As the holiday season goes into full swing, hotels are rolling out special programming, packages, and amenities to help their guests enjoy the spirit of the season and prepare for the coming New Year. From seasonal cocktails to special events, read about 15 ways that hotels in the United States are preparing their properties for the holiday season.
1Snow Tubing Fun
From mid-November through Feb. 24, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, a new destination less than 50 miles from Atlanta, is opening its License to Chill Snow Island and hosting Magical Nights of Lights. License to Chill Snow Island will feature the fastest snow tubing hill in North America and include several other holiday festivities.
2A Room With a Tree
Topnotch Resort, a AAA Four-Diamond resort in Stowe, Vermont, is now offering an O’Christmas Tree Package, which comes with a tree from nearby Paines Tree Farm where guests take a wagon ride to find the perfect tree. Once selected and cut, the team at Paines professionally wraps, packages, and loads the tree onto the cars for a safe trip home. In addition to a room, the package also comes with a holiday ornament from Paines Tree Farm.
The St. Regis San Francisco has announced several luxury offerings for guests this holiday season, including a festive New Year’s Eve celebration, a VIP experience at Smuin Ballet’s “The Christmas Ballet,” and a two-night “Live Exquisite” holiday package. The Live Exquisite package includes a two-night stay in The Presidential Suite, which will include an in-suite holiday tree and/or holiday décor created by designer J. Riccardo Benavides, founder and creative director of Ideas Event Styling. The package comes with a host of other exclusive amenities ranging from private butler service and the Art of Tea service, to a private night and guided tour at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
4Naughty and Nice
The Lexington Hotel is offering two new packages for those who have made it on the nice list and for those who may have been a bit naughty. The Nice Package was created with families in mind and includes discounted tickets to top holiday attractions like the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and THE RIDE: Holiday Edition. The Naughty Package is geared towards adults looking for some less traditional holiday fun, with discounted tickets to the Nutcracker Rouge, a burlesque reimagining of the Nutcracker, and a couple’s massage for two.
On Monday, December 24, The Saratoga Hilton will be hosting its 24th annual “Breakfast with Santa.” Guests at the event will be able to enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast, gift raffles, and a special visit from Santa. Each year, all proceeds from the breakfast and raffles are donated by The Saratoga Hilton to a local charity. This year, proceeds will benefit ACTT Naturally Organization, which gently retrains off‐track thoroughbreds for equine therapy. The organization provides thoroughbred training workshops for women, teen leadership programs, and veterans therapy. The volunteers at ACTT Naturally work to help horses and humans heal together.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla., has entered another holiday season as the holder of a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the most couples kissing under the mistletoe at a single venue. Achieved last year on December 7, 2017, the resort’s attempt took place in its St. Augustine atrium. All participants received a spring of real mistletoe to kiss beneath.
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort kicked off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 followed by Santa’s arrival (by canoe) at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on Dec. 8. Crowds gathered on the shores of Waikiki as Santa sailed to the beach. Outrigger Reef Resort is also hosting a Breakfast with Santa at The Reef Bar & Market Grill on Dec. 15. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, the resort will host a performance at Kani Ka Pila Grille. Robi Kahakalau (Hawaiian Style Band) and Roddy Lopez (Pandanus Club) will share their music of the holidays, Hawaiian-style. On New Year’s Eve, the resort will host a special VIP Show Package at Voyager 47 Club Lounge with GRAMMY Award-nominated drummer Sheila E. headlining at BLUE NOTE.
Omni Hotels & Resorts is rolling out the latest rendition of its month-long Omni Originals culinary series: Cookie Cocktails. Omni properties will highlight favorite cookie-turned-cocktail recipes from select brand chefs. Some of the concoctions include: Cinnamon Churro Leche (Tres Generaciones Reposado Tequila and the flavors of vanilla and cinnamon shaken with milk); Chocolate Crinkle Surprise (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is joined by chocolate syrup, milk, and the flavor of toasted almonds); Sugar Cookie Cocktail (Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Disaronno Amaretto, vanilla, and agave nectar are shaken together with milk); and Maple Pecan Old Fashioned (Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon meets the flavors of butter pecan and maple with a touch of black walnut bitters).
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe has created several holiday-inspired experiences for guests and locals—from yoga in the snow (e.g., snow-ga) to cookie decorating. On Dec. 23 and 30, the resort will host cookie decorating for guests in its main lobby. The resort will also host a Holiday Afternoon Tea Party on Dec. 15 and 22 with an assortment of fruit, finger sandwiches, sweets, and tea. A portion of proceeds from the tea experience will benefit Cooking with Kids. Guests will also have access to S’more Sessions at the Terra fire pit every day from Dec. 24 through 28, and every Friday and Saturday in December. Terra will provide guests with the s’more fixings as they warm up by the fire pit and soak in views of Santa Fe.
10Sweet Spa Treatments
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park’s mySpa is offering new holiday packages for travelers and locals. These holiday-themed spa treatments range from cinnamon vanilla brown sugar body scrubs and Tahitian vanilla body moisturizing services to cinnamon honey manicures and pedicures.
11New Year’s Glamour
Lord Baltimore Hotel will celebrate its 90th birthday by hosting a New Year’s Eve party benefiting local nonprofit Baltimore National Heritage Area. Tickets include heavy hors d’oeuvres and an oyster bar, French sparkling wine (bottle for couples and split for singles), noisemakers, a balloon drop at midnight, and live entertainment by Big Band Swing. A cash bar will be available with holiday drink specials.
12A Warm Retreat
Located on the ground floor of the iconic and legendary Gramercy Park Hotel, Rose Bar is creating a warm atmosphere for visitors this season. The fashion-meets-rock & roll venue is serving a variety of cocktails that hone in on the crisp tastes that embody the cool weathered months, like Notorious Nude or Local Celebrity, both made with apple cider. The bar also keeps guests cozy with velvet-upholstered seating areas and a nine-foot tall hand-carved limestone fireplace.
13The Art of Shopping
Hotel EMC2, a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, has created a package specifically designed for guests looking to take advantage of retailers in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile where the hotel is located. The Art of Shopping package includes overnight accommodations, a $50 Visa gift card, grab-and-go breakfast, and a customized portrait from the hotel’s resident artist Jonathan Plotkin, whose artwork is displayed throughout the lobby, restaurant, and guestroom floors.
The Pfister Hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2018. On Dec. 8-9, the hotel will host its Pfister Holiday Marketplace where guests and nearby shoppers can discover and connect with local artists. Hosted by artist Renee Bebeau, the free event in The Pfister Mezzanine will include festive music and fine art. The property has plenty of other holiday traditions as well, from its annual tree lighting to Breakfast with Santa in its ballroom.
Located mid-mountain at Northstar California Resort, The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, is the only ski-in/ski-out destination in Lake Tahoe. Off the slopes, the resort offers a Very Important Kid (VIK) program, a nightly Marshmology s’mores roasting experience, special appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a life-sized gingerbread ski gondola, and a dozen festively-decorated holiday trees on display.