‘Tis the season to deck the halls at home... and hotels, too! Many resorts go all out for the holidays, decorating public spaces and even rooms with twinkling lights and trees, organizing visits from Santa Claus and more. These are 10 of our favorite places to get into the holiday spirit.

Written by Lissa Poirot
The Omni Grove Park Inn and Spa in Asheville offers a renowned National Gingerbread House Competition annually, showcasing the country's most artistic sugar-and-spice creations. Between Nov. 19, 2014 and Jan. 1, 2015, the mountain resort's halls are overrun with holiday-inspired gingerbread themes, set amongst 80 decorated trees and a giant sleigh. Guests of the resort can view the displays daily, while visitors can see them Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free, but a $10 parking fee (per car) applies.

Package: The hotel is offering several holiday promotions, including a Gingerbread Holiday Package with a breakfast buffet (daily, per person), gingerbread cookie voucher (daily, per person) and overnight parking (valet or garage). Also, those who book the package will avoid resort fees. Rates start around $320 per night.

Head to Music City's Gaylord Opryland Hotel, where you'll witness a Country Christmas like no other. This year's event takes place Nov. 14, 2014 through Jan. 3, 2015, and delivers classic holiday icons, such as The Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, along with new additions, such as Arctic Plunge Snow Tubing and Glacier Glide Ice Skating. ICE!, which features more than two million pounds of carved creations, returns in a "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" theme.

Additionally, there's a Christmassy Dreamworks Experience, in which kids can meet Shrek, Princess Fiona and the gang for a ShrekFeast (held Nov. 14 through Dec. 31, 2014) and gingerbread decorating with Gingy.

Package: Garylord Opryland Hotel offers three holiday packages, including a Country Christmas Basic Package. The package provides tickets to ICE!, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Restless Heart: A Season of Harmony Dinner Show and Delta Riverboat, a scenic ride through the indoor gardens. Free admission to Treasures for the Holidays, a craft and gift show, is also part of the fun. The package, which includes two nights' accommodations, is valid on select dates, Nov. 20 to Dec. 24, 2014, and rates start at $374 per person.

Centrally located in Union Square, The Westin St. Francis overlooks San Francisco's holiday ice rink and Christmas tree, however, it's what's inside the hotel that brings the onlookers: a gigantic sugar castle. The concept began in 2005, and has since become a San Francisco tradition, as pastry chefs create bigger and more elaborate holiday sugar castles every year.

This year's castle will be on display from Nov. 27, 2013 through Jan. 3, 2014. And in March, 2014, the castle will return to include the century's top newsmakers throughout, all in celebration of the hotel's 110th anniversary. You'll be able to spot small replicas of famous politicians, celebrities and athletes!


The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Orleans is amazing, especially during the holidays. The lobby is filled with white birch and fir trees that climb to the ceiling, and is bedecked in thousands of white lights. Named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who also inspired the name, "teddy bear," The Roosevelt features teddy bears in the seasonal fun. The Crescent City Ballroom is transformed into St. Claus' Workshop, where kids enjoy tea and hot chocolate and parents sip on complimentary champagne. Kids receive commemorative teddy bears, along with entertainment and visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

If you happen to visit on Dec. 2, you'll also enjoy the hotel's annual Lobby Lighting Ceremony.

Package: The Roosevelt doesn't offer a specific package for the holidays, though there's a promotion called Experience the Best of Waldorf Astoria, which includes a credit of $50 for each night of your stay, and is available year-round.

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City doesn't need glitz and glamor during the holidays -- it's naturally beautiful, yet cozy in the winter months. Still, it offers fantastic light displays, visits with Santa, and themed workshops, such as cooking classes.

Package: Start Christmas in November -- that's the name of the package -- with deluxe accommodations, discounted parking, and access to workshops (which take place through Nov. 30, 2014). The package is available Nov. 1 to Dec. 18, 2014, and rates start at $139 CAD per night.

Just getting to Lake Lanier Islands Resort near Atlanta is a treat when driving through the seven-mile Magical Nights of Lights, where leaping reindeer, elves, candy canes, characters and holiday scenes are on display. The tour ends at a Holiday Village, where Santa Claus awaits for photos with kids. The village also features a bonfire for roasting marshmallows, pony rides, a petting zoo, an ice skating rink, carnival rides and games and a holiday store.


As guests pull up to Mirror Lake Inn, located in Lake Placid, N.Y., they're greeted by a winter wonderland, complete with 70 lit trees and 300,000 twinkling lights. Inside, more Christmas trees -- including one made entirely of poinsettias -- are found, and real Christmas trees are placed in guestrooms (upon request).

