Just as trees empty of leaves and the air chills, ice skating rinks start popping up. Hotels, in particular, are delivering memorable skating scenes, from a sky-high rink overlooking the New York City skyline to one tucked among the blinking neon lights of flashy Vegas Strip marquees.
With the pandemic, the outdoor activity is an even more attractive option, providing a safe way to exercise and enjoy the crisp winter air. While these below spots provide you with skates, do bring a face covering, as one is required for entry.
Gaze at incredible Manhattan views as you glide across the outdoor rooftop rink at this Brooklyn boutique hotel. Perched on the 23rd floor, Vale Rink is made of sustainable synthetic ice. Reservations are required for the 50-minute skating slots Wednesdays to Sundays. The rink operates at reduced capacity through early spring 2021. And don’t worry about the cold — when you need to warm up, you can take a break in the heated enclosure.
The snow-blanketed Alps surround this picturesque outdoor rink with a rich skating history. The St. Moritz hotel’s ice rink hosted figure skating competitions during the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Games, the only two to be held in Switzerland. While you don’t need to be an Olympian to skate here, you can hone your skills with the help of the Saint Moritz Skating Club, which offers an ice skating teacher who gives lessons. The club used to exist at this location — before skiing was popular and people joined other ice sports — and Kulm revived it two years ago.
The hotel transformed its fifth-floor terrace into Winter Village, a 1,800-square-foot synthetic, eco-friendly skating rink lined by cabanas. Skate against the backdrop of the scenic Inner Harbor and the Baltimore skyline. Afterward, linger in the cozy cabanas outfitted with blankets, pillows, a TV and a fire pit (available for two-hour rentals), and indulge in warming treats like crepes, Bavarian pretzel sticks with white cheddar sauce, hot chocolate with housemade marshmallows and piping-hot cider.
Kohler, Wisconsin’s second annual Winter Wonderland pop-up unleashes outdoor snowy fun like cross-country skiing, fat tire biking, snowshoeing and skating. Just a three-minute drive from the Five-Star hotel (a complimentary shuttle is available), the expanded 60-by-90-foot ice rink is set near two barns. One barn offers you warm shelter and a hot chocolate bar, while the other houses curling lanes. If you want to try another sport, give ice bowling a whirl.
Get your own private rink by checking into the NYC hotel’s Penthouse. The Penthouse Holiday Spectacular package includes the use of a rink on its 2,000-square-foot terrace overlooking Central Park and the city, a four-course meal from acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten served in your dining room, a Juilliard-train pianist to play in your suite, family photos shot by fashion photographer Alexei Hay, an after-hours Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree, a private Nutcracker performance in your penthouse or a VIP box at Lincoln Center, access to an FAO Schwarz holiday playroom and much more.
Nestled among towering pines, this 4,600-square-foot ice rink immerses you in the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Hotel guests get priority for the daily sessions (2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.) through April, while the public can only reserve a spot until December 18 and then after January 4. Pair your skating with a Peppermint Frost (with Rumple Minze, Chocolate Godiva liqueur, hot cocoa and whipped cream) or trek to the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Chalet for some bubbly.
You’ll have ample room to nail your lutz at one of Europe’s largest open-air ice skating rinks. The Zurich hotel’s sprawling 64,583-square-foot ice parcel easily allows for social distancing and it’s free to those staying at the property. A massive lit-up tree in the rink’s center makes the laps even more festive. Follow it up with a visit to Dolder Lodge, a retro ski lodge that serves delectable fondue or Älplermagronen, a hearty Swiss macaroni and cheese.
Ice skating outside in the desert sounds like an oxymoron. But this Vegas hotel makes it happen, converting its pool into a 4,200-square-foot rink made of real ice. The holiday tradition includes spaced-out fire pits to cook up s’mores and a menu of childhood favorites (like grilled cheese and tomato soup) and spiked drinks (like Egg Noggy Nog with Maker’s Mark bourbon and RumChata). As you zip around the ice, take in the Strip’s neon lights or classic holiday flicks projected on a 65-foot screen.