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Want to book a Christmas to remember? There are many hotels and resorts offering special festivities, holiday packages, and all sorts of unique events for the holidays, and now is the time to book before rooms are sold out. Whether you’re thinking of the tropics or a winter wonderland, there’s sure to be the perfect place on this list.
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Christmas is fun at the beach, especially when it’s at this beachfront hotel in San Diego. During the holidays, it’s a shimmering dream, a holiday fantasy with the iconic red turrets covered with sparkling lights and a 35-foot Christmas tree. There will be plenty of events to make the most of the season too, like photos with Santa, holiday movies under the stars, and s’more making on the sand. On Christmas Day, there will be a holiday feast featuring an elegant buffet with all the enticing trimmings and a number of gourmet surprises enjoyed among the gorgeous decor.
Viceroy Snowmass is a winter wonderland in Colorado. Look forward to excursions like sleigh rides and snowshoe adventures, along with a long list of holiday experiences. Ullr Nights On Snowmass Mountain is one of the best, where they honor the Norse God of Snow — Ullr — with Ullr Nights, a nighttime winter wonderland party at Elk Camp on Snowmass. Take an evening gondola ride up to Elk Camp for outdoor winter activities such as tubing, ice skating, snow biking, then make s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire. Dance to live music and kids will love the fun activities and entertainment downstairs in The Tent.
Disney World is magical any time of year, but it comes alive with holiday spirit during Christmastime. While there are multiple Disney World properties, when it comes to Christmas, the Wilderness Lodge is the undisputed MVP. It comes complete with a spectacularly decorated 60-foot tree in the lobby and plenty of other enchanting decor coupled with holiday music in the background and roaring fireplaces. Plus, it’s tucked in a pine forest with shuttles that transport guests to the parks. The rooms have log cabin-style furnishings and private balconies, while the grounds include two pools, a beach playground, three restaurants, a spa, and a fitness center.
Barnsley Resort will light up the holidays in the Blue Ridge foothills, with its famous gardens illuminated with more than a million colorful holiday lights. There will be holiday-themed events like gingerbread house crafting, a wreath crafting workshop, breakfast with Santa, a Christmas brunch, and more.
One of Chicago’s top hotels, The Langham offers an idyllic location on Wabash Avenue along the Chicago River and rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the city skyline and the water traffic. At Christmas, it goes all out with an elaborate tree and “Snowy Gingerbread Chicago,” with Chicago’s iconic architecture, including landmarks like the John Hancock building, Marina Towers, Wrigley Building, and The Langham itself all made from gingerbread. Special packages are offered for the holidays too, like the Christmas suite experience that includes a savory in-suite dinner. The Festive Family Swim package includes private access to the hotel’s indoor swimming pool, luxurious accommodations, poolside snacks and holiday-themed floats.
Christmas is a fabulous time to be in New Orleans with elaborate light displays and shows like Celebration in the Oaks in City Park, Audubon Zoo Lights, Luna Fete, caroling, holiday concerts, and the annual Christmas Eve lighting of the bonfires along the Mississippi River, a seasonal tradition that’s as authentically “New Orleans” as you’ll find. Not to mention, festive hotel lobbies such as The Roosevelt’s impressive canopy of lights and an aisle of white Christmas trees. For 80 years, locals and visitors alike have been making this grand hotel a top stop on their holiday tour. There will even be a gingerbread village illustrating the beloved Louisiana holiday classic “Cajun Night Before Christmas,” with alligators replacing Santa’s reindeer, and a festive holiday tea.
There are many reasons to enjoy the holidays in Denver. Not only is it the gateway to the Rockies for those looking for a ski trip, but there’s plenty to do right in the city, including the annual Denver Christkindlmarket, a traditional European Holiday Market. Then there are the famous Denver Zoo Lights, ice skating, and shopping downtown. Gaylord Rockies Resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with activities and events like Cirque Dreams Holidaze, snow tubing, ice skating, gingerbread decorating, and much more.
For the quintessential postcard-perfect Christmas, it’s hard to beat The Resort at Paws Up. This luxury wilderness property offers the ultimate White Christmas that can be enjoyed by snowmobiling, dogsledding, tubing, sleigh rides, and building gingerbread houses. There’s a holiday package that makes it even more worth booking, with accommodations in a luxury home, decked out with a Christmas tree, all meals and some beverages, and even a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The Inns of Aurora are made up of five different buildings, each with its own Christmas tree and a unique decorating scheme. There will be many special activities and events like Silent Night Candlelight Yoga, ornament painting, a workshop on Holiday Letterpress Card Printing, and a holiday shopping shuttle that will bring you to walkable downtown Skaneateles to shop and enjoy the Dickens Christmas Celebration, which includes more than 50 costumed actors portraying characters from A Christmas Carol. Plus, the property has a farm-to-table eatery, casual pub, village market, and an impressive spa.
New York City at Christmas is something everyone should experience at least once, and at Lotte New York Palace in Midtown Manhattan, you can enjoy the perfect mix of old-world elegance and new-world luxury. It’s just a short walk from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the holiday windows of famous department stores. The hotel itself typically hosts its own breathtaking Christmas tree right behind the gates of its Madison Avenue courtyard, along with smaller trees. There might even be some elaborately decorated gingerbread houses at the top of the grand staircase. “Palace Hour” features complimentary fresh-baked sweets every afternoon in the lobby, and you’ll have a 7,000-square-foot fitness center to help you work it off.
