Gingerbread house at The Peninsula Paris.
Courtesy: The Peninsula Paris
Now that Thanksgiving is over, the marathon of gift shopping and holiday parties kicks in.
But the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve are also a great time to travel.
Cities are sparkling with holiday lights. Stores stay open late. And museums, theme parks and other attractions transform into winter wonderlands, with special events and visits from Santa.
Many hotels do their part, too, with over-the-top lobby decorations and creative holiday-themed packages.
Courtesy: Gaylord National Resort
A chef is whipping up Christmas yule logs and other holiday treats inside a life-size gingerbread house at the Peninsula Paris. More than 2 million holiday lights dazzle in the lobby decorations at the Gaylord National Resort near Washington, D.C. And the Hyatt Regency in Seattle has a package that includes two tickets to Enchant Christmas, boasting the world’s largest Christmas light maze.
Here are some other holiday hotel adventures to consider this season.
Holiday-movie inspired stays
National Lampoon room at the Ivy Hotel.
Courtesy: Ivy Hotel
If you’re a fan of holiday-themed movies, you’ll enjoy these holiday movie-themed hotel packages.
In honor of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” first released 30 years ago, Chicago’s Ivy Hotel is offering the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation package, complete with ugly sweaters, a move-inspired suite and a holiday dinner. According to the hotel, “the only thing missing are the surprise RV guests.” Rates start at $399; no resort fees.
The Whitehall Hotel, also in Chicago, has a “Home Alone”-themed family package. The guest room comes with two turtle dove ornaments by the same studio that designed them for the film, fresh-baked cookies, a jar of M&Ms and a framed photo of Buzz’s girlfriend. Room service will also send up a “Little Nero’s Pizza” served in the same box as the movie, mac ‘n cheese, Pepsi and an ice cream sundae. Available through Jan. 5. Rates start at $184.
In Cleveland, guests can book overnight stays at “A Christmas Story” house, the location of the cult holiday classic starring Ralphie (of you’ll-shoot-your-eye-out fame) and his little brother Randy. The Bumpus house next door, home to the infamous pack of hounds, is available for rent as well. Holiday rates at A Christmas Story House start at $845 per night; rates for the Hound Dog Haven Suite and the Stolen Turkey Suite in the Bumpus house start at $245 and $295, respectively.
Room with a tree
Holiday tree at the Refinery hotel.
Courtesy: Refinery hotel
In New York City, the Refinery Hotel’s Winter Spectacular Stay package includes a fresh Christmas tree and an assortment of decorations, hot chocolate, holiday cookies and other edible holiday treats as well as a gingerbread house decorating kit. Rates start at $579. During December, kids checking in with their families will be able to pick a treat from Santa’s gift-filled sleigh and all hotel guests can partake of the complimentary hot chocolate and cider cart.
Hanukkah, an igloo and a history lesson
Igloo at the Watergate Hotel.
Courtesy: Watergate Hotel
The Watergate Hotel, famous for a 1972 break-in and the political unraveling it initiated, is offering a three- or eight-night Hanukkah package; from $1,450 and $3,029, respectively, not including taxes and urban resort fees. Available Dec. 22-Dec. 30.
Each package includes two connecting rooms, a bottle of kosher olive oil and, for kids, dreidels, Hanukkah gelt (kosher nut-free chocolate coins), and a book about Hanukkah. Private car service to and from the National Zoo or National Mall is also included.
For those who want to mix history, whiskey and dinner in an igloo, the Tzell Travel Group has put together a $3,000 per night package that includes a stay in the room used for the Watergate break-in (Room 204), drinks with the officers from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia who discovered the break-in and dinner in a decked-out Christmas igloo. (More details at 212-624-2997 or RKunikoff@Tzell.com)
Stay in the city or go skiing?
Penthouse Suite at Kimpton Nine Zero.
Courtesy: Kimpton Nine Zero
Can’t decide if you want to stay in the city or go skiing? Two Kimpton Hotels in New England have buddied up with a package that offers both, with a bonus helicopter ride.
The Skyscrapers to Slopes Package is for two guests and includes a two-night city stay at Nine Zero’s penthouse suite in Boston, a two-night winter wonderland experience in a cottage suite at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont and a private helicopter ride between the two locations.
Ski passes to Stratton Mountain, a private in-room yoga session and two 60-minute in-room massages are included, as are a personalized cocktail experience, Vermont cheeses, a fire pit experience with s’mores and hot cocoa, breakfasts and dinners. Available through March 31, 2020. Rates start at $14,500; resort fees included.
Of course, you don’t need to book a hotel room to enjoy some over-the-top hotel holiday decorations.
Gingerbread house at The Peninsula Paris.
Courtesy: Maggie Marguerite Studio and The Well Traveled Trunk.
Pastry chefs at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., have created an eight-foot-tall gingerbread version of the Jefferson Memorial, complete with cherry blossom trees and real fish in the water representing the Tidal Basin.
Lego dino at the Savoy London.
Courtesy: Savoy London
And The Savoy in London has turned the “Twelve Days of Christmas” into the Twelve Rebuilds of Christmas, with a dinosaur-shaped Christmas tree and other oversized Lego installations throughout the hotel.