Hotels are doing Elf on the Shelf and in-room trees so you don’t have to – Boston Herald


Lily Girma | (TNS) Bloomberg News

Holiday to-do lists can overshadow the fun of the season. There’s gift shopping, decorating, hosting parties and keeping the kids entertained—plus cleaning it all up come January.

It’s tempting to want to escape the whole thing. A handful of luxury hotels from Colorado’s snowy peaks to the Caribbean’s warm beaches are dialing up their amenities so you can get away while still experiencing the season’s cheer in all its glory. Hotels are offering in-room tree decorating (ornaments provided), hot chocolate delivered by “elves,” festive cookies at turndown service and even a butler specifically catering to the kids’ Elf on the Shelf doll.

While in-room Christmas trees aren’t a novel concept, the options for pre-arrival customized tree décor are getting elaborate. Then there’s the hugely popular Elf on the Shelf tradition that has grown over nearly two decades, which families around the world adopt at the start of the season: A miniature “Santa scout elf” toy travels back to the North Pole nightly to tell Santa whether the kids in its household are being naughty or nice. The elf gets a name, and parents must move it to a new location daily after the kids fall asleep and before they awaken. Some parents love the challenge of creating over-the-top elf displays for their kids to stumble upon; others loathe the responsibility. Hotels are picking up some of the work this year.

Let’s start with the in-room Christmas tree décor. Madeline Hotel & Residences in Telluride, Colorado (part of the Auberge Resorts Collection), offers an elaborate holiday tree menu through Dec. 30. You can pre-order one of nine tree themes two weeks before your stay, including Blue Christmas, with elegant blue velvet ribbons, magnolias and pinecones; the Nutcracker, with plaid ball ornaments and red mini-drums inspired by the ballet; and Powder Day, for that snowy white look so characteristic of Colorado’s Rockies. You can throw in an order of fresh garlands adorned with berries and flowers and wreaths. Not satisfied? Consult the hotel’s in-room holiday decor stylist.

Your chosen tree and ornaments will be delivered to your room before you arrive, so you can have fun decorating with your family in privacy. Or you can decide not to lift a finger and have it all set up by the time you check in. Packages start at $1,275 for a six-foot tree.

At Primland Resort, you can easily feel holiday cheer just looking around the property’s stunning 12,000 acres in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Still, the resort is going a step further: A drop-down form lets you select your in-room tree and ornaments. Indicate your accommodation type and dates of stay, submit to the hotel’s Christmas tree concierge—and voilà. Orders are for stays through Dec. 31.

At the beachfront five-star Ponte Vedra Inn & Club near Jacksonville, Florida, the in-room Christmas tree package comes with a four-course dinner for a family of four and ocean views from the comfort of your suite. Packages start at $8,500 for two nights. Or you could simply request a tree-decor addition ($500), which comes with hot chocolate and cookies on your first night, delivered by “elves.”

How about an in-room tree adorned with jewelry that you get to keep in lieu of ornaments? Available up to Dec. 21, the “Presents on the Tree” amenity offer at the Dominick in New York’s SoHo is a collaboration with high-end costume jewelry designer Lizzie Fortunato. The three options include the Fine Collection tree, dripping with four necklaces made of 14-carat gold with opal, pink topaz or amethyst stones, plus two pairs of earrings in pink and sky blue topaz ($4,155); and the Holiday Shine Collection, which adds a dark peacock sequin gala bag to the bijouterie.

Perhaps your little ones are unimpressed by in-room Christmas lights, or you’re looking for a guilt-free break from your Elf on the Shelf duties. Book a butler-category room at any of Beaches Resorts’ three locations in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands (rates start from $4,878 per night for two adults and two children), and your kids’ Elf on the Shelf doll can come along on vacation and get pampered like a VIP (or VIE, for Very Important Elf) with its own surprise turndown amenities.

Picture Santa’s helper indulging in a marshmallow bubble bath (a bowl of marshmallows), or miniature chocolate chip cookies with a tiny glass of milk and a trail mix made with such favorite elf treats as popcorn and M&Ms.

“The scout elves work so hard over the holidays. They keep tabs on children and fly back to the North Pole nightly to report back to Santa on their behavior, so Beaches’ butlers really wanted to roll out the red carpet for them,” says Luisana Suegart, director of public relations at Unique Vacations Inc., an affiliate of the global representative for Beaches Resorts.

Butlers will leave the elf’s amenities in the room through your stay. The kids won’t be left out; they’ll get to enjoy in-room treats when they’re not otherwise engaged at the beach or on stage at Christmas-themed karaoke. Elf-inspired island soirees will occur on Tuesdays at 5 p.m., featuring a build-your-own-cookie bar, extravagant desserts and a Beaches staff member dressed as a candy fairy handing out sugary treats.

Questions have reached the brand from parents concerned about the rule that you can’t touch an elf directly lest it lose its magic. Parents can bring their own elf carrier box or purchase one at Beaches Resorts’ shops, along with Elf on the Shelf packages. If your elf is forgotten somewhere at the resort or on the beach, butlers will be on hand to bring it back to your room—using Santa-approved tongs.


©2023 Bloomberg L.P. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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