top of page

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with These Ho-Ho-Holiday Happenings

The holiday season is just around the corner which means all things merry and bright!

Hotels and venues across Florida are preparing for distinctive and festive celebrations with innovative touches. Whether with a poolside cinema, inventive twists on classic dishes, dazzling light displays or creative activations, these accommodations are committed to delivering an unforgettable holiday experience for their guests.

So ho-ho-hop into one of these destinations and book a stay for a memorable holiday treat!


Miami Beach Holiday Festival of Lights

This holiday season, locals and visitors alike can experience a series of dazzling spectaculars of music and light as the Miami Beach Holiday Festival of Lights takes to South Beach December 1 through December 23, 2023. Presented by the Miami Beach Classical Music Festival (MMF), a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable, world-class musical instruction and groundbreaking performance experiences to young artists and the South Florida community, these first-of-their-kind live musical performances will feature cutting-edge projection-mapping technology where intricate lighting designs and captivating visuals overlap, turning some of South Beach’s most iconic building façades into interactive exhibits with vibrant imagery. Every surface during these awe-inspiring productions will become a living canvas as the projections play off the buildings’ various shapes and textures in perfect unison with the rhythm of the music. Performances will take place over three weekends at three South Beach locations:

  • Lincoln Road’s Euclid Oval: Dec. 1 & 2 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

    • Attendees can expect beloved holiday characters, including Santa Claus, the Grinch and Elsa; snow for kids to play with; a live orchestra; and more.

  • The Gabriel South Beach: Dec. 15 & 16 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

    • Watch in awe as the projection mapping visuals span all buildings of the hotel.

  • The Betsy Hotel: Dec. 22 & 23 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

    • Enjoy a captivating holiday show featuring a blend of music, lights and project mapping.

Shop Holiday Marketplaces at THesis Hotel Miami

THesis Hotel is adding some seasonal magic this year by hosting two marketplaces in partnership with Herpreneur by Liz: the Fall Bazaar on November 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Holiday Bazaar on December 13 from 4-9 p.m. This is a great opportunity to shop amazing treasures and holiday essentials from female-owned small businesses in your community. Find one-of-a-kind items like boutique fashions, unique jewelry, succulents, swimwear, home goods, candles, pet essentials, natural skincare, kids’ accessories, shoes, artisan goods, vegan sweets and more at these family- and dog-friendly markets. Additionally, the December marketplace will include a special musical performance by students from the Barrett School of Music.

Miami Staycations

Afternoon Tea Before the Nutcracker at The Elser Miami

The Elser Hotel & Residences is a 49-story luxury tower in Downtown Miami featuring 646 residential-style rooms, all with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows, unobstructed bay views, walkout balconies, luxurious bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and washers and dryers. The Elser is just a few blocks from the Adrienne Arsht Center, where numerous renowned productions take the stage to dazzle theater enthusiasts. From December 15-24, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will delight viewers with spirited music, radiant costumes and glimmering sets. Guests staying at The Elser during these dates can enjoy afternoon tea on the hotel’s sun deck from 2-4 p.m., featuring handmade mini sandwiches, freshly baked sweet treats and a selection of teas, before making their way to the Arsht Center for a performance of The Nutcracker. The Elser Hotel will also offer guests a home-away-from-home holiday experience, complete with personalized gift wrapping service and an in-room Christmas tree or Menorah upon request. Guests can also ship presents, providing the shipping label, to/from the property with the hotel’s shipping department for ease of gift exchanging.

All Is Bright at Arlo Wynwood

The first hotel to open in Miami’s preeminent creative and cultural district, the 217-room Arlo Wynwood offers guests prime access to the best of the neighborhood paired with modern amenities for savvy travelers. Inspired by the neighborhood’s bold and curated artistic nature, Arlo Wynwood is the perfect location for those looking to spend the holiday season in a warmer climate. Hotel amenities include a rooftop pool, weekly wellness classes on the yoga deck, access to complimentary bikes to take in Wynwood’s vibrant street art and more.

Poolside Cinema at The Gates Hotel South Beach

Guests visiting The Gates Hotel South Beach this holiday season will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the festive spirit with a unique Miami twist. Every Friday night in December, The Gates will transform its pool deck into an enchanting open-air cinema featuring classic holiday movies under the South Beach sky. Visitors can sip on s’mores cocktails and mocktails, indulge in buttery popcorn from the hotel’s popcorn machine, and relax on comfortable bean bag chairs while watching their favorite holiday films. Come for the movies, stay for the fun, and leave with a heart full of holiday cheer.

