We would never tell our grandmother this, but we could use a change of scenery on December 25. Don’t get us wrong. We love the familiar sights of plastic-covered couches and doily-topped tables but having a backdrop of a sandy beach or an elegant downtown hotel would be a pleasant change of pace.
These following 20 hotels think so, which is why they’ve made it so appealing to pack up the troops (yes, granny, too) and take Christmas on the road this year.
For even more holiday inspiration, check out our #HotelsForTheHolidays campaign across our various social media channels.
The Towers at Lotte New York Palace
There’s nowhere quite like The Big Apple during the holidays, and this elegant Four-Star tower wants to help you experience the magic in style. Book the Kick Up Your Holiday Season package to receive 20 percent off your exclusive accommodations and 25 percent off tickets to the world-famous Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes.
Before you head off to the show, don’t forget to snap a selfie or two in front of the property’s spectacularly trimmed tree — and be sure to grab your gratis popcorn and beverage voucher from your Rockettes swag bag.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
You’ll spot Christmas cheer in nearly every direction surrounding this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property, from Bondi Beach’s Carols By The Sea (Dec. 12) to the east and Rosehill Gardens’ Sydney Santa Spectacular (Dec. 7-30) to the northwest.
Though the hotel’s own Family Fun promotion isn’t holiday themed, seeing as how you’re gifted with daily breakfast, an in-room movie, kid-friendly welcome items and more, it’ll feel like you’re unwrapping presents your whole stay.
Hammock Beach Resort, A Salamander Resort
Whoever organizes this St. Augustine escape’s activity calendar must have a jovial spirit because the property’s itinerary is always bustling. Of course, with the holidays upon us, things are only heightened with elf tuck-ins, nightly seasonal treats in the lobby and spa specials.
Book the Hammock for the Holidays package right now to take advantage of those goodies while also receiving 20 percent off stays of two nights or longer plus a daily $25 resort credit.
Author/screenwriter Karen Schaler’s Christmas Camp comes to life on the big screen this winter and at this Four-Star Scottsdale retreat (Dec. 7-15). The experience will consist of a book signing with the author, cooking classes, spa specials and more.
The overnight package accompanying those festivities is stuffed with so much fun (a copy of the book, champagne, daily breakfast) that you’ll feel like the star of your own holiday production.
Faneuil Hall’s Christmas tree is a sight to behold. At 80 feet tall and adorned with more than 30,000 lights, it’s one of the Hub’s brightest signs of the season. And lucky for you, your room at the Four-Star InterContinental Boston is close enough (maybe a brisk 10-minute walk) that you might see a flicker from your room. But even if you can’t, the hotel’s lobby will be so decked out that you can’t help but get into a celebratory mood whenever you walk in.
The Watergate Hotel
This stylish D.C. address launched a rooftop ice skating rink last year that was so well received that it’s back in 2018. So, too, are The Next Whiskey Bar igloos, only this year the 12-foot structures have a fresh look and they feature some appetizing new options, such as three-course tasting menus and whiskey flights. As if that weren’t enough to warm your spirits, the new hot toddy cart is equipped with enough liquid fire to do the trick.
We hate being the Scrooge, but most of the holiday events (lunch with Santa, gingerbread-decorating classes) at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel in Little Rock have already sold out. Luckily, the Christmas afternoon teas (Dec. 3-7, 10-14 and 17-21) and chef Joël Antunes’ seasonal dinners at One Eleven at the Capital haven’t reached capacity just yet. But they sound so delicious that we wouldn’t be surprised if they filled up soon.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and rustic charm, this Four-Star mountain resort is the perfect place to hide out for the holidays. And with 12 Days of Wonder on tap, your end-of-year escape at this Colorado retreat is sure to be merry and bright.
From a Winter Solstice kick-off party on Dec. 21 (complete with s’mores and hot cider, of course) to a magical Christmas Eve with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a Mats and Mimosas yoga class on New Year’s Day — and plenty of slope-side adventures in between — you’ll be spoiled for ways to celebrate the season.
Pratt Place Inn and Barn
For a taste of a quaint country winter, check into one of the eight cozy accommodations here. Though the picturesque venue is sold out on Christmas, the weeks surrounding it are wide open, providing a quiet escape in the Arkansas countryside.
While you’re in town, get into the spirit of the season with a stroll through Lights of the Ozarks, a wintry wonderland on display each evening through New Year’s Eve in Fayetteville’s Downtown Square. Nightly carriage and pony rides, steaming cups of hot chocolate and festive holiday music make this jovial gathering one for the memory books.
Park Hyatt Chicago
Celebrate the season in the Windy City with the Navy Pier’s annual Winter Wonderfest. On display through January 6, this local tradition features 170,000 square feet of holiday cheer, including rides, giant slides, the Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating rink and twinkling lights.
When you’re ready for a cocoa break, head just about a mile west to rest your head at Four-Star Park Hyatt Chicago, where a cool art collection and warm staff make your stay extra comforting.
