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While there’s certainly no place like home for the holidays, there is a collection of hotels in Florida that provide some steep competition. Boasting meet and greets with Santa, winter-themed activities and live entertainment, these holiday havens offer the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere, adorned with showstopping decorations, towering Christmas trees, and dazzling light displays. Read on to discover the top hotels in Florida that go all out for Christmas.
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One of the most decorated properties on Disney during Christmas, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando offers an elegant take on the holidays. Boasting an elegant Victorian charm, the highlight of the decorations is undoubtedly the life-sized gingerbread house, made from real ingredients. Doubling as a refreshment stand, you can order gingerbread shingles and other holiday treats. Of course, you can’t miss the beautiful 40-foot tall Christmas tree in the lobby at this top-rated Orlando hotel.
Celebrate the holiday with a little sunshine at the Boca Raton Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, one of Florida’s top beachfront hotels. Attend the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony followed by a Character Parade, and on Christmas Day you can attend the Family Beach Bonfire and sit by the fire and enjoy complimentary s’mores, hot chocolate and apple cider while listening to live music or dig into the Christmas Feast in the Cloister Grand Ballroom. There’s even a gingerbread house decorating event with crafts and cookies and photos with Santa. Alternatively, they have an annual Menorah lighting followed by a special feast in the Royal Ballroom.
Famous for their annual ICE! event with two million pounds of hand-carved ice, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee is where to take the kids to see elaborate ice sculpting displays and go snow tubing. In 2019 the theme is centered around the beloved “The Polar Express”, where you can see this heart-warming story come to life. Centered around the theme of a magical journey to the North Pole, you can embark on a self-guided walkthrough tour to see its life-size sculptures and two-story slides.
If you like your Christmas holiday with a little luxury, head to The Breakers in Palm Beach to spend your days seaside at this upscale resort. There are festive buffets to keep you refueled and an array of festive events designed with families in mind, along with 170,000 twinkle lights and 8,000 ornaments wrapping around the hotel grounds. You’ll want to see the 14-foot tree in the Flagler Steakhouse and nutcracker-inspired tree at The Italian Restuarant, then visit HMF for Holiday Tea with sandwiches, buttermilk scones and Devonshire cream.
The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island offers you plenty of face time with Santa, as it hosts a Breakfast with Santa event with a pancake station and holiday cookie station, while the Santa Tuck-ins is where the big guy himself brings cookies and milk and reads a holiday story. Attend Santa’s Storybook Tea for an Amelia Island tradition, where a fireside holiday storybook read by Santa is paired with afternoon tea and finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries, but don’t miss the chance to build a Gingerbread house with pastry chefs or marvel at the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship.
Get excited about the upcoming holiday at The Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, where both kids and adults alike can indulge in a festive bunch buffet in the beautifully decorated ballroom. Past events have included gingerbread cookie decorating and afternoon tea with characters from the Nutcracker, as well as hot chocolate and s’mores aboard their version of The Polar Express.
There are a lot of Christmas events happening at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando in December, as the hotel’s scenic rose garden is aglow with spectacular lighting and impressive holiday decor. There’s a Christmas Buffet at Cafe Osceola with seasonal classics and chef stations, while the hotel’s spa has an open house with complimentary mini services, sweet treats and sparkling drinks. Make sure to book early and reserve the Christmas Stay package, which includes a buffet breakfast for two, discounts at the spa, restaurants and golf course.
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando Walt Disney World in Orlando has a variety of special holiday activities planned. With holiday-inspired floral arrangements and decadent gingerbread displays, guests can enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cider daily, while there will be a cookie decorating event, poolside views of holiday classics and character dining. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy peppermint s’mores at the on-site PB&G restaurant and holiday gelato flavors at Lickety Split.
Christmas is a magical time at Orlando World Center Marriott, as they feature light displays, music and themed events that the entire family can enjoy. Some of the holiday activities in this hotel include letters to Santa, individual-sized gingerbread house decorating with elf delivery, a meet and greet with Santa and his elves, and poolside movies. If that’s not enough, there’s also Christmas carolers and a 38-foot chocolate train display to enjoy.
Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande is popular for its annual Twelve Days of Christmas program, where you’ll find festive decorations, cheery music and holiday treats. From a cookie decorating event to caroling, classic holiday movies and gingerbread house decorating, you’ll be full to the brim with festivities. You can squeeze in an afternoon of kayaking or cycling, then return to the hotel for an evening of milk and cookies in the living room and movies in the Pelican Room.
La Playa Beach & Golf Resort in Naples hosts lots of fun activities for the kids for Christmas. Past holiday seasons have included a poolside showing of The Polar Express, a Santa’s workshop at the North Pole with stocking decorating and a chance to get up-close to Santa. Previous years have also included holiday stories in the lobby with cider and cookies, and a chance to spot the Elf on the Shelf throughout the property.
A great place to create memories with the entire family, Waldorf Astoria in Orlando offers a range of exciting activities, from roasting s’mores poolside to nightly views of Disney’s famed fireworks show. You can fill up with buffet favorites at Oscar’s restaurant or a four-course dinner at Bull & Bear, while the hotel even brings the holidays into your room with artificial Christmas trees. Don’t miss the decadent selection of chocolate hand-crafted by the pastry team.