Holiday trees are starting to pop up and lights are beginning to twinkle, signifying it’s that time of year again when we like to ooh and ahh at the best holiday decorations and connect with family and friends.
Whether traveling or staying local, there’s nothing better than gathering loved ones in a stunning holiday setting, not only to take in the ambiance but also to capture it – hashtag #TisTheSeason.
Imagine sipping eggnog or tea (and shooting a selfie) amid 46 ornamental trees, enjoying hot chocolate and then creating an epic slow-motion video gliding across a beachfront ice rink, or capturing the family photo in front of a life-sized gingerbread house (no nibbling allowed, though you can grab dessert at the hotel restaurant after.)
Hilton’s Most Instagrammable Hotels for the Holiday Season
The Roosevelt New Orleans A Waldorf Astoria Hotel: Experience The Waldorf Wonderland, the block-long lobby of the hotel filled with over 112,000 lights, 1,610 feet of garland, 300 bows and 4,000 glass ornaments decorating 78 birch and 46 Christmas trees. The lobby lighting ceremony kicks off on Tuesday, November 27 and will serve as the headquarters for everything happy about the holidays in New Orleans. While the opulent Christmas destination is already famous for its Teddy Bear Tea, this year promises to be extra special as The Roosevelt marks its 125th anniversary. On each weekday, the hotel also hosts a traditional Reveillon meal, typically served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The dinner guests can enjoy will feature a specialized holiday menu with wine pairings. And don’t forget to stop by the infamous Sazerac Bar for a traditional holiday cocktail and sample the new modern seasonal libations as well.
Hilton Americas-Houston: The hotel’s lobby is home to a life-sized gingerbread sweet shop that would tempt even Hansel and Gretel. The immense house is handcrafted from 800 pounds of gingerbread, 1,000 pounds of chocolate, 800 pounds of sugar, and 300 pounds of assorted candies. The illuminated display allows visitors to see the details of the all-chocolate children and inside interior, where there’s a chocolate table and chairs, an oven filled with gingerbread men on cookie sheets, and chocolate pots and pans and utensils that are at the chocolate family’s disposal. There’s also a cozy gingerbread fireplace complete with chocolate logs and sugar flames, comfy chocolate rocking chair, and a lighted Christmas tree decorated with sugar ornaments –to add the perfect sweet holiday touch. For guests with an uncontrollable sweet tooth, the hotel also offers its decadent Santa’s house gingerbread pumpkin-butterscotch trifle with spiced chocolate brittle. The hotel lobby will also be transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of sparkling lights to host a traditional breakfast with Santa.
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton: On the edge of the Pacific Ocean where powdery white sands sparkle like gold, the legendary Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton, offers a magical holiday experience. Set on one of America’s most iconic beaches, this California gem transforms into a winter wonderland with (ice) Skating by the Sea, jingle s’mores under the stars, and soaring red turrets decked in thousands of white lights. The festivities don’t end there – guests can partake in other activities, including holiday surrey sleigh rides around the Coronado island and a Victorian tea in the hotel’s private dining room. Experience a special ‘Christmas Legend’ promotion this holiday season, which includes an overnight stay and two daily passes to Skating by the Sea.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile: This hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Chicago just steps away from one of the country’s most famous shopping districts: the Magnificent Mile. Through the Christmas Suite package, guests can stay in one of the hotel’s four Christmas-themed rooms decked out with trees, lights, stockings and a themed amenity each night (such as hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and other delights).
Hilton Anatole Dallas: Christmas at the Anatole is a holiday festival for the entire family. The hotel transforms its outdoor park into a winter wonderland, known as Peppermint Park, complete with train rides, Nativity petting zoos, interactive entertainment, light displays, photos with Santa, and more. Guests can book a “Breakfast with Santa” exclusive room package and enroll children in “Elf School,” where they can learn all the elf basics and become honorary Santa assistants.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale: Can you find Santa’s Little Helper? At Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale, guests are encouraged to participate in the popular Christmas tradition Elf on the Shelf, by snapping photos of and with Santa’s helper enjoying all the hotel’s amenities: the gift shop, food, pool, gym, and more, during the entire month of December until he journeys back to the North Pole.
Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester: Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester to partake in the city’s six-week long holiday celebration. Guests can enjoy a picturesque horse and carriage ride throughout town and even gingerbread decorating. In addition to staying at a festive hotel, guests can celebrate the holiday season by enjoying and documenting the beauty of the entire city. Enjoy tours of Southern Vermont’s historic inns or take a whimsical holiday train ride on the Elf Express through the mountains. Guests and locals alike can also revel in the holiday spirit with caroling, shopping and fine local dining throughout a city wrapped in garland and bows.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown: The best things come in threes at Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown, where the atrium boasts three life-sized decorative Christmas trees. The hotel is also conveniently located near Portland’s tax-free shops and boutiques for the ultimate holiday shopping experience.
Conrad Indianapolis: Guests can enjoy a $50/night* on-property credit during the holidays and make the most of their stay by partaking in the traditional lighting of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument nearby, as the hotel is just steps away from The Circle of Lights at Monument circle.
Conrad Singapore: Conrad Singapore takes a cuddly approach to Christmas. While the requisite twinkly lights and garland are present, the property will unveil its annual teddy-bear Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season.
Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa: Before checking in at Hilton Odawara, write a Christmas card to Santa and receive a reply with a small gift and an invitation for a craft class with Santa upon arrival. At the hotel, the magic continues with Christmas decorations throughout the lobby including an 11-meter Christmas train diorama and Santa’s house.
Hilton Tokyo Odaiba: Guests can feast their eyes on the carefully curated Christmas dessert buffet, inspired by “Christmas Coffret” cosmetic sets that are sold during the holiday season in Japan. The buffet will be adorned with a bright pink Christmas tree, edible jeweled boxes and sparkling flowers. Guests dressed in pink will also receive a special drink along with an abundance of dessert treats to choose from.
Why Al Maryah Island? Everything about Abu Dhabi’s newest business and lifestyle destination
Abu Dhabi, meaning Land of the Gazelle, has been at crossroads of commerce and culture for centuries. Today, the Emirate, is a modern, cosmopolitan hub for travellers from around the world to explore this growth. Al Maryah Island is the perfect vantage point for this. The new heart of the the capital offers visitors and residents exceptional business and lifestyle experiences. Here are our top three reasons to choose Four Seasons for your next visit to Abu Dhabi:
Location, location, location
Director of Rooms, Mark Syputa feels Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island is perfectly positioned to offer business and leisure travelers the best of the UAE’s capital:
“What I love about Al Maryah Island is that you have all the conveniences of direct connections to downtown Abu Dhabi, with the added benefits of being able to walk to Abu Dhabi Global Market and the surrounding office towers. Add to that the close proximity to key cultural attractions (like Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Qasr al Watan, and Qasr al Hosn) and the highest density of amazing restaurants & bars in all of Abu Dhabi; I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather live, work & play in our capital city.”
World-class shopping and dining
Al Maryah Island has a wealth of world-class dining and shopping. Exotic flavors from near and far are the biggest attraction with over forty options including our very own award-winning restaurants Butcher & Still, and Cafe Milano; not to mention, Zuma, Coya, and Le Petit Maison. Guests can also shop until they drop in The Galleria, the city’s most exclusive shopping experience filled with the luxury brands. This is only set to amplify with the city’s latest mega-mall Al Maryah Central opening mid-2019 with over 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants.
Health & Wellness focus
Health & Wellness is another key focus. The Island is fortunate to have one of the region’s premier hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, which has some of the world’s best doctors and highly personalized care. On property, Dahlia Spa in Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, encapsulates this holistic wellness approach by providing guests a results-driven approach through customised experiences crafted by an international team of spa experts.
A magical visit to Villa de Leyva, just hours from Bogota
Just a few hours from the bustling Colombian capital lies Villa de Leyva, a tranquil town littered with whitewashed stone houses dating back to the early 17th-century. The colonial-era town, northeast of Bogota and with a warmer climate, boasts winding cobbled streets situated around what’s claimed to be the largest stone square in South America. A day trip to the town can be easily arranged with the assistance of Four Seasons Hotels Bogota or Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota.
Visitors can explore the Pozos Azules, a series of bright blue artificial pools, which are situated only a five minute drive away from the central plaza. Other activities include a visit to architect Octavio Mendoza’s 5,400-square-foot house, which is made entirely out of clay. The Casa Terracota is an abstract piece of art, which one could imagine Antoni Gaudí would be proud to call his home. The clay abode can be explored on by foot and is just a 30-minute walk from the central square. Mendoza refers to his work as the largest piece of pottery in the world.
