If you are traveling on a day of celebration, make it special with these tips.
If you’re traveling over a holiday such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, don’t forget to celebrate it with style, says Rebecca Gardner, an event designer in Savannah, Georgia, who is creating a holiday boutique, Sugarplum Pop-Up, in November and December at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.
“Holidays are a time to connect with those closest to you, and when you’re on a trip, there can be a tendency to lose sight of the specialness of the occasion,” she said.
Gardner is often on the road with family over Christmas and tries to make sure that the day is a fun-filled one for everyone.
Here, her advice on how to make celebrations away from home memorable for you and your loved ones:
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Holidays are about feeling at home, and while you may be in a hotel, Gardner said, you can make that stay more personal. On her Christmas getaways, for example, she brings a few small gifts for each person and leaves them on their pillows. Individually addressed notes also work. And before your stay, you can even order pillowcases with funny nicknames or monograms and have them shipped to your hotel so they’re already on your bed when you arrive. (Gardner uses the company Number Four Eleven for this.)
If you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, some hotels, such as the Lowell, in New York City, will put decorated trees and menorahs in rooms for guests who ask; no extra charge.
Private room for a holiday meal
Reserving a private room for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day or the first night of Hanukkah at your hotel’s restaurant or another restaurant in town evokes a cozy and familial feeling, Gardner said. “In a private dining room, you can make toasts and carry on without worrying about your voice,” she said.
Rather than sticking strictly with the restaurant’s décor, Gardner advised adding your own festive touches to the table, such as handwritten place cards or personalized chocolate boxes.
Serve family recipes
Did you know that, with advance notice, some hotels are more than happy to prepare and serve you your favorite family recipes, be it your grandmother’s coconut cake or your mother’s challah? You can call the hotel and ask to speak with the pastry chef to make the arrangements. “Surprise your family with a nostalgic dessert. No one will be devastated that the pumpkin pie has a graham-cracker crust,” Gardner said.
Don’t pack gifts, arrange special experiences
Instead of dealing with the hassle of packing or shipping holiday gifts to your destination, plan an indulgent experience as the collective gift for your loved ones, such as a private sunset cruise or a private after-hours museum tour with an art historian. “You can lose or forget about gifts, but unique experiences will stay with you forever,” Gardner said.