Mirror Lake Inn also uses its picturesque location to provide holiday fun outside. Skate on the frozen Mirror Lake and receive free hot chocolate at the cafe, enjoy a winter bonfire with marshmallows, ride the Toboggan Chute or a horse-drawn sleigh ride, receive a visit from Santa with milk and cookies and turndown services, and take part in the town's Holiday Village Stroll, December 12 to 14 2014.

Package: The inn features a Holiday Village Stroll Package that includes accommodations for a family of four, breakfast, $50 in holiday shopping dollars, holiday story time, crafts and breakfast with Santa. Rates start at $750 for a two-night stay; the package is available Dec. 12 to 14, 2014.

Not to be outdone by its southern sister, the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington D.C. offers Christmas on the Potomac, with two million dazzling lights, an indoor snowfall and dancing fountains. It also features ICE!, a massive exhibit of carved creations, and this year's theme is "Frosty the Snowman." Additionally, there's a Christmassy Dreamworks Experience (available until Dec. 31, 2014) that includes brunch with characters from "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar," as well as gingerbread decorating with Gingy.

Christmas on the Potomac takes place Nov. 14 to 16, 2014 and then Nov. 20 to Jan. 4, 2014.

Package: Try the ICE! Is Nice Package, with overnight accommodations and unlimited entry to ICE! Rates start at $199 per night. The package is available Nov. 14, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015.

You didn't think Disney would ignore the holiday season, did you? Not only does Disney World become even more magical during the holidays (think snow falling on Main Street!), but the Disney World Resorts also get a holiday transformation. One of the best is the Grand Floridian, where a life-sized gingerbread house greets guests in the lobby. The house is so large that it features a bakery selling all things gingerbread. There's also a giant tree, and get this -- an orchestra performs in the lobby nightly.

Package: Consider a Magic Your Way Vacation Package for six nights and seven days -- rates start at $78 per person, per day, and include tickets to all the parks. You can't miss Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

Even if you decide to hit the tropics during the holiday season, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Oahu will get you in the spirit with Santa's German Gingerbread Village, an annual tradition. The hotel lobby is transformed into a village of sweet treats, with an Alpine village standing 24 feet wide and 14 and a half feet high. The hotel's chefs use more than 190 pounds of chocolate, 200 gallons of icing and 70 sheets of gingerbread to create the masterful cookie town.


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10 Magical Hotels for the Holiday Season
The Omni Grove Park Inn Reviews
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Gaylord Opryland Resort Reviews
jabald - May 1st, 2013

We stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the first time in February 2013. We decided to make the stop on our way to Atlanta for a family wedding. The hotel was absolutely stunning. It exceeded our expectations in every way. While the ... read more
Gaylord Opryland Resort reviews
The Westin St. Francis Reviews
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The Roosevelt New Orleans Reviews
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Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Reviews
mari - Jul 30th, 2009

We loved staying here! We arrived in the middle of the night and our reservations for a mid level room with a river view were gone so they upgraded us to a corner suite with a turret with a river view. My little girl who was 4 thought she was a ... read more
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac reviews
Lake Lanier Islands Resort Reviews
Tmilestone - Jun 11th, 2014

Our room was outdated, the carpet looked like it was from a 70s show, the meals at both windows and bullfrogs were ok but they were ridiculously expensive. The waterpark if you can call it that was a disappointment small, overcrowded and way ... read more
torq - Oct 13th, 2013

I've always loved the water park here. So when my brother-in-law scheduled his wedding at Lake Lanier Islands, I was happy to book lodging within the park. We stayed in a lake house cabin at the wedding discount of $355/night (roughly half the ... read more
Lake Lanier Islands Resort reviews
Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa Reviews
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Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center Reviews
cherylb - Aug 18th, 2014

We have visted the Gaylord National for the past few years to stay and enjoy their holiday activities - especially the ICE! show. The kids love it. We always get a balcony room so we can watch the light show and the fountains from our room at ... read more
Quinn - Apr 13th, 2014

This hotel is fabulous for families. The location is great and the hotel is well kept. It is right on the river too. When I was there they had a Fourth of July celebration with fireworks and a movie. Teens would like the shopping since it is in ... read more
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center reviews
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Reviews
Blessed2beaMom - May 30th, 2014

I would like share our family's experience at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Disney is known as a magical place for all ages, but I have to say my experience was above and beyond anything I expected. Shortly after arriving at the resort I went to ... read more
Txtraveler - May 13th, 2014

Stayed last year at the Grand Floridian. Plenty of dining options, with some great on site restaurants. Location on the monorail is a huge plus. My daughter loved the lobby, with the band playing and the inlays of Disney characters on the floor. We ... read more
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa reviews
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Reviews
jenilyn - Feb 20th, 2013

This hotel has the greatest location! Shopping is right out the door, back and front! More shopping on the sides! But the rooms are very small and outdated. The wheelchair-accessible room we reserved was accessible, except that a minor ... read more
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani reviews

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