With the 2021 holiday season upon us and supply chains still tangled up, Santa has likely already packed his sleigh, so there’s nothing he can do to dampen your spirits now. Meantime, with holiday travel on the rise – back in September, CNBC reported people were reserving Christmas getaways earlier than ever, with some properties already fully booked – luxury hotels and resorts are going all out dazzle clientele. Here’s a inspirational gift bag of holiday spirit and happenings from some our clients – and there’s a lot more where these came from:
Let’s Drink to the Holidays!
Forget about the spirit of the season; here are some tasty spirits for the season:
At The Dorchester in the heart of Mayfair, London, cocktail legend Giuliano Morandin and his award-winning team of alchemists have been busy mixing ways to celebrate his 40th Christmas at the hotel, with results worth toasting. Slip into The Bar for a bone-warming Naughty or Nice mulled wine, a Snowflake Negroni, or signature hot chocolates.
At The Shelbourne overlooking St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, Ireland, the Bar Team has carefully crafted cocktails inspired by favorite holiday flicks. Tell them you’re thirsty for an Elf: New York Sour mixed with Red Breast Whiskey and maple syrup, or some Love Actually: Champagne Cocktail with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and precisely 10 red currants. They’re perfect starters for the holiday feast planned for The Saddle Room, or finishers for the festive afternoon tea in The Lord Mayor’s Lounge
Gather for Making Spirits Bright Saturdays at The Wigwam, a 440-acre oasis resort in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, with tastings along a festive light path and wine, whiskey, aperitifs, and rum served with holiday music on the fire-pit-lit patio. ($15 for 4 tastings; 6pm-8pm, December 4, 11, & 18)
Why wait until the stroke of 2022 to tickle your palate with bubbly? Dorchester Collection’s country house hotel Coworth Park on 240 acres of picturesque Berkshire parkland will start the count down to a two-night New Year’s Eve celebration with Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Room with sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and pastries. (£75 per person, including a glass of bubbly; Festive afternoon tea available through December 30).
There’s No Place like Hotel for the Holidays
Every school kid’s favorite time of year ranges widely, with Christmas holidays lasting two to three weeks in Europe, six to eight weeks in the heart of summer in the southern hemisphere, and varying in length by school in the U.S. In other words, you’re going to be stuck with your kids at home wherever you are, so how about a home-style holiday at a hotel?
In downtown Philadelphia, The Logan has transformed its signature 1,400-square foot James Logan Suite into the Holiday Lodge Suite, perfect for a festive family staycation decked out in lights, seasonal bedding, and a Christmas tree. Curl up in the spacious living room for holiday movie classics served with local butter-and-sea salt popcorn paired with candy bars, and enjoy holiday snacking favorites such as Mrs. Claus Cookie Co. and signature sweet & salty mixed nuts and pumpkin seed brittle from Urban Farmer steakhouse. Guests can also indulge in a hot chocolate or eggnog cart (spiked or kid-friendly), cocktail-making kits with fixings for everything from a Fizz Noel to a New Year’s Mule, or in-room dining at a table set for six. (Holiday Lodge Suite includes a king-size bedroom, two bathrooms, pool table, spacious living room, and more; available December 1 to New Year’s Day; rates from $500.)
Thoughtfully arrayed with decorated Christmas tree, picturesque holiday wreaths, beautifully adorned fireplace mantle, and special deliveries of a gingerbread house assembly kit and sugar cookie decorating kit. Count on the Resort “elves” to pack up the decorations and vacuum the fir needles when you depart. (From $3,744/night in a Montage 2-Bedroom Residence; minimum stays vary by date.) Leading luxury home-rental brand, onefinestay, is encouraging people to Come Together for the Holidays. Cementing its commitment to indulge guests with the most exceptional experiences, the brand has curated a menu of festive packages to dress up stays in London and Los Angeles with the trappings of the season. Holiday touches range from beautifully pre-decorated homes to holiday feasts prepared by a private chef, with onefinestay looking after every detail. In London, for instance, guests can look to local florist Hayford & Rhodes to fashion the space for the holidays, with a Fully Decorated Home (from £1,580 + VAT) including tablescape, decorated Christmas tree, and six-foot-long garland with festive natural elements, and Festive Hampers (from £132) brimming with delectable treats or at-home making kits for decorations and the like to bring everyone together around the table. Guests on a five-night stay during the month of December in London or Los Angeles also benefit from onefinestay’s partnership with luxury natural beauty brand Chantecaille to create their own spa-like moments, with a complimentary gift of full-size skincare items to enjoy onsite and take along when they head home.
Giving is Better than Receiving
According Double the Donation, 30% of annual giving happens in December, with about 10% donated during the last three days of the year. Meanwhile, Forbes reports charitable giving has increased over the past pandemic year-plus, “and there are no signs of it slowing down.” What’s an easy way to join in? Celebrate the holidays at a generous hotel: ✪ ✪ ✪ On December 15, The Driskill, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and a landmark in Austin, Texas, will host its 7th annual Cookies for Caring event, a twist on the traditional holiday cookie swap with guests donating $50 receiving a holiday tin of baked goods from local pastry chefs and shops, plus a drink ticket to The Driskill Bar. Whoo-hoo! After tin costs are recovered, all proceeds go to the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring fund, benefitting local families. In 2019, Cookies for Caring raised more than $11,350. ✪ ✪ ✪ Along the Jersey shore, The Asbury and the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel in Asbury Park have purchased Christmas trees at a “Hall of Trees” event benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, with proceeds going to local families, who also get to take their sponsored tree home. ✪ ✪ ✪ Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch is reinvigorating its annual commitment to doing holiday good with community and employee initiatives. The former is Angel Trees, with a team member randomly drawing the name of a child and donating a gift to bring the warmth and generosity of the season their way. The latter is Jean’s Days, offering employees opportunity to bring in gently used jeans on in exchange for $$$ donated to a good cause. In December, the recipient will be Phoenix-based Ryan’s House, offering world-class care and programs to aid children and their families in navigating life-limiting and end-of-life journeys.
Just in Time for Christmas
Holiday travelers searching for a fresh warm-weather getaway needn’t look further than Lovango Resort + Beach Club, the US Virgin Island’s newest and hottest private island destination, opening just in time for Christmas on December 20 with all new guest accommodations including glamping tents and tree houses by Michael Kramer, the visionary behind Gurneys in Montauk, New York. Lovango is the newest address of Little Gem Resorts, which recently introduced Little Gem Spirits featuring Rum, Vodka and Whiskey born in the USVIs. (Rates from $750) ✪ ✪ ✪ Take your holidays on the road – actually, the seas – with a 21-Day Holiday Panama Canal cruise from Seabourn. Departing from Miami on December 21, the cruise will find Seabourn Ovation transiting the Panama Canal and visiting Costa Rica, Guatemala, and various ports in Mexico, including Cabo San Lucas, before arriving in Los Angeles on January 11. Christmas Day will be spent in Oranjestad, Aruba, with choice of activities (for fee) including a thrilling dive in a submarine to view either a mysteriously sunken airplane or a retired Danish sailboat as well as marine life 130 feet below the waves. Just wait’ll you share that Christmas memory with the grandkids! (Rates from $12,999)