The Most Festive Holiday Hotels of the Season
As the holiday season beckons with the promise of warmth, joy, and a touch of magic, what better way to embrace it than through travel? As winter casts its snowy spell, families and friends embark on journeys that lead to reunions or new adventures.
For many, traveling during the holidays is a cherished tradition, a time-honored ritual that brings loved ones together. Airports hum with a festive energy, adorned with twinkling lights and the sound of cheerful carols. Trains and buses echo with the anticipation of shared stories and laughter. The journey itself becomes a part of the holiday experience, weaving a tapestry of memories.
Exploring new destinations during this time can be transformative. Streets adorned with holiday decorations offer a unique perspective, as traditions shine through in vibrant displays of lights, nativity scenes, and bustling downtowns.
Whether you’re looking for a wintery escape this season or a festive place to stay while visiting family or friends, Virginia has a host of holiday hotels to choose from.
The Hotel Roanoke
Famous for its annual Fashions for Evergreens event, which runs from Thanksgiving morning until New Year’s Day, The Hotel Roanoke comes alive with holiday cheer. Each year, dozens of organizations and businesses compete for the coveted People’s Choice award by trimming trees in an assortment of themes. In years past, guests have enjoyed whimsical Alice in Wonderland trees, trees with historic flourishes, and trees that act as living memories of those who have come before us. The designs get more delightful and immersive with every passing year, and this season promises to be one of their best yet.
The Hotel Roanoke is also offering professional holiday portraits this year in front of their lobby tree, as well as an interactive Elf on the Shelf activity for the hotel’s youngest guests. S’mores are also roasted on the patio every Friday and Saturday in December to help guests feel even more cozy.
Where to Book:
110 Shenandoah Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24016
The Omni Homestead
The Omni Homestead is a stunning destination no matter the season, but particularly in the winter months, when the Allegheny Mountains are blanketed in white. Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, mini snowmobiles, and ice skating all await guests who book a holiday stay at the Omni Homestead. Touted as the birthplace of southern skiing, the Omni Homestead has nine trails at varying skill levels for skiers and snowboarders. Not to mention, a section of their two-acre waterpark, Allegheny Springs, fed by natural springs in the area, is converted to an ice skating rink in the winter.
Winter sports aside, The Omni Homestead offers a full seasonal lineup of activities for guests, from bedtime stories with Santa’s elves and an interactive winter fairy garden for children to a Homestead holiday express hayride and seasonal craft beer tastings for the adults.
Where to Book:
7696 Sam Snead Highway, Hot Springs, VA 24445
Holidays at Primland Resort are as cozy as they come. Tucked just off the Appalachian Trail, this luxurious back-to-nature escape is the perfect destination for a winter retreat. On its 12,000-acre mountain estate are romantic log cabins and treehouses perched above the Dan River Gorge, giving guests a glimpse of holiday in the backcountry while still enjoying the amenities of the number one rated resort in the Southeast (Condé Nast).
Primland decorates each guest’s room with their own Christmas tree and offers cookie decorating and wreath making in the afternoons. This year, Primland Resort is launching its Winter Solstice Experience, a unique nightly stargazing opportunity in their observatory. Other holiday activities include Christmas Eve cocktails and a prix fixe meal, an ornament-making workshop, classic holiday movies in their theater, and storytime with Santa.
Where to Book:
2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, VA 24120
The Jefferson Hotel
The Jefferson Hotel has a reputation for its glitz and glam during the holiday season. This year, the hotel will be adorned with hundreds of live poinsettias, thousands of twinkle lights, and yards of garland with unique displays trailing up the grand staircase and along the circle drive. More than 20 decorated trees will grace the hotel corridors, but one is guaranteed to outshine them all: a 30-foot Christmas tree in the rotunda that will be embellished with hundreds of oversized ornaments.
Their annual gingerbread display will also be up throughout the season. Each year’s theme is different (this year’s theme won’t be announced until November 27!) but past themes have included Santa’s sleigh; Santa’s workshop; and a Christmas village complete with a gingerbread tree, packages, and quaint gingerbread cottages. Holiday brunches and seasonally themed meals will also be served throughout Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. For a family-friendly meal, don’t miss their coveted holiday afternoon teas served Monday through Saturday through January 6.
Where to Book:
101 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Lansdowne Resort & Spa
If you’ve never been to Leesburg during the holidays, consider this your invitation. The cozy historic town comes alive during the winter months with parades, tree lightings, and twinkle-lit corner restaurants to tuck into. Adding to that charm is Lansdowne Resort & Spa, where traditional celebrations abound.
Their inaugural tree lighting ceremony marks the start to the holiday season each year, and it only snowballs from there. Guests can enjoy a traditional breakfast with Santa complete with cookie decorating, ornament building, and an opportunity to meet the Big Man himself, or soak in the sounds of the season with live caroling while sipping on delicious hot cocoa.
Where to Book:
44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, VA 20176
The Cavalier Hotel Virginia Beach
Each year The Cavalier Hotel kicks off the holiday season with their Grand Illumination event, a time where the Historic Cavalier, Marriott, and Embassy Suites are flooded with lights and festive cheer.
Santa joins in on the fun before his busy season starts, and the hotel grounds are awash with carolers and dancers from The Nutcracker.
This beloved tradition is one you won’t want to miss if you’re looking for a beach getaway this season. Photos with Santa, hot cocoa, and holiday-themed drinks in their stunning Raleigh Room await you.
The Cavalier Hotel also hosts an annual Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Their delectable three-course meal will be one you and your family talk about for years to come—and will perhaps start a tradition of your own. And, while you’re there, be sure to take a stroll to the neighborhood adjacent to the Cavalier on 43rd and 44th Streets where residents go all out on their holiday décor, attracting a steady stream of annual visitors by car and on foot.
Where to Book:
4200 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
The Williamsburg Inn
The holidays aren’t the holidays in Coastal Virginia without a stroll down Colonial Williamsburg’s famed Duke of Gloucester Street to admire the artistry of the 18th-century inspired, handmade wreaths and garlands bedecking its charming Colonial-era homes and shops. But that stroll also isn’t complete without a turn down Colonial Street, where you’ll be dazzled by the façade of the legendary Williamsburg Inn, its warm white holiday lights magically mirrored in the reflecting pool that welcomes visitors to its classical portico.
The Williamsburg Inn, once graced by Queen Elizabeth II herself, is a popular stop for visitors during Colonial Williamsburg’s annual Grand Illumination celebrations, happening Dec. 2, 9 and 16 in 2023, which include fireworks displays from the Capitol and the Governor’s Palace. Make it an event and book a “Holiday Getaway Package” that includes a three-night minimum stay, breakfast for two, tickets to Colonial Williamsburg for the duration of your stay, a boxed holiday ornament and a retail shopping pass.
Where to Book:
136 Francis Street East, Williamsburg, VA 23185
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, the holidays serve as a pause button, allowing us to reflect, reconnect, and create new traditions. Whether it’s a grand adventure or a quiet retreat, traveling for the holidays has the power to kindle the spirit, filling hearts with gratitude and the knowledge that, no matter where we roam, we carry the warmth of home within us.