8 festive hotels for people who really love the holidays

Nov 26, 2021

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Ready or not, the holidays are here, and that means twinking lights, garland, hot cocoa, ornate trees, menorahs and — for many people around the world — travel.

If you’re looking to make a stop somewhere this year that really gets in the holiday spirit, why not head to a hotel that takes the season seriously by decorating every square inch in tinsel, serving classic and new-aged holiday meals, inviting Santa to come say hello and maybe even putting a tree right in the room?

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From hotels with ice skating rinks to holiday-themed igloos serving seasonal drinks, here you’ll find some of the best hotels to celebrate this festive time of year.

The Peninsula, Chicago; Chicago, Illinois

people ice skating
(Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago)

If you’re willing to brave the Windy City during the holiday season’s blistering cold and snow, The Peninsula, located off the Miracle Mile, is a top-tier hotel to make a home base. This year, the hotel is celebrating the season with a handful of jolly good offerings, including the Holly Jolly Family Package that includes an in-room tree or menorah, daily breakfast for four and access to the hotel’s library of holiday books, movies and games.

The Peninsula, Chicago is also bringing back its iconic Holiday Afternoon Tea, where guests can enjoy an English tea menu, finger snacks and Champagne under the glow of a 20-foot tall Christmas tree and other lavish holiday decorations. Or, for something a little less proper, the hotel’s Z Bar is hosting a fun Ugly Sweater Party. The hotel also has an ice skating ring perfect for the whole family.

Mohonk mountain house; New Paltz, new York

Christmas tree in dark, wooden room
(Photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House)

Mohonk Mountain House is already one of the most magical resorts in the entire U.S., and it only gets better during the holiday season. An all-inclusive resort tucked inside a castle that’s an easy commute from NYC, Mohonk Mountain house celebrates the “Victorian Holidays” during the month of December. During this time, guests can enjoy ice skating and snow tubing, as well as take tours to see the hotel’s displays of Christmas trees and gingerbread houses. After a long day of exploring the (hopefully) snow-covered grounds, escape into your room warmed by a fireplace to reflect on the spirit of the season with your loved ones.

Four Seasons Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Of all the world’s Four Seasons hotels and resorts, the one in Philadelphia (located in the city’s tallest building) might just be the most spectacular. And while it’s got a lot going for it — including an indoor infinity pool on the 57th floor with incredible views of Philly — the place takes on a whole new level of grandeur during the holidays. This year, the hotel’s artistic director, Jeff Leatham, is bringing the season to life with modern and edgy decorations, like a mirrored polar bear and life-sized geometric reindeer.

To best experience some Four Seasons holiday magic in Philadelphia, head up to JG SkyHigh on the 60th floor for special brunches and holiday dinners with live music, Christmas carolers and holiday-themed cocktails like a hot apple toddy. Come for Christmas brunch, but stay long enough to celebrate the new year because this incredible hotel is also one of the best places in town to catch fireworks over the Delaware River.

Whiteface Lodge; Lake Placid, New York

large dining room with Christmas tree
(Photo courtesy of Whiteface Lodge)

You’ve probably heard of Lake Placid, New York, thanks to its reputation as the host of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface Lodge is one of the most charming places to stay during the holiday season, and it goes all out in decorations and activities. This year, the charmingly rustic resort will be offering a four-course Christmas pre-fixe dinner on Christmas day and a special three-course dinner between Dec. 19 and Jan. 3, 2022 — all created by executive chef Sébastien Roelly.

Outside of taking in the decor and eating all the food, guests can celebrate the season by hitting the ice skating rink, swimming in the indoor pool and relaxing with s’mores by the fire. In Lake Placid, go bobsledding with a professional, visit Santa’s workshop at “the North Pole,” take a scenic gondola ride or enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; Dallas, Texas

large room with white Christmas tree, balcony and staircase
(Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

Texas may not be the snowiest place in the world but that doesn’t mean there’s not a little holiday magic in the air. At the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, a luxury hotel tucked between some of Dallas’ most popular neighborhoods, the Mansion Restaurant brings a new sense of grace and elegance to the holidays. With silver and white Christmas trees, ornaments and garland, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been transported back into the golden days of the holiday season. With newly redesigned suites, guests can also have an in-room tree decorated and waiting or they can have it brought up and left to decorate themselves.

The Roosevelt, New Orleans, Louisiana

hotel lobby with Christmas decorations
(Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

New Orleans might be most famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations, but at the Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Christmas is about as glamorous as it comes. Part of the Hilton Honors family, guests who choose to spend the holidays at the Roosevelt can earn and redeem points while soaking up the sparkle of the block-long hotel lobby’s ornate decorations, a tradition dating back to the 1930s. To put it in perspective, the display includes 44 Christmas trees, 135,572 lights, 3,328 feet of winter branches 2,200 glass ornaments and 698 hand-tied bows.

This year, the hotel will be serving a Christmas brunch with a southern twist as well as the Teddy Bear Tea, a family-friendly event where kids can meet Santa while enjoying holiday-themed treats and sweets, plus wine and mimosas for the parents.

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo; Monte-Carlo, Monaco

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Metropole)

Opulence is key in Monte-Carlo — and that’s exactly what the Hotel Metropole delivers with its annual over-the-top holiday displays, featuring live-sized sleds for family photos, giant polar bears, hundreds of Christmas trees and more. A stay here during the holidays offers plenty for the kids, including the chance to make their own ornaments and the chance to meet Santa. This year the hotel will be hosting a luxurious Christmas Eve dinner with a seafood-themed menu as well as offering tastings of pastry chef Patrick Mesiano’s holiday yule log.

Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee

photo of large hotel lobby with holiday decorations
(Photo courtesy of Gaylord Hotels)

For a really unique take on Christmas, why not make it a little country with a trip to Nashville and the larger-than-life Gaylord Opryland hotel. There, check out the resort’s holiday decorations with a boat ride down the indoor river, take a thrill ride in a bumper car specially designed for the ice rink (or just go ice skating) and even go ice tubing. For country music fans, The Oak Ridge Boys have taken up residency for a holiday-themed dinner show that everyone will love. There’s a gingerbread-making station as well as an interactive experience where guests can join Buddy the Elf on a mission to save Christmas. And if that’s not enough, skip the winter cold at hit up the indoor section of the resort’s waterpark, Soundwaves.

Featured image courtesy of  The Peninsula, Chicago.

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