Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Scottsdale Fairmont Princess in Arizona
- Asilomar in California
- The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs
- C Lazy U Dude Ranch in Colorado
- The Breakers Palm Beach in Florida
- Gaylord Hotels
- Fairmont Hotel San Francisco in California
- Omni Grove Park Inn in North Carolina
- Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Texas
- Four Seasons Vail in Colorado
- How to Choose the Right Christmas Hotel
- How to Celebrate Christmas Away from Home
Nothing says Christmastime quite like a pampered stay in a luxury hotel. The best Christmas hotels include The Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue in New York City, The Roosevelt in New Orleans and the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago.
Our favorite Christmas hotels offer a variety of ways to get you into the holiday spirit, whether you’re in the market for a multi-generational family holiday get-together or a just-for-two romantic Christmas getaway.
These beautiful hotels offer everything from elaborate decorations and Christmas light shows to a wide range of holiday experiences, including Christmas markets, s’mores around a firepit, and, for kids, holiday story time and visits from the North Pole.
Read More: 4 Tips for Traveling with Elf on a Shelf
Ice skating in the Sonoran Desert? Seeing 6.5 million Christmas lights? Visiting Santa? Yes! It’s all part of the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess’ famous “Christmas at the Princess” celebration.
The luxurious Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers all of your holiday must-haves, from festive decorations to an ice skating rink. There’s even snow, but this is Arizona, so the snow will “fall” from machines rather than the sky. Plus, you get the hotel’s famed 5-Diamond AAA service, large rooms, five gorgeous pools (including one with dueling waterslides), a kids’ club in the morning that turns into a family fun center in the afternoon and incredible restaurants with kids’ menus and mocktails.
Even if you can’t get a reservation to stay at this 65-acre resort with its 750 beautifully renovated rooms, you can still enjoy Arizona’s largest Christmas lights display. You can buy tickets to the Scottsdale Christmas event, dubbed “Disney in the Desert.”
You likely won’t find snow at the Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California, (the average high in December is 60 degrees), but the Victorian-era hotel still decks the halls. Look for a gigantic California-themed gingerbread house with more than 700 buildings that replicate this historic landmark.
The beachy resort on California’s beautiful Monterey Peninsula was designed by renowned Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. Accommodation options include cottages and a variety of historic rooms with rustically elegant California-style furnishings, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a meditation space and a BBQ area.
A Christmas at The Broadmoor means millions of twinkling lights, a life-size gingerbread house, Elf Stories and Breakfast with Santa. To get the full holiday feeling, book the Classic Broadmoor Holiday Show package, which includes:
- Accommodations for one night
- Tickets for each person on the package to the Classic Broadmoor Holiday dinner show starring singer Debby Boone, Broadway star Marcus Lovett, the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, and Ken Miller and The Broadmoor Pops Orchestra
And you don’t have to stay at the luxury Colorado Springs resort to enjoy the fun from the end of November through February. Buy tickets to individual events online.
Read More: How to Ring in the New Year
At the all-inclusive C Lazy U Ranch, a luxury dude ranch in the Rocky Mountains, each individual cabin comes complete with a Christmas tree and everyone is invited to help trim the tree in the Main Lodge, build a gingerbread house or take a sleigh ride. Look for Santa to arrive is a horse-drawn sleigh full of presents. On Christmas Eve, the ranch serves a traditional Christmas dinner, with a turkey for each table in the dining room.
Plus, there’s plenty of outdoor fun in the Colorado snow, including cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, snow tubing, ice skating and pick-up hockey games on the pond. And for a special treat, you can head to the Lazy You Spa for a little pampering.
If the cold white stuff isn’t your ideal white Christmas, then head to The Breakers Palm Beach for some warmer white stuff — the white sand beaches of Palm Beach.
Consistently named one of CNN’s “Hotels that Go All Out for Christmas,” this beachfront resort announces its Christmas spirit before you even arrive, with glowing white lights on the 100 royal palms that line the main drive to the hotel. The magic continues with 18-foot evergreen trees and a sculptural menorah in the lobby and more than 170,000 lights and 12,000 feet of ribbon across the 140-acre oceanfront property.
Dining options include a Christmas brunch, proper afternoon tea and prix-fixe holiday lunch and dinner menus.
The resort’s large suites offer families plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the holidays.
The luxurious Gaylord resorts go all-in for Christmas with their iconic ICE! celebration. The ice sculptures, carved from 6,700 colorful blocks of ice, and ice slides are kept at a frigid 9 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t worry, the resorts provide insulated blue parkas to keep everyone warm while they wander through the icy displays.
The entire resort is dressed up with millions of twinkling lights, miles of garland and elaborately themed Christmas trees. There are shows to see, gingerbread houses to make and holiday treats to eat.
You can book a Christmas package deal that includes a stay at the hotel and front-of-the-line and early admission to ICE! Or just buy tickets to see the impressive ice sculptures and soar down the ice slide.