Members of staff at Four Seasons Hotels Bogota can also assist guests in planning activities for the day trip to the town. Guests who are interested in adventure activities can rent mountain bikes and cycle around the mountainous and historical trails of the town. Cycling tours are also available, which stop off at all of the main points of interest, while some offer coffee and wine tasting.
The local people of Villa de Leyva offer a warm and hospitable welcome, and there are plenty of local family-run restaurants, bakeries, and shops. A few minutes walk from the main central plaza are winding cobbled streets lined with artisan gifts and crafts, which are made by locals. One shop, in particular, serves fresh home-made hummus.
The town, which is part of the Boyaca department of Colombia, is formerly a colony of Spain and gained independence in 1812. Visitors may also recognise the town from Gabriel García Marquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera, as the main character Florentino Ariza spends part of his life in Villa de Leyva. As well as a rich historical significance, the place also has a strong scientific background. The valley in which it’s located is rich in fossils and even has a paleontology museum dedicated to the hundreds of artifacts that have been discovered.
Paradise found: Saint Lucia preserving beauty through data and policy action
If ever an island justified the label “paradise” that tourist brochures liberally apply to destinations, it is Saint Lucia.
Shaped like a teardrop, this tiny Caribbean nation has everything. Crescent moon beaches of white sand. Jagged volcanic mountains jutting up from the azure waters. Eclectic biodiversity that manifests in a riot of colour, no more so than in the Saint Lucia Amazon, a spectacular parrot found only on the island.
Unfortunately, as is the case in so many places, human activity is endangering this beauty and the benefits it brings to humanity. The threats are many, including extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change, forest habitat loss from land-use change and over-exploitation of marine resources.
We can deal with these challenges, as the return of the Saint Lucia Amazon, or Amazona versicolor, shows. In the 1970s, only around 100 of these birds remained. Thanks to a conservation programme, the species is now on an upward trend. While still classed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the last census of the bird, carried out between 2007 and 2009, found a stable and viable population of 2,258 individuals.
The Government of Saint Lucia, with the support of UN Environment, is determined to repeat this success for all the island’s natural resources while ensuring a better future for its estimated 180,000 residents.
The nation is signed up to global treaties, including the three Rio Conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, under which the Paris Agreement falls.
In order to meet its obligations and to design and implement meaningful interventions, the government needs to have a clear picture of where it stands in terms of data and required policies.
“While we pursue on-the-ground initiatives that guarantee our survival, it is equally important to pursue the soft initiatives that will allow us to make sound decisions on the strategic interventions needed,” said Annette Rattigan-Leo, Saint Lucia’s Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer.
In August 2018, the island took a big step forward. Working with UN Environment on a Global Environment Facility-funded project, the Saint Lucian government launched its first national environmental information system. Information on the three big treaties is available to ministries, the private sector, academia, multilateral environmental treaty focal points and the public. For each convention, indicators related to broader policy goals and objectives are being integrated to support reporting and translate data into useful and actionable information.
“This is certainly an encouraging endeavour, as it will allow Saint Lucia to work closely with UN Environment,” said Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development. “We acknowledge the crucial role environmental information continues to play in helping us meet our national and multilateral environmental agreement obligations.”
As part of the project, 17 major environmental data providers signed an agreement to cooperate on the development and use of the system, ensuring that the bigger picture will be as complete as possible. Meanwhile, the project developed a set of core sustainable development and environmental indicators for the Rio conventions, which all derive directly from the 1992 Earth Summit. According to Teshia Jn Baptiste, who managed the project, the system and associated common data storage facility have “significantly improved collaboration among the public and private sectors”.
Those who work on the ground are hopeful that the new system will help Saint Lucia meet its commitments and so improve the health of its ecosystems.
“If we reach our targets, the livelihoods of fishermen and others depending on marine resources will be protected in the face of climate change impacts,” said Allena Joseph, Fisheries Biologist in Saint Lucia’s Department of Fisheries. “We can do this through better-informed decisions in areas relating to biodiversity conservation and resilience building.”
The government has previously called for an end to illegal logging, which has led to habitat loss and landslides. Karl Augustine, a research officer in the Forestry Department, believes that the new system will help claw back some of the damage.
“We see a positive impact on human and wildlife cohabitation and a transition to forest in areas historically affected by land degradation,” he said.
For species such as the Amazona versicolor and the people of Saint Lucia, this can only be good news.
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