9 festive US destinations that shine during the holidays


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After the year-and-a-half we’ve all had — and continue to have — everyone deserves a vacation. If you’re itching to get out and explore this holiday season, consider booking a trip to one of these destinations that are positively brimming with Christmas cheer.

Image Credit: therooseveltneworleans.com.

1. The Broadmoor — Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Broadmoor‘s holiday decorations look like they’re straight off a Christmas card. The resort hangs one million sparkling white holiday lights (yes, you read that right!), and its team of expert pastry chefs builds a gigantic gingerbread display from scratch. Last year, they made a life-sized replica of a railroad car, and the year before that, they made a race car!

The stunning resort in Colorado Springs also offers tons of moments of cheer, from Wassail tea service to breakfasts with Santa and gingerbread decorating classes for kids. There’s also the annual Broadmoor Holiday Show featuring Grammy award-winning artist Sheena Easton and other talented musicians who perform while guests enjoy dinner.

If you’re planning to stay until New Year’s, you won’t want to miss the elegant five-course dinner and performance by The Broadmoor Pops Orchestra at the New Year’s Eve Gala (there’s also a New Year’s Eve Bash party if that’s more your style!). Throughout weekends in December, you can ride the kid-friendly Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak, then have hot chocolate and cookies when your train returns to the depot afterward (plus grab a photo with Santa!).

Image Credit: broadmoor.com/holidays/.

2. Casa Marina Key West — Key West, Florida

If your idea of the perfect winter getaway involves escaping to a place with sun and sand, pack your bags for a trip to Casa Marina Key West. The Waldorf Astoria resort likes to put its own unique tropical twist on the standard holiday traditions. Case in point: The resort’s master sand sculpture Marianne van den Broek builds an 11-foot Christmas tree completely out of sand. The cheeky masterpiece is decorated with holiday lights, marine decor and a star on top, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

Image Credit: Casa Marina Key West – A Waldorf Astoria Resort / Facebook.

3. The Roosevelt — New Orleans

Prepare your eyes for one of the most stunning holiday displays you’ve ever seen. Since the 1930s, The Roosevelt has decked out its block-long “Waldorf Wonderland Lobby” with truly gorgeous lights, evergreen trees and other twinkling decor. This year, hotel staff added more than 20,000 extra lights and double the bows and garland to create an ultra-festive environment. All told, there are 44 Christmas trees, 135,572 lights, 2,200 glass ornaments, 698 hand-tied bows and 3,328 feet of winter branches — now that’s some serious holiday decorating!

Lobby aside, the hotel is an idyllic place to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and enjoy some much-needed family time. They host an annual Teddy Bear Tea for little ones complete with Rudolph, a snow princess, Mrs. Claus and Santa himself.

Following an indulgent, centuries-old New Orleans tradition, the hotel’s Fountain Lounge restaurant serves a four-course Reveillon dinner with dishes like oyster, duck gumbo and seared scallops with snap peas, cauliflower, almond and grapefruit gremolata. They’re also hosting a decadent Christmas brunch with live music and delicious fare.

Image Credit: therooseveltneworleans.com.

4. The Little Nell — Aspen, Colorado

If your idea of the perfect winter vacation involves hitting the slopes and sipping cocktails by a cozy fireplace, then book a stay at The Little Nell in Aspen — it’s truly what Christmas dreams are made of. The Little Nell is nestled right up against the ski slopes so you only have to walk a few paces to get on the gondola (and the hotel’s ski concierge can take care of everything from gear rentals to lessons).

Plus, when you decide to call it quits for the day, you can enjoy apres-ski drinks and snacks at the hotel’s Ajax Tavern, right at the base of the mountain (which is, incidentally, also a great spot for people-watching!).

The hotel offers everything you need to be cozy and comfortable (and then some!), including suites and vacation rentals if your family needs a little extra room to spread out. While the snow falls outside, enjoy a hot stone massage at the health center or a glass of wine at The Wine Bar while a live DJ spins funky, throwback records.

