For many years, we have given ourselves the gift of travel for Christmas so I'm always on the lookout for great Christmas holiday getaways for families to add to my wish list. I asked a few family travel writers for their recommendations for hotels and resorts that are great for family holiday getaways and came up with this list of 8 that are particularly special during the holiday travel season.
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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Orlando, Florida
If you are looking for a fabulous resort that goes all out for the holiday season then the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida might be just what you're looking for! Christmas at Disney World is a special time of year with all of the resorts decked out for the holidays but my favourite is the Grand Floridian where guests can celebrate the festive season in grand Victorian-style. The grounds of the resort are decorated with extensive plantings of bright red poinsettia and inside a massive Christmas tree that dominates the lobby makes the perfect backdrop for family photos. The highlight though is the 16 foot tall Gingerbread House which doubles as a shop selling gingerbread shingles and other treats.
Lisa Goodmurphy, Gone with the Family
Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee
If you are looking to get into the Christmas swing, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is the perfect spot. From the moment you walk into the front doors, you immediately are enveloped in festive decorations in each of the resort’s atriums.
Every year, the Gaylord Opryland hosts a Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. This year, the event includes Cirque Dreams Holidaze, ICE! featuring Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, ice skating, and carriage rides.
There’s also outdoor tubing, an outdoor nativity scene, a Christmas show by country performer Trace Atkins, character dining with the Grinch, and photos with Santa. The event runs from November 9, 2018 to January 1, 2019.
Jodi Grundig, Family Travel Magazine
Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, Montebello, Quebec
We have spent the holidays between Christmas and New Year's at Chateau Montebello in Quebec a couple of times and believe that it's ideal for a family holiday getaway. The historic Château Montebello, a stunning red cedar log cabin built in 1930, offers a perfect blend of family-friendly luxury and rustic charm combined with an abundance of year-round activities which make it ideal for a family getaway. This is never more apparent than during the holiday season when the resort welcomes many extended family groups celebrating Christmas and New Year's.
Guests can keep busy with a range of activities including cross-country skiing, skating, curling, and dog sledding, enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the property or relax and enjoy a crackling fire in the lobby's stunning six-sided stone fireplace. During the holidays, Le Chateau Montebello offers special meals and activities that will ensure your celebration is one to remember!
Lisa Goodmurphy, Gone with the Family
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas
Families don’t need to choose between winter activities and summer fun when they visit Grapevine, Texas near the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The Gaylord Texan Resort is a winter wonderland with its 2-million-pounds of sculptured ice carved by artisans from China. Ice skating, snow tubing, ice slides, gingerbread house decorating plus storytime and carols with Mrs. Claus round out the wintery offerings. Christmas displays and decorations throughout the massive atrium are the perfect holiday photo backdrop.
Across the street, families can splash around the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park, go on a MagicQuest and scamper through the outdoor ropes course. When it’s bedtime, themed suites feature a kids area where children can pretend they’re sleeping in a cave, log cabin or tent. Just up the road, LEGOland Discovery Center keeps kids’ hands busy and minds active with building stations, an obstacle course and rides perfect for younger children. The Sea Life Aquarium in the same building has 16 interactive zones in their aquarium exhibit and a pretend Sea Turtle Rescue Center where kids can play at saving this species. With so much fun packed into a few square miles, you can easily keep the family entertained during Winter Break.
Michele Chan-Thomson, Malaysian Meanders
Fairmont San Francisco, California
If you're looking for a city getaway then I recommend the Fairmont San Francisco in the Nob Hill neighbourhood as a great choice for families spending the holidays in San Francisco. The hotel has been delighting guests with holiday festivities for over a century so they are very experienced in providing families with holiday magic.
The festively decorated lobby is the focal point of holiday celebrations with a 23 foot Christmas tree, a champagne bar for the grown-ups and a world-famous 2 story gingerbread house built with thousands of gingerbread bricks, gallons of royal icing and decorated with hundreds of pounds of candy. The hotel also has special dining for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's including a Gingerbread Holiday Tea. If you really want to splurge for your stay then you can book the Santa Suite a "a festively decorated Specialty Suite that Santa and Mrs. Claus call “home” when they are in San Francisco!"
The Fairmont San Francisco also makes a great home base for exploring the city during the holidays especially nearby Union Square which has a giant Christmas tree, a menorah, an ice skating rink and extravagant holiday-themed store window displays.
Lisa Goodmurphy, Gone with the Family
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California
San Diego is one of the best places to spend the holidays especially if you’re trying to escape the cold and snow. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Hotel del Coronado elevates the holiday magic with their decorations, 100,000 dazzling lights and festive activities. Our family’s favorite outing is ice-skating at the hotel’s beachfront outdoor rink with palm trees swaying and the ocean breeze.
“Holidays at The Del” dates back to 130 years of tradition with varied themes each year. We love going here to see their elegant decorations including the two-story lobby tree. We were surprised last year with an upside down Christmas tree. Families can enjoy Sunday brunch with Santa during December. There is also a Polar Bear Tea Party and story time with Mrs. Claus and the elves including cookie and cupcake decorating with hot chocolate.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford, Pennsylvania
Being absolutely truthful here, a visit to Omni Bedford Springs Resort anytime of year is a great idea. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting during the summer as a family and celebrating my husband's birthday. On both visits I was enthralled by the property’s rich American history (10 U.S. Presidents have vacationed there, the first trans-Atlantic telegraph arrived there…the list is endless.) and the way it keeps its culture alive through its design and decor. But when it’s time for Christmas, the decorations are really amped up! At Christmas, vintage nutcrackers are placed all around the resort, a Yule log is available to sign for the following season, and the Christmas trees are massive - and absolutely gorgeous.
Karyn Locke, Sand and Snow
The Peninsula Chicago, Illinois
If families are looking for a special place to celebrate the holidays, they shouldn’t miss The Peninsula Chicago. This luxury property is located just off Michigan Avenue, and goes all out during the season. The highlight is the property’s Peninsula Sky Rink, a stunning outdoor ice rink flanked by holiday decor set four floors about Michigan Avenue. Families can rent skates and take a spin while enjoying holiday music and taking in the fabulous views. Be sure to enjoy a delicious cup of hot cocoa or cider at The Terrace restaurant afterwards. There’s also a festive holiday tea at The Lobby restaurant and various kid friendly events throughout the holiday season. It’s the ultimate holiday celebration in the city!
Kirsten Maxwell, Kids are a Trip
Does your family have a favourite resort that you like to visit during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!
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