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Historic Hotels of America Announces the 2017 Top 25 Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays

These historic hotels have *sweet* events throughout the holiday season for all ages to enjoy 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—November 15, 2017 Historic Hotels of America® has some of the best hotels to celebrate the holiday season and see some of the most spectacular (and delicious) gingerbread houses.  Gingerbread houses originated more than five centuries ago in Germany. Historic Hotels of America members are keeping this long celebrated annual holiday tradition alive. From life-sized gingerbread houses to exact replicas of historic hotels made up entirely of gingerbread and hotels where you can make your gingerbread creation come to life, these are the top 25 historic hotels to see (and make) gingerbread houses. These gingerbread creations were hand selected from over 35 nominations. To see all of the historic hotels with gingerbread creations visit As many of the 2017 gingerbread houses and displays are still under construction or in final days of decoration, judges relied on the 2016 final gingerbread creations in determining the finalists of the Historic Hotels of America 2017 Top Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays at Historic Hotels. 

Can you imagine a recipe that requires 920 eggs, 612 pounds of all-purpose flour, 315 pounds of royal icing, 250 pounds of candy, 153 pounds of honey, 153 pounds of molasses, 124 pounds of brown sugar, and more? This is just a partial list of the ingredients required by Skytop Lodge for its gingerbread house. One historic hotel’s recipe requires more than 16,000 gingerbread bricks, another historic hotel’s recipe uses more than 1,650 pounds of candy, another historic hotel’s gingerbread village is set on top of a 2,000 pound slab of granite, and another historic hotel uses more than 25 gallons of icing. The 2017 Gingerbread houses are still under construction and decorating with hundreds of hours of work the norm. The tallest historic hotel gingerbread house is higher than 25 feet (or a full-size two-story house). One gingerbread house is 23 feet wide. The heaviest gingerbread house weighs more than 1,500 pounds (includes gingerbread, icing, candy decorations, and more). You and 11 friends can enjoy a private dinner inside one lavishly decorated and edible gingerbread house. A very full-sized Santa with gifts for a small town could deliver presents using a historic hotel’s full-size gingerbread Santa-Sleigh.  

The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) Hot Springs, Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort creates a replica gingerbread house of the hotel each holiday season. This year’s gingerbread house will be bigger than ever, measuring eight-by-eight feet and will be completed around November 20, with the arrival of the hotel’s Christmas tree. The gingerbread house promises to be the best ever with over 160 pounds of flour being used, 53 pounds of honey, 18 pounds of eggs and over five pounds of spices. 

Hanover Inn Dartmouth (1780) Hanover, New Hampshire
The Hanover Inn Dartmouth gingerbread creation is an entire village of houses that takes over the 2,000 pound granite slab table in the middle of the hotel lobby. The gingerbread village debuts on the first Friday in December when Dartmouth College lights the huge pine in the middle of the Dartmouth Green, right across the street from the hotel (and visible from guestroom windows). The hotel will welcome the community attending the tree-lighting with hot chocolate and the 29th annual display of the Connecticut Valley Model Railroad Club’s collection of HO scale trains. 

French Lick Springs Hotel (1845) French Lick, Indiana
French Lick Springs Hotel creates a large scale gingerbread house each year with a different architectural style. This year’s Tudor style home will feature edible exposed beams, multiple gables and lattice work. The gingerbread house is known to be the largest in the Midwest measuring in at six-by-eight feet. The house is constructed with two different types of gingerbread: blonde (made with honey) and regular (made with molasses). The shingles on the roof will have six different shades of “French Lick red.” Outside of the wood frame, everything on the house is edible- chocolate, Rice Krispies treats, fondant and sculpted sugar are among the decorations. This gingerbread house requires 400-500 hours to construct and will make its debut during the French Lick Springs Hotel Tree Lighting on November 17. 

The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847)
Each year the talented team in the pastry department works to create a gingerbread house that pays tribute to an iconic memorial, monument, or museum. In 2016 the hotel featured the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This gingerbread house used over 26 pounds of granulated sugar, 100 eggs, 27 pounds of flour, and 20 pounds of granulated sugar and weighed in at 150 pounds. This year, the hotel will construct a replica of Mount Vernon. 

Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
In 2016 The Hudson Valley Gingerbread Competition was launched at Mohonk Mountain House. The tradition will continue in 2017 by inviting guests, members of the local community, and employees to construct their best gingerbread creation for a chance to have it displayed throughout the resort during the holiday season. A panel of local judges selects three prize winners and two honorable mentions in three categories and the top five finishers will have their creations put on display throughout the holiday season. The three blue ribbon winners from each category will have the honor of being displayed in the prime location at the bottom of the hotel’s central stairs. Along with the recognition, the top three winners in each category are awarded prizes to Mohonk Mountain House that range from an overnight stay to dinner at the resort. This year, the competition takes place on Sunday, December 10, 2017. 

