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The holidays look a little different this year when it comes to family get-togethers. But the one thing that's still a go? Christmas decorations. While families across the country are doing their best to spread a little holiday cheer in their neighborhoods with elaborate light displays, some hotels go all out with their decor: Think life-sized gingerbread houses and 12,000 feet of ribbon.
Here are 10 that are sure to blow you away.
Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Georgia
The Forbes Five-Star resort on the coast of Georgia wanted to sweeten up this holiday season. Their solution? Creating the Sea Island Sweet Traditions Cottage, aka a gingerbread house made using 1,840 pounds of gingerbread. Hand-crafted on the Sea Island Bake Shop's property, the confectionary dream also features over 820 pounds of royal icing. It's even big enough to fit kids inside for private gingerbread house decorating. And the holiday spirit didn't stop there. The private island was totally transformed with the festive decor for the season, including poinsettias, garland, and more than 60 Christmas trees.
Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, California
As with every year, Park Hyatt Aviara—an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property—has a large, entirely edible Christmas display. And this season's theme is Sleigh Ride Together. The unique piece featuring Santa taking flight with his sleigh took 200 hours to create and is a fusion of woodwork and chocolate made of 60 pounds of chocolate and 30 pounds of isomalt. The resort's pastry team, led by executive pastry chef Christophe Rull, along with local woodworker and designer Kyle Emerick of Sandy Eggo CNC, made this one-of-a-kind edible art piece come to life.
Four Seasons Philadelphia
As if the wintery views from the soaring Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia—another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property—weren't enough, the luxury property also outfitted its sky lobby with larger-than-life decorations. To do that, famed artistic director and florist Jeff Leatham used 5,000 ornament balls in gold and silver and approximately 500 stems and modern reflective reindeer to make the festive display. Plus, there are Christmas trees scarred throughout the common areas, including one in the ground lobby that's been split in two and surrounded by a pool of ornaments.
Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida
While the temperature outside is warm, The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes turned its lobby into a full-on winter wonderland with activities galore. There’s a life-size gingerbread house at the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, weekend gingerbread classes, three different festive bar carts featuring seasonal spicey, warm, and even milk and cookie concoctions, and festive decorations and music. And the entire property is twinkling with holiday lights, including the favorite selfie spot, The Gazebo.
Moxy Times Square in New York City
Who says you can't have a little après-ski in the middle of Manhattan? Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square transformed their terraces into a Pink Snow Lodge featuring details like floor-to-ceiling pink log walls, a ski lift carousel, more than 50 pink LED skis lining the walls, a pink electric fireplace, and faux pink taxidermy. Best of all, you can enjoy outdoor dining at the lodge even on the coldest days, thanks to the 15 heaters on hand. Or, warm up with a themed drink like a Toasty Toddy, Warm Pecorino Cheese Fondue, and Pink AF Pancake Stack.
Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California
Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is ringing in the holiday season with larger-than-life "Christmas Joy" themed decor with a child's vision of the holiday in mind. And what do kids love most? Presents! One of the main displays is a 10-foot-tall Christmas tree made of hundreds of presents covered in garlands, lights, vintage miniature trains, cars, and nutcrackers. Meanwhile, the adults will love the themed cocktails like "The Ski Lift" (vanilla vodka, coconut cream, simple syrup, lemon juice) and "Fat and Fig Washed Whiskey" (whiskey, figs, butter).
The Breakers Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Florida
This year The Breakers Palm Beach, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, will once again enchant guests with its visually captivating décor, a decades-long tradition at Florida's iconic luxury resort. After extensive planning and preparation, the team spent six days decking out more than just the halls. The hotel's 1,040-foot main drive is lined with 100 royal palms and Canary Island date trees covered in soft white lights, which makes up some of the 170,000 twinkle lights on the property. Also, 8,000 ornaments, 12,000 feet of ribbon, and 126 bows were used to create an atmosphere of cheer and wonder.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana
Every holiday season, The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel—another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property—puts on a city block-long holiday display. Hundreds of thousands of lights, festive bows, Christmas trees, and 2,200 glass ornaments line the property while you can order a seasonal libation inside like Candy Cane and Mrs. Claus' Cookie cocktails. There’s also the annual Teddy Bear Tea and even socially distanced photo ops with Santa.
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Creating a fanciful, over-the-top gigantic gingerbread house is a holiday tradition at the 102-year-old Broadmoor resort. And 2020 is no exception. The luxury property recently hosted its annual "White Lights'' ceremony and launched its gingerbread creation (a holiday staple at the resort since 1964) inspired by the resort's own The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway. The Broadmoor's executive pastry chef Adam Thomas and his team of chocolatiers and bakers (plus a few carpenters) created an 11-foot-tall and 13-foot-long gingerbread train.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona
When you think about a desert, winter wonderland doesn't typically come to mind. But for the 11th year in a row, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess launched its Christmas at the Princess Festival that features a Desert Ice Skating Rink. Yes, you can skate on 6,000-square-feet of real ice in the heart of the desert. That's in addition to the Princess Express Train that chugs along a route lit by more than 4.5 million Lagoon Lights.