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A Massive Gingerbread House in Cam Ranh

With the season to be merry quickly approaching Alma Cam Ranh is gearing up to host a plethora of jolly experiences for the whole family, unveiling a giant gingerbread house and sparkling winter wonderland display to boot. From Dec. 9 2023 until Jan. 1 2024, Alma will stage festivities including Christmas and New Year’s Eve cocktail parties, dinners and buffets, as well as champagne breakfast, and wine and cheese tasting. An array of activities for youngsters includes Christmas card-making at the Kids Club with children from Thien Tam Orphanage, decorating gingerbread houses at the resort’s Pastry Kitchen, and treasure hunts with Santa Claus around the 74-acre beachfront resort. “During this wonderful time of the year, Alma will try to build Vietnam’s biggest gingerbread house from 232 kilograms of gingerbread – 800 wall tiles that each weigh 155 grams and 1200 roof tiles each 90 grams – festooned in 40 kilograms of merengue,” said Alma’s managing director Herbert Laubichler-Pichler. “We’ve already started baking the gingerbread for the house, as it takes about two months to prepare the dough, and shape, bake and dry all of the bricks before the house is assembled in two days.”

Christmas is a Regal Affair in Tokyo

Palace Hotel Tokyo, a Forbes Five Star property which shares a moat with the Imperial Palace Gardens, is plating up some indulgent cuisine to celebrate the festive season. At Esterre, the hotel’s French haute cuisine restaurant in partnership with DUCASSE Paris, the six-course Christmas dinner menu combines flavors rooted in Japan’s terroir with French culinary techniques. Dishes include a lightly-cooked chu toro with stuffed cabbage and gold caviar, steamed Ezo abalone with celeriac; poached blue lobster, turnip and black truffle; grilled Wagyu tenderloin with seasonal vegetables and cooking jus, citrus from Wakayama with a sansho pepper condiment, and chocolate smoked with cherry wood, yuzu and a salted caramel composition. The menu is available from Dec 20 – 25th for JPY 45,000 per person. The hotel’s other upscale dining establishments are offering special course menus, like the Teppanyaki restaurant GO which includes such courses as Hokkaido hairy crab in steamed egg custard, and grilled tora fugu milt; and Kobe beef.

Minding the New Year in Danang

TIA Wellness Resort in Da Nang is helping guests step into the new year on the right foot with a curated selection of activities designed to nourish mind and body. Balancing revelry and reflection, offerings range from an intention-setting workshop on December 31st to a New Year’s feast rich with local seafood, and an equally decadent plant-based menu. There’s also a sunrise meditation on New Year’s Day for early risers. On December 31st there will be two ‘Reflection and Intention Setting” creative workshops at the resort’s dedicated creative space. Each 60-minute session is led by a wellness guide who will help participants celebrate or let go of what happened over the last 12 months. The six-course New Year’s Eve feast at The Dining Room is based on the property’s wellness cuisine and their eat-light feel-bright concept. TIA’s food philosophy is rooted in eating natural, real food and using healthy alternatives, for ingredients like white flour and sugar, and cooking methods that offer the most nourishment. Prices start at VND 1,400,000++ for the plant-based course, and VND 2,400,000 with wine added. The regular course starts at VND 2,200,000++ for the meal only or 3,200,000 inclusive of wine.

Making Merry in Chiang Mai

Meliá Chiang Mai is getting the mulled wine ready for its sublime Christmas celebrations including sky-high parties, a lively buffet, intimate four-course dinner and afternoon tea for two. Ruen Kaew Lounge will offer ‘Festive Afternoon Tea’ with sweet and savory treats paired with tea or coffee, and Sangria or Spanish Cava, as well as classic mulled wine, mulled berry wine and mulled wine with spices by the glass from Dec. 1- Jan. 31. Santa Claus will give children gifts to a backdrop of live music at Laan Na Kitchen’s ‘Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet’, featuring the likes of whole roasted turkey, beef shawarma, and a poke bowl counter, as 22nd floor Mai the Sky Bar stages ‘Christmas Eve R&B Night’ with resident DJ Fufu and Danica band. On Christmas Day, 21st floor Mai Restaurant & Bar will serve a four-course Northern Thai set dinner with the choice of either slow and tender roasted beef fillet steak with spicy toasted rice gravy, root vegetables and potatoes or work-fried tiger prawns, New Zealand mussels, squid, and lotus stems with salted egg rice for the main course. Mai the Sky Bar ‘Christmas Day Pop-Rock Night’ features a performance by Ripeye from 8-11pm.

