The gingerbread house is one of those old-school holiday traditions that never goes out of style. Most of us have memories of sticky, icing-coated fingers patching together gingerbread “bricks” and Twizzler doorframes on tiny edible edifices that lasted all of a day before they were demolished by their sugar-crazed builders.
As we get older, the gingerbread-erecting obsession becomes more about architecture than appetite. From traditional candy-coated domiciles to sugar-dusted pirate ships, this year brings a lineup of awe-inducing gingerbread installations at top hotels across the world.
Montage Deer Valley
The Five-Star experience at Montage Deer Valley extends to its holiday installations, which include pastry chef Stephen Jones’ team creating a dozen gingerbread houses to accompany its 12-day yuletide countdown.
Ever wish there were two of the iconic London hotel? Well, that yearning has been (sort of) granted. The accurate, 300-pound gingerbread replica of the lavish Five-Star hotel is just as precious as the original.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Chef Michel Mustiere’s gingerbread mansion weighs in at more than 550 pounds. The castle-like confection makes a formidable impression in the Riviera Maya hotel’s luxurious Zen Lobby.
Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley
Just in time for the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Five-Star lodge unveils a 12-foot-long version of an AT-AT Walker (the combat vehicle that carries Imperial forces) made of more than 50 pounds of molasses and 40 dozen eggs.
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
It only makes sense that a Five-Star luxury behemoth would host Toronto’s largest gingerbread house. The hotel’s main lobby is the place of honor for the edible abode that stands nine feet tall and includes a faux fireplace and movie room.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
The Four-Star Florida escape embraces its seaside location in the creation of its life-sized gingerbread pirate ship. Check out the Four-Star hotel’s bountiful boat, which measures more than 15 feet long.
Island Hotel Newport Beach
The tantalizing take on Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (complete with huge candy canes and oversized lollipops) from this Four-Star Orange County property is sure to appeal to the Charlie in all of us.
Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta
This Four-Star hotel is close to many of the city’s must-see attractions, but this season, it’s hosting one in its own lobby. Pastry chef Louis Ortega created an ornate gingerbread house decorated with more than 2,250 pieces of candy.
The tasty train at this Five-Star Colorado favorite required 288 hours to make. The list of supplies for the wondrous, 12-foot-long ride includes 89 pounds of chocolate, 350 pounds of powered sugar, 55 pounds of fondant, 10 pounds of spices and two pounds of edible gold leaf.
Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa
The Four-Star gem hosts a classic Cape Cod Christmas, and its gingerbread homestead is a quintessential centerpiece. The little house of mirth (and lots of gumballs and jellybeans) is just a hint of the seasonal spirit that permeates the entire property.
The St. Regis Atlanta
The extravagant walk-in gingerbread house at this Four-Star Atlanta hotel is 20 feet wide, 15 feet long and 10 feet tall. Building it was quite the undertaking: It took the team 40 days and 2,000 hours to whip up the candy cane fence, gingerbread bricks and other parts of the scrumptious structure.
Four Seasons Resort Vail
The walk-in gingerbread structure at this Four-Star Vail retreat is like a life-sized Dr. Seuss pop-up book. Kids will love the 14-foot Whoville-inspired abode, which is fittingly called WhoVail.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s gingerbread carousel may just outweigh a circus animal. Its construction required 300 pounds of sugar, 30 pounds of chocolate, 200 pounds of candy, 400 gingerbread pieces and the imagination of John Ringling (who put Sarasota on the map when he relocated his big-top business there).