Make this season the tastiest yet with a dessert destination that’s scented by gingerbread. Whether you want to wander the beaches of Florida or shop the streets of Paris, each of these spots has plenty to offer — with the perk of a festive treat waiting for you back at the hotel.
Though the big reveal of this Washington, D.C., property’s annual gingerbread display happened in November, it’s not too late to enjoy the glory of this year’s Jefferson Memorial-inspired masterpiece.
Standing 8.5 by 5 feet, the saccharine structure comes complete with delicate cherry trees, a water-filled Tidal Basin with live fish and an audio reading of Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address.
Executive pastry chef Jason Jimenez, pastry cook Magenta Livengood and engineer David Sanabria spent about 600 hours designing, constructing and finessing the work of baked art.
Though this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel may be next door to another stunning property (the White House), don’t be surprised if you want to spend your time ogling this edible edifice instead.
The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami
This life-size gingerbread is a holiday beacon in Miami. While you can’t take a bite, you can marvel at how the pastry team crafted an 18-foot cookie replica of the famous Haulover Lighthouse Restaurant that once stood near this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort.
The sweet building was made with 180 pounds of gingerbread, 200 pounds of frosting sugar, 20 pounds of hard candy and more than 800 hours of work. There’s even an actual light in the structure.
Coastal views may not feel especially festive, but this Five-Star Newport Beach retreat is teeming with holiday fun for little ones. On December 7 and 15, stop by for a children’s gingerbread house-decorating class, where your little elves can join Pelican Hill’s pastry chef to create a masterpiece to take home or display on your hotel room’s nightstand.
To make your home-away-from-home feel extra jolly, simply call ahead to have staff deck the halls with all the trimmings (garlands, wreaths, twinkling lights) you can dream up. You can even request personalized stockings and a fully trimmed tree for a magic touch.
This elegant Five-Star Colorado Springs escape annually outdoes itself with the confectionary creations. This year is no different. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the culinary team engineered a 14-foot replica of The Broadmoor Special, a 1918 Pierce Arrow Touring Car that was converted to a race car.
To accomplish the feat, the pastry-making pit crew used 375 pounds of all-purpose flour, 700 egg whites, 100 pounds of honey and a host of other ingredients. During your holiday visit, compare this sugary masterpiece to the real thing on display at the Penrose Heritage Museum, just one of the many attractions on The Broadmoor’s 5,000-acre campus.
Not only is Charleston’s historic district transformed into a charming Charles Dickens-like wonderland come December, but when you stay at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property you’re afforded a close-up with another stunning site: St. Philip’s Church.
The hotel’s tabletop-sized gingerbread chapel is every bit
as ornate as the original, down to candy cane columns and delicate windowpanes re-created
in icing. While viewing the cookie construction, sip on spiced eggnog, hot
cocoa or warm apple cider before wandering out to do some holiday shopping at
Historic Charleston City Market or trendy King Street.
This Four-Star Crescent City staple goes all out for the holidays with a seemingly endless array of twinkling lights, festive greenery and two gingerbread masterpieces.
On the first floor, find the S.S. Bingle, a tugboat that acted as the holiday mascot for the hotel’s previous occupant, the popular Maison Blanche department store.
The other cookie creation is stationed in the third-floor lobby and consists of a stunning scale replica of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar featuring famous local faces such as comedian Ellen DeGeneres, actor John Goodman, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.
This Five-Star hotel provides plenty of ways to indulge in the spicy sweetness of gingerbread this month. Sit in on Christmas in London (a nod to the brand’s geographic roots) afternoon tea to savor gingerbread macarons with caramel and mascarpone filling, a traditional British Christmas cake with glazed fruit and hot cocoa laced with gingerbread.
Following the themed tea set’s lead, the main entrance and lobby also sports some English-inspired holiday spirit. The palatial space transforms into a picture-perfect pink Christmas extravaganza with a tree decked out in rose-hued ornaments and a blush-themed Instagram scavenger hunt.
Take in the joy and nibble on a treat any night of the season, but on December 24 and 25, carolers and Santa join in the fun.
If building an edible house is high on your holiday list, then book a room and a class at this picturesque resort in Charlottesville, Virginia. Each Sunday through Christmas, you and your crew (up to four helpers) can construct a wintery scene using gingerbread and other provided goodies. Hot chocolate and housemade cookies to snack on sweeten the deal.
If your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, indulge in a cane sugar Scent’sational Body Scrub at the spa.
Christmas fun for all ages can be had at this Five-Star Carlsbad, California, hideaway. Get hands-on with a gingerbread class hosted by the property’s pastry team, where you’ll learn how to expertly decorate adorable cookies with icing and other sugary ingredients.
There’s also a special Teddy Bear Tea each weekend until Christmas that not only features trays of holiday treats, but also a visit by the Peppermint Princess. Be sure to bring along a stuffed friend to donate to Rady’s Children Hospital.
Why have just a gingerbread house when you can make a whole village out of cookies, frosting, sprinkles and chocolate? That’s exactly what executive pastry chef Amanda Pallagi-Naim did in the lobby of this Four-Star Austin stay.
Inspired by a snow globe, the luxury hotel’s Gingerbread Village is anchored by a six-foot model of the capital’s cityscape. Surrounding the centerpiece are smaller domes featuring notable landmarks from five of Austin’s sister cities, including Chateau d’Angers in Angers, France; Usa Shrine in Oita, Japan; and the Christmas Market in Koblenz, Germany.
But the best part is that each dome will get auctioned off and the funds will be donated to People’s Community Clinic once the holidays are over.
Le Royal Monceau — Raffles Paris
As if you needed an excuse to head to Paris for the holidays, this Five-Star property has just the thing — a bûche de Noël (Christmas cake) designed by respected pastry chef Pierre Hermé.
Like the rooms of this fabulous hotel, this year’s holiday cake proves both classic and modern. Dubbed the Agapé Yule Log, the dessert features a lemon-scented gingerbread log packed with seasonal fruits such as oranges, prunes, ginger, figs, Morello cherries and candied apricots.
The cherry on top is an ornate chocolate Ferris wheel that moves when you crank it to distribute nougat, macarons, caramels and bonbons. This elegant treat is practically all you need to keep the magic of the holidays alive or, at the very least, to enjoy a memorable and sweet-filled evening.