While Texas may not be much of a winter wonderland (you’ll find more cactus here than evergreen), these yuletide happenings at luxurious Austin hotels will have you in the holiday spirit in no time.
This beautiful and historic hotel shines during the holiday season. A tall, glorious evergreen will greet you in the entrance, and twinkling boughs wind up the stairways for a truly festive feel. Stop by in the afternoon to enjoy high tea with traditional tea sandwiches and desserts, then return at night for performances ranging from choir music and string quartets in the lobby to acoustic singer-songwriters playing alongside the flickering fireplace in the bar and lounge. Be sure to make reservations for a refined five-course prix-fixe Christmas dinner at The Driskill Grill, too. Dishes will include tasty plates such as roasted pear and parsnip bisque, a caramelized sweet onion tartlet and truffle-butter roasted game hen.
The lobby of this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel transforms annually into a magical gingerbread village, and this year’s theme is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Each gingerbread house took pastry chefs up to 30 hours to construct due to the intricacy of the Whoville neighborhood. As in years past, the houses will be sold to sponsors to raise money for The Shivers Center, an Austin facility for cancer care. Four Seasons also offers a traditional tea service, as well as a teddy-bear tea with Santa for kids (think fireside reading and holiday caroling). The Lobby Lounge, meanwhile, has developed several special holiday cocktails, such as the We Three Kings, made with añejotequila, frankincense, allspice-infused syrup and smoky bitters. The hotel’s signature restaurant, TRIO, will be offering a not-to-be-missed, decadent Christmas Day brunch with options such as gingerbread pancakes and sweet-potato gnocchi.
Austin’s largest outdoor ice rink, measuring 4,100 square feet, goes toe to toe with golf for the title of favorite winter feature at this resort. The rink twinkles with 200,000 lights and stays open until January 6. Skating tickets, as well as hot cocoa, mulled cider and s’mores kits, can be purchased within the hotel’s holiday shop, which also glitters with ornaments, gifts and home décor. After a skate session, warm up with a seasonal spa treatment, such as a chocolate peppermint pedicure or brown sugar scrub, followed by a holiday cocktail from the 8212 Wine Bar & Grill. If you’re staying at the hotel on Christmas Eve, you’ll even receive a customized stocking delivered by Santa’s elves that night.
Photos Courtesy of Omni Barton Creek, Four Seasons Austin and Veronica Meewes