Of course you can curl up in front of a Yule Log playing endlessly on your 52 inch Samsung, or dine at home with the family for Christmas. But sometimes it’s more fun to explore the variety of interesting options that restaurants and hotels around the world have put together to help you enjoy this wonderful family occasion.
On Christmas Day, travelers visiting Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo in Monaco can cap off a delicious holiday lunch with a Yule Log dessert (a traditional cake served in France during the holidays). This year, Hotel Metropole’s dessert is an insta-worthy biscuit rolled in cream, roasted nuts spiked with gourmet chocolate, and hazelnut icing, all wrapped in an edible red casing, mirroring a holiday gift.
Set within Amsterdam’s chicest neighborhood, Jansz. at Pulitzer Amsterdam offers a Christmas to remember along the canal, with notable décor including the Pulitzer Amsterdam Christmas tree in the hotel’s courtyard designed by de Bijenkorf, Amsterdam’s renowned high-end department store. Lucky guests staying at the hotel will also enjoy a miniature decorated in-room Christmas tree, Christmas cocktails in the beloved Pulitzer’s Bar, Pulitzer’s “A Pulitzer Christmas Tale” for the kids, and more.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in the Cayman Islands will host the happiest of hours with a life-sized Gingerbread Bar crafted from 800 pounds of spiced cookie dough, 350 pounds of icing, and 100 pounds of candy. The bar stands 12 feet tall and 15 feet long and offers festive signature cocktails for a sweeter way to toast the season.
After weeks of making his lists and checking them twice, Santa needs a little rest and he has the perfect place to chill out, his own Santa Suite. At Fairmont Banff Springs, guests are invited to experience and dine on a five-course, family-style dinner served in Santa’s elaborately decorated suite, his home away from home in the Canadian Rockies.
At Coworth Park, a luxury country house hotel bordering Windsor Great Park, just 45 minutes from London, Christmas Day kicks off with a visit from Father Christmas perfect for the whole family. If you decide you want to overnight, you can sign up for a chocolate master class.
The five-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin is all about enjoying a festive, Irish Christmas. Tradition reigns with a Festive Afternoon Tea, served in the beautiful Georgian Drawing Rooms, including gingerbread, Viennese bridge rolls, meringues and other delicacies by the fire. While adult guests will have a specially curated five-course tasting menu at the Merrion’s restaurant with festive décor and modern Irish cuisine, younger guests will be particularly enthralled by a special program of activities including face painting, arts and crafts and storytelling.
Closer to Home
Gingerbread house lovers should plan a visit to the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale where the hotel’s annual life-size gingerbread house stands tall in the lobby. This year’s version is a castle reaching to the ceiling. The mammoth gingerbread house has more than 3000 dough bricks, 450 decorative ornaments, and 16 hand-made chocolate sculptures for the window displays in the towers. The hotel is a perfect place to kick back, too, and if you book a suite, you can spend time on Christmas Day with Santa in the gingerbread house.
Can’t get enough gingerbread this season? The Life Size Gingerbread House at Stella San Jac in Austin is a pop-up holiday dining room seating up to 12, available for breakfast, lunch and dinner reservations. The restaurant, located within the Westin Austin Downtown, will be donating a portion of all proceeds to Back on Our Feet, a local non-profit that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources.
California’s Mission Hills Hotel & Spa’s Christmas celebration is a sparkling and delicious affair with a Holiday Champagne Brunch and Holiday Dinner Buffet as part of the hotel’s six-week-long Festival of Lights celebration. Through January 6, the Mission Inn will be decorated in 5 million holiday lights, 400 animated characters, a life-sized gingerbread house and more.
Tucked into the picturesque woodlands of the Adirondacks’ High Peaks region in upstate New York near Lake Placid, Whiteface Lodge is adorned with a stunning 25-foot balsam Christmas tree trimmed with icicles, mittens, skates, snowflakes, and jingle bells. Dinner at Kanu and cocktails at Peak 47 feature holiday specials like the Egg Nog Flip. After dinner, guests can retreat to one of Whiteface Lodge’s two spacious, lean-tos. Sheltered on three sides, with the fourth open to the mountains and sky, the lean-tos are an inviting, sheltered spot to gather for an after-dinner cocktail. Each lean-to is furnished with comfortable seating, warm blankets and a fire pit. A dedicated phone line connects guests to a concierge.
Night owls will appreciate Bagatelle Miami Beach’s special 80’s holiday movie edition of its weekly Rock N Baga party. Dinner on Christmas is served until 2am, so if you’re more inclined to laze on the beach rather than run to an early dinner, this is for you. Craft drinks into the wee hours will keep the party going.
For another cocktail experience that runs til late, The Godfrey’s year-round rooftop lounge I|O Godfrey transforms into a winter wonderland escape. While the thought of being outdoors in Chicago on Christmas may be less than appealing, the hotel banishes all chills by renting heated, clear-domed igloos on the rooftop’s outdoor portico. Guests can enjoy an exclusive table service experience while cozying can cozy up in one of the warm igloos which feel like a personal snow globe. Throughout the indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge area, guests can also order a hot cocktail and s’mores to roast over the outdoor fire pits.
Photos: Meryl Pearlstein