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12 Charming Historic Hotels That Are Beautifully Decked Out for the Holidays

Tis the season for jingle bells, mistletoe, and gingerbread. Each year, travelers are finding an abundance of holiday cheer at historical hotels across the U.S.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy Moana Surfride rA Westin Resort Spa

Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

With a prime beachfront location, this luxurious Hawaiian legend opened in 1901; today, it’s the oldest hotel in Waikiki. For the holidays, the property is illuminated brilliantly, both inside and out, with over 10,000 flickering lights that celebrate the season. At the grand entrance, an exquisitely festive Christmas tree attracts the attention of guests, as it transforms the lobby into a winter wonderland filled with the Aloha spirit. Throughout the Moana Surfrider, eight additional trees are decorated beautifully and on display in the common areas and picturesque courtyard. Over 700 feet of garland is wrapped around the property’s striking pillars and red and white poinsettias adorn the many flower beds. These charming towns are even cozier when it snows.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy The Culver Hotel

The Culver Hotel, Culver City, CA

Located in a vibrant Southern California neighborhood, the historic Culver Hotel is a flatiron-style building that opened in 1924 and is especially festive during the holiday season. With renaissance revival design details, soaring 20-foot ceilings and vintage yet modern ambiance, the hotel’s grand lobby features a gorgeous Noble fir tree to celebrate the season. As a national landmark, the property is adorned with fresh wreaths, colorful garlands, and robust poinsettia plants. Festive dinners feature hearty dishes, yuletide cocktails, and live music by the lobby fireplace or with friends at the communal table in the Crystal Room.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy Windsor Court

Windsor Court, New Orleans, LA

Only a few steps away from the iconic French Quarter, this historic hotel’s decor takes on seasonal splendor during the holidays, with a 20-foot Christmas tree displaying over 25,000 mini white lights, more than a thousand feet of gold magnolia garland, a classic toy train encircling the base, and red and green to spare. Additional decorative elements include 10 Colorado blue spruce trees, donning more than 3,000 ornaments, and several six-foot high gold magnolia wreaths that are displayed in the windows. The property‘s grand stairwell is lined with more brilliant garland, along with hundreds of sparkling lights. Guests are invited to add to the special décor by writing their own wishes on complimentary ornaments and hanging them on a special tree in the lobby. These are America’s prettiest winter towns.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy Hilton Chicago

Hilton Chicago

This iconic hotel does it up big for the winter season, attracting attention from guests and locals alike. Featuring a 24-foot Christmas tree decorated annually with thousands of metallic ornaments, the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling décor features nearly 2,000 inches of decorated garland, a 30-inch poinsettia “kissing ball,” and 60-foot wreaths. In addition, the hotel is home to a life-size gingerbread hotel on display throughout the season. Standing over six feet tall, it took three pastry chefs nearly 300 hours to create—using 380 pounds of flour, 16 pounds of ginger, 16 pounds of cinnamon and 16,000 gingerbread bricks—among other ingredients. In celebration of this historic property’s 90th anniversary this year, Executive Chef Mario Garcia added gingerbread replicas of city’s skyscrapers.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy The Langham Huntington Pasadena

The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, CA

Dating back to 1914, this classic hotel features an array of delightful displays during the holidays, including a splendid gingerbread house village, twinkling lights and stunning décor. The majestic Christmas tree in the lobby is decorated in the hotel’s signature pink, gold, and ivory color palette. The lobby lounge features a pine tree glistening brilliantly, accented with red, bronze, and copper ornaments. The property’s outdoor landscaping is always extensively lit with cascading snowfall lights. Two of the hotel‘s historic ballrooms are also fully decked out with pine trees draped in gold, rose gold, red, and copper—as well as shimmering lights and jewel-toned fabrics.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy HarbourView Inn

HarbourView Inn, Charleston, NC

As Charleston’s only waterfront property located in the Historic District, the HarbourView Inn is always impeccably decorated during holidays. Guests are welcomed into a second-floor lobby that is transformed into an old southern living room—complete with tinsel, garland, a glimmering Christmas tree with garnishments as well as a gingerbread house replica of the hotel. Handmade peppermint truffles crafted locally by Christophe Artisan Chocolates are delivered to fully-decorated rooms for nightly turndown, while live Christmas carolers and Santa Clause make an appearance in the lobby on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for a truly magical vacation. Check out these destinations that are even better in the winter.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy La Valencia Hotel

