Deck the halls with boughs of holly”
Gaylord Texan takes these classic Christmas lyrics to a whole new level. The Dallas-Fort Worth area hotel is a sight to be seen any time of year with its San Antonio-style river walk and atrium that looks like a movie set, but it’s the holiday season that really puts the hotel on the ultra Nice List.
Gaylord Texan hangs two million lights, hangs over 5,600 feet of garland, sets up a 54-foot Christmas tree, places 15,000 ornaments, and hangs 2,300 decorated wreaths around the hotel atrium. The decorations are all hand-crafted right here in Texas.
When the sun sets, the atrium really starts to glitter. You could easily spend an hour strolling around the hotel before dinner and after. You’ll want to see everything in the daylight and all lit up.
ICE!, ICE!, baby
This is the eleventh year of Gaylord Texan’s famous ICE! exhibit. Each year forty master carvers fly in from their native Harbin, China to turn two million pounds of ice into Gaylord Texan’s winter wonderland.
This year’s theme is Christmas Around the world, which would have been wonderful any year but is particularly heartwarming after the recent events in Paris.
When you’re studying all of the lovely countries, be sure and turn around. The PEACE dove, in my opinion, is the shining star of Christmas Around the World and is directly across from Ireland.
This year there are plenty of great photo opportunities inside of ICE!, including a shot on a teddy bear’s lap, in Santa’s sleigh, and more:
Prior to this weekend, I had only been to ICE! in the evening. Big mistake! I now know that morning is prime time to see ICE! if you’re anything like me and you like to avoid crowds.
Immediately after ICE! there’s a hot chocolate and cupcake stand that my niece very much appreciated. You can also view and buy your Christmas Around the World keepsake photo at a reasonable three prints for under $30. You take this in front of a green screen before you enter ICE! and later it looks like this:
Directly after the Christmas shop is SNOW, the Gaylord’s snow tube. The Gaylord staff puts real snow on the twelve runs every morning. The tubes go faster than you would imagine and the experience is sure to put a smile on your face.
Prop tip: be on the lookout for this awesome photo op right as you exit ICE! It’s directly across from the gallery of children’s art and reads “Greetings from The Gaylord Texan.” Be sure and stop for a pic!
Turn ICE! Into a Weekend
If you’re only going to the Gaylord to see ICE!, you’re missing out. Make a weekend out of it! The rooms are lovely, the atrium is glorious, and there is so much to do and see.
If you have kids, a few fun holiday activities are: Cookies & Milk with Mrs. Claus, Friends of Rudolph Meet and Greet, and a Gingerbread Decorating Workshop.
If you don’t have kids (I don’t!), Zeppole Italian Cuisine has stunning views of the atrium and the most delicious amaretto mousse that you can wash down with a martini at Glass Cactus, Gaylord’s live music venue. Of course there’s also Gaylord Texan’s famous steakhouse, Old Hickory, and stores to peruse for Christmas shopping.
Don’t forget about Gaylord Texan’s spa, Relâche, which happens to be my favorite spa in the Metroplex. Try the Tropical Island Glow for a holiday season pick-me-up, then saunter back to your balcony to take in the view:
More photos of Christmas the Gaylord Texan:
Want to see ICE! for yourself? Use the promo code “ROSETABLE” for 50% off ICE! tickets if you go November 23, 24, or 25. Don’t forget gloves and a hat!
P.S. Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Heather, for being my photographer this weekend!