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These classic, historic Southern hotels go all-out for the holidays and offer no shortage of good cheer and extravagant decor. Feast your eyes (and ears, and taste buds) on towering Christmas trees, gingerbread villages, pop-up cocktail bars, live music, and more! Whether or not you’ve got a room key, these decked-out hotels are worthy of your holiday travel bucket list.

Grand Southern Hotels Decked Out for the Holidays

The St. Regis
Atlanta, GA

A life-sized gingerbread cottage, musicians plucking classical orchestral tunes, tea with Santa, and some of the most opulent decorations we’ve ever seen are just a few reasons why everyone in the South adores this Atlanta hotel during the holidays. There is so much to do here, but just walking through the lobby is a sensory experience that will fill you with wonder. The famous ‘Tea With Santa’ experience — complete with decadent food, live music, Christmas characters, and an open bar — is already sold out for this year, but add it to your plans for next year.

St. Regis ATL Christmas

Live music from pianists, violinists, and other musicians fills the lobby during the winter. Image: The St. Regis Atlanta

The Roosevelt
New Orleans, LA

An entire New Orleans city block becomes the magical, gilded, award-winning Waldorf Wonderland each winter. This year’s display includes classic favorites and some new décor including “44 Christmas trees, 135,572 lights, 3,328 feet of winter branches, 2,200 glass ornaments, and 698 hand-tied bows,” according to their site. They offer a Teddy Bear Tea with a cast of North Pole characters, a Christmas brunch featuring mouth-watering New Orleans cuisine, and so many more happenings, both ticketed and free. Click here to explore the Waldorf Wonderland.

The Roosevelt New Orleans

The Roosevelt is nominated for “Best Hotel for the Holidays” by USA TODAY‘s 10Best for the third year in a row! Image: The Roosevelt

The Jefferson Hotel
Richmond, VA

Since 1895, The Jefferson Hotel has been loved by locals and savvy travelers as Richmond’s grandest hotel. It’s also one of the country’s most stunning destinations during the holiday season. Twisted garlands and multiple colorfully decorated trees line the majestic lobby. Due to overwhelming demand, the hotel has limited viewing availability, but add this stop to your holiday travel bucket list!

The Jefferson Hotel

Guests visiting The Jefferson between November 29, 2021, and January 9, 2022, must have a reservation for afternoon tea, Lemaire, Salon Vivace, or an overnight stay to enjoy the decorations. Image: The Jefferson Hotel

RELATED: Spectacular Southern Holiday Light Displays Worth the Drive

The Driskill
Austin, TX

‘Holidays at The Driskill’ is a key element of Texas culture, and many of the hotel’s traditions date back to its opening in 1886! Aside from the majestic ambiance in the expansive lobby — including a 16-foot Douglas Fir tree — enjoy some holiday cocktails and live music in The Driskill Bar, a gingerbread village, a classic Victorian Holiday Tea, and more!

The Driskill Austin

There is so much art and history to behold in this hotel, and it’s close to all the goings-on of Austin’s lively 6th Street. Image: The Driskill

Sea Island
Sea Island, GA

This private island is completely transformed into a Christmas paradise each year with lush garlands, poinsettias, and more. They host a Reindog Parade, ornament decorating classes, storytime with Santa’s Elves, gingerbread decorating classes, caroling, a Reindeer Dash Family Fun Run, and elegant Christmas feasts. Following its tradition of life-sized gingerbread houses, Sea Island is taking the experience up a notch with its new Advent Cottage: an interactive life-sized advent calendar. Every day from December 1-24, Sea Island “elves” open the entirely edible “door of the day” to reveal an equally edible magical creation, made by the resort’s talented bakeshop!

Sea Island Christmas

Sea Island is an absolute dream during the holidays. Image: Sea Island

The Cloister

With many different places to stay on this island — from The Cloister (pictured) to The Lodge — Sea Island is a year-round playground for kids and kids-at-heart. Image: Sea Island

The Peabody Hotel
Memphis, TN

The lobby of the historic Peabody Hotel is always a delightful place to be with so much to see, from ornate columns and opulent decor to the lively bar and resident ducks. You can only imagine how bedecked in holiday garb The Peabody becomes in the winter. The lobby and mezzanine level receive the full holiday treatment: a huge Christmas tree, a gingerbread village, and local kids’ choirs and live bands to accompany the Peabody’s signature duck marches.

Peabody Holidays

It’s impossible to avoid an overwhelming dose of seasonal spirit at The Peabody. Image: The Peabody Hotel

The Homestead
Hot Springs, VA

Aside from The Homestead’s general holiday splendor, this beloved mountain resort hosts festive activities of all kinds such as cookie and gingerbread house decorating, holiday movies, and The Homestead Holiday S’mores Express. Lace up for the Ugly Sweater/Jingle Bell Fun Run, visit Santa in the Great Hall, and savor some special cocktails and music in the evenings.

Homestead Christmas

Here is a fabulous list of everything festive happening at The Homestead leading up to Christmas. Image: Facebook

The Omni Grove Park Inn
Asheville, NC

The Great Hall (the Grove Park Inn’s lobby) is transformed into a holiday destination in and of itself with a life-sized Gingerbread House (modeled after the hotel) that serves up housemade hot chocolate, specialty craft brews, and sweet treats. Cozy up by the glow of the iconic 36-foot stone fireplaces, and you’re likely within sight of a few of the hotel’s 80 illuminated trees and thousands of twinkling lights. The world’s largest gingerbread house competition is here, so the whole place smells like Christmas. There is so much to see here whether you’re staying a night or two, or just passing through.

Omni Grove Park Inn

See the world’s best gingerbread creations — and watch them compete for top ranks — through the end of December! Image: The Omni Grove Park Inn

RELATED: 3 Carolina Towns That Transform Into Magical Holiday Wonderlands

The Willard
Washington D.C.

The Willard is home to a dazzling display of holiday décor, a packed lineup of musical fanfare, and plenty of festive gastronomic delights. Some of the most iconic facets of the hotel’s holiday splendor are the gingerbread display and their nightly caroling program, which features an array of accomplished choral and vocal ensembles from around D.C. Cozy up at the hotel’s beloved Round Robin Bar for a fancy holiday cocktail! You can find all the info on The Willard’s holiday splendor here.

The Willard DC Holidays

Between December 1-23, locals and sojourners alike can soak in the sounds of the season at The Willard’s nightly choral performance. And, it’s free! Image: The Willard

There’s so much holiday cheer to be had around the South! Happy exploring!


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