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Best Hotel Santas

Ritz Carlton Laguna Nigel

Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Laguna Nigel

Sliding down a chimney is so cliché. But a Santa who skydives? Now that’s a holiday spectacle worth traveling for. And that’s how he’ll arrive this year at the Four Seasons Mauritius, which orchestrates a dramatic new entrance for St. Nick every year (last year’s was by pirate ship).

Santa, of course, visits lots of resorts over the holiday travel season. But the Four Seasons and other hotels are taking that visit to a spectacular new level, giving travelers one more reason to jet off to a relaxing resort during a traditionally stressful time.

Experiencing these dramatic arrivals may take some planning. Sometimes, Santa makes his entrance on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Other times, he shows up as early as November (and may make return visits to accommodate guest schedules). Either way, it’s usually not going to cost you extra: in keeping with the Christmas spirit, Santa’s activities are included in the resort fee.

Even better, Santa usually sticks around and makes himself available for photo ops, mingling with guests at a children’s party or joining them for a swim.

So what qualifies as a great entrance? At the Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh, on the Red Sea, Santa ditches his reindeer and arrives by camel. He and his caravan then join a children’s party with gifts for all the kids, who also get a chance to go for camel rides. And Santa makes sure that each child gets a stocking filled with holiday cookies.

You don’t have to travel to an exotic location to experience a dramatic entrance. At the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, hotel guests are all given jingling bells to welcome Santa, who arrives in a classic horse-drawn sleigh. There’s a life-size ice sculpture of his sleigh and reindeer, and a holiday party known as the Gingerbread Ball.

This year, don’t settle for an ordinary hotel Santa. Pack up the kids and your holiday gifts and check out these resorts where Santa’s entrance is—like the holiday season itself—extraordinary.


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