Completely edible Christmas decorations are a particularly festive (and delicious) way to celebrate the season, especially gingerbread houses that are imaginatively created with almost magical precision. Want some inspiration of your own? Visit one of these nine must-see, over-the-top gingerbread displays at luxury hotels right now.
At Waikiki’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Halekulani, you can do much more than admire gingerbread houses made by others — you can get in on the sweet action yourself. Through December 24, the resort will host a bevy of holiday activities, including decorating gingerbread houses, historical holiday tours and hula-dancing lessons. It’s all part of Halekulani’s Twelve Days of Christmas celebration, which culminates with Santa’s canoe arrival on Gray’s Beach at 4:30 p.m. on December 24.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton must know a little something about creating giant gingerbread houses because three of its hotels have unveiled unbelievable versions this holiday season. The Five-Star Dove Mountain locale (just outside of Tucson) unveiled a gingerbread house large enough to host private dinners for up to six guests. The structure itself is made with more than 400 pounds of honey, 856 pounds of sugar and 350 pounds of flour. It even has its own working fireplace. Not to be outdone, the Toronto hotel is showing off a cookie structure that’s 9 feet high and 11 feet wide. The giant confection, on display in the Four-Star hotel’s lobby, took more than 500 hours to make. Use one of the hotel’s available selfie sticks to snap a few Instagram-worthy pics. The Orange County hotel’s gingerbread display is in a galaxy far, far away. Just in time for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Four-Star hotel unveiled “Santa’s Ultimate Beach Star-cation,” where the man in red and his reindeer mingle with R2-D2 and C-3PO on a rocky planet covered with gingerbread, candy, crackers, cereal and pastries. An extra incentive to visit the hotel during the holidays — aside from its prime on-the-beach location — is its Inspirations of a Season package, which includes pool/garden view accommodations, breakfast for two in Raya and a gift.
Whoville has come to coastal Georgia’s Sea Island resort, which hosts Christmas with the Grinch this year. As part of the action, check out the Who gingerbread village and join in on a slew of activities and classes, including building and decorating Who gingerbread houses. There are loads of other holiday-themed things to do here, too, from ornament decorating and getting tucked in by an elf to meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus and participating in the annual yule log musical ceremony. Book a room at the Five-Star The Cloister to be in the middle of all the fairytale fun.
Wynn Las Vegas
While the Four-Star luxury resort sports elaborate holiday window displays, you’ll want to hightail it straight to its newly renovated restaurant, The Buffet. Here you can see the popular and ever-so-intricate gingerbread sculpture. This year’s version features a replica of the Wynn tower made of 1,000 tiles of gingerbread, fondant, marzipan and chocolate. The work of art also includes a spectacular scene from Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers in which Santa and Mrs. Claus take center stage with their reindeer.
This Colorado Springs resort packs in family-friendly activities all year long, but perhaps no season is as busy as Christmastime. One favorite stop for kiddos is the life-sized gingerbread house, crafted by the Five-Star resort’s all-star pastry team. Children can visit the joy-inducing creation on the mezzanine floor of the main building any time. Of course, you can always join in on family-themed festivities like visits with Santa, making a holiday craft, attending story time with Mrs. Claus and listening to a reading of The Night Before Christmas.
Turning Stone Resort Casino
Hidden in Upstate New York’s sprawling Turning Stone Resort Casino is a picture-perfect gingerbread village. Stroll through the almost 70-foot-long sugary wonderland made of 628 pounds of gingerbread dough, 3,500 pastillage pieces, 875 pounds of frosting, 240 pounds of powdered sugar and 323 pounds of candy. It took executive pastry chef Dennis Miller and his team more than 1,400 hours to design, bake and craft the village’s nine detailed buildings and, new this year, a train depot with a moving locomotive.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
This Asheville, North Carolina, resort hosts the National Gingerbread House Competition every November. This year, people from around the country flocked to the hotel to enter the contest; their incredible, edible works of art are on display at the property until January 3. (Grand-prize winner Jennifer Elmore’s Wishing Tree is a thing of beauty and gastronomic ingenuity.) Book the Gingerbread Holiday Bed & Breakfast package and you’ll get an overnight stay, a bountiful breakfast buffet, one gingerbread cookie per guest and valet parking. While you’re visiting, be sure to take time to view the 80 different Christmas trees on display, too.