The holidays are coming — and so is the family. Little kids want some Santa magic, older ones need fun and excitement, the grown-ups want to relax and enjoy it all, and no one wants to work hard making all that happen. Solution: Take the gang to one of these Texas hotels — they do the holidays right.
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine
The Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas features more than 2 million lights and larger-than-life decorations. For families, the highlight is Ice!, a walk-through holiday attraction created from more than 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice. Overnight stay options, available through January 1, 2017, start at $289 for one night.
Hilton Anatole, Dallas
Hilton Anatole’s annual Christmas at the Anatole celebration includes Breakfast with Santa, Lights in the Park, Rudolph’s Reindeer Barn, photos with Santa, scavenger hunts, face painting, and more. The Breakfast with Santa hotel package includes lodging, breakfast for up to two adults and two kids, and many of the holiday activities mentioned above. Available on select dates starting November 26.
Hotel Derek, Houston
Breakfast with Santa on December 10 at Hotel Derek includes a Mrs. Claus-inspired buffet and a hot cocoa bar, as well as holiday crafts, Christmas movies, and photos with Santa (no line!). For the grown-ups, an All Wrapped Up shopping package features chauffeured car service to Houston's top shopping spots, plus a $50 gift card and hot cocoa and holiday sweets upon arrival.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio
From Thanksgiving until Christmas, holiday activities at this resort include evening S’mores by the fire, arts and crafts, games, scavenger hunts, face painting, and movies. Enjoy story time with Miss Anastasia on Friday evenings and S’mores with Santa on Saturdays. Take your own family photos, or have a professional photo taken and decorate a commemorative frame. Family-style dinner is served from 2 to 8 pm on Christmas Day at Antlers Lodge restaurant.
Moody Gardens, Galveston
This island resort’s holiday events include the Festival of Lights — an animated display of more than a million lights — plus live entertainment, train rides, pictures with Santa, and an outdoor ice skating rink. In addition, master ice carvers have turned two million pounds of ice into a Caribbean Christmas, where a towering oil rig ice slide drops into an ice-sculpture rendition of the Gulf of Mexico. Plus, the grown-ups can visit Shivers Ice Bar.
Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa, Austin
This resort kicks off the holidays with a Texas-themed gingerbread house competition that includes complimentary desserts, holiday carols, and a tree lighting. Its annual Holiday Lights & Ice event runs through January 1, 2017, and features a 4,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink beneath twinkling lights, with holiday-inspired treats and beverages, plus ornament and gingerbread cookie decorating in Santa’s Workshop.
Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, Houston
The Great Room Lobby of the resort hotel always has a cozy fire going in the 40-foot stone fireplace and, through December 17 will offer "Gingerbread Nights,” with a Gingerbread wonderland, full-size Santa with a sleigh full of toys and goodies, musical entertainment by local choirs, hand bells, violin ensembles and soloists. And as a special treat, complimentary chocolate chip cookies from a recipe made popular by former first lady Barbara Bush will be served. Libations and light bites are also available each evening from 5 pm to 9 pm.