Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The smell of dried leaves in the crisp fall air, it’s finally boot and sweater season and the fall color palette just makes you feel warm inside. It’s the official kick-off to the holiday season and it means time spent with family and friends.

Growing up there were three Thanksgiving celebration options. First, our family would come to my parents house and my mom would cook. Second option we would go to my grandparents house or third we would travel to Floral Park, New York and celebrate at my aunt and uncle’s. The third option was always my favorite. It was a chance to get out of town and my aunt’s level of side dishes was a bit elevated, verses what we had at home or at my grandma’s. Let’s say more in the style of Martha Stewart  and not so Betty Crocker. It was luxurious and something to aspire to.

Over the years I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in a variety of places, either with family or friends who I consider family (and yes once or twice celebrating solo) and those memories are precious. What I’m looking forward to this year is celebrating Thanksgiving with my boyfriend Bradford. It will be our first Thanksgiving dinner together, we were apart the past two Thanksgiving holidays, just the two of us. It will be an intimate, semi-casual setting. We do enjoy dressing up!

The thing about Brad and me, is that we’re planners. Big-time planners. From the grocery list, to weekend tasks and our plans for our trip to Venice, we love to look ahead. With that said, next Thanksgiving, there is the distinct possibility that we’ll take our holiday on the road.

In the spirit of planning and checklists, here are a few of the luxury Thanksgiving travel experiences worth considering. Ireland is at the top of my list, with the Irish-American Thanksgiving at Ashford Castle in County Mayo with a close second option the Thanksgiving Feast at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin, also enticing. From Irish castles, “Day o the Bird Festival” in Japan to dinner atop Mount Kilimanjaro the alternatives to turkey dinner at home this year are endless.

Here are some Thanksgiving experience options for the luxury traveler:

 

An Irish-American Thanksgiving at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland

Ashford Castle Thanksgiving horses

Those looking for an Irish country home experience should look to The Lodge at Ashford Castle, the charming 4-star hotel located on the grounds of the Ashford Castle Estate. On Thanksgiving, guests are invited for an evening of true Irish-American hospitality. The festivities begin with a welcome reception, in which guests can try the Lodge’s Fall Cider Cocktail or Spiced Pumpkin Eggnog by the roaring fireplace, followed by a three-course menu featuring classics with a twist from Chef Jonathan Keane. Menu items include pumpkin soup, roasted turkey, and pecan pie. After dinner, guests can enjoy live music by Carmel Dempsey, Mike Stewart and Brenda Curtin Diviney, the lead fiddle player with Lord of the Dance. Guests at the Lodge can enjoy all the offerings on Estate during their stay as well, including learning to fly a hawk at Ireland’s First School of Falconry, play a round of golf or tennis, boat on the scenic Lough Corrib and more. The Thanksgiving package at The Lodge at Ashford, including a one-night stay over Thanksgiving, the three-course dinner and festivities, plus breakfast the following morning, starts at €249 (approx. US$288) based on two people sharing.

For special Luxe Beat VIP Thanksgiving travel offers call 888.212.6444 or go to classictravel.com/luxebeatvip.

Copyright Richard Moran Ashford Castle

Thanksgiving Feast at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin, Ireland

Thanksgiving Banquet The Merrion

Dublin’s 5-star Merrion Hotel is offering the ideal Thanksgiving getaway this year for a relaxing vacation free of cooking, washing dishes or watching football games. While at the Merrion, guests can enjoy the hotel’s Tethra Spa and spacious pool, see the hotel’s incredible art collection while enjoying their famous Art Afternoon Tea, try a cocktail in the intimate bar No. 23, and have a pint of Guinness at the Cellar Bar. On Thanksgiving, guests can enjoy their own Irish-American feast at the Merrion’s newly opened Garden Room Restaurant. The menu, created by Executive Chef Ed Cooney, offers twists on classics such as New England Clam Chowder, Friendly Farmer Irish Roast Turkey, New Orleans Gumbo, Macaroni and Cheese, as well as Pecan Pie. Guests can also explore the history of Georgian Dublin with a 2-hour guided walking tour of the surrounding areas, including Dublin’s Creative Quarter, filled with shops and cafés, Dublin Castle to explore the Viking origins of the city, the iconic Temple Bar, and the oldest university in the country, Trinity College Dublin. The package is valid from November 19 – 23, 2018 and starts at €630 (approx. US$729) per room per night, based on two people sharing.

For special Luxe Beat VIP Thanksgiving travel offers call 888.212.6444 or go to classictravel.com/luxebeatvip.

