What if a person wants to go somewhere wintry, and do ... nothing?
Sure, the snow and cold weather offer plenty of active delights: skiing, sledding, trekking, ice fishing. For a certain set, it's other things they're after: dog sled rides, solving puzzles, going to concerts, racking up some serious hot tub time, and just parking one's self in front of the fire. Thanks to the destinations below, you can do all that and less while wrapped in the lap of luxury.
In winter, 30-foot swells and gale-force winds lash the western shores of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, putting on an awesome show for guests at the Wickaninnish Inn. "The Wick" was designed for storm-watching. Each of the 75 rooms has unobstructed Pacific views, a gas fireplace and a soaking tub. Intrepid guests can don ponchos and wellies and experience a "west coast facial," which occurs when the rain goes sideways in the wind. Too intense? Book a Pacific Sea Salt Glow facial at the Ancient Cedars Spa and Zen out to the sound of crashing waves. From $340.
Schloss Elmau brings the best of New York or Berlin to a tranquil valley in the Bavarian Alps in southern Germany. The unique resort is the ultimate digital detox. Its world-class concert hall hosts 200 performances a year and literary talks from authors such as Ian McEwan and T.C. Boyle. Unplug your devices and chill out in the three libraries and on-site bookstore. From $260, including cultural events.
There's nothing cozy about the Alaskan wilderness, unless you're staying in one of the five knotty pine guest cabins at Winterlake Lodge. This remote retreat is set on 15 acres overlooking a frozen lake and primarily accessible by floatplane. The lodge has its own team of huskies, and Carl Dixon gives mushing tutorials, but he'll take the reins while guests enjoy views from the sled. Head into the wild on a helicopter safari in search of elk, moose, caribou and badgers, then return to wine and cheese by the fire. Save room for chef Kirsten Dixon's multicourse dinners of reindeer tenderloin with duck fat potatoes and mushroom-and-truffle gnocchi. From $4,370 for two nights, including one helicopter adventure.
At the foothills of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is the perfect place to hibernate. With a working farm, craft brewery and one of the deepest wine collections in America, this is foodie nirvana. Days start with digging into fluffy egg-topped cheese grits and crispy bacon while watching the fog roll across the mountains. Read in a rocking chair, get pampered at the spa, or sign up for a winter-enrichment weekend focused on such obsessions as puzzling or photography. Evenings revolve around fancy farm-to-table meals in a restored barn and often end with a nightcap by the fire. From $695, including meals.
Fogo Island, off the coast of Newfoundland, is about as off-the-grid as one can get. In wintertime, the 29-suite Fogo Island Inn becomes a haven for artists, foodies and burnt-out urbanites looking for rest and relaxation. Guests can track caribou by snowshoe or, in March, view frozen monoliths floating down Iceberg Alley from Greenland to the North Atlantic. An artist-in-residency program and a 37-seat cinema satisfy cultural cravings, while rooftop hot tubs are meant for meditative stargazing sessions. From $1,429.
Twin Farms in Vermont feels like an elevated take on the classic New England bed-and-breakfast. Its famous soufflé pancakes are reason alone to book a stay. A main lodge, in an 18th-century farmhouse, features four rooms decorated with vintage flags, antique quilts and other Americana. Sixteen individually designed cottages are scattered across the grounds, all with fieldstone fireplaces and screened-in porches. Guests can go sledding out the door, then thaw out in a Japanese furo, a type of sleek, wooden bathtub. From $1,500, all-inclusive.
When the snow falls at Triple Creek Ranch, an adults-only, all-inclusive property in Montana's Bitterroot Range, the focus shifts from cattle drives and horseback riding to snowshoeing and ice fishing. Couples hunker down in log cabins equipped with wood-burning fireplaces and, in most cases, hot tubs; oftentimes, they don't reappear until dinner. Meals at the Relais & Châteaux-approved restaurant are a highlight. From $1,050.