Traditional holiday fare? It depends. In Australia, where it’s summer, throwing fresh shrimp on the barby is the thing to do. If you recall your Dickens, goose it is in England. In this country, turkey or ham, although in our earliest years, the correct answer was nothing much—Congress didn’t even take Christmas day off in the years after the Revolutionary War. Today, of course, regardless of religious tradition (or lack of same), enjoying the food and festivities of the season is a highlight of the year. Here is what luxury hotel properties around the nation are touting.
The Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia
You can decorate tree ornaments and be tucked in by an elf at this elegant, 90-year-old property with 5 miles of private beach. But be sure to wake up hungry for biscuits and gravy at a traditional Southern buffet in Mizner Ballroom on Christmas Day. Live caroling completes the holiday mood. Jacket and tie for gentlemen, of course.
The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida
The holiday dreamscape at this lavish resort takes 170,000 holiday lights, 8,000 ornaments, 12,000 feet of ribbon and 126 bows to create. Highlight of the season is the elaborate Christmas dinner buffet in Ponce de Leon Ballroom beneath glittering chandeliers. It offers classics such as hand-carved roasts, a bounty from the sea (including caviar), plus indulgent sweets.
Willard InterContinental, Washington, D.C.
A holiday edition of History Happy Hour, hosted in partnership with the White House Historical Association, holds forth in the iconic Round Robin Bar, and will feature former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier. Christmas Day brunch includes a mash potato martini bar, a carpaccio station, wild game and desserts, such as seasonal pies.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona
At the Ninth Annual Christmas at the Princess Festival, anyone can enjoy a ride on the Princess Express train, outdoor ice skating (with rinkside fire pits) and S’mores Land—plus photos with Peppermint Penguin and Selfie Elfie. Christmas Day brunch in Palomino Ballroom features festive, seasonal creations by five talented chefs from the resort’s four restaurants.