22 Hotels That Go All Out For The Christmas Holiday
By Rachel George
No Christmas is complete without thousands of lights, enticing food menus and gigantic Christmas trees, whether you are at home or away. Spending the holiday season at a hotel can still offer quite the cozy, familial experience. These 22 hotels and resorts go all out for Christmas with everything from gingerbread competitions, ice skating rinks and more.
This Tudor inn is hosting a 3-night Christmas house party from Dec. 24-27. Soak up the seasonal ambiance with a five-course black-tie gala/dinner, dancing and drinks in this restored 16th-century building.
Laguna Beach, California
Nothing screams Christmas like a 35-foot lit Christmas tree against the ocean in a 5-star hotel. Gingerbread decorating workshops, nightly Santa Claus tuck-ins personalized stocking deliveries and complimentary family photo shoot sessions.
New Paltz, New York
This New York mountain resort goes out all month long for Christmas. Enjoy cocktail tastings and cookie-decorating workshops at the hotel’s first ever-Ugly Sweater Weekends from December 7-14, including a reindeer-tracking expedition and family crafting sessions. The resort is continuing their Cyber Week sale saving guests 25% on the weekends. The sale ends tomorrow so you might want to book today.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Experience Thailand’s culture and food along with an open-air Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the beautiful green lawn. Santa even comes to visit during their annual Christmas Day lunch.
The Fairmont pulls out all the stops for Christmas including an ice-skating rink, characters, and over 4 million Christmas lights. This resort transforms into a winter wonderland, including special packages during the holiday season. The Sip, Savor & Celebrate holiday package includes express access so some holiday charms in the city and a $75 daily credit to the resort.
This ranch-style luxury hotel is great for people who want that Christmas feeling without being at home. Each cabin has a fireplace and a live or artificial Christmas tree you can decorate yourself. Although it may be on the pricier side at $1,050 per couple, per night, year-round, the experience here might be all worth it.
The Claridge’s hotel is known for their impeccable design, infused with traditions from the past. Days after Thanksgiving, the hotel revealed their highly anticipated 20-foot “Tree of Love” created by fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg and her passion for love, life and nature. It has over 8,000 hand-painted leaves and hand-blown spheres.
From December 1 to December 23, enjoy nightly performances by local choral and vocal groups each night. Their historic Round Robin Bar also gets in the festive mood with the Jingle Bell Julep and the After Eight seasonal drinks.
San Francisco, California
The Westin St. Francis has a treat for the city of San Francisco and its guests with the hotel’s main attraction, a 12 feet tall St. Francis Sugar Tree. Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre began this tradition last year after his kids challenged him to build a gingerbread house similar to their hometown in France, according to ABC 7.
During the holiday season, this hotel transforms into a Santa Claus’ Workshop for Teddy Bear Tea in their elegant Crescent City Ballroom. Kids get to take home a commemorative teddy bear home as part of festivities, including a parade and live entertainment. The lobby displays over 100,000 lights and 4,000 glass ornaments, which will be up until Jan. 2, 2019.
Lake Placid, New York
Come to your very own winter wonderland hotel, complete with sparkling lights and real Christmas trees in guestrooms. Cozy up with some free hot chocolate, ride on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or skate on the frozen Mirror Lake this holiday season. Feast at breakfast with Santa and take a free sleigh ride around Mirror Lake.
Gaylord Opryland Hotel puts their own country twist on Christmas with ice-carved creations, snow tubing, ice-skating and so much more. Around the hotel are over three million lights, decorations and poinsettias. Their annual ICE! Showcase features Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas this year. On Dec. 1, the resort blends music and water for an indoor waterpark experience called SoundWaves.
Disney is known for their remarkable experiences around the world. In the lobby of the hotel is a humongous Christmas tree and a nightly performance by an orchestra and a life-size gingerbread house, constructed by Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek. Now I’m not quite sure you can eat it, but you can always visit the gingerbread bakery, The Bake Shop inside the hotel.
Another gingerbread-focused hotel is the Omni Grove Park Inn. Each year aside from their decorative trees and lights, the hotel hosts the National Gingerbread House Competition and a family movie screening. Get your praise on at their Christmas Day Worship Service.
This year’s theme is “A Charlie Brown Christmas, including an indoor snowfall, dancing fountains and huge carved ice creations. New features include a brand new show, JOY – A Holiday Spectacular and a revamped ice skating experience.
Enjoy 60 days of Holiday Cheer at the Greenbrier with holiday activities, tasty food, music and their annual Gingerbread Ball. Eat from a 15-foot wide edible chocolate display. Santa stops by in the sleigh to conduct the tree-lighting ceremony every day Saturday until Christmas. Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Suteau created this year’s chocolate Christmas display; he was also named Food Network’s Best Baker in America 2018.
Amelia Island, Florida
Ever seen the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship? Me neither but now you can at this hotel. Eat pastries and bakery treats with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Storybook Tea on Saturdays. At bedtime, kids can be tucked in by Pirate Captain and resort Mascot Amelia the Macaw, along with cookies and milk.
Cle Elum, Washington
This resort is perfect for families but especially kids. There’s a bottomless cocoa bar, snowball bingo, tie-dye snow art and nightly story time with Santa’s elves. Decorate and care for a mini Christmas tree. Most of their festive holiday activities begin Dec. 1 and last into the new year with ice-skating, tubing, Bingo with the Grinch, cross-country skiing and many more. The full Winterfest guide can be found here.
Build the largest gingerbread house in Atlanta in the lobby of his grand hotel. Candy boutique Sugarfina collaborated with the hotel to host a pop-up candy shop with limited-edition seasonal treats like Gingerbread Men Gummies. The hotel opened its Astor Holiday Ice Rink for its 10th year just last week. During this holiday season, the hotel crafts a distinctive food and beverage menu for their guests as part of their tradition.
San Diego, California
Nothing’s better than having a pajama party, a movie night and a campfire with s’mores at this winter wonderland. Take a ride on a Ferris wheel, while watching the 25-foot Christmas tree at this bed and breakfast.
Explore 8,500 acres of Christmas festivities and decorations by horseback or snowmobile on this “cozy-chic” ranch. Try figure skating, hockey or snowshoeing at this winter fantasy ranch. Each room has a personal Christmas tree for guests. The ranch has a full schedule from December 22 to December 27, with events for adults and children.
Known as “Canada’s Castle in the Rockies,” the Fairmont offers plenty of holiday amenities such as snowflake scavenger hunts, caroling and crafty sessions where kids can write letters to Santa, himself.