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A lot of things have been cancelled this year but luckily, the holidays are still on, even though they might look a little different. And if ever there was something that could brighten the spirits of everyone who has spent the majority of 2020 socially distanced and hesitant to celebrate anything, it’s some holiday music and glittery decorations. With that in mind, we’ve found 12 hotels across the US that are coming into the season swinging: Think over-the-top decor, festive activities and so much holiday spirit, you’re bound to feel a bit jollier.
Gaylord Opryland Resort: Nashville, TN
Click over to the Gaylord Opryland Resort around the holidays and you’ll be hit with gingerbread, twinkly lights and the promise of “So. Much. Christmas.” As always, this Nashville mainstay will go all out for the holidays and promises to give guests a healthy helping of a Country Christmas. Even with COVID restrictions in place, they’re still offering ice tubing, gingerbread cookie decorating, carriage rides and scavenger hunts!
Nicollet Island Inn: Minneapolis, MN
If the cold alone doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the North Pole, the decor at the Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis is sure to have you convinced. Decked out in pine wreaths and huge, traditional Christmas trees, even the staff is festive, wearing tuxedos and holiday bling. A big draw in Minneapolis each winter is the Holidazzle festival, usually held outside in Loring Park. It’s still happening this year, but with the COVID twist of being virtual, so you can log on and participate in lots of holiday-themed activities!
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa: Riverside, CA
If all you want fro Christmas is a kiss from that special someone, head to The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa where you’ll find the World’s Biggest Mistletoe! Gigantic nutcrackers line the walk towards the entrance and the property is draped in four million twinkling lights, making the whole place feel and look magical. Usually, there’s a “Switching On” ceremony, but due to COVID restrictions, they’re skipping the event this year.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Las Vegas, NV
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas (except COVID, so be sure to wear a mask) and if you’re looking for some festivities, you won’t be disappointed. Around the holidays, the Boulevard pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas high above the strip is transformed into an ice skating rink, taking it from pool party scene to dazzling winter wonderland. If skating isn’t your thing, sit by the fire pit and roast s’mores while sipping eggnog!
The Standard East Village: New York, NY
Sure, check out the stunning window displays along 5th Avenue, the light show projected on the exterior of Saks, and don’t miss stopping by Rockefeller Center to see the ice skaters and sip hot chocolate. But then, head downtown and check out the Menorah on the High Line while noshing on latkes and doughnuts, and head east to check in at The Standard East Village. A brand synonymous with coming up with funky, cool on-property experiences, this location turns their garden into a winter wonderland. Pop into a heated yurt for some faux aprés ski gruyere fondue and of course a glass of mulled wine to keep you warm!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: Orlando, FL
The magic you feel when you’re in any of the Disney theme parks seeps into this Orlando property at Christmastime. When you walk into the lobby at Disney’s GrandFloridian Resort & Spa you’re jaw will drop at the sight of the 40-foot Christmas tree. Unlike the playful movies, most of the holiday decor here is decadent and glamorous. But, it wouldn’t be Disney without something fun and each year they create a life-sized gingerbread house, made from real ingredients, which doubles as a snack stand!
The Roosevelt New Orleans: New Orleans, LA
Walking into The Roosevelt New Orleans is something truly magical. The entire entryway is lined with birch branches and Christmas trees dripping in lights, creating a scene like something from the movies. The chef here puts a Cajun spin on the standard gingerbread house, building a swampy home for Santa and his 8 alligators.
The Fairmont San Francisco: San Francisco, CA
Perched atop Nob Hill, The Fairmont San Francisco already stands out from the rest of the city hotels. But the holiday dining experience furthers sets the Fairmont apart. For over 100 years, at Christmastime each year they build a life-size two-story gingerbread house that you have to see to believe. Guests can even step inside the delicious mansion and enjoy a meal!
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa: Houston, TX
The grand events at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa begin November 28 this year. On Thursdays, they’ll have music from locals pianists, hand bells and soloists. You can book a gingerbread house-making class or simply enjoy looking at the ten 6-foot-tall gingerbread houses the chef created and placed around the property. An adorable choo-choo train can be seen chugging along the mantel of each house, so be sure to look up! They’re also offering a virtual Santa experience, where kids can chat with Santa from his North Pole home.
Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: Amelia Island, FL
This year, have breakfast with Santa or join him for a storybook tea time at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island. The property says they’re taking extra precautions to make the festivities safe, but still feel festive and from the looks of their holiday line-up, they’ve done a great job. Let the kids enjoy a holiday pirate hunt, where they’ll run off in searching of jolly fondant holiday pieces, created by the chef, and hidden around the property. For a family-friendly activity, book one of their gingerbread house-making workshops where you’re sure to build and decorate an Instagram-worthy creation.
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center: Denver, CO
From November 20, 2020 until January 3, 2021, the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center is showing up with bells on! Write letters to Santa or head outside to take in their “Lights!” show, which is constantly changing and showcases how wind changes nature. Snow tubing and ice skating are two holiday activities that you can safely enjoy outside while inside, they’ll be showing movies like The Polar Express and A Christmas Story.
Whiteface Lodge: Lake Placid, NY
Christmas in the Adirondacks is a special kind of treat. Snow-capped trees line the ski slopes, and kids and parents alike dot the ice on Lake Placid, skating before retreating to the shore to warm up with hot chocolate. After a fun day outside, checking in at Whiteface Lodge will feel like a Christmas gift in and of itself. Giant wreaths hang from the beautiful wood doors while lights twinkle along the pathway leading inside. Plus, on Christmas Eve the kids can have cookies and milk with Santa (from 8-9pm) before heading off to bed.
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