We can always count on hotels to have some lights and perhaps a tree on display during the holiday season, but these hotels get REALLY festive! We’re talking rooftop ice skating rinks, the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship, Christmas trees stuffed with prizes and the arrival of Santa himself—via helicopter! Meet 30 properties that put the ho ho ho in hotel.
The Talbott Hotel: Chicago, IL
The Talbott Hotel is the ultimate Chicago holiday destination for the whole family, pups included. Stop by the Talbott from 5pm-8pm on December 4, 11 and 18 for dog-friendly Santa photos! Rumor has it Santa’s own pooch may even make a costumed appearance.
Davenport Hotel: Spokane, WA
This hotel is already stunning, but the holidays push it over the top. Every year, the Davenport hosts an event called Christmas Tree Elegance, where the entire second floor, which overlooks the lobby, is filled with decorated trees. Each one is stuffed with thousands of dollars-worth of prizes, which are raffled off.
La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort: Palm Springs, CA
This sunny resort will become something of a winter wonderland with Clicquot in the Snow, part of a partnership with Veuve Clicquot. There’ll also be a tree lighting ceremony, caroling performances, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa.
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center: Denver, CO
Check out Gaylord’s “ICE! Featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” carved from more than two million pounds of ice. As that’s pretty cold, you’ll want to keep a hot chocolate handy for the other activities, like gingerbread decorating, ice tubing and skating, reindeer-themed scavenger hunts, and even a fun character breakfast that will give Disney a run for its money.
Dream Midtown: New York, NY
Located just a short walk away from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, 5th Avenue Window Displays and Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Dream Midtown is a central starting point for a classic New York City holiday getaway. On property starting December 1, winter visitors can indulge with an oversized advent calendar in the lobby complete with exciting complimentary goodies given out daily by brands like Diptyque, Bumble & Bumble and Maybelline. Swanky hotel bar PHD Terrace will host a “Midwinter Night’s Dream” holiday pop-up bar serving festive cocktails paired with twinkling rooftop views.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Scottsdale, AZ
Visit this spot to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, and get a photo snapped with Santa Claus. There’s lots of family-friendly activities that make this spot feel like anything but the desert.
Grand View Lodge: Nisswa, MN
Minnesota’s iconic Grand View Lodge looks like a true winter wonderland during the holidays. They have ice skating, hockey and nearby skiing, as well as fun options perfect for the holidays like ornament decorating, Christmas cookie making, Christmas stories, bread-making classes, Nerf wars, elf cabin visits, family wagon rides, ice skating, s’mores and more.
Waldorf Astoria Park City: Park City, UT
During the holidays, Waldorf Astoria Park City always decorates the lobby and outdoor grounds to showcase holiday spirit. A few highlights include a personalized concierge team that can arrange a pre-decorated, pre-lit Christmas tree in a guest’s room for the duration of their stay, a hotel visit from Santa to read festive books to the children on the Saturday before Christmas, caroling courtesy of Park City’s local choir, and a homemade gingerbread ski lodge on display in the lobby throughout December.
Wynn Las Vegas: Las Vegas, NV
At the Wynn Las Vegas, there’ll be a Holiday Entertaining Master Class, led by chefs David Walzog and David Middleton and master mixologist Andrew Pollard and Wynn Wine Director Mark Thomas, who will teach guests about everything related to successful party planning. Regardless, you won’t miss the holiday cheer: The entire resort is decked out in holiday cheer. Seriously, it’s everywhere.
The Ritz-Carlton: Philadelphia, PA
How does a gourmet hot chocolate bar in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton sound? Happening Wednesdays through Sundays late November through January 5, local eatery Aqimero will bring its Specialty Hot Chocolate Bar to the Ritz and offer its signature hot or dark chocolate, bruleed jumbo marshmallows, candy canes and holiday cookies. This is also the perfect pit stop after a day of holiday shopping in Center City Philadelphia, or a great way to warm up after spending the day in Dilworth Park Christmas Village, located at City Hall, just a block away from Aqimero!
Sofitel New York: New York, NY
This holiday season, Sofitel New York will evoke The Golden Age of Travel. A Christmas Couture display will transform the hotel’s lobby into a fashion maison, an invitation to “live the French way,” including a Christmas tree made entirely of French vintage Louis Vuitton trunks. At this unique pop-up “shop,” every piece will be for sale and the tree will feature pieces that tell the fascinating tales of royalty and great explorers who used the trunks to travel the world. The one-of-a-kind display will be complemented by chic décor throughout the lobby.
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa: Palm Beach, FL
At Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, a Christmas Tree Lighting happens over Thanksgiving weekend. The event even includes a visit from Santa to officially kick off the holiday season. Be on the lookout for gingerbread displays!
The Ritz-Carlton: Kapalua, HI
The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua offers holiday hula lessons while the spa offers a buttered rum holiday-themed massage. There will also be holiday cocktail bingo and even an eggnog bar!
Sunriver Resort: Bend, OR
This woodsy, inland resort will offer horse-drawn sleigh rides, fireside hot cocoa and even bedtime stories from one of Santa’s elves! Their holiday season starts early with a tree-lighting ceremony in late November, but the party will stay strong through New Year’s Day.
JW Marriott Chicago: Chicago, IL
Celebrate the magic of the season with Nutcracker Afternoon Tea and a show. The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a twist on the holiday classic reworked for modern audiences, returns to Chicago for the holiday season. Official partner, JW Marriott Chicago, welcomes guests and locals to join in on the festive happenings by experiencing high tea with a seasonal Nutcracker Afternoon High Tea menu.
