If you’re a fan of those adorable Christmas villages that have been decorating mantles and windowsills for centuries, here’s your chance to live in one for a few days. The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is more than just a massive hotel (with 2,000 guest rooms and 95 meeting rooms, it’s actually the largest non-gaming hotel on the entire East Coast) – it’s an entire indoor town.
Enclosed by a 19-story glass atrium overlooking the Potomac River, the hotel’s indoor village is full of winding alleyways, terraces, and gardens surrounding full-scale “houses” that are home to seven restaurants, among other attractions.
Perfect for families, the village hosts exciting events year-round, but there’s never a better time to check in than winter, when the village goes total North Pole. If you’re into Christmas, it’s especially magical here this time of year, with a life-size Christmas village-within-the- village, towering decorations suspended from above and strewn on every surface, gingerbread house decorating, photos with Santa, and more.
The winter fun goes far beyond the holiday. Go ice skating on the indoor pond, try ice tubing and ice sliding on indoor runs, and dine “al fresco” under indoor snowfall without requiring mittens or a scarf.
Regardless of when you time your visit, you’ll want to make an appointment at the property’s Relâche Spa. One of the largest and most well-appointed in the region, the 20,000-square-foot facility is a sweet escape for one-off treatments. However, it’s best enjoyed as a full day of bliss, either with a themed package of pampering or just peacefully melting away in the hot tub, sauna, and steam room, far from the bustling village “outside.”