11 Festive Hotels Near DC That Go All Out for Christmas

These places deck the halls with elaborate light displays, Christmas trees, and holiday fun.

Photograph courtesy of The Greenbrier.

Festive Hotels a Car Ride Away

The Jefferson Hotel

location_onRichmond, Virginia


Nutcrackers are posted at the doorway of Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel. Photograph courtesy of Jefferson Hotel.

The holiday centerpiece at this hotel is a 30-foot tree in the rotunda. Nearly two dozen more trees—plus wreaths, lights, poinsettias, and garlands—make for a picturesque setting. Also on display November 27 through January 7 will be a gingerbread display featuring hundreds of pounds of candy and a surprise theme. Beyond the decor, there’s a series of festive tea services.


The Greenbrier

location_on White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

language Website

Hundreds of Christmas trees decorate the Greenbrier, including this massive one on the front lawn. Photograph courtesy of Greenbrier.

Stepping into the resort during the holidays is like walking onto a Christmas-­movie set. Each area is a distinct scene: One room houses a stack of gift boxes guarded by giant nutcrackers, while another holds an elaborate wintertime display made entirely of chocolate. A tree-­lighting ceremony, with hot chocolate and caroling, occurs every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a trolley takes guests around the property’s light displays. Book a decorated suite for an additional $550.


Hotel Bethlehem

location_on Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

language Website

Photograph courtesy of

Bethlehem is known as “Christmas City,” and the hotel lives up to the moniker with yuletide flair. The space is trimmed with more than 35,000 lights, illuminating 31 trees and 36 wreaths. Look for the hand-­painted Nativity scene over the main entrance and playful touches such as seven-foot-tall toy soldiers and a gingerbread recreation of the building.


The Omni Homestead Resort

location_on Hot Springs, Virginia

language Website

Photograph courtesy of Omni Homestead Resort.

The decking of the halls begins on November 20, when a 20-foot-plus Christmas tree arrives in the Great Hall. The to-be-announced, family-friendly festivities ramp up in December. Previous years’ activities have included everything from photos with Santa and bedtime stories with his elves to a holiday hayride and kids’ art classes (think snow-globe-­making and woodland pinecone creatures). There are typically offerings for adults as well, such as craft sessions and a seasonal mixology-­and-wine tasting.


The Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach & Spa

location_on Stevensville, Maryland

language Website

Photograph courtesy of The Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.

Just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island, the inn’s Christmas pièce de résistance is its outdoor-lights display. Beginning at 5:15 daily from Friday, November 23, through New Year’s Day, thousands of lights—including a 14-foot walk-through display—brighten the gardens. In addition to the IllumINNation light show, holiday programming includes a gingerbread-­house challenge, s’mores nights, sip-and-shops, and ugly-­sweater parties.


Primland Resort

location_on Meadows of Dan, Virginia

language Website

Photograph courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection.

The resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains brings holiday decor into the rooms that, for an added fee, can include a customizable tree. (The “tree concierge” program, available December 15 through 24, starts at $245.) Book a stay and a holiday activity, such as story time with Santa, cookie decorating, ornament- and wreath-making workshops, holiday movies, and more. This year’s festivities run December 1 through 26.


Hotel Hershey

location_on Hershey, Pennsylvania

language Website

Photograph courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Step into the lobby to find a massive tree—hung with chocolate-themed ornaments, of course. The decor extends into some of the rooms, too: The Milton Hershey and Catherine Hershey Suites have their own trees, and the Woodside Cottages are gussied up as well. Guests can take a free shuttle to nearby Hersheypark, where, starting November 10, they can greet Santa and his reindeer amid 5 million lights.


Salamander Resort

location_on Middleburg, Virginia

language Website

Photograph courtesy of the Salamander Middleburg.

The North Pole too far away for you? At this resort, a group of “elves” pull visitors on a wagon to “Santa’s workshop” in a converted barn. Snap a photo with the man in charge, then nurse hot cocoa and s’mores by the fire pits outside the equestrian center, where there’s also a holiday crafting station inside for kids. Up to eight people can partake in the journey for $265 on select Saturdays and Sundays from November 25 through December 24. Beyond the workshop, there’s an outdoor barbecue after the Middleburg “hunt review” on December 2 and gingerbread-house decorating December 9 and 17.

Festive Hotels in DC

Photograph courtesy of Gaylord National Resort.

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

location_on 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor

language Website

Photograph of “ICE!” courtesy of Gaylord National Resort.

The resort hosts its annual holiday celebration, ICE!, from November 19 through December 31. Take a 20-to-40-minute stroll through oversize ice sculptures, frozen slides, tunnels, and more. Additional activities include a Christmas-themed Cirque-style show, ice tubing, ice skating, gingerbread making, and photos with Santa.



Waldorf Astoria

location_on 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

language Website

Photograph courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria.

A favorite holiday tradition for many, this event takes the (tea) cake as the official tea party of the Washington Ballet. Tickets for the whimsical affair on December 3 include sweet treats, crafts, and a short preview of The Nutcracker, followed by a full performance at Warner Theatre.




location_on 900 F St., NW

language Website

Photograph by by Scott Suchman .

Last year, the ultra-chic, historic bank turned hotel unveiled an 18-foot tree by jewelry designer Alexis Bittar that included pastel features, pearls, and tinsel. In addition to this year’s yet-to-be-announced tree–to be unveiled November 29–the hotel will host a holiday retail pop-up and offer a seasonally inspired cocktail menu at Café Riggs.

This article appears in the November 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.

Amy Moeller
Fashion & Weddings Editor

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.