Courtesy Ritz-Carlton
  • Spectacular Holiday Hotel Displays

    Many hotels around the world go above and beyond to celebrate the holidays. </p> At the <a href="http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Charlotte/Default.htm" target="external">Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte</a> guests are treated to a life-size gingerbread house. And it's not just any gingerbread house but one made from all organic and natural culinary components.
    Courtesy Ritz-Carlton
  • Spectacular Holiday Hotel Displays

    The <a href="http://www.lhw.com/Hotel/Kameha-Grand-Bonn-Bonn-Germany" target="external">Kameha Grand Bonn</a> in German features a Swarovski Christmas tree as part of its elaborate holiday displays.
    Courtesy Leading Hotels of the World
  • Spectacular Holiday Hotel Displays

    It takes florists at the <a href="http://www.lhw.com/Hotel/The-Dolder-Grand-Zurich-Switzerland" target="external">Dolder Grand</a> in Zurich three days to decorate the tree in the lobby. But the real threat here is the ice-skating rink's very own tree with 11,000 lights.
    Courtesy Leading Hotels of the World
  • Spectacular Holiday Hotel Displays

    In Las Vegas the <a href="http://www.lhw.com/Hotel/Bellagio-Towers-Las-Vegas-NV" target="external">Bellagio's</a> conservatory and botanical gardens are always a hit, but especially so during the Christmas season. When the hotel changes the theme, it takes up to 75 people working 24 hours a day for six straight days.
    Courtesy Leading Hotels of the World
  • Holiday

    The <a href="http://www.blantyre.com/" target="external">Blantyre resort</a> in the Massachusetts Berkshires takes winter very seriously. The resort covers its tennis courts to make its very own skating rink and offers cross-country skiing and snow shoeing on its 117 (there is a "snow concierge" to help out) but nothing really says Christmas like this tree outside the hotel.
    Courtesy Blantyre
  • santa

    For more than a decade at the <a href="http://www.halekulani.com/" target="external">Halekulani</a> hotel, on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach, Santa arrives Christmas Eve by outrigger canoe at sunset. There might not be reindeer or snow in Hawaii but at least jolly Saint Nick finds a way to travel.
    Courtesy Halekulani
  • Holiday Displays

    For the holidays, hotels often erect elaborate displays to get guests into a festive mood and make them feel at home. Many of these displays have become favorite traditions of these grand resorts.<p> </p> At the <a href="http://www.preferredhotels.com/Preferred_Hotel/hotels/index.aspx?Pagefrom=search&id=65076" target="external">Arizona Grand Resort</a> in Phoenix, for years the staff has built a gingerbread village that includes an 8-foot tall main gingerbread house and 21 smaller houses, including a replica of the Children's Museum of Phoenix. Guests can also enjoy music, caroling, cookie decorating, cider and food samples from Arizona Grand Resort's culinary team.
    Arizona Grand Resort
  • Holiday Displays

    The <a href="http://www.fairmont.com/royalyork" target="external">Fairmont Royal York</a> in Toronto took three weeks to build a gingerbread version of the hotel. Among the many ingredients: 192 eggs, six pounds of molasses, 24 pounds of shortening, 28 pounds of brown sugar, 44 pounds of granulated sugar, a pound of baking soda and a pound of salt.
    Fairmont Royal York
  • Holiday Displays

    The <a href="http://www.hoteldel.com/" target="external">Hotel Del Coronado</a> in San Diego might have been made famous by being the primary set for "Some Like it Hot," but Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe never saw it like this: decked out with more than 100,000 lights and an ice rink right next to the beach.
    Hotel Del Coronado
  • Holiday Displays

    The <a href="http://www.mohonk.com/" target="external">Mohonk Mountain House</a> in New Paltz, N.Y., boasts a 60-foot-Austrian Pine with 1,440 sparkling lights, but what really sets this Victorian castle resort apart is the subtle elegance of its boater's dock -- on its private lake -- which features a specially-decorated tree for the holidays.
    Mohonk Mountain House
  • Holiday Displays

    The <a href="http://www.thehomestead.com/" target="external">Homestead</a> in Hot Springs, Va., decks its halls to the fullest and provides a quintessential holiday experience for its guests. The resort is outfitted with more than 100 wreaths, 1,100 poinsettias, 3,000 feet of evergreen garland and more than 82,000 lights on 75 trees outdoors. Here guests are making personalized ornaments.
    Homestead
  • Holiday Displays

    For 14 years, Colorado ski resort <a href="http://www.keystoneresort.com/" target="external">Keystone</a> has replicated the ski village with 5,000 pounds of semi-sweet, milk and white chocolate. Executive pastry chef Ned Archibald includes chocolate gondolas running up and down a chocolate Keystone Mountain, chocolate trains moving throughout an entirely chocolate village, a 6-foot white chocolate Christmas tree adorned with hand-blown sugar ornaments and much more.
    Keystone
  • Holiday Displays

