The holidays are in full effect and everywhere you look are colorful displays of Christmas trees, the aroma of fresh baked cookies in the air and sparkling red and green lights donning homes and businesses. Hotels around the country are joining the festivities by putting their own unique twists and touches on decorations. Here are six of our favorites:
InterContinental Paris – Le Grand
In collaboration with Ladurée, InterContinental Paris - Le Grand has hopped on the edible display train with a nearly 14-foot-tall macaron Christmas tree. Constructed with 8,000 cookies, the tree takes its cue from the Paris Carnival with bold colors of green, red, black, yellow, and blue and finished with an Elizabethan ruffle collar. A team of 50 people spent two weeks creating the macaron presentation, this also marks 150 years of shared history between the hotel and Ladurée.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
Getting into the holiday spirit is fairly easy when you’re staring at an 8-foot-tall gingerbread replica of the Gateway Arch. Built to scale, the sweet display sits in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis and includes a small gingerbread village. Santa’s house, an ice rink, and a collection of homes and shops all decorate the exhibit. With the help of a dedicated staff using 60 pounds of gingerbread, the project took 120 hours to complete. Since it’s the season of giving, the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef — one of Desert Professional magazine’s “Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America” — created a special line of chocolate bars, jams and other sweet treats for sale. A portion of their proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Known among locals for its holiday decorations, Charleston Place hotel’s fully operational miniature replica of a Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train takes center stage among its decorations. In between its open-arm grand staircase, the custom designed locomotive travels at average scale speeds of 70 MPH, featuring a smokestack, whistle, and covers more than 300 feet of track. Intricate hand-painted trees on an eight-foot mountain and a working ski lift are all part of the display. Surrounding it are miniature European Alpine homes, realistic stables, tiny churches, and a blacksmith shop.
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
A Guinness world-record holder for world’s largest atrium, Hyatt Regency San Francisco has turned in a winter wonderland spanning its 17-story lobby. Not only are the 300,000 lights a spectacle but three times a day, snow cascades down on the 30-foot tree and the over 1,000-piece holiday village. Out back, there is also an ice skating rink to continue the festivities. And if you’re good, Santa may even join you for breakfast.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Arizona’s weather may not have you immediately picturing a cold Christmas perfect for snuggling up with hot cocoa, but Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has turned its entrance into a colorful desert holiday display that may have you get you in the spirit, even in its 80 degree weather. Upon approaching the hotel, guests will be welcomed by a 14-foot poinsettia tree and candy cane forest. Around the resort are over 180 Christmas trees and 1.8 million lights illuminate the lagoons. Christened by Olympian Dorothy Hamill, the hotel also boasts its own ice skating rink.
Westin St. Francis, San Francisco
What could be more appealing than a 12-foot, 1,200 pound rotating sugar castle this season? Not much, if you ask us. Made by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-François Houdré, Westin St. Francis, San Francisco’s castle has 30 rooms, glowing windows, more than 20 circular towers, and a running train. Putting their own spin on the display, the century’s biggest celebrities, politicians and well-known personalities are replicated in life-like elf forms.