The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
Each year this historic hotel features a large scale gingerbread house and village in the lobby. The giant gingerbread village is made using 400 pounds of sugar, 120 pounds of flour, four gallons of molasses, 300 eggs plus eight gallons of egg whites, five pounds of gingerbread spices, and 50 pounds of assorted candy. Chef Konrad Spitzbart and his team of 12 “pastry elves” start work in September and it takes 250 total “elf hours” to complete. A master at gingerbread design and construction, Chef Spitzbart won the “Food Network Challenge: Giant Gingerbread Houses” competition in 2009. 

Palmer House®, a Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Hilton
The holidays are about tradition and one of those notable Chicago holiday traditions is the installation of the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel’s Holiday Hearth at the entrance of the hotel. This gingerbread creation will be on display throughout the holiday season. The creation of Executive Pastry Chef Bouet from Lyons, France, the Holiday Hearth represents over 150 man hours of work, composed of 250 pounds of freshly made gingerbread, 20 pounds of royal icing and 90 pounds of Belgian Chocolate. 

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (1847) Point Clear, Alabama
For over 10 years, the Grand Hotel has constructed a gingerbread creation. In 2016, the hotel constructed a gingerbread village that weighed over 1,200 pounds using 300 pounds of gingerbread, 25 gallons of icing and 30 pounds of candy for adornment. This gingerbread village was hand sculpted in the hotel’s bake shop and featured five different guest room buildings: South Bay House, Main Building, North Bay House, Marina, and Spa Building. The hotel will host a culinary academy on how to make a gingerbread house for visitors and guests. 

Wentworth by the Sea (1874) New Castle, New Hampshire
Wentworth by the Sea constructs an eight foot tall gingerbread house that greets visitors in the lobby throughout the month of December. This year’s Victorian architecture design will include a train station along with moving train. The unveiling of the annual gingerbread house at the hotel is a highlight of the "Wentworth Illumination," a free community event the night the hotel turns on the white lights which outline the exterior and its three Victorian towers. 

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California
In celebration of the Mission Inn’s 24th Annual Festival of Lights in 2016, their culinary team created three deliciously amazing gingerbread villages that were on display in the hotel lobby. The team designed, baked and pieced together the elaborately decorated villages by hand, which took 10 weeks of working round-the-clock to complete. The villages were constructed with over 500 pounds of edible gingerbread, royal icing and candy. The three themed gingerbread houses displayed last year were, Holly Jolly Polar Express Village, Casey’s Glamorous Gingerbread Wonderland and Downtown Candy Cane. 

The Jefferson Hotel (1895) Richmond, Virginia
Each year, the Palm Court Lobby of this historic hotel features a large scale gingerbread house composed of hundreds of pounds of gingerbread. Last year’s gingerbread display was a full-sized Santa’s sleigh that was six feet tall and weighed approximately 900 pounds. This season’s display will include over 200 pounds of gingerbread, 500 pounds of royal icing and an abundance of candies to adorn the magical Christmas village. The holiday festivities will kick off on November 27 with a tree lighting ceremony, music, and refreshments. Throughout the season, visitors to The Jefferson will be delighted by the holiday performances by area musical ensembles performing in the Music at Midday concert series. 

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (1901) Honolulu, Hawaii
The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, celebrates the Christmas Holiday Season every year with 12 days of Christmas and a Gingerbread Display for resort guests and visitors to enjoy throughout their stay. A sweet gingerbread tower masterpiece by the hotel’s talented Moana Bakeshop with Executive Pastry Chef Nanako Perez-Nava was the feature in 2016. The display took more than 34 hours to create and was made of seven pounds of gingerbread, 40 pounds of rolled fondant, 56 pounds of royal icing, 300 French macarons, and two pounds of dark chocolate. The display included Santa with his reindeers and elves in a Hawaiian themed village, dressed with palm trees, hula dancers, pineapples and starfish. An electric train adds to the display circling the village and providing delight to young guests. 

The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco (1907) San Francisco, California
Starting on November 25, this historic hotel transforms into one of the world’s most beloved holiday destination featuring a two-story, life-sized gingerbread house in the hotel’s lobby. The talented culinary and engineering teams at the hotel have joined forces to meticulously plan construction of this year’s enormous gingerbread house, which will be even larger than last year complete with a private dining space for up to 12 people. Holiday tea or a meal can be served with this unique and festive backdrop if booked in advance. Once complete, the impressive, edible abode will stand more than 25 feet high, 35 feet wide and 10 feet deep and will feature more than 10,250 homemade gingerbread bricks, 1,650 pounds of candy and 3,300 pounds of royal icing. The gingerbread house is inspired by the Victorian design of several San Francisco homes, such as the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square. 