    Don't expect snow at California's <a href="http://www.preferredhotels.com/Preferred_Hotel/hotels/index.aspx?Pagefrom=search&id=53068" target="external">Montage Laguna Beach</a>, but it is still picturesque with a 50-foot tree on the ocean lawn decorated for the holidays. And with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, you won't be missing the snow.
    Montage Laguna Beach
  • Holiday Displays

    At the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park, the <a href="http://www.tenayalodge.com/" target="external">Tenaya Lodge</a> each year turns its lobby into a version of the North Pole, complete with a 30-foot Christmas tree, a giant gingerbread house and even a mailbox for collecting letters to Santa.
    Tenaya Lodge
  • Holiday Displays

    Each year the pastry department of the <a href="http://www.claremontresort.com/" target="external">Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa</a> in Berkeley, Calif., creates a gingerbread version of the hotel, complete with a snow machine that snows on the hotel every hour. The construction of the gingerbread hotel takes more than 60 hours of labor and uses 250 pounds of pastry flour, 150 pounds of powdered sugar, 30 pounds of egg whites and 110 pounds of rolled fondant to yield a hotel that is 12 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
    Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa
  • Holiday Displays

    Many hotels like to showcase the local sights in their own unique way. The <a href="http://www.fairmont.com/seattle" target="external">Fairmont Olympic</a> in Seattle always builds a giant gingerbread house, including one year a gingerbread Pike Place Market.
    Fairmont Olympic
  • Holiday Displays

    The highlight of the decorations at the <a href="http://www.charlestonplace.com/web/ocha/charleston_place.jsp" target="external">Charleston Place Hotel</a> in South Carolina is a miniature replica of an Orient-Express train set between the hotel's signature Georgian open-arm staircase. The fully operational replica of the famous Orient-Express luxury train was custom designed for Charleston Place, part of the Orient-Express hotel collection. The display features miniature European alpine homes, tiny churches, stables and a blacksmith shop. The train covers more than 300 feet of track and travels at average scale speeds of 70 mph.
    Charleston Place Hotel
  • Holiday Displays

    Nothing says winter like snow, and at the various <a href="http://www.greatwolf.com/" target="external">Great Wolf</a> resort locations it snows in the lobby three times a day. The winter wonderland experience starts as soon as guests enter through the lobby. Images of snowflakes, icebergs, twinkling lights, decorated trees and other festive decorations fill the space. But the highlight is the real snow falling from snow-making machines hidden in the rafters. Other holiday activities include story time with Rowdy the Reindeer, a space for children to write, decorate and mail letters directly to Santa, a toy creation station and caroling.
    Great Wolf
  • Holiday Displays

    The <a href="http://www.greenbrier.com/site/" target="external">Greenbrier</a> in White Sulfur Springs, W. Va., goes all out to create a winter wonderland at the resort. This year it will feature: 22,500 pounds of ice used for ice carvings of Santa's sleigh and reindeer and Merry Christmas display, a 90-foot Christmas tree at the north entrance, 3,600 poinsettias throughout the resort, 100 decorated trees and 100 wreaths, 10,000 ornaments, a 14-foot high poinsettia tree made of 325 poinsettias and 1,500 feet of garland and 500 bows.
    Greenbrier
  • Holiday Displays

    This holiday season, the <a href="http://www.thehomestead.com/" target="external">Homestead</a> debuted its new Holiday Lights & Ice spectacular. The resort has invested more than $250,000 to transform its Casino Lawn into a true winter wonderland with a new skating rink. Guests will be surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights as they walk through Candy Cane Lane with oversized gingerbread figures, 10-foot candy canes and six-foot gum drops and lollipops; a Victorian Village with 19th-century skaters and carolers; Reindeer Lane with towering swans and a family of reindeer; and Toyland with 10-foot soldiers, eight-foot jack-in-the-box, rocking horses, gift boxes and starbursts.
    Homestead
  • Holiday Displays

    The annual gingerbread village at the <a href="http://www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas/" target="external">Four Seasons Las Vegas</a> this year features 20 "real estate" properties and a giant working carousel made entirely of chocolate and sugar. The total production time on this intricate display is more than 500 hours and it takes two full days to assemble it in the hotel lobby. Each piece of real estate in the fanciful village can be purchased or sponsored by an individual or company, with proceeds benefiting Nevada Cancer Institute.
    Four Seasons Las Vegas
  • Holiday Displays

