15 Festive Hotels in the U.S. That Make the Holiday Season Even More Magical
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
They say, “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” but these hotels — with their festive decor, seasonal eats, and memorable holiday experiences — might be even better. From over-the-top holiday displays in Las Vegas to snowy winter wonderland ski resorts, hotels around the United States go all out for the holiday season. Here are some of the nation’s best hotels for holiday decor and packages this year.
Related: More Christmas travel ideas
French Quarter Inn, Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is worth visiting year-round, but the historic city really comes to life during the holiday season, with palmetto trees wrapped in Christmas lights and perfectly decorated hotels. The French Quarter Inn, a T+L World’s Best Award winner, goes all out for the holidays, with sparkling decor in the lobby and a gingerbread house replica of St. Philip’s Church, a Holy City landmark. The specially themed Sleigh Bell suite features festive decorations, including an in-room tree, and guests can grab complimentary cider, hot cocoa, or bourbon-spiked eggnog in the lobby after a day of exploring.
Lotte New York Palace, New York, New York
Although some NYC holiday traditions are on hold this year, visitors can still see the classic decor at the luxurious Lotte New York Palace. The hotel’s 35-foot tree will stand tall in the courtyard on Madison, and its central location means guests are just a short walk from the Winter Village at Bryant Park and the beautiful window displays on Fifth Avenue.
The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina
The Omni Grove Park Inn is known for its beautiful mountain views and proximity to everything Asheville has to offer, but during the holiday season, the hotel gets a sweet makeover. The hotel hosts a yearly National Gingerbread House Competition (happening virtually in 2020, so we can all join in on the fun from home), and the Great Hall Bar debuts a life-sized gingerbread house modeled after the hotel. Visitors hoping to experience the hotel’s festive decorations can book the Holiday Mountain Magic package, available through Dec. 31.
The Dewberry, Charleston, South Carolina
Another World’s Best Award winner, The Dewberry turns into a mid-century holiday card each December. This year, the Houses & Parties holiday shop offers an immersive, nostalgic shopping experience. The beautiful luxury hotel is anything but ordinary during the holiday season — vintage-inspired decor and a 1960s Christmas tree create a unique festive atmosphere.
Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas hotels pull out all the stops for the holidays, and the Aria is kicking things up a notch with this year’s “Winter Wonderland” lobby display. The stunning Sugar Palace was created by the Aria pastry team with nearly 4,000 pounds of sugar. The patisserie team also made delicious holiday gifts to go along with the experience, like chocolate coffee cups, sugar cookies, and more festive treats.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
Each year, this hotel decks its halls — and the whole city block — with thousands of lights, bows, and garlands. Festive cocktails, including the Candy Cane and Mrs. Claus’ Cookie, are on the menu for adults, and the annual Teddy Bear Tea is a favorite tradition among visiting kids — it even includes visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The Langham, Chicago, Illinois
The Langham, Chicago gets decked out in seasonal decor at this time of year, and with unique seasonal packages and food and beverage options, it’s the perfect place for a holiday staycation. In the lobby, visitors will find three festive cakes displayed for the occasion — one even features the Chicago skyline. The Festive Family Swim package offers families private access to the hotel’s indoor swimming pool, complete with holiday-themed floats. The hotel is also offering a holiday tea with festive treats (and people in the Chicago area can pick up their own full tea to enjoy at home).
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Village, Wyoming
For travelers wanting to combine winter sports and incredible scenery with holiday cheer, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers the ultimate December vacation. During the week of Christmas, the resort offers fun seasonal events — Santa even drops from one of the trams on Christmas Eve, and guests can ski with Saint Nick himself on Christmas Day.
Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee
Several Gaylord resorts around the country, including Gaylord Opryland, offer plenty of holiday cheer during the annual Christmas at Gaylord Hotels program. Visitors can step into their favorite holiday movies during the I Love Christmas Movies pop-up and enjoy character dining. At Gaylord Opryland, guests can head to the Pinetop Stage for live performances, shopping, tubing, ice skating, and ice bumper cars, or check out the Rockin’ Christmas on Ice skating show, among other holiday activities.
Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Throughout the year, the iconic Bellagio transforms the Conservatory into a floral wonderland for each season. On Dec. 4, the Bellagio Conservatory will debut the “Hopeful Holidays” display for the 2020 season, featuring a snow queen, polar bears, elves, and more. Of course, there will also be a 42-foot tall Christmas tree. Guests visiting Vegas between Dec. 21 and 24 should check out another nearby MGM resort, Mandalay Bay, to spot Santa diving among sharks in the shipwreck area.
The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana
Guests at The Resort at Paws Up can enjoy the white Christmas of their dreams this season. Explore the resort by snowmobile, dogsled, or sleigh, build gingerbread houses, go tubing, and more during a stay here. The holiday package includes accommodations in a luxury home (complete with a Christmas tree), all meals and some beverages, a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve, and more.
Sea Island, Georgia
This resort on the Georgia coast created an especially impressive holiday display this season with the Sweet Traditions Cottage, made of over 1,840 pounds of gingerbread and 820 pounds of royal icing. Kids can enjoy private gingerbread house decorating inside the cottage, and coffee and afternoon snacks are served from its window. The resort reimagined its yearly holiday experiences in 2020 to account for new safety measures, so guests can still see the stunning decor (including over 60 Christmas trees), enjoy storytime with Santa’s elves, and more during their visit.
Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri
This 4,600-acre resort located in the Missouri Ozarks has everything you could want for the holiday season. Guests can opt to stay in a cozy log cabin with their own Christmas tree and fireplace, skate in the ice rink (which features a Christmas tree in the center), go on a holiday lights tour, or participate in activities like a holiday scavenger hunt.
Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California
This beachfront hotel becomes a shimmering holiday dream each year, with its iconic red turrets covered with lights and a 35-foot Christmas tree. Guests can take socially distant photos with Santa, make s’mores on the beach, watch holiday movies under the stars, and more during the holiday season at Hotel del Coronado.
Waldorf Astoria Park City, Park City, Utah
With the first yearly snowfall, Park City transforms into a winter wonderland, and the Waldorf Astoria Park City is the perfect place to cozy up after a day of dog sledding or sleigh rides in the snow. A 20-foot tree lights up the lobby, festive decorations can be found throughout the hotel, and the new Chef’s Box and Cocktail Crate allow guests to make their own meals and drinks from the comfort of their suite.
Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.