Looking for a special home away from home? It’s home sweet home with these hotel lobby gingerbread displays. Some lucky guests can even dine in one when booking a larger room. They’re open through Jan. 1, so, even if you can’t say overnight, it’s still worth a visit to check out.
It’s not about reindeer, it’s about wolves at Great Wolf Lodges (18 locations across North America). What could be more of a gift than 84-degree temperatures for fun and slipping and sliding not on ice but on waves? A magical holiday display, of course! The Grand Lobby at each location has transformed with to-human-scale gingerbread homes constructed from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,300 pounds of sugar and hundreds of candies. For a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House charity, guests can also dine inside — just not on the walls!
The Ritz does indeed put on the ritz in Atlanta, where a scenic mantel uses 400 pounds of gingerbread dough, 50 pounds of spices, including as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, to create more than 500 hand-cut bricks. It’s decked out with 90 pounds of melted chocolate and 60 pounds of icing, and the mantel stands 10 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It took more than 120 manpower hours (no elves involved!). Get a chance to glimpse it during Christmas brunch, a toys and tea service for kids and Santa tuck-ins.
The 14-foot-tall main lobby gingerbread house was a team bonding experience for the Ritz pastry chefs who assembled it, their handiwork the awe of the main lobby. Inside, Santa’s Workshop features 20 chocolate elves (all with different personalities), nine reindeer and a yeti named Bubbles. Visitors can adopt an elf for the season, or make friends with the 5-foot-tall gingerbread man-of-the-house. The Grand Cayman resort is family-friendly, with kids dining, myriad family accommodation styles and an on-site waterpark. Who needs the North Pole?
One-hundred-and-forty-five hours went into making an exact replica of the outside of the St. Regis scaled down, along with 1,000 individual gingerbread bricks. Kids can admire it and mail letters to Santa at the same time in the festive lobby. There’s plenty of reasons to stop by, with teddy bear teas, a Christmas Eve Champagne brunch, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner and a holiday jazz series with cookies by the fire for kids (including gingerbread!).
To celebrate the conclusion of New Orleans’ Tricentennial year, the Ritz in New Orleans is showcasing a to-scale replica of a St. Charles streetcar covered from end to end in gingerbread, frosting and other trimmings. Some of the city’s most iconic stars are riding this sugary express, including Leah Chase, Drew Brees, Hoda Kotb and Gayle Benson.
The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
There’s much more than the life-sized gingerbread house to get wrapped up in in Fort Lauderdale. This year guests can book a special package Christmas week, with a three-bedroom suite that comes with breakfast in the lobby inside the house. There are even presents from Santa, who will make a visit, and a photographer to capture all of the memories for your next family Christmas card.
Forget the palm trees, Christmas tree row hits San Diego in December, along with an outdoor light show at Rancho Bernardo, and a life-sized gingerbread house in the lobby courtesy of pastry chef Margaret Carvallo.
The Ivy Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland
Cookies, seasonal chocolates, tartlets, handmade scones and more await at the Ivy, where pastry chef Lauren Petri has re-created the Relais & Chateaux property in miniature and added tiny holiday decorations in kind. Common areas sparkle with white lights and poinsettias and fragrant greenery fill common spaces.
The Urban Cowboy hospitality brand is no stranger to making city-adjacent stays feel a little more country. The newest addition to the roster, The Chalet, goes a rustic-chic step further at The Urban Cowboy property in the Catskills, New York.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card recently launched BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com, an interactive, online resource allowing families to plan future travel together. The launch followed the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card Survey of parents and grandparents that revealed most parents believe children are important resources for planning family vacations and that one-third of parents don’t currently involve their children in planning but would like to.
West Virginia is home to the United States’ newest national park. Last month, Congress passed a bill upgrading West Virginia’s New River Gorge from a national river to a national park. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve marks the 63rd national park in the United States.