Winter brings with it shorter days and colder temperatures, but also the chance for hotels around the world to go all out with creative and stunning decorations that lift everyone’s spirits. Filled with opulent Christmas trees, over-the-top gingerbread houses and magical ice-skating rinks, these properties prove that this is the season to be jolly.
Designed by fashion maven (and longtime guest) Diane von Furstenberg, The Tree of Love takes pride of place in the hotel’s art deco lobby for the holidays. Almost 20 feet tall, the tree is decorated with more than 8,000 hand-painted silver-leafed leaves, glass spheres and 150 hand-blown glass hearts.
Windsor Court Hotel
New Orleans is a city that knows how to celebrate — and not just during Mardi Gras. You can find that same over-the-top mentality at this Four-Star retreat, where the lobby is decked out for the holidays with an almost 20-foot-tall Christmas tree lit up with more than 25,000 twinkling white lights. Also look out for more than 1,500 feet of gold magnolia garland winding its way throughout the English-themed property.
For a festive overnight, book the Golden Holiday Package in a suite, which includes its own trimmed tree and other treats.
Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
This stylish stay set on Recreation Pier overlooking Inner Harbor is the ideal base for enjoying Christmas Village in Baltimore. Running through Christmas Eve, the German-style market is a not-to-miss Charm City experience, complete with a 21-foot tree and an ice-skating rink.
Back inside the hotel, cozy up next to an enormous Christmas tree in the lounge or check out other creative decorations throughout the property, including plenty of vibrant poinsettias.
Across from the White House, this historic Four-Star hotel has played host to all sorts of important movers and shakers over the years.
Come winter, the Washington, D.C., property makes way for Santa with seven Christmas trees, including a 12-foot blue and silver spruce in the main lobby, trimmed with iridescent Murano glass balls and artichoke-shaped ornaments.
For overnight guests, fun treats consist of personalized gifts at turndown and, on Christmas Eve, stockings filled with chocolates, nuts, mandarin oranges and more.
Waldorf Astoria Park City
During your holiday visit to this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort, you’re greeted with a gorgeous 30-foot-tall Christmas tree in the Grand Lobby and festive touches such as a colorful gingerbread house and a striking grand staircase decorated with pinecone- and gold-accented garland.
The joviality continues outdoors with winter activities, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding and a chance to build your own Frosty in Snowman Alley with the help of a dedicated kit from the hotel.
Hotel Plaza Athénée Paris
An iconic hotel for decades, this fashionable Five-Star address has welcomed everyone from Grace Kelly to Rihanna, so it only makes sense that it would be decked out to the hilt during the holidays.
The lobby is a winter wonderland of red and green, while its courtyard ice-skating rink is simply magical.
After the outdoor fun, make your way inside for pastry chef Angelo Musa’s unique take on a yule log — composed of seven vanilla-flavored, snow-covered fir trees with chocolate bushes, it’s a dessert for the ages.
Belmond Charleston Place
While it may not feel like winter outside in this charming Southern city, step inside this Four-Star grand dame and you’ll be transported to a magical holiday setting.
The lobby boasts five large Fraser fir trees, plus a breathtaking and fully operational replica of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. This amazing display sports more than 300 feet of track, an alpine village, hand-painted trees and a working ski lift.
Families can also soak up the seasonal magic during a popular Teddy Bear Tea in the Thoroughbred Club on Sundays in December.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa
While you may not be able to build a snowman in the traditional sense at this waterfront Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort, you can erect one out of white sand on its beautiful beach as you soak up the sun this holiday.
Featuring seashell, starfish and fishing net ornaments, the Grand Cayman property’s Christmas tree proves just as festive as any in a cold-weather climate. And if you find yourself in a decorative mood, you can personalize ornaments with glitter pens and add them to the tree.