The Best Hotels For Festive Family Activities This Season

Emilee Geist

Everything is bigger in Texas including Christmas at the Gaylord Texan near Dallas/Fort Worth … [+] International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. Gaylord Hotels From coast to coast, families are looking for safe and joyful activities to celebrate this year. Whether close to home or something worth traveling for, many hotels […]

From coast to coast, families are looking for safe and joyful activities to celebrate this year. Whether close to home or something worth traveling for, many hotels and resorts are setting the scene for the perfect season’s greetings. There are travel-themed contests this year with exciting prizes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and money-saving cruise vacations for 2022. These holiday-themed hotel activities will have families eager to travel or simply “staycation” this season.

“Olympics of Gingerbread” at The Omni Grove Park Inn

You’ve not done gingerbread house making until you’ve been to The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. As the largest gingerbread house competition in the country, guests and participants can stroll through the dozens of entrants on display at this mountain resort. With four categories (adult, teen, youth and child) from across the country, these confectionary creations are up for cash and prize winnings. While there is a formal panel of judges, visitors can peruse the entrants between Nov. 28 and Jan. 2.

For those that want to watch from home, the hotel is planning to showcase the top 12 finalists as part of “the 12 Days of Gingerbread,” releasing one picture per day on the hotel’s Facebook and Instagram channels from December 1 – 12.

Interactive holiday events at Gaylord Hotels nationwide

At all five Gaylord hotels around the country, families can enjoy an immersive holiday experience with interactive exhibits themed around holiday films and pop-culture moments that will make visitors feel like they are in the film. Also popular are family-friendly activities like ice skating, indoor and outdoor sledding, carnival-style games and outdoor light shows. Depending on the property, visitors will find Gingerbread house decorating, arts and craft areas, plenty of photograph opportunities (including with Santa) and live music.

New for this year is the ELF-themed Christmas experience at four Gaylord properties: Gaylord Palms in Florida, Gaylord Opryland in Tennessee, Gaylord Texan in Texas and Gaylord Rockies in Colorado. Gaylord National in Maryland will feature the popular “I Love Christmas Movies” programming. Tickets are available for purchase online to attend between now and Jan. 2.

Deck the donuts and movie packages at Hilton Chicago

At Hilton Chicago, guests and visitors can participate in a tree light ceremony and free “Deck the Donuts” decorating activities for kids this month. There are also “Home Alone” movie-themed overnight packages plus a Dr. Seuss experience for kids with an associated “Horton Hears a Who” package. 

12 Days of Thompson holiday lights in Dallas

Put those World of Hyatt points to good use (or rack up more) at the 12 Days of Thompson, a mega holiday light display taking place between Dec 13 and 24 at Thompson Dallas. The festivities include holiday light displays, live music, festive cocktail menus and the chance to win dining and spa gift card prizes to the hotel. Every cocktail purchase counts as one entry. The lights are in true Texas style with more than 12 miles of LED lighting, 35 Christmas trees, 11 kinds of fresh pine and more than 17,000 ornaments to get you into the spirit. The festivities are available to both guests and visitors.

Polynesian family holiday at Conrad Bora Bora Nui

If you’re considering a tropical holiday this season, Conrad Bora Bora Nui is pulling out all the stops. Between Dec. 20 and Jan. 22, 2022, the Tahitian resort is offering a range of daily festive and educational activities catering to all ages. These include everything from Christmas Tree decorating and lighting to learning how to open a coconut. Ukulele, dance and local language lessons, Christmas market shopping, lei making, recycling activities and Christmas and New Year’s feasts are all on the menu.

Between now and the end of the year, guests at Hilton Honors properties like this one earn double base points on all stays while those with a Hilton Honors co-branded credit card earn triple points during their stay. Registration for this promotion is required before any stay.

12 Days of Polynesian Christmas at St. Regis Bora Bora

Not far away is the St. Regis Bora Bora with its Christmas markets showcasing local arts and crafts, Va’a canoe competitions and Santa’s eventual arrival. Families will appreciate an in-room gift giving service that can be organized upon request via Santa and his helpers. Movies under the stars, pool parties and coral reef education events are also on the agenda. Of course, the brand’s signature champagne sabering ritual is also part of the holiday festivities.

Holiday fun with Peninsula Hotels

The Peninsula’s U.S. properties are gearing up for the holidays with a variety of activities for all ages. From ice skating at The Peninsula Chicago (the only hotel ice skating rink in the city) to the rooftop Chalet de Ning (recreating an Alpine, apres-ski scene) at The Peninsula New York, the festive season is alive and well. Holiday-themed afternoon tea will take place daily at both properties as well as The Peninsula Beverly Hills, which will also have a menorah lighting on Nov. 29. The California property will also have holiday carolers on the front drive and a visit from Santa Claus.

Holidays at San Diego’s Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Most December weekends and the week leading up to Christmas will see a grand, holiday-themed afternoon tea including tea and photo opportunities with Santa Claus. Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, part of Accor and the All Live Limitless loyalty program, welcomes families of all ages to celebrate. Carolers and live music, gingerbread house making, holiday-themed cocktail menus and fire pit snacks add to the festivities throughout the month.

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