Ojai Valley Inn: Ojai, CA
It’s Serenity Season at Ojai Valley Inn, the legendary Five-Diamond resort just 75 miles from bustling Los Angeles. The annual six-week celebration of magical holiday experiences begins on Thanksgiving with events ranging from holiday wreath making and storytelling with Mrs. Claus to family scavenger hunts and cookie decorating with master chefs at the new epicurean and events center, The Farmhouse.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Las Vegas, NV
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opens their Ice Rink for the season in late November and it’s a big one: 4,200 square feet of real ice. They’ll also offer the opportunity to try roasting s’mores, and show some classic holiday movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, and others to get you into the holiday spirit.
Grand Velas Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
It’s hard to imagine a tropical spot like Cabo getting into the holiday spirit, but they totally do. In fact, Santa Claus will leave his reindeer at home and arrive at the resort via helicopter. There’s also an option to have a Christmas tree delivered in-suite (how’s that for room service?), and even have it pre-decorated if you want. Because the best part of the holiday season is also being able to give, there’s an opportunity to donate toys to the Center for the Caring of Children with Cancer.
Willard Intercontinental: Washington, DC
The Willard is a magical place over the holidays thanks to its giant gingerbread replica of the Jefferson Memorial complete with a water feature and live fish, nightly caroling with performances by local choral groups like The Gay Men’s Chorus, Washington Saengerbund, Arlington Children’s Chorus and more. There’s also a stunning and traditional holiday high tea in the famed Peacock Alley, adorned with Christmas trees and décor.
Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: Amelia Island, FL
A vessel the likes of which you have never seen, the S.S. Amelia is the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship; it’s also the star attraction at this Ritz-Carlton. The ship is made of more than 600 pieces of gingerbread and festooned with fondant sculpted seafarers. Following the ship’s arrival, the 23rd Annual Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Christmas Tree Lighting will happen at 5:30pm, featuring Santa’s arrival (past modes of transport included a train and a vintage car), plus spectacular fireworks. Children will be thrilled with a bedtime tuck-in from Santa as he brings cookies, milk and reads a holiday story weekends throughout December.
The iconic Chicago institution is rolling out the red carpet for Santa’s sleigh this year. Offering everything from a “Milk and Cookie Hotline” allowing guests to text Santa Claus for a delicious in-room treat, to a two-story Santa’s Workshop with appearances from the Big Man himself, and also a “Dive-In” holiday movie series aside the property’s historic Junior Olympic-sized pool.
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino: Las Vegas, NV
Santa in the Shipwreck swims back to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Dec. 7–8, 14–15 and 21–24. Elves 12 and under will receive a complimentary photograph with Santa Claus and Santa Jaws. Before jumping on his sleigh, Santa will plunge into the Shipwreck waters to bid everyone farewell alongside his underwater friends.
This Wrigleyville hotel is offering a Teddy Bear Tea and Breakfast with Santa where families can get in the holiday spirit. The hotel will join Gallagher Way, Wrigleyville’s new entertainment hub in the shadow of Wrigley Field, to transform it into Winterland, beginning in late November. The ongoing event will feature a North Side outpost of the city’s iconic Christkindlmarkt, an ice skating rink featuring Clark, the Cub’s beloved mascot, a luxury glamping pop-up and much more. Expect a variety of programming for families and just adults.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco: Portland, OR
Everyone knows the holidays can be stressful, so one downtown Portland hotel is helping guests de-stress in a way fitting for the famously quirky city: with therapy llamas. Each December the Monaco pairs up with Mountain Therapy Llamas & Alpacas to host select appearances at the hotel, so guests can feed, pet and take pictures with the furry animals amid the festive holiday décor. It’s a wildly popular tradition. But guests who don’t stay over the dates where the animals pay a lobby visit can still join the fun.
Gaylord National Resort: Washington, DC
This resort has holiday spirit written all over it. From the two million pounds of ice carved into an enchanting frozen wonderland inspired by Dr. Suess’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to a giant gingerbread masterpiece on display in the hotel lobby to more than a dozen attractions and activities for families, the Gaylord goes all in. There’s also an amazing Cirque stage show and a 55-foot tall suspended Starlight Christmas tree, plus a laser light show choreographed to music that ends with snow and a Grinch character breakfast. This is also the only place to take selfies with Santa 180-feet above the Potomac River aboard the Capital Wheel.
Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach: Miami, FL
At the recently re-launched Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach, the holidays kick into high gear with the Sippin’ Santa festive tiki pop-up hosted at the hotel’s Minnow Bar and featuring hand-crafted holiday-inspired cocktails starting in late November and running throughout December. Striking holiday décor, seasonal scents, a holiday mail box to send greeting cards and letters to the North Pole are also on tap, plus look for hot chocolate and mulled wine during the hotel’s daily evening social hour (kosher wine is added during the Festival of Lights).
Seven Stars Resort & Spa: Turks & Caicos
This year’s holiday program at the recently redesigned Seven Stars Resort & Spa, Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos, runs from December 21 to January 4 and includes a daily holiday movie series for the kids, Christmas Eve beach barbecue and bonfire and a special three-course Christmas Day dinner at the hotel’s signature Seven restaurant. There’s also a New Year’s Gala Dinner and party, holiday gift baskets available for order to your guest room, live music al fresco beachside at The Deck and the largest Christmas tree lighting in Providenciales.
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