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Four cosy winter retreats

When the weather turns chilly and the days (and nights) become fresh and crisp, hunker down in these warming spots in cities around the globe

Interior of Mandarin Bar and Bistro, Milan

Cocktails and carriages in Milan

The ski resorts of Courmayeur on Mont Blanc, Belluno and Madonna di Campiglio are all within easy reach, but the capital of Northern Italy – at the base of the Alps – has more than enough wintry distractions of its own. The cosiest way to see Milan in the colder months is from the vantage point of a vintage tram. The ATMosfera serves up brunch and dinner throughout the week in its restored interior (complete with glass lanterns and upholstered benches), while trundling along two of the city’s tram lines.

Few places do aperitivo hour better than the legendary Bar Basso, which has barely changed since its 1960s peak and still serves its signature Negroni sbagliato (made with Campari, sparkling wine and red vermouth) with a hand-cut brick of ice, served in an enormous glass called the colossus. Don’t forget to pop into the uber-chic Mandarin Bar and Bistrot (pictured above) back at Mandarin Oriental, Milan, where expert mixologists will create a sumptuous Cielo de Jalisco cocktail, made with Patrón Silver tequila, grapefruit, lime, rose syrup and Tabasco.

Red facade of the Boston State House

Walks and wellness in Boston

With a staggering array of museums and a long-standing reputation as a cultural hub of the East Coast, Boston comes into its own in winter. As the Massachusetts snow dusts the libraries, churches and taverns of the Back Bay neighbourhood, you can find sanctuary at Trident Booksellers and Café, which serves up lemon ricotta French toast and New England craft ales alongside a vast array of tomes. You won’t want to spend too long outdoors in the colder months, but the 1.9km Freedom Trail is manageable if you wrap up well. The walk will take you past Boston Common, the State House (pictured above) and the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre. Wind down afterwards with a warming massage treatment in one of the 11 private suites at the spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston.

Fondue pot at Le Bon Vin, Geneva

Style near the slopes in Geneva

With Courchevel, Megève, Zermatt and Chamonix all within three hours’ drive, Geneva makes for a classy and convenient post-ski city break in winter. After burning all those calories on the piste, you deserve the most warming Swiss dish of all, the mighty fondue. Head to Le Bon Vin for distinctly decadent variations – you’ll find Champagne, goat’s cheese and tomato fondues among the classic cheese recipes. Afterwards, take a stroll down the pedestrianised Place du Bourg-de-Four, where you’ll find myriad intimate designer stores selling jewellery and haute couture. Rest your weary limbs amid the palatial splendour of Mandarin Oriental, Geneva’s Corner Suite, which offers sublime views over the river and to the soaring Alps beyond.

Turret suite living room at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

Turrets and taverns in London

The cosy institution of the British pub is at its most welcoming in the colder months and the capital has literally thousands to choose from. For a pint with history, head to The George Inn in Borough. It’s London’s last remaining galleried coaching inn – dating from 1677 – and referenced by Charles Dickens in Little Dorrit. Of course, if it’s chic and sultry vibes you’re looking for, the Mandarin Bar is the place to be. Order a Prescription Julep cocktail of Courvoisier VS Cognac and Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey and relax into the wee small hours before retreating to your Turret Suite (pictured above) with its curved walls, fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling window views out over Knightsbridge.

Christmas market stalls in Munich

Six cities to celebrate the festive season in

From tobogganing with the locals to enjoying a decadent Boxing Day brunch, here are the greatest cities in which to feel festive this year