The Merrion Hotel

British Thanksgiving Feast at The Milestone Hotel, London

Chenestons at The Milestone Hotel, thanksgiving dinnerThe five-star Milestone Hotel & Residences, quintessentially English mansion-hotel located in the heart of Kensington, is offering the ultimate way for families to feel right at home, while still very much on vacation, this Thanksgiving. The Milestone’s Thanksgiving experience includes a stay in one of the property’s newly renovated two- or three-bedroom residences, offering ideal accommodations for families looking for the perks and service that comes with staying at a 5-star hotel, while enjoying their own independence of apartment living. The Milestone’s experience include a three-night stay in a residence, as well as full English breakfast daily, Thanksgiving dinner at Cheneston’s for up to five guests, a Thanksgiving-themed treat at turndown, and a personalized gift. For Thanksgiving, the three-course dining experience in their gourmet Cheneston’s Restaurant includes American classics with a gourmet, British spin, such as seafood chowder, smoked pork ribs with cornbread, traditional Norfolk Bronze Turkey with sausage stuffing, and a caramelized apple cheesecake for dessert.

The Thanksgiving package starts from £1,515 (approx. US$1995) per night, based on a stay in a two-bedroom residence. Eligible stay dates are from November 18 – 30, 2018, but must include November 22 (Thanksgiving Day).

MS-Chenestons Thanksgiving-Menu

For special Luxe Beat VIP offers call 888.212.6444 or go to classictravel.com/luxebeatvip.

The Milestone Hotel

 

“Day of the Bird” Festival in Japan

“Day of the Bird” Festival in Japan ©OOTORIJINJA

©OOTORIJINJA

Japan’s Tori no Ichi festival, meaning “Day of the Bird,” is a lively celebration that takes place each November at Otori shrines all over Japan. Dating way back to the Edo era, the festival was originally a day dedicated to farmers, who would offer chickens to celebrate the autumn harvest. Throughout the years, one of the many practices that remains a cultural staple is selling decorated bamboo rakes, which are said to bring happiness and prosperity. Today, the fair has become a lively reminder that the New Year is fast approaching and should be welcomed with excitement. Visitors can visit the many shops, indulge in the delicious street food, and even go to special performances, depending on the location. The Tori no Ichi festival takes place across 30 locations, including many shrines and temples across the country such as the Hanahataotori Shrine. This year, festival-goers can enjoy the fair on three dates: Thursday, November 1, Tuesday, November 13, and Sunday, November 25.

For more information visit: http://www.otorisama.or.jp/english.html 

Turkey Feast on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, award-winning Thomson Safaris is offering a one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving experience: Turkey on Kilimanjaro. While there might not be pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes, trekkers can enjoy roasted turkey that’s prepared and cooked on Mount Kilimanjaro, some 10,000 feet above sea level. Guests can revel in the unparalleled views while enjoying roasted turkey en-route to their journey to summit the mountain. Thomson Safaris’ Kilimanjaro Treks are some of the most highly-respected tours in the region, with the most qualified guides and a 98% summit success. Committed to quality and care, all of their guides are certified by the Wilderness Medical Association (WMA) as Wilderness First Responders (most companies certify their guides in-house). Thomson Safaris is the recipient of both a “Tanzania Conservation Award” and “Humanitarian of the Year Award” from The Tanzania Tourist Board. The 9-day, 8-night package starts at $3,890 per person.

Thomson Family Adventures’ Thanksgiving with a Host Family

With Thomson Family Adventures’ Friends Across Borders initiative, travelers can arrange to have dinner in a local family’s home. Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, while turkey and canned cranberries might not be served, parents and their family can engage in the holiday by eating a local meal. Examples include eating shawarma, kebobs, koushari and mint tea with a family in Cairo, Egypt or eating ajiaco, and potato soup famous with a family in Bogota, Colombia.

Thanksgiving To-Go at Baur au Lac, Switzerland

Baur au Lac SwitzerlandIn 2014, Zurich’s iconic Baur au Lac hotel (where Daniel Humm trained at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Pavillion) prepared a Thanksgiving meal as a special treat for a group of American guests staying on-site. When word got out locally about the hotel’s traditional Thanksgiving meal and the Head Chef Maurice Marro’s golden turkey, the orders came in. For the fourth year now, the luxury hotel will prepare its Thanksgiving dinner to-go, available for delivery and pick up at the hotel. The turkeys are served with an assortment of traditional sides, as well as a tray of farce (stuffing), a savory mixture of veal, pork, apples, shallots and parsley. Recipes for both the turkey and stuffing can be provided.

Find more information about the offer here.

How are you celebrating your Thanksgiving this year? Please share your comments below!