La Valencia, La Jolla, CA

Opened in 1928, the sophisticated La Valencia Hotel is a favorite Old Hollywood-style getaway that features glorious views of the Pacific Ocean. Each yuletide season, this hotel is celebration central with a stunning display of twinkling white lights outlining the property’s entire exterior and illuminating its famous pale pink facade. The La Valencia‘s entrance is lined with red poinsettias, while dark green holly and mistletoe decorate the doorways and fireplace mantles throughout the classic structure. Carolers, hot cocoa, and plenty of festive crafts for the kids mark the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, which is conducted in the La Sala Lounge, considered the heart of the hotel.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy Menger Hotel

The Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX

The Historic Menger Hotel, built in 1859, is the oldest continuously-run hotel west of the Mississippi. It is located just steps away from the twinkling lights of the city’s famed River Walk. For over 150 years, the Menger Hotel has spread holiday cheer with its exceptional and eye-catching decorations. The property’s seasonal centerpiece is the two-story Christmas tree featuring brightly-hued ornaments, and life-size Nutcrackers standing at attention. This hotel also ensures visitors are in the festive spirit with carolers in the main lobby throughout the season. In addition, guests as well as locals, have made the Menger a tradition with the popular Christmas Day brunch as well as the dinner buffet.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-Seasoncourtesy Heathman Hotel

Heathman Hotel, Portland, OR

A National Historic Landmark constructed in 1927, the Heathman Hotel continues to offer touches of Old World luxury. Each December, the hotel’s exterior features a warm glow radiating from white lights that are wrapped around the trees framing the entrance. Once inside, the Heathman’s Tea Court lounge serves as the epicenter of the hotel’s holiday décor. Warmed by a wood fireplace, the Tea Court has for decades charmed travelers with a garland-wrapped staircase, festive wreaths and an ornate, 20-foot lit Christmas tree adorned with ornaments. Travelers who wish for a touch of holiday décor in their room can request that a miniature 3-foot tree with white lights (an added cost of $40).

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy The Jefferson Washington DC

The Jefferson, Washington DC

As a Historic Hotel of America, this elegant property offers an homage to Thomas Jefferson and his Monticello residence in a stately Beaux Arts designed building. This season showcases a regal tree adorned with mini replicas of The Declaration of Independence and brilliantly colored poinsettias. The Jefferson‘s lobby has a black and white marble floor that provides an energizing foundation to a layout graced by charcoal walls, glass lanterns hanging from gilded chains, grand oil paintings, antique books, and rare Jefferson-signed checks and presidential letters. The Jefferson is also home to North America’s only glass-top bar Quill and Michelin-star rated Plume, which will offer holiday menus this year. These are the best warm weather destinations to escape the cold.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy The Breakers Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach, FL

Located on the picturesque Palm Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, The Breakers hotel is a grand property that opened in 1896 and is still steeped in tradition. Decorated brilliantly for the holidays, some of this legendary hotel’s seasonal highlights include: over 100,000 Christmas lights, 3,500 ornaments, 9,000 feet of ribbon and nearly 2,000 feet of garland. Lined with 100 royal palm trees and Canary Island date trees glowing with thousands of white bulbs, the main driveway shimmers festively. In the expansive lobby, two towering Christmas trees, each nearly 20-feet high, are elegantly illuminated with over 4,000 decorations and 25,000 gold, white and frosted lights. In addition, four other decorated trees, each over eleven feet tall, are placed throughout the sprawling property. Even the playground includes whimsical candy-colored decorations and a gingerbread style playhouse.

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Charming-Historic-Hotels-that-Light-up-the-Holiday-SeasonCourtesy Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA

With an abundance of old-world glamour, this elegant hotel continues to surprise and delight guests during the winter season. From soaring red turrets decked in thousands of white lights and a Victorian lobby with a brightly decorated Christmas tree as its main focal point, this property is an ideal destination for a festive getaway. This year, featuring a theme of “A Winter of Whimsy, Wishes, and Wonder,” the hotel is creating a brand new playful, upside down 20-foot tree that will fill the entire two floors of the lobby—complete with an array of large, colorful trimmings in bright hues of orange, teal, purple, red and emerald, with fun shapes, traditional balls, and many dazzlingly wrapped gifts set beneath the tree.

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Marla Cimini
Marla Cimini is an award-winning writer with a passion for travel, music, beaches, and culinary adventures. As an enthusiastic globetrotter, she's a frequent Hawaii visitor (and guidebook writer) and has covered an array of diverse and intriguing topics, ranging from luxury hotels and surf culture to the innovative food and restaurant scene in cities and towns around the world. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Reader's Digest, All Recipes, USA Today, Robb Report, Travel Weekly, and many others. See more of Marla's work on her website: My website: Facebook: