Certainly there are plenty of tinsel garlands, strings of lights and decorated trees in hotel lobbies this time of year, but some hotels and resorts take the holiday festivities up a notch or two–or 12. Here are two resorts with heightened Ho Ho Hos from a Victorian inspired mountain resort to a glitzy, glittery extravaganza where a drive-through Christmas light display is a tourist attraction.
At Mohonk Mountain House, perched above a lake in the Hudson Valley, holiday decorations hearken back to 1869 when this mountain retreat first opened. Garlands, wreaths, and artfully decorated trees festoon the hotel’s common areas, dining room and gift shop.
Guests also have an array of winter inspired activities to enjoy throughout the season. Ice-skating, snowshoeing, snow tubing and cross-country skiing are available, weather and snow conditions permitting.
When you come in from outside, whether you’ve taken a brisk hike on a trail, or spent time on the expansive porch taking in the view of the lake against the backdrop of the mountains, there are fireplaces with crackling fires to cozy up near.
Each day activities that range from nature talks and walks to making crafts offer plenty to keep you (and your kids) busy–particularly since rooms don’t come with TVs unless you pay an extra fee. Evening entertainment varies from movies to comedy acts and concerts.
The resort also has an indoor pool, a fitness center and an award-winning spa.
The 259 guest rooms blend the old with the new where modern details provide luxury and comfort. Antique furniture adds ambiance and class. Options include suites and cottages. Some rooms have wood burning fireplaces. Refrigerators are available for free upon request–so are plush bathrobes.
Room rates include a dinner, a hearty breakfast and afternoon tea and cookies. At the moment Mohonk has a special rate that starts at $186.90 a night per person in honor of the date the hotel first opened.
Meals at Mohonk are fabulous as well. One of my favorite holiday experiences here was when we celebrated my dad’s retirement with the seasonal DinnerFest Buffet. That time we were day guests.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
Reservations: (855) 883-3798
Oglebay Resort and Conference Center near Wheeling, West Virginia turns up the holiday volume with lights from mid November into January. The resort’s drive-through Winter Festival of Lights, started in 1985, has grown to be one of the U.S.’s top Christmas light displays. The drive traverses 6 miles over 300 acres of the resort’s property.
There are also walk through sections that take in the gardens, the garden gift shop, the glass museum and the Mansion Museum.
Oglebay is the former summer home of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay who left the property to Wheeling to be used as a public recreation area. Winter recreation at the resort includes downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Lodging options include the 271 room Wilson Lodge, cottages, and one of the four Estate Houses. The Estate Houses are designed for large groups. Wilson Lodge rooms start at $165. The lodge is where you’ll find the pool, the spa and the fitness center.
The best value is to book a package deal, particularly if you want to take in the Winter Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights Overnight Package includes a vehicle pass and a Mountaineer Buffet Breakfast. The weekday package rate starts at $134 per night based on a double room occupancy.
Oglebay Resort & Conference Center
465 Lodge Dr.
Wheeling, WV 26003
800-624-6988 or 304-243-4000.
Post and all but first photo of Mohonk Mountain House, courtesy of Jamie Rhein. First photo courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House. Oglebay Resort and Conference Center photo courtesy of Oglebay.