Shake off the urge to hibernate when the weather gets cold: our lodges offer up a variety of ways to celebrate winter—or escape it. Whether you’re looking to tackle a physical challenge in the mountains of Patagonia, forget cold temperatures on the beaches of French Polynesia, or embrace the season by driving a dogsled in Alaska, these properties will have you eagerly anticipating the season’s first frost.
One could argue that winter is the finest season at Winterlake Lodge—a time when the northern lights streak the sky, and guests can take part in the property’s signature dogsledding experience. And though it sits 200 miles from the nearest road, the lodge feels like the center of Alaska for one day in March, when the famous Iditarod race passes through the property.
Warm breezes stir the tropical forests around Finca Rosa Blanca year-round, but head for the hills between December and March for a truly sensory experience: the annual coffee harvest. At the lodge’s coffee plantation, you’re invited to join in as local families and farmers come together to pick ripe red coffee berries from the branch. Follow the life of a bean from bush to mug, visit the “beneficio” where beans are processed, and enjoy a “cupping” session where you will learn to recognize subtle distinctions in the flavors and aromas of freshly brewed coffee.
In cooler temperatures, the High Atlas Mountains surrounding Kasbah Du Toubkal are at their most fetching, their craggy peaks often dusted in a coating of bright white snow. Hikers looking to tackle these soaring summits face a special challenge in the winter, when ice climbing is often necessary on treks. After a day outdoors, thaw out in the traditional steam baths of the lodge Hammam, or sip tea on a cozy couch in the Moroccan-styled dining room.
Come winter, Lone Mountain’s swath of Montana wilderness is transformed into a playground for powder junkies. The lodge meticulously maintains a far-reaching network of groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that branch out from the heart of the property into a still, snow-covered wilderness. Guests can access the trails directly from their cabin doors, or join a guide in nearby Yellowstone National Park for a backcountry skiing or snowshoeing adventure. And for downhill devotees, the slopes of Big Sky Resort are just up the road.
Cure cabin fever at Pacuare, where the adventure begins with a white-water rafting trip en route to the lodge. The North American winter parallels Costa Rica’s dry season, making it the perfect time to get out and explore the surrounding jungle. Soar through the canopy on a zip-line tour, rappel down the cliffs of a tropical canyon, and take in the sights, sounds, and scents of the rain forest from the comfort of your airy, thatched-roof bungalow.
The sun graces Patagonia with up to 17 hours of daylight during Chilean summers, offering travelers from the northern hemisphere a respite from the darker days of their corresponding winter. Extra daylight hours mean ample time for exploring the majestic landscapes surrounding Tierra Patagonia—including the nearby Torres del Paine National Park—and the lodge has a wide range of active excursions to fill the day.
Vast glaciers gleam and snow-covered hills shine around Hotel Húsafell in the depths of the Icelandic winter. Icy adventures abound, whether you wish to snowmobile through serene forests or descend into the blue heart of the Langjökull glacier. After a day of playing in the snow, return to the lodge for a soothing soak in geothermally heated pools. If you’re keen on catching a glimpse of the aurora borealis, be sure to let the front desk know. The lodge’s innovative wake-up call system automatically alerts guests when the northern lights start their dazzling dance.
A winter trip to Petit St. Vincent is more than just a break from cold temperatures—it’s an escape from almost everything. Here, you’ll enjoy a true island hideaway, free from the crowds that flock to other Caribbean islands during the high season. Spend days on the water, snorkeling, sailing, or diving with dive masters handpicked by Jean-Michel Cousteau. Or, just relax on one of the island’s empty stretches of sand.
Winter at Rock Creek is a picture-perfect wonderland of snow-blanketed meadows punctuated by icy streams and cozy log cabins. Complement this idyllic setting with horse-drawn sleigh rides, sledding runs in the surrounding hillsides, and evenings sipping mulled wine or cocoa around the fire, and you have a scene straight from a storybook. Guests looking to kick their experience into high gear can also go snowshoeing, cross-country or downhill skiing, and snowmobiling. The lodge even offers snowga—yoga classes in the snow!
Nestled amid some of Orange County’s finest beaches, the Ranch at Laguna Beach is a spectacular refuge from the winter chill. The Ranch provides all manner of activities designed to get you out in the sun and enjoying the great outdoors—and Southern California’s famously mild weather. Take to the trails to go hiking or mountain biking in scenic canyons, kayak along the coast, or head to the shore to explore tidal pools brimming with marine wonders. The lodge’s sustainable private golf course welcomes players of all levels, while its 3,000-square-foot spa is the perfect place to recharge your winter-weary body.