Traditions With a Twist: Distinctive Festive Experiences Around The World
Booking.com takes a bite out of the Christmas Candy Cane tradition by creating a mouthwatering ‘once in a lifetime’ spectacular stay
Travel for many is an opportunity to explore new destinations, sample local delicacies and experience different cultures. This notion is backed by six in 10 (61%) global travelers who say they want their next trip to give them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a destination’s local customs and cultures. And what better time to experience something a little different to your own customs than the festive holiday season, jam packed with local tradition? From a Christmas spent on wheels, to a candy cane creation straight out of a fairytale - why not embrace some of the unique offerings all over the world this holiday season. Here is a list of some of the most memorable festive holiday experiences from around the world.
Indulge in a sweet stay with a difference – London, England
For an extra-sweet take on Christmas treats which feature on many traditional Christmas tables, Booking.com is creating the world’s sweetest stay just in time for the festive period in the heart of London’s Soho. Aptly named the Candy Cane House, Booking.com will be creating a one-off festive treat for travelers this holiday season. The lucky guests who book to stay will spend a magical night surrounded by sugar, chocolate, gingerbread and more, at this unique overnight experience. Available for just x2 night stays (x2 people per night) on December 18 and 19.
Where to stay: At the Candy Cane House, a once-in-a-lifetime property exclusively on Booking.com, candy cravers and chocolate lovers will be able to nibble on the edible Christmas wreaths upon arrival while admiring the property’s show-stopping candy cane inspired windows and glistening, icing sugar infused, snowy facade. Once inside, guests can relax and enjoy their complimentary hamper, complete with celebratory bubbles and a selection of confectionary favourites in the Candy Lounge. Here, large candy-style treats line the walls, and candy canes and edible baubles adorn the candy floss Christmas tree.
Eat fried chicken on Christmas Eve – Tokyo, Japan
For many of us, Christmas isn’t synonymous with fried chicken, but in Japan an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families eat this tasty meal during the festive season. Since a world-famous fast food colonel began promoting his party barrels of chicken as a Christmas essential in 1947, it’s since become a widely practiced custom.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Tokyo at the The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic, which is the perfect base to explore Tokyo and visit one of the many nearby chicken chains for your untraditional feast! Beyond the feast, Chiyoda is a great choice for travelers interested in culture, atmosphere and city walks.
Christmas lights with a difference– San Fernando, Philippines
The Giant Lantern Festival is celebrated annually in December in the city of San Fernando, otherwise known as the ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines.’ Each year, visitors flock to the city to see the parade of world-class, giant lanterns made by the locals from bamboo or steel, colored plastics and paper. And with temperatures averaging around 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), it’s the perfect climate for those looking to escape a cold winter this Christmas.
Where to stay: The conveniently situated Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Fernando offers visitors comfortable accommodation with the convenience of a 24-hour front desk. Boasting an outdoor pool, travelers can take a break from the festival lights by making the most of the hot weather and taking a dip.
Strap your skates on for Mass – Caracas, Venezuela
While the concept of Christmas Mass may be traditional for many, the people of Caracas have upped the ante on unique experiences by making their way there on roller skates. This unusual transport choice has now become so well-established that many of the city's streets are closed to traffic from 8am so that the skating congregation can get to church safely. Legend has it that children dangle string from their toes out the window for the passing skaters to tug in order to wake them in time for the special holiday masses which take place from December 16 to 24.
Where to stay: The Waldorf Hotel Boutique features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar for guests. Well-located, this hotel is within exploring distance of nearby museums and art museums. This includes the Caracas Children's Museum for younger travelers keen to learn about science, technology, culture and arts.
Branching out with an unusual pooping log – Catalonia, Spain
Families in Spain’s Catalonia region mark the festive period with a long-standing tradition involving Tió de Nadal or Christmas log. This hollow log with stick legs, a smiley face and a floppy red hat is placed in homes from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and each night is cared for with a little bit to “eat” and wrapped in a blanket. On Christmas Eve, the log then “defecates” presents and treats for the family.
Where to stay: While Tió exists across the region, guests can match this old tradition with a stay in historical Girona. Flat in the historical center offers travelers beautifully decorated accommodation for guests, with enough space even for those who opt to bring their own Tió, with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining area to enjoy. You can unwind on the property’s balcony after exploring nearby Girona Art Museum, Pont de Pedra and Girona Cathedral.