Now that colder weather has officially arrived, there’s nothing more festive than a lap or two around an ice rink. Better yet, do it at a luxury hotel’s onsite rink, where you also can enjoy post-skate hot cocktails and comfort food. From Chicago to Colorado, here are our four picks for this season’s best:
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel goes all out during the holiday season, especially when its Boulevard Pool transforms into an ice skating rink. The property’s rink opened November 22, decked out with real ice, fire pits, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. Once you’ve sufficiently skated to your heart’s content, hop off the ice and have seasonal treats such as toasted housemade cashew butter and roasted strawberry jam sandwiches, beef chili or grilled corn bread with aged cheddar right by the rink. Be sure to wash everything down with warm cocktails such as the Buena Vista (a play on a traditional Irish coffee with Jameson Irish whiskey, brown sugar syrup and coffee) or the rink’s signature Campfire Delight (Van Gogh Dutch chocolate vodka, crème de cacao, RumChata and marshmallow).
Aside from the rink’s regular skating hours, the Las Vegas hotel also organizes designated nights such as Date Skate Mondays, where holiday movies such as The Polar Express, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and It’s a Wonderful Life will play on a 65-inch marquee, and Industry Skate Wednesdays, where DJs such as Miss Joy — who plays frequently at onsite hot spot Bond — will spin the tunes as you practice your triple toe loops. Its second year, the rink will host another New Year’s Eve celebration, this one featuring a live stream of Grammy Award-winning artist Bruno Mars’ concert at The Chelsea, as well as midnight fireworks and stunning views of the Strip. Open through January 5, 2014
Head out west to Colorado’s popular ski town for a stay at this charming Four-Star property. Located at the base of the lift in the ski village, the luxury hotel sits in a prime location for all of your winter activities, including ice skating. The town’s Mountain Village Ice Rink, which opened on November 24, is mere steps from Hotel Madeline’s front door, meaning you can easily plan a few laps around in your skates pre- or post-skiing. (In case you forgot to bring a pair, you also can rent some from BootDoctors, which is located in Mountain Village Center.)
Like any mountain town, temperatures during the winter months are chilly, so you’re bound to need some warming up after your time on the rink. Thankfully, Hotel Madeline’s SMAK Bar, located on the main floor, offers two tasty seasonal cocktails that are sure to give you an extra boost of energy. Choose the Revelation (peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate served in an oversized mug, complete with a chocolate lattice covering and three boozy truffles) or the Plunge (European sipping chocolate, Godiva liqueur, a touch of Grand Marnier and topped off with lightly torched mini marshmallows). Then nosh on delicious bites such as crispy beef short rib tacos, a salmon BLT or Colorado lamb sliders. Open through mid-March
While some may complain that wintertime in Chicago is a matter of endurance more than anything else, holidays in the Windy City can prove to be a magical time. Pay a visit to this Five-Star treasure for some unforgettable ice skating. The luxury hotel’s rink, situated next to its Four-Star restaurant, Shanghai Terrace, is positioned four stories up, providing unbeatable views of the nearby John Hancock Center and Michigan Avenue. It’s the only hotel ice rink in the city. Another reason to lace up here: The Peninsula is also all about giving back — 100 percent of the money made from its skate season is donated to two children’s charities, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Hephzibah Children’s Association.
While access to the rink is only $10 for adults and $5 for kids up to 12 years of age, the priceless setting feels like a winter wonderland, complete with pine trees, festive music and snowflake lighting for the perfect backdrop. Aside from your time on the ice, the Chicago hotel also offers a hearty selection of snacks, such as warm pretzel sticks with cheese dip, spiced nuts and beignets (regular or pistachio), in addition to beverages such as local organic cider with cinnamon sticks, hot chocolate and glühwein (mulled wine). Open through March 3, 2014
While the South may not experience freezing temperatures and snow like other destinations during the winter months, you can still find an ice rink under a tent at Four-Star hotel The St. Regis Atlanta. The luxury property’s Astor Holiday Rink, where it holds court over the 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza, opened November 27 for the season. Skate there seven days a week (Monday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and enjoy seasonal treats such as creamy hot cocoa and gooey s’mores alongside the outdoor fireplace. You can even arrange to rent out the rink for a children’s party, complete with custom cakes and appearances from Santa Claus. A piece of advice before you head out on your skate outing: Make reservations ahead of time with one of the holiday butlers. Pricing is $30 per hour for adults and $18 per hour for kids under the age of 16. Open through January 5, 2014
Photos Courtesy of Hotel Madeline Telluride, Cosmopolitan Vegas and The Peninsula Chicago