My husband grew up in Medford; Irish Catholic and with 10 siblings.
For them, a highly anticipated — and free — holiday tradition was walking through Boston and taking in the store window displays.
Remember when the Jordan Marsh windows were magical this time of year?
While we have fewer decked-out windows on fewer department stores, there’s still a way to affordably celebrate the holidays amid luxe seasonal beauty.
Call in the Boston Holiday Hotel Lobby Crawl.
Boston’s hotels love to get dolled up this time of year. In fact, hoteliers say, the planning of the annual theme starts the day after the holiday season ends.
Consider these lobbies for your kids, the kid in you (and even a few adult-only options) for your own lobby crawl.
The Liberty Hotel: The Liberty is breathtaking — its high ceilings, creative design and nuanced tweaking of what was once a jail is worth seeing any day.
This year the Liberty amps up the holiday vibe with a spectacular installation of inverted Christmas trees suspended from the hotel’s 90-foot rotunda.
The 9-foot-tall trees were each decorated by Boston Florist and event designer Cityscapes and feature 1,500 holiday tree lights, 730 tiny cluster ornaments and 60 yards of bronze sheer ribbon..
Creative Director and owner of blueGuava Design Group John LaRoche said that since the Liberty Hotel is so unique and breathtaking, the holiday decor needed to be something that also was bold, sophisticated and interesting.
For grownups: Drinks in the lobby bar amidst the sparkling vibe is a great choice. (215 Charles St.; libertyhotel.com)
Encore Boston Harbor: When isn’t the Encore decorated to the nines?
Chief Horticulturist Patrick Chadwick said they began planning for this holiday look a full year ago, and that while shipping delays presented some challenges, they were able to focus on their vision and create a lobby crawl experience worth savoring.
You’ll find 29 decorated trees ranging in size from 9 feet to 12 feet, 20 wreaths from 24 inches to 94 inches, and more than 4,000 poinsettias setting a rich holiday backdrop.
While children are not allowed on the casino floor, they are allowed to peruse the lobby and non-floor area and enter one of the many restaurants, should you want to make this a snack, lunch or dinner stop.
For grownups: You’ll find a few more amazing trees — and more — on the casino floor. (1 Broadway, Everett; encorebostonharbor.com)
Boston Harbor Hotel: Centered by its annual lobby tree, the BHH takes on holiday decor masterfully.
For this part of the crawl, kids or no kids, you’ll want to savor the annual Frost Tea at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille.
You’ll be seated at a lovely table looking out over the harbor for a holiday tea service with elegant tiered trays of dainty finger sandwiches and mini pastries that feel special (and taste amazing).
Reservations are required, and the Frost Tea takes place daily from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
For grownups: Bubbly can be added to your Frost Tea experience. (70 Rowes Wharf; bostonharborhotel.com)
Kimpton Marlowe: To make your crawl an overnight, consider the family holiday Letters to Santa and the Troops package offered through Dec. 23 at the Kimpton Marlowe in Cambridge.
You’ll check into a queen/queen guest room (for two adults and two kids; call about more space needed), and get a $50 dining credit (and kids under 12 eat free at their Bambara restaurant with the purchase of an adult meal), a “letters to Santa kit” for the kids to prepare their letters to Santa and then bring down to the Lobby to be placed in the festive Lobby Mailbox, have in-room milk and cookies delivered, and of course, enjoy all the holiday decor.
For grownups: The Kimpton Marlowe is hosting the adult-only “Miracle” pop-up bar this holiday season, with a setting, music and cocktails that are very holiday-worthy. (25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge; hotelmarlowe.com)
These are only a few of the countless hotel lobbies in Boston ready for you and your families to check out — so bundle up and head out for some gorgeous holiday cheer.
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