From snow to beach, discover this holiday seasons' most rakish getaways
As we traverse the globe in search of the ultimate luxury holiday destinations, our journey takes us from the pristine, snow-covered slopes of the world's most illustrious snowboarding locales to the sun-kissed, wave-lashed shores celebrated in surfing culture.
As the winter season unfurls its crisp white canvas across the world's most enchanting peaks, the spirited Rakish traveler turns their gaze to the mountains. Here, amidst the stark beauty and the thrill of the descent, snowboarding has claimed its place as not just a sport, but a symphony of style, adrenaline, and poise. Tracing its roots back to the mid-60s when surfer Sherman Poppen constructed the first 'Snurfer,' snowboarding has evolved from a makeshift backyard pastime to a global phenomenon. By the 1980s, innovators like Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims transformed the sport with their refined designs, propelling snowboarding from clandestine night runs on forbidden slopes to the forefront of winter sports. It's in this rich tapestry of history and evolution where today's snowboarder seeks the fresh, the untouched, and the exhilarating terrains, promising not just a ride but an experience — a confluence of fashion, culture, and daring. From the pristine, sculpted slopes of the Alps to the powder havens of the Rockies, we traverse the globe to reveal this holiday season's most rakish snowboarding getaways
These are the destinations where après-snowboarding isn't just an activity, but a ritual that celebrates the day's conquests with a zest that's both refined and wild.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is the crown jewel of snowboarding luxury with its four expansive mountains that cater to enthusiasts of all levels. Beyond the powder-covered slopes, it's the cultural heartbeat of the high-altitude elite, offering a blend of fine arts, high-end shopping, and gourmet dining. In Aspen, the après-snowboard scene is as meticulously crafted as the trails, with rooftop lounges and fireside cocktails awaiting those who wish to unwind in style.
The Little Nell: The Little Nell is Aspen's only five-star, five-diamond hotel, nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain. With ski-in/ski-out access, it's a favorite among snowboarding enthusiasts who also enjoy the finer things in life.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo, the ‘Queen of the Dolomites,’ marries the thrill of snowboarding with the splendor of alpine scenery. Here, snowboarders glide down World Cup slopes by day and stroll along Corso Italia by night, indulging in the finest Italian fashion and cuisine. The resort is steeped in Olympic legacy, yet it remains intimate, with wood-clad rifugios offering cozy havens of rest and gourmet local dishes that satisfy the soul.
Cristallo Palace Hotel and Spa: The Cristallo Resort offers a regal experience in the heart of the Dolomites, with a storied history and a reputation for grandeur. It's a perfect retreat after a day on the powdery slopes of Cortina.
Chamonix commands respect with its rugged terrain, attracting those who dare to board down its legendary descents. Mont Blanc watches over this valley, offering a snowboarding experience that's both challenging and utterly picturesque. After the adrenaline rush, the town's Savoyard charm captivates with its mix of rustic tradition and modern luxury, from michelin-starred restaurants to the inviting warmth of chic chalets.
Hotel Hameau Albert 1er: This family-run hotel has been welcoming guests since 1903 and offers a blend of contemporary comfort and traditional alpine atmosphere. With its renowned restaurant offering exquisite local cuisine and views of Mont Blanc, the Hotel Hameau Albert 1er is an oasis of luxury for snowboarders and skiers looking for the ultimate relaxation after conquering the slopes.
Verbier is a snowboarding paradise with its vast off-piste areas and stunning high-altitude runs that promise an exhilarating ride with a view. The town pulsates with an understated luxury, as the world's elite gather to sample the après-snowboard life — think exclusive bars, live music, and pop-up events that offer an unforgettable night after a day on the slopes. Verbier encapsulates the essence of Swiss refinement and adventure in one breathtaking locale.
Experimental Chalet: a bright mod-retro place from the ever-growing French group, and still home to the iconic Farm Club that has hosted Bowie, Elton John, Diana Ross, … over the years.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz presents an illustrious blend of natural beauty and man-made opulence, where snowboarding intersects with a lifestyle of prestige. Here, the sparkling, snow-clad landscapes provide a playground for the sport's aficionados, while the town offers a cultural calendar filled with high-profile events and a social scene known for its glamour. This is a place where one can indulge in the thrill of the ride during the day and the allure of luxury shopping and spa treatments as the sun sets.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel: Badrutt's Palace is an iconic establishment that has set the standard for luxury in St. Moritz since its opening in 1896. With a legendary reputation for service and style, it's a premier choice for those who wish to see and be seen in one of the world's most upscale winter resorts.
