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This weekend, the hassle of Thanksgiving travel will give way to the stress of shopping for holiday gifts, and worries about making December's gatherings festive.
For those who don't feel the need to gussy up their homes, hide the presents or wait patiently for Santa to come down the chimney, there's the option of taking a destination vacation. Recently, CNBC took a look at several hotels offering unique and over-the-top holiday adventures, some of which include gifts, shopping money — and even a visit from Santa.
There's no charge to visit the Holiday Wonderland, on view now through Dec. 27 in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte in North Carolina — but it will certainly make you hungry.
Decorations include three trees bedecked with a total of 9,500 French macarons. The hotel's Bar Cocoa dessert boutique boasts of having constructed the world's largest éclair tree, which uses 980 of the sweet treats in glittery red, gold, black and silver.
Starting Dec. 2, the Tucson-area Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain will begin serving meals at its Dine-In Gingerbread House in the resort lobby. The house seats six and is made with 400 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of ginger powder, 50 pounds of cinnamon, 250 eggs and 10 pounds of nutmeg. Viewing is complimentary, but reservations are required for lunch and dinner. Cost: $200/$250 fee, plus meal costs.
Several packages offer built-in holiday cheer at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.
The "Holidays on the Fly" package offers the add-on options of a three-foot-tall tree to enjoy and take home ($50) or a 6-foot-tall decorated artificial loaner tree ($150). For an extra $20, those who book the "Snowman in a Box" package will receive a kit that includes a top hat, red scarf, coal eyes, buttons, authentic Chicago oak twigs and an organic carrot. Snow is not included, but the kits are available now through March 31, 2018.
And both friends and family can stay out of their holiday hosts' hair by booking the Winter Fun package (starting at $154, plus tax, gratuity), which includes overnight accommodations and $25 dining credit.
Santa and Mrs. Claus welcome both adults and children to the much-loved Teddy Bear Tea ($67.38 to $128 per person; $1,500 for a Golden Table for 10) in the block-long lobby of The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The venue turns on its elaborate lobby lights the day after Thanksgiving.
In Dallas, Texas, the Hilton Anatole transforms its lobby into Peppermint Park, complete with train rides, interactive entertainment, light displays, photos with Santa and more. Guests can book either the "Breakfast with Santa" or the "Grand Holiday Experience" package and get a guest room, a holiday movie, and breakfast with Santa for up to two children and two adults.
When Christmas comes around, there'll be no need to bake cookies for Santa and leave them by the chimney if you've booked the Christmas Eve fantasy package at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa in greater Palm Springs, California.
The resort's Dec. 24 package costs $15,000 and includes accommodations for six in the resort's Governor's Suite, a connecting room, a holiday dinner served by Santa's elves, a private movie screening, bedtime stories with cookies and milk offered by elves, breakfast with Santa and a keepsake family photo. Also included: $2,000 in shopping money, and limousine transportation between the resort and any airport (or home) within a two-hour drive.
For $100,000 per night (with a two-night minimum) the Bubbles & Bling package at the Lotte New York Palace goes all out on over-the-top amenities, featuring Martin Katz custom jewelry.
Among other things, visitors get round-trip helicopter transfers from any major New York City-area airports, overnight accommodations in the Jewel Suite one night and the Champagne Suite the next, extravagant in-room holiday decorations that include a tree and gift-stuffed stockings, and evening in-room entertainment by a local jazz duo. Also included in the package: a holiday-inspired food- and wine-tasting "experience" and breakfast in bed.