Image Credit: thelittlenell / Instagram.

5. The Cavalier Hotel — Virginia Beach, Virginia

The historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach is the epitome of glitz and glamour — and that extends to the holiday season, too. The hotel, which was lovingly restored in 2018, has hosted everyone from 10 U.S. presidents to celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra.

At Christmas time, the hotel becomes even more stunning and stately, with beautiful holiday decor and festive events like breakfast with Santa and a three-course Christmas dinner at Becca Restaurant and Garden.

Image Credit: The Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club / Facebook.

6. The Drake — Chicago, Illinois

The Drake has been a glamorous downtown Chicago fixture since it first opened on New Year’s Eve in 1920. The hotel’s elaborately decorated grand foyer is a real showstopper and features a gorgeous Christmas tree, holiday flowers, carolers, a harpist and more than 150 colorful holiday-themed flourishes.

There’s also an incredible gingerbread village created by the hotel’s expert pastry chefs in collaboration with students at St. Ignatius High School. It took them more than 80 hours to create using 300 pounds of powdered sugar, 20 pounds of meringue mix, 150 pounds of candy and 45 sheet pans of gingerbread. For little ones, there’s even a red mailbox in the lobby for sending letters directly to Santa Claus (and he even promises to write back!) and a special “The Cat in the Hat” package.

The Drake, which overlooks Lake Michigan and sits at the north end of The Magnificent Mile, is known for its elegant afternoon tea service and, during the holidays, the hotel pulls out all the stops. The holiday tea at Palm Court features delicate pastry tiers, soul-warming French teas and carolers.

Image Credit: The Drake Hotel (140 E Walton Pl, Chicago) / Facebook.

7. The Logan — Philadelphia

If you love going all-out with Christmas decorations at home but also want to plan a festive getaway this year, book into The Logan‘s seasonal “Holiday Lodge” suite for the best of both worlds. The 1,400-square-foot suite is totally decked out in seasonal decor, including a Christmas tree, festive bedding, holiday lights and tons of decorations that will help you feel right at home. You can even get a specialty hot chocolate or eggnog cart rolled right to your room, decorate sugar cookies or have a full-course dinner served in the suite’s dining room.

Guests with little ones in tow will appreciate that they can book an exclusive meet-and-greet with Santa that includes storytelling with Mrs. Claus and her elf, a holiday movie party, cookie and ornament decorating, a hot chocolate bar and more.

Image Credit: The Logan – Philadelphia’s Hotel / Facebook.

8. Brush Creek Ranch — Saratoga, Wyoming

Situated among the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, Brush Creek Ranch is a true winter wonderland with miles of snowshoeing trails and tons of holiday activities like sleigh rides and cookies and milk — it’s the perfect place to really get away from it all and reconnect with family and friends during the busy Christmas season.

With its cozy private cabins and lodge rooms decked out in holiday decor (you can even request your own Christmas tree!), plus daily experiences like horseback riding and shooting sports, the 30,000-acre working cattle ranch can add a touch of the Wild West to your holidays this year. Guests can participate in fun mixology and cooking classes, go ice skating, do wine tastings and indulge in special holiday meals at the Cheyenne Club to get into the spirit.

When you stay at the ranch, you’ll also have access to its private Green Mountain retreat, which features 600 acres of downhill skiing terrain and more.

Image Credit: Brush Creek Ranch / Facebook.

9. Conrad Fort Lauderdale — Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Let’s be honest: moving your family’s “Elf on the Shelf” every night and coming up with clever new ways to rearrange him can get exhausting. The team at Conrad Fort Lauderdale feels your pain and, to make parents’ lives easier around the holiday season, they’ve created a new “Elf on the Shelf” butler who can take care of all the hard work for you. The butler creates elaborate displays each day that will really wow your kids.

The hotel also has other festive happenings, ranging from video chats with Santa to a gift-wrapping service and more.


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Image Credit: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach (Fort Lauderdale, FL) / Facebook.

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