There’s no place like home for the holidays. But, if holiday travel is in the plans for next week, European hotels are offering a taste of home.
The Regent Porto Montenegro is set within a luxury yacht harbor on the Adriatic coast. Guests enjoy views of the Baltics, an indoor pool and a spa featuring a traditional hammam bath. The Italianate architecture is a tribute to the centuries of Venetian rule.
But, it’s the American influence on the menu next week. Newly-appointed Executive Chef Zeljko Knezovic is preparing a Thanksgiving feast with a local flair.
"Our twist on this special holiday meal fuses traditional ingredients of an American thanksgiving meal with local dishes and a mix of herbs and spices, serving well baked turkey with regional pasta mlinci and locally grown tangerines," Knezovic tells Travel Agent.
In the UK, London’s Milestone Hotel is serving a British-inspired Thanksgiving dinner. Cheneston's restaurant will serve truffled mac and cheese, barbecued ribs, and local Norfolk Bronze turkey, along with cornbread and sausage stuffing, and pumpkin pie. The property is a member of The Leading Hotels of The World and part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
At Ellenborough Park, guests enjoy clay pigeon shooting, Land Rover excursions and horse races at the nearby Cheltenham racecourse. The restored 15th century manor home in the Cotswolds prides itself on providing a quintessentially English country experience. But next week’s offerings include a nod to friends across the pond.
The Thanksgiving Treat promotion includes a dinner of squash, pecan pie and a roast crown of turkey carved at the table.
Thanksgiving traditionally signals another important event in Europe: the start of Christmas market season.
“We used to think people shut down in Europe in cold season. But the storybook cities like Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and Budapest are really popular,” Scott Wiseman, president, the Americas, Cox & Kings, tells Travel Agent.
“When we think of Europe at this time, it’s cities such as Munich and Rothenberg that are known for their ambiance. But Barcelona, Madrid and other destinations throughout Spain have Christmas markets. The cities are beautifully decorated there and also in Portugal,” Manny Paulo, director of Europe product for Collette, tells Travel Agent.
Though not yet a holiday tradition in the minds of most travelers, Iceland is gaining in popularity.
“More travelers are interested in visiting Iceland this time of year to see the Northern Lights. And the weather isn’t as harsh as you’d think,” said Wiseman.
Collette is expanding its offerings in Iceland for 2016. The new “Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights” tour includes seven days in country. The itinerary includes time in both Reykajvik and Vik, the country’s southernmost village.
“One of the things we’re doing that make it unique is a cruise across Faxaflói Bay. That’s something new. The companies that offer whale watching now do Northern Lights cruises. Because this is a Mother Nature event, there are obviously no guarantees about sightings. But it’s important to take advantage of the time there. Hotels now are even doing Northern Lights wake-up calls,” said Paulo.
He adds, “We’re seeing a surprisingly great response to the new Iceland program. If clients have already done the Christmas markets, it’s something that should be next on the bucket list,” said Paulo.