Fairmont San Francisco

Every winter, hotels in the West add extra holiday spirit with unique life-sized gingerbread houses inspired by Christmas movies, Disney characters, and even the desert

Maya Wong  – December 3, 2019

Every year, hotels in the West add extra holiday spirit to their sparkling winter-themed lobbies with life-sized gingerbread houses. Some are classic with precise frosting technique and meticulous gingerbread bricks, while others opt for a Southwestern version inspired by the sandy Sonoran Desert (and yes, it includes a gingerbread four-wheel drive vehicle). Either way, the holiday spirit is on grand display with these over-the-top creations. Take your pick and let the holiday celebrations begin.

Fairmont San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco’s iconic Fairmont Hotel in Nob Hill is known for the large-scale gingerbread house built by its pastry chefs every holiday season. The two-story, life-size gingerbread display stands more than 25 feet high and 35 feet wide and includes more than 6,000 gingerbread bricks, 1,650 pounds of candy, and 3,300 pounds of icing. While you’re there, consider making a reservation for the hotel’s Gingerbread Holiday Tea for an extra-special holiday outing.

Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (Anaheim, CA)

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa—the lodge-style hotel connected to Disney California Adventure Park—dedicated this year’s massive, detail-oriented gingerbread house to Chip ‘n’ Dale, who are characteristically tangled up in candy canes in front of the house. Look closely and you’ll also spot edible stain glass windows, a mini fireplace, and fondant stockings adorned with classic characters such as Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto.

Sheraton Grand Seattle (Seattle, WA)

The 27th annual Gingerbread Village celebration takes place at Sheraton Grand Seattle, where a team of local architects and chefs collaborated to build an out-of-this-world “village” featuring 8-foot-tall houses and thousands of pounds in dough, icing, and candy. The month-long event is donation-based, with all proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Fashion Island Hotel (Newport Beach, CA)

This year’s life-sized gingerbread display is inspired by the classic Christmas movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Fashion Island Hotel created a “Fashion Island of Misfit Toys” made completely of gingerbread and edible candy, featuring characters like Santa Claus, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius. Visit on the weekend and you’ll be treated to hot apple cider and cookies, too.

ARIA Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)

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At 15 feet tall, ARIA Las Vegas’ gingerbread house is one of the most festive things to see on the Strip this December. Besides the actual gingerbread house itself, the display also features 5-foot-tall gingerbread people, 30 giant sugar bears, custom-designed cakes in the house’s window, and cotton candy clouds billowing out of the chimney.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (Dana Point, CA)

Orange County gets a taste of Whoville with The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas gingerbread extravaganza. The cartoon-inspired display features call-outs to Dr. Seuss’s most popular books, like a miniature stand selling green eggs and ham and, of course, the Grinch.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain (Tucson, AZ)

Starting December 8, The Ritz-Carlton’s Dove Mountain location reveals this year’s gingerbread display: Enchanted Sonoran Desert Landscape. Instead of a house, the resort’s pastry team created a gingerbread Sonoran desert with a gingerbread four-wheel drive vehicle and more than 50,000 pieces of candy.

The Benson Hotel (Portland, OR)

The gingerbread exhibit located in the lobby of The Benson Hotel is a holiday tradition that’s existed for the past 48 years. Chef Dave Diffendorfer uses over 150 pounds of gingerbread, 15 pounds of white and dark chocolate, 35 pounds of marzipan, and plenty of melted Jolly Ranchers to create the edible snow-covered display. There’s even a toy train that makes its way around the main gingerbread house.

Resort at Squaw Creek (Lake Tahoe, CA)

For many seasoned Tahoe visitors, a winter trip isn’t complete without a stop by Resort at Squaw Creek to check out their annual Gingerbread Village. The hotel lobby gets extra festive every December with a sprawling gingerbread exhibit—a sweet ending after a day of skiing.