As we leave the crisp, white slopes of the world's elite snowboarding destinations, our journey takes us to the sun-kissed shores where the ancient art of surfing rides the waves of history. Originating in the Polynesian islands, surfing was more than a pastime in ancient Hawaii — it was a vital part of their culture and religion. Sacred rituals surrounded the craft of surfboard shaping, and the sport was a unifying activity across all strata of society. This unique tradition caught the attention of Europeans through the logs of explorers like Captain James Cook. Despite the cultural shifts following Hawaii's colonization, the essence of surfing endured. It was Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimming champion and a Hawaiian native, who catapulted surfing onto the world stage, introducing it to shores as distant as Australia and California. By the 70s, with the creation of the 3-fin shortboard, surfing as we know it today was firmly established. The spirit of surfing, much like snowboarding, reflects a deep connection with nature and a pursuit of adrenaline, making it a fitting complement to our exploration of world-class holiday destinations.
These are the shores where après-surfing transcends mere leisure, becoming a celebration of the day's harmonious battle with the waves. Here, each sunset ushers in a ritual where stories are shared over the warmth of beach bonfires, merging the thrill of the surf with a bohemian elegance.
Pipeline, North Shore, Hawaii, USA
The legendary Pipeline on the North Shore is a mecca for surfers globally, famed for its magnificent, powerful waves that create perfect barrels, a true test for experienced surfers. Its reputation is built on the balance of beauty and challenge, offering a thrilling ride on some of the world's most formidable waves.
Turtle Bay Resort: Turtle Bay Resort is a haven of luxury. It provides an immersive Hawaiian experience, combining adventure with relaxation. Guests enjoy panoramic sea views, world-class amenities, and an opportunity to embrace the Aloha spirit in a setting that's both tranquil and exhilarating.
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The Gold Coast is synonymous with surf culture, boasting famous breaks like Snapper Rocks and Kirra. These spots offer consistent, high-quality waves that attract surfers of all skill levels. The region combines a perfect mix of city vibes and surfing ethos, with pristine beaches and impressive swells.
Palazzo Versace: A statement of elegance, Palazzo Versace is a dazzling retreat. It juxtaposes the Gold Coast's laid-back surf scenes with its ornate architecture and sumptuous interiors, offering a unique blend of glamour and the authentic Australian beach experience.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Renowned for its long, fast barrels, Jeffreys Bay is a pilgrimage site for surfers seeking one of the world's best right-hand point breaks. Its consistent waves provide an exhilarating experience for both local and international surf enthusiasts, set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes.
The Supertubes Guesthouse: Perfectly positioned a stone's throw from the famed waves, this guesthouse offers a serene retreat. Its cozy ambiance and proximity to the beach make it an ideal spot for surfers who want to wake up and immediately hit the world-class waves.
Bali's surfing scene is iconic, with spots like Uluwatu and Kuta offering diverse experiences - from challenging breaks to more laid-back waves. The island’s rich culture, scenic beauty, and warm, welcoming atmosphere enhance the surfing experience, making it a favorite among surfers worldwide.
Six Senses Uluwatu: Perched atop a majestic cliff, this resort offers an escape into luxury with a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean. Its elegant blend of Balinese tradition and modern comfort makes it an idyllic retreat for those seeking both adventure and serenity in their surfing journey.
Santa Cruz, California, USA
As the birthplace of mainland surfing in the USA, Santa Cruz offers a unique blend of historical significance and modern surf culture. With a variety of beach and point breaks, it caters to surfers of all levels, set against the backdrop of Northern California's stunning coastline.
Dream Inn Santa Cruz: This beachfront hotel captures the essence of Santa Cruz's surf culture. Its retro-modern style offers a nostalgic nod to the 60s surf era, blended with contemporary luxury, making it an ideal base for those looking to soak in the laid-back, yet vibrant, surf lifestyle of Santa Cruz.
Snowboard photography: Snow Beach: Snowboarding Style 86-96 photo book
Surf photography: Surfing History, Daniel Esperanza