There’s something special about a warm drink on a chilly December day. And while ciders and teas certainly have their place, nothing pleases the palate quite like a creamy hot chocolate. Though simple fixings do the trick most time, several hotels have gone a step further, satisfying the sweet tooth with luxe versions of the winter treat that would soothe even Ebenezer Scrooge.
Four Seasons Resort Vail
Once you’ve tired yourself out on the slopes of Vail, head to the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Resort Vail’s Fireside Lounge for “Haut Chocolat.” Executive chef Jason Harrison’s steamy treat is a lesson in decadence from start to finish. The wintertime drink arrives at your table in a traditional French hot chocolate pot sitting on a silver tray. The rich mixture of Valrhona chocolate and steamed milk is churned and frothed tableside, and then poured through a delicate dark chocolate lattice placed atop your cup and over homemade chocolate marshmallows.
Blantyre, Lenox, Mass.
Tucked away in the Berkshire Mountains, this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star inn hearkens back to the Gilded Age with its Tudor-style mansion. Whichever activity you choose—be it ice-skating at the on-site rink or exploring the cross-country trails—you’ll want to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa afterward. Blantyre’s impressive hot chocolate menu includes eight options, ranging from milk chocolate to semi-sweet to dark. Special creations include white chocolate and coffee—from renowned Belgian chocolatier Callebaut—and semi-sweet El Rey chocolate with melted Blantyre caramels.
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
This Windy City hotel elevates service of the seasonal drink thanks to its Hot Chocolate Doc, a staff member who makes rounds throughout the hotel between 4 and 6 p.m. daily. Kids can top their mug off with everything from sprinkles and chocolate shavings to marshmallows and peppermint sticks. Adults can spice things up with Cointreau, flavored Schnapps, Godiva Liqueur or Kahlúa. You can also venture into Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s signature restaurant Allium for the wintertime Chocolate Indulgence menu (which includes Mexican hot chocolate made with guajillo chili pepper, and served with churros and dulce de leche) and executive chef Kevin Hickey’s Haute Chocolate served with homemade spiced marshmallows and pumpkin truffle. Tip: Kick any of them up a notch with a shot of cinnamon tequila.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Marana, Ariz.
If you can’t quite handle the cold, head just outside Tucson to Marana, Ariz. for a slightly different type of hot chocolate. While you’re wading in the water or taking a break from a few laps, ask for a mug of hot chocolate from the Turquesa Pool’s hot cocoa butler who serves up the wintertime treat in December and January. The resort’s rendition of the drink is inspired by the Mayans, who created a similar version more than 2,000 years ago. It includes ingredients such as Ibarra cocoa—an authentic Mexican brand—dark chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. For a double dose of sweetness, top yours off with whipped cream and marshmallows.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons and Blantyre