. Luckily, there is a chateau that can make you feel like a king (or queen) that combines a proximity to the slopes with undeniable luxury. Villa Jane is no ordinary holiday home. From its impressive wine cellar and media room to its Jacuzzi and stunning indoor pool that boasts mountain views, this is the ultimate Aspen home to rent and entertain in this holiday season.

Shark Feeding in Tahiti

If you want to ring in the New Year with some daring adventure, start thinking about a holiday home in Tahiti. In fact, when you rent Motu Teta, you are renting your own nine-acre private island for the holidays. Your personal chef will prepare your meals as the warm breezes flow into the expansive main villa. With the rental, guests also can enjoy daily guided excursions for shark feeding and viewing at the Pink Sands, lobster hunts, snorkeling adventures and every type of water sport.  

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