Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Eid-al-Fitr, Dhanu Sankranti of even Festivus, this is a great time of year. And hoteliers are celebrating it with great displays.
Here are some I find the most impressive.
Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
This gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort is an incredible 7-feet tall and 12-feet wide. It took 1,400 hours to bake and assemble and features 600 pounds of gingerbread, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 12 gallons of egg whites, 3.5 gallons of lemon juice, 150 pounds of fondant and one pound of glitter.
The gingerbread house was assembled by six craftsmen, two electricians and 16 bakers and pastry chefs. Wow!
I have always loved their Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio Las Vegas and am amazed how they change it look throughout the year. One time I was staying at Bellagio and witnessed how they transformed the space during the five days I was there. That was as impressive as the final result.
This year, the Bellagio Conservatory is featuring 42-foot white Fir ‘holiday’ tree, as they call it. Other smaller trees are covered in snow and there are plenty of elves on hand too. Hope Santa isn’t annoyed their playing craps rather than making toys. There’s also a penguin family watching two 10-foot trains departing for the "North Pole" through two 12-foot brick tunnels textured with crushed walnuts and lined with candy canes.
Every year the Gaylord Opryland features the amazing ICE! holiday attraction. This year, the hotel is recreating scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hand sculpted from more than two million pounds of ice. Hard to believe this is Nashville and not the North Pole. Truly spectacular.
The Connaught Christmas Tree
Located at the legendary The Connaught Mayfair hotel in London, the tree was designed by acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley.
The tree is a Western Red Cedar tree – commonly used for totem poles by the people of the Pacific Northwest – and was sourced from Shropshire county, three hours from London. Standing 57 feet tall, its trunk has been transformed into a tapering column of brilliant light illuminating the branches from top to bottom. This marks the second year that The Connaught has commissioned a prominent artist to design the tree, following last year’s inaugural tree by Damien Hirst.
Gormley said, “I thought that rather than decorating the outside of the Christmas tree it would be fun to light its core; the trunk, transforming it into a radiant center against which the branches would become illuminated and silhouetted.”