Warm Weather Destinations That Celebrate The Holiday Season In Style
By: Roger Sands
Kingsmill Resort offers guests breakfast and photos with Santa. KINGSMILL RESORT
The December holiday season is usually associated with cold weather, icicles, snowmen and hot chocolate sipped by a crackling fire. Although northerners always celebrate the holidays in grandiose style, southern destinations take a back seat to no one when it comes to displaying the holiday spirit. These warmer climate destinations embrace the holiday spirit in a big way including a Frosty Fest Dance Party, a Dolly Parton holiday presidential suite and the time-honored southern tradition of “porching.”
The golf resort goes all out for the holidays. KINGSMILL RESORT
Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia
From dazzling light events to festive concerts to seasonal celebrations of colonial history, Kingsmill Resort and Greater Williamsburg come alive during the holidays with the spirit of the season. The area is packed with as many special events as there are lights on a Christmas tree. Williamsburg’s Condominium Golf Resort, Kingsmill Resort, is offering guests a winter wonderland of activities during the month of December including Christmas eve and Christmas day horse and carriage rides, holiday mixology classes, breakfast and photos with Santa, glow golf, ugly sweater supper, gingerbread making competition, Christmas cookie decorating, wreath making, petting zoo, magic show, scavenger hunts, letters to Santa and lots more.
The suite is adorned with 60s, 70s and 80s gaiety. DIGITAL LOVE
Graduate Nashville, Tennessee
Graduate Nashville’s Dolly Parton themed presidential suite – the “9 to 5” suite – will be decked out in Dolly-esque holiday decor throughout the month of December. Taking inspiration from Dolly’s love of Christmas, Graduate Nashville’s “9 to 5” suite is adorned with 60s, 70s and 80s inspired gaiety and glam holiday decor. In the living room, guests can find a green faux Christmas tree engulfed in sparkly tinsel and pink, gold and silver ornaments. A lavish white tree with bright pink ornaments and silver garland is a focal point of the bedroom as glamorous decor takes center stage. Paying homage to Dolly, on top of each tree sits a Dolly Angel lookalike playing a pink guitar, and her portrait is lined with gold tinsel, just as radiant as Dolly herself.
Santa makes a big splash in the Maldives. VELAA PRIVATE ISLAND
Velaa Private Island, The Maldives
One of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in the world, Velaa offers travelers the opportunity to celebrate the holidays in unparalleled luxury. This year the new schedule includes: Dec. 23, Gingerbread House Opening Ceremony: Launch the festive season with delicious gingerbread cookies and spiced mulled wine; Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Cocktail Party. Enjoy masterfully mixed cocktails, delicious canapés while the sun sets over Velaa’s turquoise waters. Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Gala Dinner. Indulge in a variety of holiday specialty dishes from around the world with all the trimmings and traditions. Dec. 25, Santa’s Arrival. Experience Christmas day in paradise and see Santa bearing plenty of gifts for both the young and old.
Snowland Cabanas feature elaborate holiday decor. GREAT WOLF LODGE
Great Wolf Lodge, Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina (and other southern locations)
The annual Snowland celebration immerses families in a winter wonderland, with daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, seasonally themed crafts, holiday stories and songs and new this year. The festivities run through Jan. 5, 2022. Snowland Cabanas in the 84-degree water park feature elaborate holiday decor and come complete with a Christmas tree and falling snow. Each Cabana also includes a wreath-shaped tube to use on the Crooked Creek lazy river. Other holiday activities include daily lighting of the menorah candle during Hanukkah, 'Twas the Night Before Snowland' Yoga Tails to start the day and Frosty Fest Family Dance Party each evening.
Get up close and personal with real reindeer in Kentucky. THE REINDEER FARM, BOWLING GREEN, KY
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Visitors can rediscover the spirit of Christmas at Bowling Green’s Reindeer Farm where guests have the chance to encounter real reindeer, warm up with free hot cocoa, watch holiday movies and write letters to Santa. The farm provides private tours, feeding experiences with the reindeer, wine tasting, food trucks and exciting visits from North Pole friends. Witness the National Corvette Museum light up with holiday cheer at their Twinkle at the Track, a drive-through display of over 25 scenes. Hit the ice at the SoKY Marketplace Ice Rink. This downtown favorite boasts 6,000 square-feet of ice and hosts several themed nights with story readings and special guests including Santa.
Ice skating is an annual tradition in Greenville. GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Greenville, South Carolina
A holiday tradition where the tree-lined sidewalks on Main Street twinkle with lights, Santa’s motorized sleigh glides down Main Street with an elf in tow, and ice skaters enjoy an outdoor rink. Christmas carolers harmonize the streets while dozens of giant trees are dressed for the annual Festival of Trees competition in hotels throughout town. From tree lighting ceremonies to Christmas Pop-Up Shops, a parade and a Christmas Markets – even a community Hanukkah celebration and Menorah Lighting – Greenville offers the full holiday experience.
Guests can enjoy the Southern tradition of Porching. ROB KAUFMAN/KAUFMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
Guests can enjoy an abundance of new festive experiences and traditional holiday activities such as Nutcracker tea with a special ballet performance, journey on Santa’s sleigh, holiday wreath making class and Jingle Bell Jog 5K. Every Friday throughout the month of December, guests can gather in the Inn Lobby for a special holiday edition of the time-honored Southern tradition of “Porching.” Visitors can enjoy holiday treats, hot chocolate and cider complete with holiday musical performances, while taking in the relaxing views of the scenic May River from the porch.
Guests of the hotel can enjoy holiday music. GUSTAV SCHMIEGE
Thompson Dallas, Texas
In true Bigger in Texas style, the hotel uses over a dozen miles of LED lighting, 17,000 ornaments, 35 Christmas trees, a sparkling 55 foot tall Christmas tree at the entrance of the building and six tons of custom iron to create the bespoke trees. The hotel will activate 12 Days of Thompson in its lobby. Over the course of 12 days in December, guests of the lobby bar can enjoy holiday music, hot cocoas and festive cocktails and each drink purchase is an automatic entry for a chance to win prizes such as a two-night stays at Thompson Dallas.
Macon spreads the holiday spirit each year. VISIT MACON
Downtown Macon has transformed into a merry wonderland with more than 500,000 Christmas lights strung across four blocks of the city’s Main Street. Free shows will be open to the public nightly through Jan. 2. Other seasonal activities will include carriage rides along with selfies with Santa and his reindeer. ““We are thrilled to bring back this beloved annual tradition and look forward to welcoming visitors and locals to downtown Macon for this festive event once again, says Valerie Bradley, vice president of marketing for Visit Macon. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Macon, and we can’t wait to help spread the holiday spirit. We look forward to coming together to bid farewell to 2021 and look ahead to several exciting events in Macon in the New Year.”
Guests enjoy high altitude ice skating in Nashville, Tennessee. BOBBY HOTEL
Bobby Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
The Rooftop Lounge at Bobby Hotel will be the place to be this holiday season as it transforms into Camp Bobby, a 70’s camp-inspired theme including a rooftop ice skating rink made to look like a frozen pond, “campfire sites” in each heated igloo and a decked out 70’s inspired design in the Scenicruiser bus. Guests and locals alike can enjoy a cocktail or get that perfect Instagram shot, in addition to soaking up the spectacular views of music city from high in the sky. Camp Bobby is running through February.