Dripping in nostalgia, Victoria makes a charming place for a Canadian holiday. Each winter, British Columbia’s capital city shines bright, as the stunning Butchart Gardens light up for the annual Magic of Christmas display, complete with a skating rink and carousel. Or, take a carriage ride through town and glimpse the festive window displays in the many 19th century-style storefronts lining Government Street. Rest your head at Magnolia Hotel & Spa, a historic boutique hotel in downtown Victoria, and take advantage of the in-room fireplaces and stunning views of the inner harbor and Parliament buildings as they twinkle with lights. From Nov 24 - Jan 2, the 64-room hotel’s Christmas package will grant you $25 to spend at the onsite spa or on Spanish-Italian tapas at the property’s restaurant, Catalano Restaurante and Cicchetti Bar.
Winter weather in Washington might be frightful, but a stay at Willows Lodge will make it delightful. 30 minutes north of Seattle, Woodinville gets most of its traffic during the summer months, but proves a perfect hideaway for a quiet winter escape, even in the rain and snow. With the setting’s small-town charm, farm-fresh eats, and over 100 wineries and tasting rooms, you’ll have no trouble settling in. Guests at Woodinville’s cozy Willows Lodge can expect accommodations with all the trimmings, seasonal holiday menus at the acclaimed Barking Frog restaurant, and off-season rates. Plus, the tasting rooms in town are just a short walk or shuttle ride away, guaranteeing that no matter the weather, you’ll be merry and bright.
Like much else in Portland, even Christmas can get weird. Take, for example, the city’s annual Christmas Ships event—a quirky parade of 50+ boats decked out in holiday cheer, lighting up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Catch the flotilla from the comfort of the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel, a luxury riverfront property with urban-meets-mountain design elements. Get cozy by your suite’s wood-burning fireplace, or bundle up and catch the show from a rocking chair on the porch. With promo code “SHIPS,” special room rates include valet parking, milk and cookies, and a 10% donation to the Christmas Ships organization to keep the tradition going for years to come.
Anyone who’s ever built a gingerbread house knows, the more frosting, the better. At the historic Fairmont in San Francisco, that means gallons, plus hundreds of pounds of candy, for the construction of its life-size two-story gingerbread mansion that draws travelers and locals alike each year. With the lobby’s 23-foot Christmas tree and champagne bar, plus a famed Gingerbread Holiday Tea at the hotel’s Laurel Court Restaurant, the season’s magic is all around. Kris Kringle fanatics can even book a night in the family-friendly two-bedroom Santa Suite, complete with a candy and hot chocolate bar (plus adult beverages for parents), a delicious VIP breakfast for four, access to all the classic holiday movies you can watch, and a kit to create your very own gingerbread house.
Carmel is the ultimate storybook escape. Set just outside of town’s quaint streets, Carmel Valley Ranch offers the best of both worlds— a secluded 500-acre wonderland to explore, with easy access to one-of-a-kind shops, tasting rooms, and cafes. Stay active with world-class golf and nearby hiking trails, and browse the onsite organic garden and apiary that source the ingredients served throughout your stay. If holiday wind-down is what you’re after, the fireplace suites, plush robes, and deep soaking baths in every room will make the chaos of airport delays and shopping malls seem far, far away. Keep the Zen going with the resort’s Cozy Carmel Package, available Nov 1 – Apr 30, for a complimentary third night.
There’s no place like home for the holidays, but Ojai Valley Inn is a close second. During their six-week Serenity Season, the 94-year-old resort inspires holiday cheer, with menorah lighting for Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve festivities, and tons of fun in between. Getting into the Christmas spirit? Opt for your room to be adorned with a freshly cut tree, or for your suite’s fireplace mantel to be strung with stockings. Paint ornaments with the family in the hotel’s Artist’s Cottage, send the kids to a Polar Express-themed day of fun, or order an elf-delivery of milk and cookies to your room. For next-level relaxation, indulge in a chai-infused winter body polish in the award-winning spa.