    There's no better way to observe some of these decorations than with the age-old tradition of high tea. At the <a href="http://www.fourseasons.com/newyorkfs/" target="external">Four Seasons New York</a> tea is served from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. overlooking the hotel's grand lobby and a 24-foot tree adorned with nearly 100 feet of custom-made garland and thousands of colorful lights. Selections at the $60 tea ($30 for children under 12) include: candy cane beets with chevre snow and ruby red confit, mini croquembouche with egg nog cream, warm sugar baked scones with Devonshire cream and orange marmalade and lox and latkes with horseradish and scallion cream.
    Four Seasons New York
  • Holiday Displays

    For the last three years, the <a href="http://www.omnihotels.com/FindaHotel/SanAntonio.aspx" target="external">Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade</a> has built a giant gingerbread Alamo in its lobby. The Alamo includes 5.25 gallons of corn syrup, 110 pounds of flour, a lot of plywood, foam and pipes, and nearly 180 hours of labor to construct. The total cost this year: $1,304.78.
    Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade
  • Holiday Displays

    Each year, the <a href="http://www.preferredhotels.com/Preferred_Hotel/hotels/index.aspx?Pagefrom=search&id=48755" target="external">Stein Eriksen Lodge</a> in Park City, Utah, builds an elaborate gingerbread creation for its main lodge. Last year, the hotel made a 19-foot Empire State Building. This year a nine-foot long, four-foot wide and five-foot tall gingerbread Thomas the Train will be displayed. Featuring more than 250 pounds of gingerbread and 80 pounds of icing, Thomas will have operating wheels and eyes and colored icing to match the original colors of Thomas the Train. Executive pastry chef Raymond Lammers, a Dutch native, will spend 150 hours to build the sugary delight, his eighth.
    Stein Eriksen Lodge
  • Holiday Displays

    More than 55 live Christmas trees are displayed throughout the <a href="http://www.thehomestead.com/" target="external">Homestead</a> and its grounds. The centerpiece of the resort, the Great Hall Christmas Tree, stands more than 20 feet tall and is decorated with more than 1,250 lights and 2,000 ornaments. Each year, The Homestead's pastry chef creates their Gingerbread Village, which is made up of more than 80 pounds of gingerbread, 110 pounds of candy and 260 pounds of sugar.
    Homestead
  • Holiday Displays

    Bright lights are nothing new to the <a href="http://www.tropicana.net/" target="external">Tropicana Casino & Resort</a> in Atlantic City, N.J., but for the holidays the casino adds four miles of LED lights that are also used in part of a musical light show every hour. The hotel also has indoor snow each day -- more than 100 feet are expected to fall this season.
    Tropicana Casino & Resort
  • Holiday Displays

    Executive pastry chef Jean-François Houdré, aka "King of the Castle," has once again created his signature 12-foot rotating holiday sugar castle for the main lobby of the <a href="http://www.westinstfrancis.com/" target="external">Westin St. Francis</a> in San Francisco. Originally created in 2005, this castle grows larger and more spectacular each year. Resembling a French château, it weighs more than 1,200 pounds and features more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 30 rooms, illuminated windows and is surrounded by a quaint village and a running train.
    Westin St. Francis
  • Holiday Displays

    For simple holiday elegance consider the <a href="http://www.peninsula.com/New_York/en/default.aspx" target="external">Peninsula New York</a>, where a simple set of holiday decorations puts the lobby into a festive spirit.
    Peninsula New York
  • Holiday Displays

    For the past three years, <a href="http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/NewOrleans/Default.htm" target="external">Ritz-Carlton</a> in New Orleans has built a life-size gingerbread house, which is on display in the lobby. Guests have to walk through the house to access the front desk, restaurant and lounges. Over the course of two months, the gingerbread house comes to life. The house is comprised of: 108 pounds of brown sugar, 179 pounds of refined sugar, 92 pounds of butter, four pounds of baking powder, 23 pounds of molasses, two pounds of ground ginger, two pounds of cinnamon, 93 pounds of eggs, 12 pounds of egg whites, 432 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of candy, eight pounds of red food coloring and 800 pounds of icing.
    Ritz-Carlton
  • Holiday Displays

    For something a little bit different, travel to the <a href="http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/overview/parhb" target="external">InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel</a>, where the hotel hosts an annual "Fashion Christmas Tree Exhibition." Forget lights or snow, these trees are designed by students from the Ecole supérieure des arts appliqués Duperré, an institute of textile and fashion design founded in 1856.
    InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel
  • Holiday Displays

    In Zurich, the <a href="http://www.thedoldergrand.com/en" target="external">Dolder Grand</a> features a 20-foot Christmas tree decorated with almost 5,000 handmade glass ornaments in the lobby for the holiday season.
    Dolder Grand
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