For me, the Christmas season officially begins as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers have been packed away and the last of the pumpkin pie has been consumed. From that moment through Dec. 25, I go all in on the holidays. I’m talking 24/7 Christmas music, entirely too many viewings of “Elf,” and finding a tree that’s so tall it touches the ceiling in our entryway.
As much as I love the holidays, there are hotels across the U.S. that embrace the holiday spirit in ways I’ve only ever seen in Hallmark Christmas movies, with decked-out lobbies, towering trees, festive activities and more. There are a few that go so far as to transform some of their guest rooms into Christmas-themed suites and winter wonderlands that could make even the Scroogiest guests start belting out holiday tunes.
Here are eight over-the-top holiday-themed hotel suites that will have you “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” all night long.
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center — Fort Washington, Maryland
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GAYLORD NATIONAL RESORT
Every Gaylord resort goes all-out for the holidays, with twinkling lights and giant ornaments adorning their signature glass atriums. The resorts also host activities like ice skating and snow tubing, and Gaylord’s flagship holiday event, Ice! is a series of massive ice carvings that guests can walk through (and slide down). Each property’s display is themed to a different holiday movie or story.
This year at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center’s Ice! event, guests can immerse themselves in the wintry world of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” When you stay at Gaylord National, the holiday fun doesn’t have to end when you enter your guest room. You can stay in one of the resort’s eight Christmas Dream Suites, decked out with stockings, trees, garlands and lights. Each suite features a balcony with an atrium view so you can enjoy the 55-foot Christmas tree and the nightly laser show from the comfort of your cozy room. You’ll also receive a plate of freshly baked treats and complimentary valet parking during your stay.
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino — Las Vegas
Las Vegas is no stranger to glittering lights, but the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino puts a holiday spin on Sin City’s penchant for excess. The resort’s Las Vegas Christmas Suite is available 365 days a year, so you can celebrate during the holiday season, Christmas in July or any time the jolly mood strikes.
The Las Vegas Christmas Suite comes with: three fully decorated Christmas trees; two “Elf on a Shelf”-themed bathrooms; garlands embellished with red, silver and gold ornaments; a toasty fireplace, and more. The Las Vegas Christmas Suite isn’t the only themed suites at this nearly 3,000-room resort just off the Las Vegas Strip, but it’s certainly the jolliest.
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Swissotel Chicago — Chicago
For the tenth consecutive year, Swissotel Chicago will ring in the holiday season by transforming its Presidential Suite into an intricately themed Santa Suite. Each year, the 2,000-square-foot suite is bedecked with Christmas trees, wreaths, Instagram-worthy photo ops and more.
The theme changes from year to year, and this year’s theme is “Holiday Jewels.” Each of the Santa Suite’s colorful Christmas trees will represent a different birthstone. The suite will also feature a throne for Santa (we won’t tell him if you try it out). Even guests who book a standard room can request an “Elf Decorated” room for $100 that comes with a Christmas tree, decorations, a cake pop welcome amenity and toys, books and games to enjoy in your room.
French Quarter Inn — Charleston, South Carolina
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CHARLESTOWNE HOTELS/KRISTAL GRAHAM
The French Quarter Inn is already one of historic Charleston’s most charming boutique hotels, and that becomes even more true during Christmastime when the hotel unveils its Sleigh Bell Suite. The suite is available for stays throughout the month of December, with upscale decor including a tree, mistletoe and garlands with red, green and gold accents, along with a slew of special surprises.
Guests in the Sleigh Bell Suite will also receive a Christmas ornament delivered at turndown and milk and cookies to enjoy by the suite’s crackling fireplace. Guests will also have access to an in-room eggnog bar and classic holiday movie screenings.
In honor of musician and Charleston native Darius Rucker, each stay in the Sleigh Bell Suite will include a $100 donation made on your behalf to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (which will be matched by the hotel) and a copy of Rucker’s Christmas album “Home for the Holidays” to bring home.
You can book the Sleigh Bell Suite at the French Quarter Inn by calling 877-724-2140.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island — Amelia Island, Florida
If you love Christmas but not the cold, snowy weather that may accompany it, the Atlantic Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is just what Santa ordered. The Florida resort’s 1,260-square-foot oceanfront Atlantic Suite receives a merry makeover just in time for the holiday season (Nov. 22, 2023, to be exact). The suite is on the resort’s top floor, so you can enjoy the ocean views from your two private balconies and soak up the holiday spirit when you come back inside.
The suite is draped in green garland and accented with gingerbread houses made by the resort’s in-house pastry team. It also features a six-foot, fully decorated Christmas tree wrapped in lights and ornaments. A stay in the Atlantic Suite comes with Club Level amenities, including complimentary snacks and drinks, continental breakfast and access to a private lounge with a fireplace and oceanfront balconies.
Graduate Evanston — Evanston, Illinois
In the Graduate Evanston’s “Home Alone” Suite, you can eat all the junk and watch all the rubbish you want. Why? The suite is a near-perfect recreation of the McCallisters’ master bedroom, made famous in the 1990 film. While this isn’t your traditional Christmas-themed hotel suite, there is no denying that “Home Alone” is one of the most iconic holiday movies of all time.
The “Home Alone” Suite sleeps one or two guests with a queen bed, writing desk, retro television set and thoughtful details like replica wallpaper, vintage toiletries and retro knick-knacks that feel right out of the film. If you want to take your stay to the next level, you can book the full King McCallister Experience, which comes with fun extras like a minibar stocked with Kevin’s favorite junk food, a Polaroid camera to commemorate your memories, a Chicago-style pizza and access to on-demand “Home Alone” movies.
Ten percent of the proceeds from each booking of the “Home Alone” Suite will be donated to the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Graduate Nashville — Nashville
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DIGITAL LOVE STUDIO
Dolly Parton once said, “It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap.” At the Graduate Nashville, it takes a lot of tinsel to make the glitzy pink 9 to 5 Suite look this festive. You can stay in the Dolly Parton-themed suite any time of year, but the suite gets even brighter, shinier and pinker for the holidays.
The suite accommodates up to three guests with a California king waterbed and a separate living room with a sleeper sofa. It also features subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the Queen of Country, including Dolly Parton wallpaper, portraits of Parton herself and a neon sign above the bed emblazoned with the aforementioned famous quote.
During the Christmas season, the suite receives the (country) star treatment with a shimmering white tree decorated with pink ornaments and silver tinsel, a tiny white Christmas tree on the bedside table, a second Christmas tree in the living room and festive gold garland accents around the room.
Hilton Cleveland Downtown — Cleveland
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HILTON CLEVELAND DOWNTOWN
Cleveland takes holiday fun seriously. Visitors can enjoy ice skating at Cleveland’s WinterLand, performances of “Black Nativity” and “A Christmas Carol” at Playhouse Square and tours of A Christmas Story House and nearby museum with memorabilia from the film. In addition, guests of the Hilton Cleveland Downtown can stay in the Mr. Kringle Suite.
The Mr. Kringle Suite accommodates up to four guests. The suite features two Christmas trees, tabletop Santas and nutcrackers, garlands, lights and holiday bric-a-brac covering practically every inch of the room. The “bow” on top of this gift of a room? Guests receive a personalized note from Santa and a delivery of milk and cookies.
Feeling festive yet? The holidays will be here before you know it, and I, for one, think there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than booking a stay in one of these Christmas-themed hotel suites. It’s the perfect gift for someone special on your holiday list (or as a gift for yourself). I’m sure Santa would agree that you deserve it.