Last Minute Holiday Vacays

Get a tan in St. Croix, do more than gamble in Vegas or explore NYC before 2016 rolls in. Plus, we’ve got cool travel swag for each destination. WHERE TO PLAY & EAT: Ice skating in the desert? Yep! The Cosmopolitan converts Boulevard Pool (shown above) into The Ice Rink during winter months. Don’t worry. There are two other pristine pools on property (Bamboo and Marquee Dayclub). Culinary bliss is plentiful in Vegas. Two new restaurants worth trying are Giada for modern Italian cuisine and Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill (the fish & chips are a must-try). caesars.com/ cromwell/giada, caesars.com/caesars-palace/restau-rants/gordon-ramsay-pub-and-grill WHERE TO STAY: The Cosmopolitan (shown above), the strip’s glitziest hotel has more than earned its fab rep. There are luxury amenities at every turn including modern furnishings, expansive private terraces, and a renowned concierge desk that will arrange everything for guests from helicopter tours to show reservations. Rooms start at $195 per night. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com TRAVEL SWAG: Every fly jetsetter needs a sleek passport holder and this style fits the bill.

Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Passport Holder, $78, katespade.com WHERE TO PLAY SOME MORE: Of course you can hit the casinos, but there’s so much more to this city. Turn up at TAO nightclub. Tour nearby Red Rock Canyon in a three-wheeled car courtesy of Scoot City or zipline through town via FlightLinez. taolasvegas.com, scootcitytours.com, flightlinezbootleg.com MALIKA HAQQ: PGSK/MEDIAPUNCH; THE COSMOPOLITAN: COURTESY THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS; LAS VEGAS FIREWORKS: COURTESY OF LAS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU WHERE TO PLAY SOME MORE: No visit to STX is complete without a tour of the Cruzan Rum Factory where each visit culminates with a specialty cocktail tasting. Enjoy horseback riding with the ladies of Cruzan Cowgirls and for unforgettable snorkeling head to nearby Buck Island (shown below). stxcarnival.com, cruzanrum.com/lpa, cruzancowgirls.com WHERE TO PLAY & EAT: The Crucian Christmas Carnival keeps St. Croix jumping with exciting events running from December to January. The month-long festival features diverse local food, mocko jumb-ies (shown below) and live calypso musical performances.

For low-key authentic West Indian fare check out Harvey’s (get the fish and fungi) and delight in upscale dining at Zion Modern Kitchen where the pumpkin soup is a local fave. zionmodernkitchen.com WHERE TO STAY: A stay at the Buccaneer (shown above) on the largest U.S. Virgin Island is a sure cure for winter blues. This first-class property offers golf, tennis, babysitting services and more. Don’t miss their daily colossal breakfast on the Terrace. The Treasure package begins at $200 per night and includes a rental car or a guided island tour. thebuccaneer.com TRAVEL SWAG: Just one spritz allows you to transport yourself back to a memorable Caribbean vacay. Tommy Bahama Island Life for Her Eau de Parfum, $78, 3.4 oz., tommybahama.com TRAVEL SWAG: Decorate your home and show Empire state pride with this festive piece of decor. A Heirloom New York Felt Ornament, $10, aheirloom.com WHERE TO EAT: Head up to Harlem’s Streetbird for celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson’s hip new eatery (the red velvet waffles and fried chicken are delish) or venture to Brooklyn’s Peaches restaurant for southern fare like Montauk Whiting, Anson Mills Grits and Tomato-Herb Compote (shown below).

Tasty drinks and tantalizing tunes can be found at Angel of Harlem and Tribeca is filled with funky bars, clubs and lounges. streetbirdnyc.com, bcrestaurantgroup.com/peaches WHERE TO PLAY: There’s an endless supply of exciting sights in the Big Apple especially during the holidays. Enjoy ice skating in Rockefeller Center (shown above), check out creative window displays on Fifth Avenue, catch a Broadway play, shop in Soho or people watch in the trendy Meatpacking District. Insider tip: The subway is the least expensive and most efficient way to get around NYC. WHERE TO STAY: Only minutes away from midtown Manhattan in Long Island City Queens, The Paper Factory Hotel promises an ultra-cool boutique feel housed in a former 100 year-old paper factory with original artwork, chic vintage furnishings and 12-foot ceilings and windows. There are also regular shuttles to midtown and a 24-hour fitness studio. Rooms start at $169 per night. paperfactoryhotel.com

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