If this whirlwind of a year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of spending quality time with our loved ones, and there’s no better way to create lasting memories than to spend the holidays together in a new and exciting destination. As travel restrictions continue to loosen, we’re seeing more and more families searching for last-minute getaways, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite destinations in the United States for festive travel. We’ve been so impressed with the way our partner resorts are modifying their holiday offerings to keep their guests safe, and we can’t wait to share each destination’s holiday festivities with you below.
For the holidays, there’s nothing quite as magical as being surrounded by snow-capped mountains with the glow of Christmas lights reflecting off of the snow. A winter trip to Colorado offers more than just world-class skiing; from romantic sleigh ride dinners to snowshoe hikes and cozy afternoons by the fire, Vail is the perfect place to create lasting holiday memories with your family. Each year, Vail transforms into a Christmas wonderland with festivities such as a tree lighting, lantern walk, and even torch-lit skiing on New Year’s Eve. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, spend the day walking through Vail Village shopping and dining or even ice skating at the West Village ice skating rink.
Our Top 3 Resorts:
#1 - Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
Located in the heart of Beaver Creek with direct access to the ski slopes, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is one of our favorite spots for the holidays. This ski-in, ski-out resort places you within walking distance of all of the shops, restaurants, ice-skating rink, and holiday fun that Beaver Creek is known for.
#2 - Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch will be bringing back its “9 Days of Wonder” this year, featuring 9 days of holiday festivities for both adults and children. Located a few minutes from Beaver Creek at the base of the mountain, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is perfect for creating that isolated mountain resort feel while still being close to all the action.
#3 - Four Seasons Vail
Downtown Vail goes all out with Christmas lights and festive decorations everywhere, and the Four Seasons Vail puts you in the middle of all the action. In addition to rooms and suites, the Four Seasons offers residences for those looking for more space, providing a more “homey” feel over the holidays while still having the benefits of a luxury property.
Scottsdale & Sedona, Arizona
If you’d prefer your Christmas with more sunshine than snow, look no further than Scottsdale and Sedona for your winter getaway. Forget thick coats, hats, and gloves – instead, relax and enjoy some eggnog on your warm balcony while looking out over the holiday lights. There aren’t too many places that allow you to go ice skating in the desert, and a holiday trip to Scottsdale or Sedona is sure to be a unique experience that you’ll never forget.
Our Top 3 Resorts:
#1 - Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
For over-the-top holiday festivities, look no further than the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This resort famously goes all-out for the holidays, and will be offering a 4-story Christmas tree, ice skating in the desert, 5 signature characters roaming the property, and millions of Christmas lights. Santa Claus will even be available for socially-distant interactions this year!
#2 - Enchantment Resort
For those looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, look no further than Enchantment Resort, located in beautiful Sedona. Holiday traditions at Enchantment include carolers, Native American Folk Dancers, and Gingerbread classes. Sedona is stunning during the holiday season, and offers many chances to explore the outdoors, with guided hikes, wellness programs, adventure activities, and more.
#3 - The Phoenician
The Phoenician is another resort famous for their holiday festivities. While 2020 programming is still in progress, offerings typically include a week of events ranging from Christmas Camp to personal activities with Santa. For those looking for more of a boutique experience, the Phoenician offers Canyon Suites, a smaller 5-star resort on property.
Georgia & South Carolina
From charming towns steeped with history to beautiful sunny beaches, the Southeast is an often-overlooked destination for winter travel. Weather in this region is great over the holidays, and some of our favorite family-friendly resorts make their home here, such as the Cloister at Sea Island, Montage Palmetto Bluff, and the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.
Our Top 3 Resorts:
#1 - Sea Island Resort
A charming coastal retreat, Sea Island is supremely family-friendly and chockablock with events and celebrations at Christmastime. Visitors can expect merrymaking like storytime with Santa’s Elves, a life-size gingerbread cottage, a reindog parade and family-style Christmas Eve dinner.
#2 - Montage Palmetto Bluff
Montage is famous for their excellent service and family-friendly activities, and the holidays are no exception. Highlights include a hot chocolate yacht cruise along the May River, a Jingle Bell Dog Jog 5k, Reindeer Games for the little ones, and a lavish Christmas Feast.
#3 - The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Located on beautiful Lake Oconee, this resort embraces the charm of Christmas in the south. Sip on hot chocolate while sitting around the lake, or relax by a crackling fireplace before heading out to the ice skating rink. With 5,000 lights around the hotel and a 36-ft tree, you’ll feel like you’re in a Winter Wonderland.
As Orlando locals we may be slightly biased, but we are constantly blown away by the holiday celebrations in our hometown year after year. From beautiful 5-star resorts to the best theme parks in the world, Orlando offers the perfect blend of luxury and family fun. There’s nothing quite like walking down the highly decorated Main Street in Magic Kingdom on a sunny day with magic snow falling around you to put you in a festive mood! Disney World and Universal have been hard at work to create safe and socially-distant holiday festivities at the parks, and they’ve created some truly unique offerings you won’t want to miss.
Our Top 3 Resorts:
#1 - Four Seasons Orlando
Minutes away from Magic Kingdom, the Four Seasons will make you feel like royalty over the holidays. This stunning resort is in the heart of all of the action, and their delicious restaurants, incredible service, and 5-acre waterpark (complete with two waterslides, a lazy river, waterfall) will make you forget all about a white Christmas!
#2 - JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek
Orlando’s newest resort, the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, is just minutes away from Disney Springs and a short drive from all of the parks. The resort also has amazing food and their 2-Bedroom suites are perfect for families! Holiday details are still in the works, but we’ll continue to update this page as they come in.
#3 - Waldorf Astoria Orlando
The Waldorf is known for its beautiful holiday decorations, and you can even enjoy the warm glow of a personal Christmas tree in your own guest room! Other holiday festivities at the Waldorf typically include Letters to Santa, Menorah Lighting, Gift Wrapping, story time with Mrs. Claus, and much more.