The five Gaylord hotel properties will each feature its own ICE! story:
- Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennesse, will present “The Polar Express” from November 10, 2023, through January 1, 2024, at this family-friendly Nashville hotel.
- Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida, will present “A Charlie Brown Christmas” from November 17, 2023, through January 3, 2024. (As an added bonus, this Gaylord property is near Orlando. That makes it easy to add on a trip to see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney World!)
- Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, will present “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” from November 10 through December 31, 2023.
- Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland, will present “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from November 19 through December 31, 2023.
- Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colorado, will present “A Christmas Story” from November 17, 2023, through January 1, 2024.
Christmas at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco is not only first among California holiday legends; it’s legendary among Christmas hotel destinations. That’s no surprise since the luxury hotel has been going all-out for the holidays for more than a century.
For the holidays, the Fairmont San Francisco transforms its grand lobby into Christmas Central with a life-sized gingerbread house. This house is 22 feet tall and 23 feet wide! For a super fun special treat, children can stay in one of the two Santa Suites. The suites are the specially decorated “home” of Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Fairmont when they’re in California.
To round out the experience, you can choose from the Gingerbread Holiday afternoon tea or a special private dining experience inside the Gingerbread House.
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, is home to the Annual National Gingerbread House Competition. This will be the 31st annual competition that brings the WOW to this Christmas hotel. Gingerbread artists compete for more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
The incredible gingerbread houses will be on display from November 27, 2023, through January 2, 2024. Viewing on Friday and Saturday is only open to guests staying at the hotel and those with dining reservations. But everyone can visit after 6 p.m. on Sundays or anytime Monday through Thursday, based on parking availability and excluding the following dates: December 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and January 1.
Another warm weather holiday destination is Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, east of Austin, one of our favorite central Texas resorts. Here, you can celebrate Christmas like a Texan, with plenty of outdoor activities like swimming in the lazy river. The outdoor water park is open in December, even as the resort trees are sprinkled with oversized decorations and twinkling lights.
You won’t see snow at this Holiday Light Stroll, but you will see 150 LED flood lights, more than 3,000 twinkling holiday lights, and a 20-foot animated holiday tree. Lost Pines offers activities with a Texas twist. Santa often greets guests from atop a Texas Longhorn and the resort’s resident pig, pygmy goats and alpacas like to parade around in their holiday finest.
Kids can find Santa and Mrs. Claus in the hotel lobby every Friday and Saturday and have breakfast with Santa on Sunday mornings. At this resort on the banks of the Colorado River, kids and teens get off their screens and fill their days with good, old-fashioned family fun. That sounds like a perfect Christmas vacation to me.
For the family that loves snow, there’s no better place to experience a winter wonderland than in the Rockies at the Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Vail in Colorado.
The holidays here include the lighting of the Menorah nightly at 6pm and Christmas mass on Christmas Eve. You can have a fully decorated Christmas tree delivered to your residence, have hot chocolate and s’mores by the pool, buy gifts at the spa and have them wrapped by pros, with the proceeds going to charity. Kids can visit with Santa and search for the Elf on the Shelf.
And, of course, there’s skiing and snow sports and more holiday events in the town of Vail.
Accommodations at the Four Seasons Vail range from standard hotel rooms to four-bedroom resort residences.
How to Choose the Right Christmas Hotel
Traveling on Christmas Day to stay in a luxury resort is a great way to create a new holiday tradition in style. There are certain criteria required for a holiday hotel stay, however:
- A variety of activities. We want to make sure there’s something for everyone to do, from the most active to the most relaxed members of our family. My tween son is all about adventure and outdoors. My mother is looking forward to sitting by the fire.
- A central shared experience. As much as we like splitting up, we want to create a holiday memory with one central experience. That could mean strolling together to look at Christmas lights, working together to build a gingerbread house or singing together with a group caroling. It doesn’t really matter what we do, so long as we do it together.
- A Christmas WOW moment. Traveling for Christmas demands that we be wowed by Christmas hotels. Over-the-top holiday decorations, Elf on the Shelf, Santa Claus, we want it all!
Read More: 4 Tips for Traveling with Elf on the Shelf
How to Celebrate Christmas Away from Home
With all the places to go, there’s always a concern about how to actually celebrate with presents. Do you ship them in advance or pack them in a suitcase and hope TSA doesn’t open them? How far in advance do you go? Is Christmas Eve too late and you might end up with a delayed flight or bad weather? Do you stay to ring in the new year?
The best advice I can give is plan in advance (like now) and look at every situation. I have fond memories of my grandmother flying in to see us on Christmas day. She would do Christmas morning in Minnesota with my cousins and then the afternoon in California with our family. It felt like a special delivery.
However you choose or wherever you go, let me be the first to tell you Merry Christmas! (I know it’s early but I’m in the spirit!)