Ever been ice-skating on the beach? At Hotel del Coronado, the crown jewel of San Diego’s Coronado Island, you can make it happen. Each year, the Del (as it’s known locally) transforms into a seaside winter wonderland. A grand, two-story tree graces the lobby, a Victorian tea service stirs up holiday cheer, and glistening lights bedeck the 125-year-old resort’s iconic red-turret roof. The main attraction—a beachfront ice rink—is open to the public, but hotel guests enjoy skating for four along with a credit for holiday treats like spiked hot cocoa. With seasonal menus at two of the hotel’s ocean-view restaurants, luxe pet-friendly accommodations, and a prime location on one of the San Diego area’s best beaches, you may want to request an address change for St. Nick.
If you’re skiing through the holiday season, the Montage Deer Valley, located at the famed Utah ski resort, will make your visit magical. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, their calendar is filled with festive flair for the whole family. Highlights include family flag football, a Black Friday holiday bazaar, caroling performances, and an intricate gingerbread house display, which last year counted down the 12 days of Christmas with a dozen uniquely handcrafted renditions. Cue visions of sugarplums with an in-room Santa tuck-in service, featuring story time and cookies, and a stocking delivery service filled with treats from St. Nick. Home to the largest spa in the state, five eateries, and champagne toasts in a cozy après-ski lounge, the resort offers plenty of ways to treat yourself.
9 of 12Courtesy of L’Auberge de Sedona, Sedona, AZ
Shopping, cooking, traveling, breathing—it’s easy to get carried away with the bustle of the holidays. Reclaim some down time with Mother Nature at L’Auberge de Sedona, a dreamy desert haven nestled along a creek and surrounded by red rock views. Take advantage of the sunshine with a stunning hike or jeep tour, or stock up on artsy gifts at the many New Age shops in town. With the Presence before Presents offer, available from Thanksgiving until the week before Christmas, enjoy 25% off your stay in one of the resort’s luxury cottages, a create-your-own scrub or soak at L’Apothecary Spa, and two cocktails at the property’s laid-back creekside eatery, Etch Bar + Kitchen. Holiday movie nights, a sparkling tree, and special gingerbread turndown service will delight the little ones while you get some R&R.
Saddle up for the holidays at Hermosa Inn, tucked into Phoenix’s aptly named Paradise Valley. Originally built as a private residence for renowned cowboy artist Lon Megargee, the boutique inn glows with Western charm. Decorated with all the trimmings, the adobe offers cozy courtyard fireplaces, 43 plush casitas, seasonal cocktails, and thoughtful touches like housemade cider and fresh-baked cookies in the lobby each day. Reserve the Hermosa Holidays Getaway package for a fireplace-equipped casita to call your home-away-from-home for the holidays.
Escape the snow for a different kind of chill on sunny Oahu. The island’s famous North Shore welcomes some of the world’s most epic waves during the season’s Big Wave Winter, bringing avid surfers and eager spectators to the island each year. Settle in at Turtle Bay Resort and put your surfing skills to the test with their Surf & Stay package, including daily board rentals, a group surf or SUP lesson, and a complimentary outrigger canoe tour if you sign up for both.
Wine your winter blues away in Sonoma with a sumptuous stay at Hotel Healdsburg. The Winter Bliss package will get you a $100-per-night property credit for options like a locally sourced feast at the casual-elegant Dry Creek Kitchen, an indulgent facial with farm-to-spa products, or a fireside Holiday Tea Service, complete with fresh baked scones, dainty tea sandwiches, sparkling wine cocktails, and holiday jingles from the lobby’s piano. From the moment you arrive, Hotel Healdsburg pulls out all the stops, welcoming guests with Sonoma wine and house-made truffles, and starting each day with a complimentary breakfast starring house-baked goods and made-to-order eggs. Pedal it all off and explore the town square on one of the hotel’s fleet of chartreuse bikes. You’ll feel anything but Grinch-like.