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Christmas Tree at the Palmer House Hilton. Photo courtesy of Palmer House.

Atrium at West Baden Springs Hotel. Photo by Dan Schlossberg.

Historic Holidays By DAN SCHLOSSBERG

M ost Americans spend winter holidays

sipping cider, opening gifts, and sharing time with friends and family. While there’s much to be said for keeping the home fires burning, holiday occasions are often more memorable on the road. At a time of year when tradition rules, the best place to celebrate is a hotel that is steeped in history. Historic Hotels of America — with more than 260 members — offers a myriad of choices, from the snowy northeast to the sunny southwest. To belong, properties must be at least 50 years old and meet exacting standards of excellence. Virtually all of them pose homes-away-from-home perfect for the

French Lick Arch Trolley. Photo by Dan Schlossberg.

holidays: great escapes from cooking, cleaning, or other chores that never seem to end. Anyone dreaming of a white Christmas would do well to consider the Palmer House Hilton, a palatial property directly on Chicago’s Loop. Its colorful holiday tree features 7,000 lights, 15,000 boughs, and a lighting tradition that began shortly after the first version of the massive structure went up in 1871. While other hotels have holiday trees, only the Palmer House offers a tuba concert — 400 tuba players will play holiday music December 19 in the same State Ballroom where Frank Sinatra and Liberace launched their

careers. Also on the holiday menu is Big Night Chicago, a gala New Year’s Eve party with food, festivities, and frenetic frolicking at the stroke of midnight. Brownies are almost certain to be served; the common dessert staple was created by the Palmer House pastry chef for the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893. A visit to the Palmer House would not be complete without a ride on the El, the maze of subway lines famous for criss-crossing tracks that were tough to build and tougher to navigate. If all 1,641 Palmer House guests were to survey the rails simultaneously, they would have just as many different opinions as to what goes where.

Skytop Lodge. Photo courtesy of Skytop Lodge.

Grab your loved ones and escape to the luxury and history only a property steeped in tradition can offer. 26

Holiday 2015 |

LIFESTYLE

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NJ Lifestyle Magazine Holiday 2015  
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