As Thanksgiving creeps closer, the stress of spending hours upon hours in the kitchen preparing a seemingly endless feast starts to ramp up. Everyone has some sort of Turkey Day tradition, but doesn’t it seem much more appealing to cozy up in a luxurious hotel and have the hard work done for you? All you have to do is sit back, relax and eat as much turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes as you can. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors scouted 10 hotels across the country that relieve you of Thanksgiving stress—and the post-dinner cleanup.
The Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Thanksgiving at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel is one for the whole family. On Nov. 28, resort guests and those partaking in a feast at Amaya (The Grand Del Mar’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant) are invited to the Aria Lawn for activities, such as sack races, outdoor games and contests. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are two choices for your Thanksgiving meal. Amaya is the more family-friendly option with its three-course menu featuring caramelized Nantucket bay scallops with pumpkin risotto, roasted turkey breast and leg, and pumpkin pie with nutmeg ice cream. Foodies will want to make a reservation at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Addison to indulge in chef William Bradley’s decadent seven-course Carte Blanche Thanksgiving menu. Prepare your palate for courses such as a blue cheese terrine, salt-roasted turkey and pecan pie with cinnamon Chantilly.
The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pa.
It’s the “Sweetest Place on Earth”—even when the holiday focuses on savory classics like stuffing and juicy turkey. At the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, relax with a fall-centric treatment at The Spa at The Hotel Hershey—we suggest the pumpkin soufflé wrap (available through Nov. 30)—or get into the holiday spirit with Hershey Sweet Lights and its nearly 600 themed lit-up displays twinkling to a yuletide soundtrack. As for the meals, you have four options. There’s the traditional Thanksgiving buffet with dishes such as roasted turkey with apple-cranberry dressing and bourbon-maple-glazed sweet potatoes—not to mention the signature Hershey’s dessert buffet. Three-course prix-fixe dinners can be had at Harvest, The Circular and Trevi 5. For those looking for Thanksgiving with an Italian twist, head to Trevi 5, where you’ll find lemon-rosemary roasted turkey breast and braised turkey thigh with sweet potato and prosciutto-bread pudding.
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nothing quite gets you in the mood for winter than cozying up by the fireplace—especially if it’s in your suite at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Broadmoor. This family-oriented resort offers holiday-centric activities, such as decorating square tiles that will be added to the life-sized gingerbread house and Nov. 30’s White Lights ceremony, when more than 260,000 strands of lights illuminate the Colorado Springs resort, transforming it into a winter wonderland. But before you move onto the next holiday, celebrate Thanksgiving the right way, beginning with watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in The Little Theater. Then, relish in the full day of family dining with buffet options at both Lake Terrace and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Penrose Room, or à la carte menus at Summit and Tavern. This is also the perfect time (assuming there’s still room in your stomach) to treat yourself to Penrose Room’s black truffle tribute dinner, which is available through Dec. 30.
Inn at Harbour Town, Hilton Head, S.C.
Retreat to this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort to celebrate Thanksgiving on lovely Hilton Head Island. The activities start on Nov. 26 with wagon rides through Sea Pines Forest Reserve, while Nov. 28 brings a scavenger hunt, tennis academy with former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ Stan Smith and, of course, mouthwatering Thanksgiving meals. The Harbour Town Grill offers a two- or three-course menu with options such as oven-roasted turkey with traditional sides or lobster-and-Boursin quiche. Of course, when it comes to food, this fall holiday is all about stuffing yourself—something you can easily do at Topside Waterfront Restaurant’s Southern-influenced buffet with everything from Low Country shrimp and grits, brisket and turkey to pecan-praline sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. On Nov. 29, don’t miss the 11th annual fishing tournament and the lighting of the Harbour Town Christmas tree. The weekend rounds out with the Caramel Apple Festival on Nov. 30.
The Cloister, Sea Island, Ga.
No matter which time of year you check into this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star resort, there’s always something going on—and this is especially true around Thanksgiving. Family-focused activities fill the calendar Nov. 27 through Dec. 1, ranging from the Sand Settlement Building Contest and Turkey Trot Family Fun Run to the Turkey Family Olympics and the reveal of the gingerbread house. There’s an elaborate spread in The Cloister Ballroom with delights such as individual turkey potpies and honey-and-clove-scented ham. Those looking for a more upscale feast should make a reservation at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Georgian Room for a four-course dinner. Your taste buds will be treated to roasted squab with foie gras, sweet potato pie and candied red onion; organic turkey with cornbread dressing bread pudding, cranberry and gravy. Finish off the weekend by getting into the yuletide spirit with the annual tree-lighting ceremony in The Cloister Colonial Lounge on Dec. 1.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Calif.
