Matt Villano 2015-09-01 01:59:15
Custom amenities and personalized service create a festive home away from home. There’s no place like home for the holidays, but taking the whole family for a resort or hotel stay during this celebratory time of year can create entirely new traditions that are just as memorable—and maybe a little more convenient. Without the stress of hosting, everyone can relax and enjoy distraction-free time with loved ones. Another bonus: No one in the family has to worry about cleaning up wrapping paper and tinsel that may be left in the wake of happy festivities. Hotels and resorts are embracing families, large and small, during this special time of year, and recognizing another duty to make stays every bit as enjoyable as time spent within the comforts of home. “We have seen so many families build a tradition of visiting during the holidays, and each year we reconnect with the families and have the opportunity to see the children and families grow,” explains Pat Farman, chef concierge at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort. The trend resonates across all Montage properties, which is why special accommodations, activities and amenities have been created to ensure Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and all holidays engage guests of all ages. One of the most notable of these amenities are the stocking delivery services at Montage Deer Valley, Montage Kapalua Bay and Montage Laguna Beach. At all three properties, guests can arrange to have stockings delivered on Christmas Eve or the day before, and can work with concierges to personalize items in each stocking for individual family members. James Proctor, director of food and beverage at Montage Kapalua Bay, explains that stockings contain local treats, bringing another level of thoughtfulness for those that are celebrating away from home. In 2014, stockings at Montage Kapalua Bay contained house-made coconut macaroons and haupia, a traditional Hawaiian coconut custard. They also included games and collectible pieces with island flair. “The idea is to bring guests the same sense of comfort and tradition they’d experience at home, but do so in a way that also says something special about the resort,” Proctor says. In Beverly Hills, Deer Valley and Laguna Beach, Montage guests also can sign up for a Santa Claus tuck-in, during which St. Nick visits children to read them stories, share milk and cookies, and tuck them in before bed. In the days just before Christmas, Montage Deer Valley also hosts Christmas caroling. Achieving a home-like atmosphere is easy at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff—especially considering that in addition to the main lodge, the property comprises a number of village homes that families can use as holiday headquarters. Guests can arrange to have homes decorated upon arrival, and, upon request, concierges will stock refrigerators with all the makings of a holiday meal. The Inn’s holiday programming includes outdoor movies on the village green (during which a snow machine creates flurries), and scavenger hunts that span the entire resort. “We know all aspects big and small that make each family’s stay special to them, and we make sure that our team is ready to make each year more memorable than the last,” Farman says. At Montage Beverly Hills, every night of Hanukkah welcomes guests to join Rabbi Mendel Shusterman from Chabad of Beverly Hills for a menorah lighting and a celebration of faith, hope and tradition. “At Montage Beverly Hills, we heartfully honor the traditions and practices of all religions,” explains General Manager Todd Orlich. At the hotel’s Parq Bar, another age-old tradition lives on in the hands of the culinary staff. The entire family can enjoy holiday tea service between late November and early January. In the week before Christmas, a special tea just for children also brings Mrs. Claus, who hosts story time and Christmas cookie decorating. In addition to annual holiday amenities and activities, staff members at each Montage pull out all the stops for fun surprises each year. At Montage Deer Valley, chefs construct a life-size gingerbread house—in 2014, Vanity Fair recognized the cookie creation as among the top 15 of its kind in the country. Meanwhile, Montage Kapalua Bay hosted an event dubbed “Christmas Eve Magic” featuring Santa reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and hot cocoa for all. Along with holiday dinners at on-site restaurants, seasonal spa treatments at Spa Montage and themed Paintbox programming such as ornament-making and cookie-decorating, the end-of-year ambience at Montage resorts is festive, family-friendly and, best of all, familiar. The trend is proving that you don’t have to be at home for the holidays after all; you just have to feel like you are.
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