The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Jake Hamilton portrait

By Jake Hamilton

9 Best Christmas breaks 2018

Thinking about Santa Claus in September feels totally surreal, but with hotel and flight availability vanishing by the day, it’s your last chance to book an unforgettable break. These 9 amazing getaways have last-minute availability, and you can also check our larger Christmas & New Year collection.

Remember, we personally visit every property and always write honest reviews.

1  A cosy cottage in the Cotswolds

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Cotswold Boutique Hideaways

We thought these dreamy Christmas cottages only existed in Kate Winslet movies, but they can be found in the Cotswold countryside. We have 2 available over the Christmas period — 1 dazzlingly romantic cottage (sleeping 2-4) and a picturesque family house (sleeping 2-4).

Families will love the Churchill Hideaway (£409/night), a fairytale thatched cottage dating back 300 years. Walk through its duck-egg blue front door and discover stylish and spacious interiors: 2 beautiful bedrooms and a fabulous bathroom with a deep copper bathtub. The best soak of your life.

Or book into Long Compton Hideaway (£409/night), an impossibly cute and cosy bolthole. Huge mirrors and clever lighting give a cool contemporary feel while the thick stone walls and chunky wooden furniture are reassuringly traditional.

You’ll find a large welcome hamper of breakfast goodies on arrival, plus a free bottle of sparkling waiting in the fridge.

And the clincher?

Each cottage has a spanking kitchen to whip up festive feasts. Mary Berry would approve.



2  A budget-friendly beach cottage in Goa

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Agonda Villas

Beach lovers, rejoice! Agonda Villas in south Goa is a truly relaxing boutique retreat that scores big on barefoot luxury, laid-back elegance, intimacy (just 4 grand cottages) and powder-soft golden sands. And the very best part?

It’s bang on budget.

The ridiculously good Christmas prices start from £170/night and for that you get an enormous beach cottage (sleeping 2-4) with exceptionally comfy beds, an outdoor rainfall shower, a private veranda with a plunge pool and ace sun loungers, and priceless views of the vast Indian Ocean.

Now that’s perfection.



3  An unforgettable Christmas in Iceland

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Hotel Ranga

Now this is special.

For a winter holiday you’ll always remember, go Icelandic. Just 2 hours from Reykjavík you will discover the gloriously isolated Hotel Ranga. This log-style lodge is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but then you see magnificent glaciers, epic lava fields, huge waterfalls and views of Iceland’s legendary Hekla volcano. A winter wonderland on your doorstep.

But wait, there’s more.

You can lounge in the hot tub outside, sipping champagne, and watch the Northern Lights shimmering overhead. How’s that for amazing?

There are a variety of rooms still available (standard, deluxe, superior, plus 7 spacious suites) and most will come with whirlpool baths or balconies with volcano views. Prices start from £288/night.

As for the Nordic cuisine, it’s delectable. You’ll eat like a (vi)king.

The real draw, of course, is the Great White Yonder where a variety of unique experiences are waiting: helicopter rides over an active volcano, snowmobiling over glaciers, dog-sledding on ice fields and near-nightly displays of the majestic Northern Lights sweeping across the starry skies. Who knows, you may even hear sleigh bells in the snow!


4  Off-the-radar glamping in Sri Lanka

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Karpaha Sands

If you’re looking to spend Christmas on a perfect beach, head immediately to this brand-new luxury tented resort on Sri Lanka’s untouched east coast.

Trust us, Karpaha Sands is a glamping hideaway like no other.

Nestled amid coconut trees on a beautiful deserted beach that stretches for miles – the only footprints in the sand will be your own – this is classic Robinson Crusoe living but with all mod cons attached.

The 17 double and family tents start at £167/night and offer incredible space and comfort, with kingsize beds, double-ended bathtubs and sleek outdoor showers.

Glamping at its very best.

It’s a low-key resort with a massive infinity pool and an open-air restaurant; feast on succulent fresh seafood under the stars.

For glamping fans, Karpaha Sands is a must. But book today. It’s only a matter of time before word gets out and the tourist hordes arrive to break the magical spell.


5  A Christmas break in Berlin

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Berlin Boutique Apartments

One of our favourite city discoveries, these amazing self-catering apartments located in super-cool Prenzlauer Berg are beyond superb. Refreshingly unavailable on Airbnb, and with no signage out front, you will feel like a true Berliner. Each retro-stylish apartment has been individually designed with vintage statement pieces by friendly owner, Simon.

And the prices? Wunderbar!

Studio start from £116/night, 1-bedroom apartments from £125, and 2-bed apartments with a balcony for £152. For Berlin at Christmas-time that’s simply sensational.

