Traveling for the holidays, but worried about missing out on all the festive décor, delicious food, and frosty snowflakes? Don’t worry. There are plenty hotels across the country — and around the world! –offering lots of lights, sights, treats, and sweets that will make you feel at home.
A 22-foot gingerbread house takes center stage at one of San Francisco’s most prestigious hotels. Take a stroll through the fragrant culinary concoction made from 650 pounds of candy, 12 gallons of chocolate, 7,500 pieces of gingerbread, and nearly a ton of icing. Be sure to peek through the windows at the train running through the house. After exiting this life-size Christmas staple, visit Laurel Court where guests can partake in traditional holiday foods and even a Christmas tea.
The Venetian transforms the desert into a winter wonderland every holiday season. An enchanted ice rink above the Grand Canal allows guests to glide through the night sky with the bright lights of Vegas in the background. Strolling carolers, stilt walkers, jugglers, and magicians entertain the masses beneath decorations of snowflakes and twinkle lights. The hotel also offers a Holiday Spectacular light show every evening.
The wildly popular ICE! holiday spectacular is back this year with an all new show. Set in a theater kept at a strict nine degrees Fahrenheit, DreamWorks characters are brought to life on a stage consisting of two million pounds of ice. See Shrek and all his friends swoop down 20-foot ice slides and navigate around brightly colored ice sculptures. ICE! is a holiday tradition not to be missed!
Each Christmas the Waldorf-Astoria transforms into paradise. With giant wreaths, towering Christmas trees, and thousands of lights, the lobby of the famed hotel is an attraction in and of itself. Book one of the Grand Suites and the hotel staff will deliver a Christmas tree and all the trimmings straight to your door, hang personalized stockings before you arrive, and even provide a piano for caroling. Now that’s service!
The Biltmore Estate provides guests with stunning Christmas displays starting each November. From the raising of a 35-foot Christmas tree to the decorations in and around the extensive grounds, the Biltmore celebrates the spirit of the season like no other. The man in red himself is in residence each weekend in Antler Hill Village to hear the dearest wishes of the hotel’s smallest guests.
With all the trappings of a traditional Smokey Mountain Christmas, the Inn at Christmas Place provides visitors with extensively decorated grounds, a singing Santa, and daily holiday activities, including marshmallow roasting, popcorn stringing, and a Christmas costume parade. Venture across the parkway to The Incredible Christmas Place, the largest Christmas store in the South!
For a traditional Irish Christmas, head to the Merrion. This Dublin hotel pulls out all the stops during the holidays with toasty fires in the Georgian drawing rooms and visits from Father Christmas. The 5-star hotel offers packages for couples or families with children tailor-made to ensure Christmas in Ireland really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Gorgeous decorations, Christmas tea, and stunning holiday feasts made by a world-renowned chef make for a perfect international holiday. The sights and sounds of Christmas in Amsterdam surround you as you bask in the holiday spirit surrounded by holiday lights and glittering Christmas trees.
The Francis Marion puts on a spectacular face during the holidays. The grand lobby is decorated in russet and gold with a towering tree and plenty of special surprises. Christmas-themed packages are available with carriage rides through Charleston’s historical district and a decorations tour featuring more than two million twinkling lights.
This luxury golf resort puts on a Christmas show each holiday season with 30 Christmas trees decorated in varying schemes, a gingerbread village, a Christmas Eve reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and a visit from Santa on Christmas morning.
Boasting the largest holiday light show in the country, Coeur d’Alene Resort is the perfect place for a bright, shining Christmas! Add in a Christmas tree twice the size of the one at Rockefeller Center and nightly light viewing cruises on Lake Coeur d’Alene, complete with a visit to Santa’s workshop, and you’ve got a holiday destination for the whole family.
A six-foot tall gingerbread man greets guests in the hotel’s lobby while 65,000 LED lights perform in perfect synchronization to 10 popular Christmas songs. Regular holiday-themed events take place throughout the month of December, and Santa can be found fireside for pictures.
Want a tan for Christmas? Head to the island paradise of Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Honolulu and experience some fun in the sun for the holidays. Make holiday cards and ornaments in true Hawaiian fashion and dine with Santa on select evenings near Christmas.
There is nothing quite like a Christmas at Disney World. The parks themselves transform into “winter” wonderlands. However, many people don’t realize that the hotels follow suit! Disney Beach Club boasts beautiful decorations, hidden Mickey’s galore, and even a gingerbread carousel!
We’ve come full circle and ended up back where we started, in the City by the Bay. Although snow might not be common here, guests can experience a snow shower twice a day…inside the Hyatt Regency! Animated figures populate the lobby as cascading lights twinkle all over the grounds.
During the holidays, hotels around the world do their best to ensure guests feel right at home. From towering gingerbread houses to snow in San Francisco, staying in one of these hotels will surely make your days (and nights!) merry and bright