Jolly Good Cheer Comes to Cam Ranh and Mui Ne

The Anam Mui Ne will soon celebrate its first Christmas, joining sister property The Anam Cam Ranh to offer festive season merriment including Christmas tree-lighting ceremonies, BBQ seafood buffets, countdown parties and more. After its debut last January with a design redolent of the Indochine period, The Anam Mui Ne’s program features a tree-lighting ceremony with a live pianist in the lobby on Dec. 23, and a BBQ Christmas buffet at Indochine and a three-course Vietnamese set menu at Lang Viet Restaurant & Bar on Dec. 24. A breakfast service at Indochine replete with panettone, Christmas log cake, special pastries, cakes, cookies, a live hot chocolate and mocha station, a natural body scrub-making class on the resort’s lawn are among the celebrations on Christmas Day. The Anam Cam Ranh’s celebrations include The Colonial’s ‘Festive High Tea’ and a Christmas Eve eight-course degustation dinner with optional wine pairing, and traditional Vietnamese cuisine cooked by mothers of the staff as part of Lang Viet Restaurant & Bar’s “Mama’s Cooking” buffet also on Christmas Eve with free-flow cocktails, beer and beverages. The Anam Cam Ranh’s breakfast at Indochine is accompanied by a Christmas choir and welcome sparkling wine.

The Art of Festivity in Bali

Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana, is keeping things festive over the holiday period with decadent dining as well as Balinese cultural performances and experiences. Things kick off with a four-course Christmas Eve dinner to live music, and culminate on New Year’s Eve with family-friendly celebrations. On both the 26th and 29th of December there will be a traditional torch-lit Kecak and fire dance performance followed by a Royal Balinese Dinner. On the 30th Chef Dean will put on a barbecue under the stars with produce from his organic garden, along with fresh seafood and a selection of meat for the grill. On New Year’s Eve there will be a series of family-friendly activities throughout the day including Balinese snack-making and an introduction to Balinese dance. As day turns to night guests can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at Panen Padi Lounge, take in a candle lighting ritual set to music by a Gamelan (traditional Indonesian orchestra), as well as enjoy a five-course dinner and an evening hot air balloon ride. As the clock strikes midnight fireworks will mark the moment.

Seasonal sparkle on the shores of the Andaman Sea

Resort and outside guests alike can celebrate this festive season in style at Trisara, one of Phuket’s most exquisite properties. The fun kicks off with a Thai-style Christmas Eve Barbecue where Phuket lobster, giant prawns, fresh fish and other premium ingredients are served up alongside a mesmerizing fire show and a Thai cultural performance. Christmas Day sees a special appearance from Santa who will arrive via wakeboard. He’ll be spreading seasonal joy as guests tuck into an exceptional buffet spread featuring epicurean delights such as caviar and fresh seafood. A jazz band will also be in attendance to keep spirits high. A special Beachside Barbecue on 28 December maintains the holiday vibes, before a glittering New Year’s Eve Gala overlooking the Andaman Sea brings festivities to a close. The event will round off 2023 in style with an exceptional buffet feast, a Khon Thai traditional show, live jazz band, a sophisticated cabaret performance and DJ, all leading up to a spectacular midnight fireworks display.

Counting Down in Cambodia

Two of Cambodia’s most iconic luxury hotels — Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap — are set to celebrate the festive season with exclusive fine dining and other memorable events. Highlights from this year’s Christmas and New Year programs at both hotels include multi-course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, along with a lavish Christmas Day brunch. At Raffles Hotel Le Royal, ring in 2024 at one of three exclusive countdown events, including the gala “New Year’s Eve in the Tropics,” which includes dinner, dancing and a party at Le Phnom 1929 and outside on the terrace. And at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, step into a world of magic and grandeur at the Poolside Terrace at “The Grand Circus New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner,” which will usher in the New Year in true style. Exclusive holiday season guest room packages, special high teas, fun-filled gingerbread-making classes, festive season spa offerings and much more will be held at both hotels throughout December.