And because Berliners go nuts for Christmas festivals, you will have over 400 events in the city to enjoy. A brilliant fair trade Eco Market is right on your doorstep (until 23 Dec), and you can whizz down Europe’s largest toboggan at Winter World in Potsdamer Platz, or join the carol singers Nikolaiviertel in Mitte.

Feast on bratwursts, warm yourself with hot mulled wine, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.


6  A brilliant villa package in Goa

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Coco Shambhala

Much-loved and highly praised Coco Shambhala in north Goa is a stunning boutique collection of 4 open-air villas with shabby-chic interiors, airy verandas, private spa pools and a gorgeous laid-back vibe. Sounds heavenly, right? But that’s just for starters.

There’s so much more.

You also have a complimentary car and driver at your daily disposal, a personal chef service, 24-hour concierge, a well-stocked fridge of beers, wines, champagne and soft drinks (all free!), superb breakfasts served until 4pm (no joke!), a curving swimming pool, massages and treatments, lush tropical gardens and a tranquil beach just a short stroll away.

Welcome to paradise.

The resort is wildly popular with couples (each sleeps 2-4), but would be brilliant fun for a group of friends or couple of families for 2 good reasons:

First, you get a complimentary Christmas Day and New Year’s Day lunch or dinner served in the privacy of your villa, plus 1 free spa treatment per adult per week*. And second, Goa in December is drenched in golden sunshine.

*Offer valid 15 Dec-6 Jan


7  A chic ‘n’ cheap Christmas in Cape Town

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Jardin D'ebene

Christmas in Cape Town is the dream. But often it’s an impossible dream. High prices, massive demand and low availability: a perfect storm of problems.

Luckily, we bring you good tidings.

Jardin D’ebene is a beautifully restored townhouse right in the heart of the city with last-chance Christmas availability. There are just 5 gorgeous bedrooms, each with huge beds and lovely touches like fluffy gowns and slippers waiting after your day’s exploring.

Now for the real magic: prices.

For a 7-night minimum stay (20 Dec-6 Jan), Standard Rooms are £98/night, Luxury Rooms are £121 and Luxury Triple Rooms are £139. Truly incredible. And what a location! You are literally staying below Table Mountain, just around the corner from trendy Kloof Street, and a short drive from the beautiful Clifton beaches and the bohemian de Waterkant Village.

Avoid disappointment. Book today.



8  A stunning beach villa in Sri Lanka

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Turtle Beach House interior

The secret, sun-kissed Turtle Beach House (2 bedrooms, sleeping 4-6) is located on a lovely beach in southern Sri Lanka and wins full points on every level: plenty of space, lots of sunshine, a swimming pool, a lush garden, total privacy and guaranteed relaxation. Yes, please.

The 2-storey beach villa is named after the nearby sea-turtle sanctuary, and turtles come to your beach to bury their eggs. Downstairs is a soothing blend of natural colours and teals, dancing Buddhas and lattice-wood doors. The ample lounge leads to a deck overlooking the pool. Upstairs are 2 double bedrooms and a veranda with amazing sea views. (There’s extra space for a double air mattress.)

The villa costs £698/night and includes a private chef who cooks bespoke meals, plus a daily cleaner and a friendly night watchman. Don’t miss a visit to the sea turtle conservation centre – the kids will be in heaven.

1-week minimum stay



9  Christmas Day on a Mexico beach

The i-escape blog / 9 Amazing Christmas Escapes With Last Chance Availability / Zamas

Now we’re talking!

This collection of shabby-chic cabanas on a dazzling-white sandy beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline is a total gem. Here, the living is easy, breezy and oodles of fun. Zamas (literally ‘new beginnings’) is located near Tulum’s Mayan ruins (a must visit),  and one of the very best Caribbean Sea beach escapes you’ll ever find.

Picture the scene: Christmas Day on the beach with cocktails, Latin grooves and live jazz, golden sunrays and warm blue waters. There’s superb snorkelling on the house reef, plus a shipwreck to explore only 200m from the shore. Or book a relaxing massage, laze on the beach and take a yoga class. As you’d expect, the food is amazing, and so are the friendly staff.

The prices are friendly, too.

There’s still availability for certain cabanas (sleeping 2 or 4) starting at £143/night from mid-December. Flights, amazingly, are still hovering around a respectable £600. This resort will be fully-booked within a week.

Our advice? Book instantly today.


View our entire collection of handpicked hotels with Christmas & New Year availability

Pin this post:

The i-escape blog / 9 amazing escapes with last chance availability