If you thought hotels were only about spending the night in between shopping and other events during the holiday season, think again. Many properties go above and beyond to provide guests and visitors with an extra dose of the holiday spirit. From Nashville, Tenn.’s Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas
to Asheville, N.C.’s Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa’s National Gingerbread House Competition and Display
to Atlanta, Ga.’s Astor Holiday Rink
at St. Regis , there’s something to make everyone’s holiday a little more memorable.
Discover for yourself this season and perhaps start a new holiday tradition.
photo credit: (top) Santa at the Derby/KaLightoscope; (right) Gingerbread Castle/Gingerbread Village, both courtesy of Marty Pearl and the Galt House
- In addition to their annual Gingerbread Village display in the Carolina lobby, Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C. is hosting a historic walking tour and traditional high tea on Friday, December 18 at 10 a.m. ($25/person, reservations required.) If you’re unable to make it then, you can enjoy live holiday music during Afternoon tea (nominal fee) at 4 p.m. on December 19 and 26.
- It’s snowing at least three times a day at Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge (regionally in Williamsburg, Va., Charlotte, N.C., and Grapevine, Texas) through December 25. This indoor winter wonderland is also packed with a variety of activities, such a North Pole University, where kids can earn degrees for holiday crafts and more. Prices and times vary.
- From the world’s largest life-size Gingerbread Village to the Mistletoe Marketplace and much more, there isn’t any part of Galt House’s (Louisville, Ky.) KaLightscope Christmas you don’t want to miss. Happening through January 3, 2011, new this year is “Colors of the Season” dinner show, created only for this event and KaLightscope. A 15,000-square foot walk-through attraction, KaLightscope features larger-than-life luminaries handcrafted by 30 Chinese artisans from Zigong, China. Treat your ears and eyes as you take in the 12 holiday-themed sections. Times and prices for the activities and events vary.
- It’s the Best of Florida Christmas at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee through January 2, 2011. Everyone will feel like a child again when experiencing such activities as ICE! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to SNOW! (complete with snow tube runs). Prices and times vary. And don’t forget about Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas, with its ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas.Prices and times vary.
- The holiday season is “sweet” at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in Charlotte, N.C. Tour the Gingerbread Village and vote for your favorite ($1 minimum donation) through December 26. On Saturday, December 19, the property is hosting the Ultimate Cupcake & Cookie Challenge, 2 – 4 p.m.
- Make your family’s holiday bright with the Santa Tea at Woodlands Inn in Charleston, S.C. Slated for December 23, 3 – 5 p.m. ($25/adult, $12/child, ages 4-12), make it a weekend and spend Christmas Eve at the inn.
- Get into the holiday mood when you enjoy the carolers at Wilderness in the Smokies in Sevierville, Tenn. performing Friday, December 17, 4 – 8 p.m., and Christmas Eve Day, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Don’t forget to stop by and say hello to Santa, December 17-18, 21-24; hours vary.
- Choose from Breakfast with Santa (December 18 or 19, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.; $25/adult, $19/child) or Teddy Bear Tea (December 18 or 19, 2 p.m.; $28) at the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va. Now who wouldn’t enjoy an evening with Santa before Christmas Eve? On Thursday, December 23 (6 p.m., $15/children), he will make an appearance at the inn.