10 Magical Resorts and Hotels to Spend the Holidays
K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
Read full bio
Want to enjoy a magical holiday away from home this year? There are some great resorts and hotels to choose from that offer special packages and/or events that can make for an extra-special getaway this season. These are some of the best options, so be sure to book soon to avoid disappointment.
Christmas at The Greenbrier is a renowned tradition. This year’s special activities and events will take place over the week around the holiday, from December 23rd through December 28th, including a visit from Santa, tree lightings, holiday films, all sorts of workshops from cooking decorating to painting, a parade, wine tastings, mixology classes, special dinners and more. This National Historic Landmark and top wellness destination also offers renowned spa treatments, golf, shopping, a huge casino and multiple dining options while rooms are decadently luxurious.
Enjoy Christmas in the Rockies at this luxe all-inclusive dude ranch holiday with a stay from December 22nd through December 27th this year. Santa will visit in his horse-drawn sleigh, bringing wrapped gifts for every guest. Everything from gourmet meals to ranch activities are included, which in this season means snow tubing, sleigh rides, ice skating, cross-country skiing and more, all in a stunning winter wonderland. Luxury cabin accommodation is ideal for couples as well as families, with a kids and teen program included.
Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas just minutes from downtown Asheville at the Monte Vista Hotel. Not only does the town offer a Norman Rockwell-esque appeal with its own holiday traditions like holiday music and lights, carolers, horse-and-carriage rides and kids’ activities, but the hotel will host Deck the Trees from December 2nd, 2021 through January 3rd, 2022. It offers lots of historic appeal, as it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with rooms in both the original 1937 Wing or The Lodge.
Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park will kick off its traditional “Lighting of the Lake” at the end of November. There will be carolers, the lighting of the lodge, a visit from Santa and a special dinner too – be sure to make a reservation ahead of time as it’s a popular event. The lodge itself sits on Lake Crescent, one of the country’s most beautiful lakes, with rooms tucked among giant fir and hemlock trees.
Tahoe is famous for providing some of the country’s best skiing or boarding – and, visitors will also find some great special events for the holidays. Zephyr Cove Resort and Lake Tahoe Cruises will offer its special “Santa Cruise” on the M.S. Dixie II. Professional photos and visits with Santa, holiday tunes, tasty treats and hot chocolate, along with picturesque lake views are all included. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, a festive holiday buffet feast will be served and a scenic day cruise offered at noon. The resort itself offers cozy lodge rooms and cabins with full kitchens.
Yosemite National Park may be most dazzling in the winter, with frozen waterfalls and El Capitan highlighted with a dusting of snow, often against bright blue, sunny skies. There will be far fewer visitors while average daytime temperatures are in the low 50s. Visitors can enjoy everything from ice skating at Curry Village to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Glacier Point as well as snow tubing and skiing at Badger Pass Ski Area. After a day a play, enjoy the historic elegance of The Ahwahnee, a top-rated mountain lodge where you can sip a hot toddy next to the warmth of the huge fireplace and watching the snowflakes fall. The lodge also offers a variety of winter activities like Yosemite Paint & Wine.
For an especially sweet holiday, stay at Hotel Hershey which makes a total transformation during the season that begins with a stroll down Christmas Candylane at Hershey Park. There will be two million LED lights during the holidays that create a dazzling display for enjoying the over 30 year-round rides that will be open. Sweet Lights takes visitors on a special cruise through a dazzling exhibit of illuminations and sculptures. And, families can enjoy breakfast or lunch with Santa, which includes high-quality cuisine and exclusive one-on-one time with the man himself. The hotel offers a variety of guest rooms and cottages, ideal for the holidays, along with a decadent “Chocolate Spa” that makes it a top spa destination in Pennsylvania.
Keystone Resort offers a holiday straight out of a winter-wonderland postcard. Enjoy multiple lodging options, Christmas Day meals and fantastic skiing on three mountain peaks along with a variety of family-friendly activities. Starting mid-December, there will be firework displays, Santa appearances and a parade every Saturday. The special Mountaintop Spectacular event is hosted at the top of Dercum Mountain, where the world’s largest snow fort is illuminated. Guests enjoy photos with Santa, crafts and hot cocoa too.
Lakefront Coeur d’Alene Resort is completely transformed every year for the holidays. In 2021, it will host a 1.5-million-light show, the area’s largest, along with a fireworks display. Visitors can catch a boat ride to the “North Pole” to visit Santa’s workshop and enjoy a special holiday theater production that will run from November 26th to December 23rd. There are a variety of accommodation options here, including gorgeous lake view rooms with fireplaces – special packages are available that include tickets to the Christmas show.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is glamorous all year long, but during the holidays it becomes even more elegant with incredible light displays along with all sorts of special events from visits with Santa to themed workshops. In 2021, it offers a special holiday package that starts in November, “Start Christmas in November”which includes deluxe accommodations, a daily $25 credit for food and drink, $25 spa credit, and access to themed events between November 5th and December 4th.