The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel
Whether you observe Hanukkah, Christmas or Festivus, this Portland boutique hotel invites all revelers to its 12 Days of Whatever You Celebrate. Expect an eclectic slate of events: instead of caroling, the OK Chorale PDX pop chorus performs with established area musicians (December 11); the Portland Saturday Market, the country’s largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market, moves into the hotel lobby for last-minute shopping (December 12); learn seasonal pairings during champagne tastings (December 13); and “Silent Night” is replaced with a silent disco (December 18).
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest
Immerse yourself in twinkling lights and festive-season feels when you visit Budapest’s Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square. One of the oldest holiday markets in the country, the annual gathering offers locally made handicrafts and comfort foods through Dec. 29, but be sure to stop by on Sundays at 4 p.m. to enjoy the lighting of the Advent candles on a massive wreath followed by sweet songs performed by a local choir.
Just a five-minute walk from the jovial market sits Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest. Stop in after shopping for cheese and charcuterie at Kupola Bar, or book into a contemporary-chic room to enjoy spectacular city views.
It’s a holly jolly holiday in Naperville, Illinois, where Santa comes to town on Dec. 16. Visit this Four-Star hotel to snap some memorable family photos with Old Saint Nick, make Christmas crafts with elves and indulge in a bountiful breakfast buffet piled high with seasonally inspired treats (brioche French toast with bourbon maple syrup, brown-sugar-bacon-glazed turkey breast) and a hot chocolate bar in the lobby — merrymosas and bloody merrys will also be on offer for those looking for a little extra holiday cheer.
After an action-packed morning, head up to your cozy accommodations for a well-deserved nap on your choice of seven signature pillows — we’re partial to the warm and soothing Cherry Stone Thermal option.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa
Where better to eat, drink and be merry than at a Four-Star resort tucked into a scenic winemaking estate? On Christmas Eve, dig into a four-course feast from the Carmel Valley property’s Four-Star Lucia Restaurant & Bar, complete with vineyard views and good cheer.
A menu of Italian-influenced California cuisine — including a Christmas salad of farro, baby beets and feta cheese; fontina and basil ravioli; and lemon caramel semifreddo — paired with local vintages is sure to leave your group in a festive mood.
COMO Metropolitan London
The England from Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol may have been bleak, but the modern British capital is anything but when the holidays come around.
Case in point: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland lights up the night with live shows (Peter Pan on Ice, comedy performances and jaw-dropping acts in the Circus MegaDome), sweet treats and, of course, visits to Santa’s grotto.
For a stylish stay just steps from the action, book a room at Four-Star COMO Metropolitan London. Be sure to warm up with flavorful flame-grilled fare from the Park Lane hotel’s recently opened Gridiron by COMO.
Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel
At this traditional 1875 San Francisco hotel, partake in untraditional holiday rituals. Sip hot buttered rum and other Bay Area distillery tipples and nosh on rum-infused bites during a “meet the maker” tasting (December 6), gather your trivia-savvy friends and don your gaudiest Christmas knitwear for the Ugly Sweater Trivia Party (December 11) and mingle with singles over cookie construction at the adults-only Gingerbread House Maker & Mixer (December 18) at the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel.
For another authentic experience, book this Five-Star hotel’s Bavarian Artisan Christmas Shopping package. You will get a private tour of the Nymphenburg porcelain manufactory and archives and then enjoy tea in the Nymphenburg palais’ Blue Salon. You’ll also receive a map and insider tips for those charming Munich Christmas markets, all of which are a short stroll from the hotel.
Pechanga Resort Casino
Even though the San Diego area won’t see snow this winter, it won’t be any less festive. Pechanga decks its grounds with more than 500,000 lights, dozens of towering trees, topiaries, oversized wreaths, wrought-iron reindeer and more. It also constructs a Candy Land Village and oversized gingerbread house from confections. And Santa stops by to take some photos with guests.
If you really want snow, pick up tickets to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas musical at the 1,200-seat Pechanga Theater (December 21-23).
The Resort at Paws Up
You don’t have to rough it at this Montana glamping getaway during the holidays. Glide through the snow on a sleigh ride, compete in a gingerbread-house-building contest, zip along in a snowmobile or try out skijoring. As part of the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel’s Christmas package, you’ll receive a decorated tree (or if you prefer, supplies to festoon your own). If you’ve been good, Santa will pull up to your room to place gifts under the tree.
The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna
Quaint markets make Vienna a holiday vision, but this Four-Star hotel tops them all with the highest market in the city. The eighth-floor rooftop spot serves Christmas punch and mulled wine, alongside handmade chocolate-dipped bananas and indulgent Mont D’or fondue. Warm up in the Alpine Chalet, a rustic but cozy hut in the market complete with a small bar.
If you prefer innovative libations over traditional tipples, exit the market and go to the hotel’s molecular-gastronomy-influenced D-Bar, where the winter menu tempts with Holy Champagne (Havana rum, lime juice, sage, Angostura bitters, champagne).