The Best Hotel Holiday Decorations Ever!
When hotels get into the holiday spirit, they do their best to make the holidays a most wonderful time for their guests. If you’re traveling for the holidays, give yourself a real treat and stay at one of these hotels; if you’re nearby, plan to stop by – the holiday decorations and lights will transport you to a sparkling holiday wonderland.
Holiday Lights and Ice
Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas
This award-winning resort in the Texas Hill Country makes winter delightful with a “Holiday Lights & Ice” installation in its newly renovated Resort Pavilion. Guests, local residents and club members come here for unforgettable traditional ice skating. A session on the ice (there are four available Sunday-Thursday, and six on Friday and Saturday) costs $15 per person, and includes time in the rink. Part of Holiday Lights and Ice is seasonal goodies like hot chocolate, s’mores! Part of the proceeds of the Barton Creek Resort’s Holiday Lights and Ice program are donated to the Maggie’s Hope non-profit organization which benefits families affected by autism.
On the way to and from the rink, Barton Creek Resort guests can enjoy the hotel’s Christmas trees decorated with themes like a traditional “Winter Wonderland,” and “Christmas on the Ranch.”
The Vegas-rific Christmas Tree
The Bellagio Las Vegas
Don’t expect a white Christmas in Vegas, but like everything else, Las Vegas makes a big glitzy splash for the holidays. One of the best holiday decoration displays around is at the Bellagio. Last year, the hotel had an enormous Christmas tree guarded by larger-than-life nutcracker statues and decked out with oversize ornaments featuring huge candy canes, snowmen and reindeer.
While you’re enjoying the holiday decorations, do your holiday shopping at the Bellagio’s galleries. Just make sure you don’t do anything while you’re in Vegas to get onto Santa’s naughty list…
John Galliano’s Dior Christmas Tree
Claridge’s London, United Kingdom
The Claridge, a landmark Mayfair hotel has the ultimate in holiday decorations with a Christmas tree designed by eccentric fashion powerhouse John Galliano for Dior. This year, Galliano took the ocean as his inspiration, and has designed an “Under the Sea” tree made with images of silver leaves, pink coral, sea horses, starfish, anemones, and other underwater flora and fauna. The elaborate designer tree in London may diverge from traditional displays, but whimsical, wonderful and fun, it reminds guests what the holiday season is really all about.
The Holiday Light Show
The Coeur D’Alene Resort. Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City might be more famous, but in the heart of Idaho at the Coeur D’Alene Resort, is the “World’s Tallest Living Christmas Tree”. And standing about 161 feet tall, it’s twice the Rockefeller tree’s height! It’s so big, in fact, that each tree ornament measures a whopping 10 feet. But the tree is only part of the holiday decorations here. The Coeur D’Alene Resort creates an entire light show every year using 1.5 million bulbs, including the 30,000 sparkling LEDs on the tree itself.
The resort is also famous for its “Fantasy Cruise to the North Pole.” These evening cruises last 40 minutes and give guests the perfect lakeside view of the entire light holiday decorations and light display on their way to Santa’s North Pole Toy Workshop, where it magically snows every night. Cruises cost $15.95 for adults and free for children 12 and under.
Santa’s Village Chicago
The Drake, Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City’s grande dame still reigns supreme when it comes to holiday spirit in Chicago. During the holidays, The Drake’s magnificent lobby is home to a huge tree festively decorated with Christmas icons like Old Saint Nick, nutcrackers, and shiny ornaments. Look for a small model Santa’s village complete with a running toy train at the base of the tree. Holiday lights also illuminate the Palm Court, where afternoon tea is served.
New Age Holiday Decorations
Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, Florida
Nothing’s hotter than Christmas in Miami and the holiday decorations at the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, which recently underwent a $1 billion (yes, billion with a “B”) renovation. Fontainbleau’s Christmas display features both a sleek custom-made acrylic tree that takes months to assemble, as well as a huge pine tree that has 30,000 glowing LED lights adding to the sparkle. Holiday decorations like cala lilies and small Christmas trees or menorahs give Miami’s guest rooms holiday cheer.
A Country Christmas
The Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
After devastating flooding last year, the Opryland Hotel outside Nashville is back and better than ever, and hosting its 27th annual “A Country Christmas” celebration. This holiday decoration extravaganza includes over 2 million lights, a dozen shows and attractions, and a version of ICE!, Gaylord Hotels’ ice sculpture world (for more details, see ICE! below).
The Gaylord National, Washington, D.C.
Make your Christmas a white Christmas in the nation’s capital this year at the Gaylord National. The Gaylord is constructing an entire ice village, called ICE! The village is one gigantic ice sculpture that guests can walk around in, shoot down slides, and skate on a small rink. In the evenings, they even make it snow indoors!
Paris’s Holiday Garden Snow Bar
The Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Hilton Arc de Triomphe’s annual winter Snow Bar is a truly festive holiday celebration in Paris. The hotel is home to one of Paris’s largest open-air gardens which they transform every year into an 8,600 square foot winter-themed cocktail party. Decorated with snow-covered Christmas trees, the Snow Bar features a chalet bar and waitresses gussied up in fashion-forward Santa uniforms serving holiday-themed cocktails and canapés.
The Gingerbread “Mansion”
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, always has an amazing gingerbread house as part of its bonanza holiday decorations; this year the resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has commissioned an extra special 2010 Gingerbread House. The massive confection is a two-story Swiss chalet-style mansion with a side tower, an interior chimney with a fireplace and full mantle, huge windows around the exterior, two silver bells at the entrance, and even planter boxes. It stands a full 16 feet tall, and measures 13 x 13 feet on the ground. The Ritz-Carlton’s gingerbread mansion is even large enough to house a 12-foot decorated Christmas tree!
All in all, the house is made with 120,000 pieces of candy (almost 800 lbs), 391 pounds of icing sugar, and 1,400 gingerbread shingles that took 294 pounds of honey, 240 pounds of granulated sugar, 464 eggs, 13 pounds of baking sod, 37 quarts of whole milk, 8 pounds of baking powder, 48 pounds of powdered ginger, and 756 pounds of all-purpose flour to make. Talk about a sugar rush!
A Hawaiian Christmas Gingerbread Village
The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Oahu, Hawaii
If the Ritz’s super Gingerbread House isn’t enough, you can have a whole gingerbread village at one of Honolulu’s most popular hotels, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Honolulu. The “snowy,” gourmet German-inspired holiday decoration occupies the middle of the hotel lobby and takes the kitchen staff hundreds of hours to design and construct.
The Holiday Sugar Castle
The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, California
Want something even bigger than a village for your holiday decoration enjoyment? The Westin St. Francis designs and constructs an entire sugar castle for the holidays. This amazing San Francisco sugary 12-foot structure weighs over 1,000 pounds, has 20 towers, 30 windows that are actually lit up, and a surrounding “parkland” made up of sugar trees and snow, chocolate balls and marzipan people. The pastry chef takes his inspiration from a real castle in his native Bordeaux.