Five magical resorts and hotels in which to spend the holidays

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If you’re looking to give your family a storybook experience this December, complete with all the trimmings of the season, the following five US properties deliver. Whether you’re replacing holiday gifts with family memories or money is no object, all five of these hotels and resorts serve up holiday spirit in picture-perfect locations.

Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up

Montana’s over-the-top luxury ranch resort is celebrating the holidays the old-fashioned way with horse-drawn sleigh rides, cookie decorating, visits from Santa, holiday feasts, and plenty of playtime in the snow. Families will experience it all on Paws Up’s 37,000 picturesque mountain acreage, where they’ll dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads while tucked into beds in luxury home and cabins. Every day, kids and grown-ups alike can opt between dogsledding, snowmobiling, winter ATV riding, or simply sipping a warm cocktail by the hearth. Learn more:

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe

Looking for a fairytale ski vacation? The Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe is located mid-mountain at Northstar California, nestled in the mountains just north of Lake Tahoe. Families can gather around one of many oversized fireplaces in the lobby Living Room, or at an outdoor fire pit on the back deck overlooking the ski slopes. Every day, the Ritz Carlton ski butler will ready kids for the slopes, and every afternoon, they’ll ski directly back to the hotel in time for Marshmology, the nightly s’mores roast hosted by Ritz Carlton chefs. The après-ski experience is lively at this property, as are the daily holiday-themed workshops, ranging from gingerbread baking to holiday crafts with the Claus’. Don’t miss the moonlit snowshoe tours that depart nightly during the holiday season, or the holiday themed meals in award-winning Manzanita restaurant. Of course, Santa will want to come skiing with the kids. Learn more:

Omni Mt. Washington

Omni Mt. Washington

Nestled adjacent to New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington and directly at the base of miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, Omni Mt. Washington combines an old-fashioned, history stay with some of the best skiing and winter recreation in New England. During the holiday season, families will truly find themselves set into a winter wonderland, with options for sledding and tubing, sleigh rides, skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. After each activity, warm up with a wintry cocktail while kids join the Omni Kids Crew with milk and cookies and specially designed holiday activities. Guests can even pick out their own Christmas tree and wreath during their stay, and participate in group wagon rides. Learn more:

Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel

Want a fairytale holiday stay in the city? It doesn’t get more magical than the Plaza, located directly on 5th Avenue…after all, it was good enough for Eloise. The Plaza is steeped in history, but also offers every modern convenience, which is especially useful for families worn out by city touring. The Plaza decks the halls—quite literally—during December, making it a destination in itself in the heart of Manhattan. Take the kids ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, see the national tree lit up for Christmas, and go window shopping along 5th Avenue, knowing you can return to opulence and refined holiday decor the minute you re-enter the grand Plaza lobby. Santa, will, of course, be on-hand for visits. Be sure to tuck the kids into bed with Eloise at Christmastime. Learn more:


Grand Floridian, Walt Disney World

Obviously, Disney knows how to decorate for the season. The Grand Floridian goes above and beyond, however, with its multi-story grand lobby decked out from top to bottom. Kids will first notice the towering, lit Christmas tree, but first, everyone will be able to smell the heavenly scent of the practically life-sized gingerbread house. Character dining at the Grand Floridian takes on a seasonal theme during December, and holiday music is played live daily. Of course, families are only a short monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, where the holiday celebration continues with parades, Christmas parties, more decorated trees, and Mickey and Co outfitted for the ‘cold’ weather. Learn more:

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