Asheville is one of best places to spend Christmas on the East Coast, with dazzling light displays and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping along with a picturesque Blue Ridge Mountain setting. A stay at Biltmore Estate is sure to make for an experience of a lifetime, as one of just a few true “castles” in the country made even more magnificent with 55 hand-decorated trees, 1,000 live poinsettias, and 7,500 feet of fresh evergreen garland. It hosts Candlelight Christmas Evenings with exclusive four-course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners.
The AC Hotel Columbus Dublin, a Marriott property, has in the past featured holiday events on its rooftop restaurant and bar. The outdoor area offers sweeping views of the Scioto River, the charming village of Dublin, and during the holidays, often snow.
What could be more appropriate than the little town of Bethlehem? This one is in Pennsylvania so you won’t need your passport and it hosts a renowned German-inspired Christmas City Village and Christkindlmarkt with rotating displays by artisans, live music, and glass-blowing demonstrations. Virtual cooking classes with Santa Claus himself will be featured in 2021. A stay at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem is the perfect compliment, complete with some 35,000-holiday lights, multiple Christmas trees, giant toy soldiers, and of course, a manger.
Montage Palmetto Bluff was once voted one of the top 10 resort hotels in the South in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. You can enjoy many festive experiences and traditional holiday activities when staying here. That includes Nutcracker tea with a special ballet performance, rides on Santa’s sleigh, a holiday wreath-making class, and much more. There will be plenty of holiday treats and hot chocolate, Reindeer Games for kids and teens, and the Elves Workshop, along with many other events. Plus, there are multiple restaurants and bars, a fabulous spa, and a wide range of luxurious accommodation options.
Blackberry Farm is a luxury hotel/working farmstead that sits on a spectacular 4,200-acre estate in the Smoky Mountains about 40 minutes south of Knoxville. During the holidays, all the classic Christmas festivities can be enjoyed, from visits with Santa to cookie decorating, candlelight caroling, holiday movies, and family activities. Lodging is in historic rooms, cottages, suites, and three-to-five-bedroom houses.
Topnotch boasts a prime location just a few miles from the base of Vermont’s tallest peak, Mount Mansfield, perfect for enjoying world-class skiing at Christmastime, and a free shuttle service is available to get you there. Plus, the resort’s 30,000 square-foot mega-spa is where you’ll want to be to soothe those sore muscles afterward, perhaps with a Swedish massage or a custom healing session. You’ll also have easy access to Stowe’s extensive trail system that makes it perfect for enjoying all sorts of other winter activities like Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, fat tire biking and sleigh rides.
An American institution, The Greenbrier is renowned for going all out for the holidays. It puts on an Ugly Sweater Dinner Party and shows movies like “White Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in the Greenbrier Theatre, a “Reindeer” Fun Run, cooking decorating workshops for the kids, and a Hot Toddy Mixology Class for the adults, and worship services, among many other festivities in a jam-packed itinerary. The property has multiple restaurants, a spa, and casino, while accommodations range from traditional rooms and cottages to four-bedroom houses and seven-bedroom suites.
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers a time-honored Midwest holiday tradition, its Christmas in the Country celebration. Providing something for all ages, it has festive programming and special dining experiences. Enjoy breakfast with Santa, and if you’d like, you can even have a fully decorated Christmas tree in your hotel room or private villa. There’s even a “magical mailbox” for delivering letters for Santa to the North Pole, along with a wide range of outdoor activities, including family-friendly snow sports. Guests can enjoy the waterpark that’s open year-round at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark next door too.
Families who stay at the Osthoff Resort on Christmas Eve are treated to a complimentary hot chocolate bar, Christmas cookies, and live piano music. Children will wake up on Christmas Day to a stocking full of treats, games, and a special gift from the man himself. Children’s holiday workshops, cookie and ornament decorating, breakfast with Santa at the Winter Wonderland Brunch, and a horse-drawn wagon ride with a cup of hot chocolate to warm up at the end are all part of it too. In fact, there will even be an Old World Christmas Market similar to the centuries-old Christkindlesmarkt of Nüremberg, Germany, among many other fun festivities.
Located just minutes from the White House, dating back more than 200 years, every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce has stayed at The Willard, earning it its name of “the Residence of Presidents.” As one can imagine, it’s loaded with luxuries, and during the holidays, it’s magical. In the gilded hall of Peacock Alley, lined with Christmas trees and adorned with whimsical décor, enjoy the sounds of a live harpist. There are caroling performances from local vocal and choral ensembles in the grand lobby, Christmas dinners and holiday cocktails, and more. For the ultimate stay, book the Holiday Suite Soiree, which includes a multiple course dinner menu with wine pairing in one of the most iconic presidential suites with views of iconic D.C. landmarks.
If you prefer sand to snow, consider heading to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You’ll enjoy not only plenty of sunshine and a carnival ambiance but also special festivities the entire month of December. There will be a long list of offerings, with highlights that include decked-out poolside cabanas that are ideal for tropical Christmas morning gift unwrapping, a life-sized Christmas Tree sand castle creation on the beach, excursions on the property’s own luxury sailboat, and much more.