A Cozy Christmas at The Gabriel Miami

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with some coquito and snowflake sugar cookies while staring out at Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline? At The Gabriel Miami, a 129-room lifestyle hotel in Downtown Miami, guests can request the Holiday Treat turndown service, which includes a bottle of house-made coquito, freshly baked sugar cookies and a stocking stuffed with local treats, creating the ultimate venue for relaxation in the city’s cultural epicenter after a day of shopping or a night of partying at the nearby clubs.

Florida Travel

A Key West Holiday at The Marker

Swap the snowmen for sandcastles and experience a tropical holiday getaway to Key West. The Marker Key West Harbor Resort’s holiday package allows guests to celebrate the season in the comfort of their rooms. Available upon request, the package includes a mini Christmas tree, an advent calendar with the countdown to Christmas, and classic holiday books such as “A Christmas Carol” in partnership with Books & Books, the iconic bookshop by legendary writer Judy Blume. In addition, adults can indulge in specialty holiday cocktails from the waterfront Starboard Restaurant & Bar, while children can enjoy milk and cookies while writing letters to Santa – by the pool! Visitors can also enjoy local annual holiday celebrations, including the Key West Art & Historical Society Holiday Concert & Bazaar, the Harbor Walk of Lights at the Key West Historic Seaport and Key West Bight Marina, and the Key West Holiday Boat Parade. The Marker is also presenting its Fourth Annual Holiday Cookie Throw-Down on December 24 at noon, where guests can break out their best cookie recipe to win some amazing prizes.

Seaside Coquito at Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, known for its tranquil yet vibrant courtyard oasis, invites guests to make their holiday season unforgettable. Every guest who visits during the holiday season will be welcomed with an ambiance of seasonal charm through a festive playlist and decor. Additionally, guests can access the Kimpton holiday Spotify playlist even after departure by scanning the QR code in their room. Mornings will get a little sweeter with a hot cocoa bar, allowing guests to unwind with their favorite fixins and bask in Fort Lauderdale’s winter weather. Guests can also savor the hotel’s take on coquito, a delectable seasonal treat made with rum, variations of milk, cinnamon and nutmeg, offered complimentary during the daily social hour.

A White (Sand) Christmas at Sandestin

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, look no further than a family vacation at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, decked out in holiday decor and featuring seasonal events along the sugar-white sands of Miramar Beach. It all begins just after Thanksgiving when Santa arrives by horse and carriage with much fanfare, live music and fireworks in a celebration throughout The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Guests can join the festivities with cozy hot cocoa and refreshing average temperatures in the low 70s. The 2,400-acre resort boasts over 70 charming neighborhoods with more than 1,000 vacation rentals, including condominiums, villas, homes and townhomes; more than seven miles of beaches and pristine bayfront; four championship golf courses; 15 world-class tennis courts; 20 swimming pools; a 226-slip marina; a fitness center; and a spa.

Emerald Coast Getaway at Hotel Effie Sandestin

Hotel Effie Sandestin is an extraordinary treasure nestled between the white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and the living shorelines of Choctawhatchee Bay in northwest Florida. Vibrant, elegant, comfortable and refined, this beautiful hotel integrates coastal charm and Southern hospitality in every delightful detail. Thoughtful appointments, interior design and personal service enhance your experience for a holiday in the sun. Hotel Effie features 250 guest rooms and suites, four culinary concepts, a luxury spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center and the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Guests have access to all Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort amenities, including more than 2,400 acres of pristine beaches and bayfront. They’re also within walking distance from the holiday markets, live music and Santa Claus pop-ups at The Village of Baytowne Wharf.

A Coastal Christmas at The Pensacola Beach Resort

Perched on Florida’s Panhandle, The Pensacola Beach Resort is the ultimate destination for those looking for a coastal holiday vacation. The private resort sits on over 800 feet of gulf-front beach property, with an additional 800 feet overlooking the bay, and features 161 guest rooms with unobstructed water views, an on-site fitness center, a full-service restaurant and an elevated pool deck and bar – all exclusive to hotel guests. With special lobby activations like a holiday bar cart with classic holiday treats and a station where guests can write a letter to Santa at the North Pole, the hotel’s sense of place and attention to detail make it the perfect home away from home for a holiday getaway on the sand. Plus, guests are within a short distance from Downtown Pensacola, where the Pensacola Winterfest lights up the streets with live performances, holiday trolley tours, visits from Santa Claus and his cast of holiday characters, and more.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of each featured venue/property on this story


bottom of page