Admit it: When you see all the dancing holiday lights and festive store displays, you get as giddy as a little girl on Christmas Eve. As an outlet for that inner child (or that real eight-year-old traveling with you), some upscale hotels around the country have opened decked-out playlands. Our excited editors have unwrapped five toy stores packed with vintage games, life-size dollhouses and build-your-own animal stations sure to send imaginations running wild this season.
JouJou, The Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City
JouJou (French for toy) is a boutique at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City and combines exceptional interactive play centers with handcrafted classic toys, games and vintage-inspired candies. The creative play space includes a whimsical enchanted forest protected by a 7-foot dragon, as well as the Princess Proper, where little ones can play dress up in European princess costumes. Kids can also see their own customized robot come to life under the watchful eye of an 8-foot robot in the Robot Republic area, and watch the floor light up as they dance to the tunes of the Candy Organ.
The Broadmoor Children’s Shop, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
Entertain youngsters with classic games, trinkets, a candy buffet—stocked with everything from gummy worms to jawbreakers—and a selection of plush animals at The Broadmoor Children’s Shop in Colorado Springs. Whether your little ones are into trains or dolls, you’ll likely find them just the right toys at this well-edited boutique bursting with unique novelties. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s shop also has specialty gift items and children’s clothes from labels such as Haven Girl, Polo Ralph Lauren and Milly. Stop in during the holidays for fun crafts with the kids like stocking making and face painting.
Eloise at The Plaza, The Plaza Hotel, New York
Inspired by the children’s book about a mischievous 6-year-old girl who lives on the top floor of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Plaza Hotel in New York, Eloise at The Plaza is a playhouse for fans of all ages. Delve into the pink shop for Eloise-inspired items including dolls, books, bath towels and robes. You can relax in true Eloise style in the Living Room and play dress up in the Fashion Room; the Library Room features Eloise movies, computer stations and story time. Complete the Eloise experience by getting pampered in the boutique’s Beauty Salon.
Fizzy’s Land of Oz, The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
With a name like Fizzy’s Land of Oz, you know it’s going to be an adventure. The toy store at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs is brimming with toys and interactive, imaginative decor, but the must-do attraction here is the build-your-own stuffed animal station. Children select the animal they want and a giant “gumball” machine of stuffing fills the new toy right before their eyes. Kids (or adults) get an adoption certificate and a carrying case to take home, too. On Saturdays during the holiday season, Santa drops in for photo ops with the kids. Those looking to give can buy a toy from Fizzy’s Land of Oz to put under the Create a Dream Tree for Kids, part of the resort’s holiday gift drive that will donate more than $1 million in toys to charity.
Movers & Shakers Kids Toys, The American Club, Kohler, Wis.
The fairytale experience starts the moment you step through the door at Movers & Shakers Kids Toys, located in The Shops at Woodlake at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The American Club resort in Kohler, Wis. It’s chock-full of games, books and toys ranging from eco-friendly building blocks and art supplies to plush stuffed animals and magic and science kits. The boutique also has a drop box so kids can mail their letters to the North Pole. And the big man himself stops by for Saturdays with Santa, an event that runs throughout the holiday season.
Photos Courtesy of The Plaza, The Grand American Hotel and Kohler Co.