For skiers and snowboarders, there’s hardly a better 24 hours than opening day of the mountain. Combine that with Thanksgiving and it’s a dream vacation. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sits mid-mountain on Northstar California Resort, offering ski-in/ski-out access. The night before the big day, celebrate with live music and enjoy food and drink specials in The Living Room. Once you’ve worn yourself out on the slopes, it’s dinnertime at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Manzanita, where chef de cuisine Jeremy Grossman has created a fulfilling Thanksgiving feast. Start with the winter squash soup that’s poured tableside (you’ll need to warm up a bit after spending the day on the mountain), then move on to king crab salad with haricots verts, pee wee potatoes and persimmons before the real meal of turkey roulade alongside mallard-confit-brioche stuffing and baby root vegetables. Cap off the night with a slice of pumpkin cheesecake with eggnog gelato and a gingersnap cookie.
Trump International Hotel & Tower New York
Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like a giant Snoopy float making its way down Central Park West, and a stay at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York will guarantee that quintessential experience. Book a Central Park-view room or suite at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel and you can watch the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of your own room. Of course, if you want to get close to the action, all guests score access to a premium viewing area on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. The parade turns at Columbus Circle onto Central Park South, passing right by Trump New York. Once you’ve kicked off your morning with endless floats, marching bands and superstars, head to Nougatine or Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Jean Georges for Thanksgiving lunch or dinner (reservations will be available beginning Oct. 28).
Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena, Calif.
Book the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort’s Great Thanksgiving Escape! package for the ultimate autumn getaway. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a chilled bottle of Napa Valley sparkling wine in your guest room—so you know it’s going to be a good stay from the start. The package also includes a $150 spa credit; unlimited golf, tennis and croquet; daily afternoon wine receptions; and breakfast for two one morning at The Grill. Of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a smorgasbord, which you’ll get in the Vintner’s Room. Savor butternut squash soup, two preparations of free-range turkey (brined and roasted breast, and crisp-skin leg confit) with traditional sides, including a duo of housemade bread stuffing (chestnut-sage and Italian sausage) and assorted pies and tarts. On Nov. 30, go to the annual holiday celebration to watch as the Meadowood holiday tree is delivered via horse-drawn carriage accompanied by festive music and refreshments.
The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.
What better way to spend this holiday than in a historic hotel in the nation’s capital? The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sits about six blocks from the White House—you’re practically breaking bread with the Obamas. The real allure of Thanksgiving at The Jefferson is the feast that’s offered at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Plume. The seasonal fare at the hotel’s signature restaurant is inspired by the harvest of Thomas Jefferson’s kitchen gardens at Monticello, and chef Chris Jakubiec’s three-course Thanksgiving menu is as fresh and delectable as you’d imagine. Expect items such as spiced pumpkin soup with brioche croutons, roasted organic Path Valley Farms turkey with chestnut-and-apple stuffing, and bourbon-butterscotch pudding to top it all off.
The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Ariz.
There’s something for everyone at this Scottsdale resort. Athletes can burn calories with Nov. 30’s 5K Turkey Trot around the golf course. Fashionistas can hitch a ride on the Black Friday shopping shuttle to Fashion Square Mall and hit stores such as Prada, Neiman Marcus and Cartier. Nature lovers can soak up the great outdoors with s’mores and stargazing on Nov. 27. But the whole family will join together for meals at Il Terrazzo and J&G Steakhouse. Take part in the brunch buffet at Il Terrazzo, where you’ll find delightful dishes such as brioche French toast and chestnut-ciabatta stuffing, while dinner at the same restaurant brings three courses: caramelized shallot soup, Pullman Farms turkey with cornbread-and-fennel-sausage stuffing and a pumpkin-custard tart. The upscale J&G Steakhouse offers a prix-fixe menu for dinner as well. Wrap up the weekend with the unveiling of The Phoenician’s gingerbread house, which is said to be the largest in Arizona.
Photos Courtesy of Stirling Elmendorf, Grand Del Mar, The Broadmoor, Sea Island Co and Trump International Hotel and Tower