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Hotels That Feel Like Home for the Holidays

Sometimes the trick to making it home for the holidays lies in making the holidays feel like home, regardless of where your stockings may hang. Kristy Alpert checks into the hotels that deliver on holiday cheer

See recent posts by Siobhan Reid

It’s no use fighting with Perry Como. There really is “no place like home for the holidays.” But, it’s not always possible to make that crooner’s lyric a reality. Between choosing which relative to visit, parents taking off on exotic getaways, or (lets face it) needing a holiday from your holidays, sometimes you have to find cheer in a different locale.

Hotels around the world offer specials for winter wanderers, but only a few go above and beyond to make holiday guests truly feel at home. From sipping mulled wine in front of a roaring fire and gathering the family ‘round the en-suite tree to surprise visits from Santa and personalized presents delivered at turndown, here are the top hotels that feel like home for the holidays. After all, no matter how far away you roam, for the holidays, you can’t beat a home sweet hotel that feels like home.

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The Omni Homestead Hot Springs, VA

If the name hasn’t already given it away, this mountain resort will instantly warm your heart with homey comforts. Kids can decorate cookies alongside Mrs. Claus and listen to a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” before the big man himself makes a grand entrance on Christmas morning. Cozy sitting areas in the suites look out on fields often covered in fresh powder while nightly holiday music, scheduled wine tastings, bedtime stories, ornamental gifts, and more help to make the season bright at this homestead.

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A-ROSA resort Kitzbühel, Austria

Cobblestone roads lead the way to this Tyrolean castle-inspired resort. Set at the base of the Hahnenkamm mountain in the Alps, this romantic resort welcomes holiday home seekers with simple and unassuming hospitality. The hotel offers multi-room suites, two-story rooms, and suites with built-in kitchens so the entire family can have space to spread out and enjoy the stunning views of the famous ski racing slope, the Streif. The hotel throws a grand Christmas Eve gala, but we’d be equally happy to hear the cathedral bells ring out on Christmas Eve curled up by the fireplace with gingerbread and hot Glühwein after a day spent trolling the local Christmas market.

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Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail Vail, CO

The Four Seasons feels festive any time of year with its luxe alpine look. But they up the spirited ante around the holidays, arranging for in-room Christmas trees, cookie-decorating classes, complimentary hot chocolate and brownies served by staffers in white fur caps, customizable holiday baskets, a complimentary gift-wrap station by the fireside lounge, and more. The holidays aren’t just housed indoors though, as there are great events all around the resort that bring the holidays a bit closer, like Santa’s Last Run down the mountain before hanging up his skis for the year (with cookies and cocoa to follow) and “Bubbles in the Snow,” where adults make their own hot toddy around the slopeside fire pit while kid’s make s’mores with gourmet marshmallows. If the Christmas Eve Dickens carolers delivering minced pies and mulled wine doesn’t wash away those far-from-home blues, then guests can arrange for Santa to stop in their rooms for 15 minutes … just enough time to share some milk and cookies and deliver the family’s Christmas presents in person.

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Rome Cavalieri Rome, Italy

When Santa visits this luxury Eternal City hotel, he does it in high style, arriving in his sleigh with gifts for children on Christmas morning amidst twinkling lights strung throughout the lobby. Separate sleeping and living areas make this hotel feel extra homey over the holidays … and it gives Santa extra space to sneak in some holiday gifts beneath the tree in the room before the little bambini awake. On Christmas Eve, the hotel does its best to fill hearts with happy memories while filling bellies with holiday treats, starting with a Champagne and caviar happy hour for adults before a special Christmas Eve dinner, then followed by a Cognac and Chocolate turndown reception in the lounge.

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Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin Berlin, Germany

Not only is the Hotel Adlon within walking distance to one of the greatest Christmas markets in the world, but this historic hotel also offers a Christmas experience all its own. Guests are greeted in the lobby by the scent of gingerbread and the angelic sounds of the Berlin Children’s Choir hosting performances on Advent weekends … and all the homemade mulled wine and decorated Christmas biscuits you can drink and eat. In the rooms, guests enjoy a Christmas surprise upon arrival (Christmas trees available upon request) along with a gourmet breakfast buffet in the morning.

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Merrion Hotel Dublin, Ireland

Created from restorations of 18th-century Georgian townhouses, the Merrion has an old world elegance about it that shines with Christmas cheer. Of course glittering decorations and lavish Christmas trees line the lobby and common spaces this time of year, but even the 123 guest rooms and 19 suites carry their own Christmas magic. Crackling fires, intimate Georgian drawing rooms, deep sofas and seasonal treats make these cozy quarters feel like home for the holidays. Adults can enjoy a glass of champagne around the Christmas tree in the front hall while the younger guests gather around Father Christmas to receive a personal Christmas gift (mince pies also available for all). The hotel even hires a Christmas Coordinator each year to handle and specific holiday needs, wishes, or desires … like making your muscles merry with a couple’s massage at the TETHRA spa.

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The Goring Hotel London, England

Few cities do Christmas bigger than London—land of carolers, sticky toffee pudding and mistletoe—and if travelers can’t be home for the holidays, one of this Christmassy city’s finest hotels will gladly set out an extra place setting for guests at their family celebration. The Goring Hotel has been family run for more than 100 years, and truly gives a homelike holiday experience to guests over the Christmas season. They’ll arrange for packages that include a welcome gift from owner Jeremy Goring, Christmas dinner and personalized moments (think guided strolls through the Royal Parks, Boxing Day celebrations and more). Guests can be as involved in the package as they’d like, or they can simply make the hotel a home base for the holidays. And we’re being a little naughty here, but a little elf told us that the staff gives guests surprise gifts!

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The Mark Hotel Prague, Czech Republic

Spend a memorable Christmas in this former baroque palace. Grand bathtubs make for a great way for soak away the soreness of the shopping season and in-room kitchenettes and dining areas are perfect for hosting intimate family dinners. Guests arriving during the Christmas period will receive homemade Christmas cookies and the hotel staff will gladly arrange to have a decorated Christmas tree in the guest room upon request. As an extra treat, guests can order the hotel’s seasonal specialty of Christmas stolen with marzipan or a Linz hearts with red currant jam.

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The Wigwam Litchfield Park, AZ

No shoveling layers of snow or waiting to defrost windshields at this Arizona hotel. Whether the temperatures stay in the 60s or drop below the 40s, the atmosphere inside The Wigwam is always cozy and relaxed. This kitschy Sonoran Desert oasis offers traditional holiday experiences like gingerbread house-making, Christmas light viewing excursions and even ice skating at the resort’s seasonal ice rink (yes, ice skating in a desert!). For anyone feeling extra homesick over the holidays, the hotel even offers an “Elf Tuck-In” service that includes a special visit from one of Santa’s elves, who will bring a treat of cookies and milk and a special holiday stocking gift before lulling kids to sleep with a Christmas bedtime story.

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The Mansion at Casa Madrona

From festive farm-to-table feasts prepared by a private chef to custom Christmas or Hanukkah themed suite decorations, guests checking in to the new waterfront Mansion or the Alexandrite Suite at Casa Madrona may actually forget they’re in a hotel. The Mansion sleeps up to 24 guests (with 11 guest rooms), so you can host a homey holiday retreat for the entire family without having to clean up after everyone! Guests booking either option have access to private chefs, yachts, seaplanes ready to soar over Wine Country, tailored yoga sessions and more. Or you can just snuggle up in the Alexandrite’s media room to watch those favorite holiday movies on a nine-panel Samsung media wall … in HD of course!



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