The Plaza (1907) New York, New York
The Plaza serves as the opulent backdrop for the world-famous children’s book series Eloise. Introduced to the public in Kay Thompson’s Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown-Ups – Eloise’s mischief and antics have delighted readers and visitors of The Plaza since its publication in 1955. Each year the hotel has an Eloise gingerbread house decorating event for young guests. Children will be able to assemble their own gingerbread house at the hotel. Pink hot chocolate and delicious holiday sweets will be served and guests will write a letter to Eloise and hear a story about her many adventures. At the culmination of the event, children will get to take home a delicious gingerbread house to share. 

The Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) Asheville, North Carolina
The Omni Grove Park Inn has been hosting a gingerbread competition for 25 years. It began in 1992 with a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members as another way to celebrate the holiday season. The event has now morphed into the prestigious 25th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™.  Open to the public, the winning creations will be on display from November 26, 2017 through January 4, 2018. 

Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh (1916) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Each year, the Omni William Penn kicks off the holiday season at the annual Light Up Night party. The grand lobby is decorated and holiday tree is lighted with the help of the children that attend the event. The annual Omni William Penn gingerbread house is baked and built lovingly by the culinary elves of the hotel’s kitchens. It is a replica of the 100 year old hotel. This gingerbread house is constructed with over 40 pounds of sugar, 75 pounds of piped royal icing, and over 3,500 pieces of individual candy. 

The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado
Each year The Broadmoor has a gingerbread display in place and unveiled at the kick off of the holiday season during the White Lights Weekend. Last year’s display was a 10 foot tall train made entirely of gingerbread. This year, the hotel will be producing an artistic interpretation of Pauline Chapel. It will be approximately 10-12 feet in height. In addition to this life size gingerbread replica, the hotel will be offering gingerbread house decorating and gingerbread cookie decorating for guests and visitors. Last year’s gingerbread train used over 89 pounds of chocolate, 350 pounds of powdered sugar, and 286 pounds of egg whites. 

The Drake Hotel (1920) Chicago, Illinois
The Drake, a Hilton Hotel, a symbol of holiday elegance for over 80 years, has constructed a gingerbread village with Gloria Hafner and After School Matters Students. Each student has designed and assembled their own gingerbread house to create a holiday inspired gingerbread village. On November 8 in the lobby of The Drake After School Matter Students pulled back the golden curtain and unveiled their gingerbread masterpiece. A process that takes over 80 hours and incorporates 300 pounds of confectioner sugar, 20 pounds of meringue mix, 150 pounds of candies and 45 sheet pans of gingerbread. 

La Fonda (1922) Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Fonda traditionally creates a Gingerbread Hotel every holiday season that proudly occupies a center space in the lobby. Chef Lane and his elves put hours of work into duplicating the gingerbread structure that is La Fonda. The final hotel illustrates the shape of the hotel with kiva ladders added, tootsie rolls for the wooden vigas, actual mini-farolitos light on top of the multitude of levels, decorated trees and La Fonda signage. The structure is completed by hand and is set up in the middle of the lobby at La Fonda. The estimated weight of La Fonda on the Plaza’s gingerbread hotel is estimated to be about 50 pounds. The delectable gingerbread hotel uses over 30 pounds of gingerbread, over 40 pounds of candy, five pounds of candy canes and 10 pounds of royal icing. 

Omni San Francisco Hotel (1926) San Francisco, California
In 2016 the Omni San Francisco created a gingerbread fantasy castle weighed over 100 pounds and was five feet tall. It was made with entirely edible materials including gumballs, red hots, marshmallows, royal icing, Oreos and more. This year the hotel is creating another gingerbread structure that will be a holiday surprise. This will be unveiled after Thanksgiving to all visitors and guests. 

Hilton Chicago (1927) Chicago, Illinois
In 2016, the six foot display gingerbread hotel replica at the Hilton Chicago was installed prior to the Lights Festival. It took 300 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of powdered sugar, 30 pounds of egg whites, 14 pounds of ginger, eight pounds of cinnamon and 16,000 gingerbread bricks (and more than 250 hours!) to make this gingerbread replica a reality. Three pastry chefs worked tirelessly to create this masterpiece for all to enjoy. It is located near the lobby level elevators and was on display throughout the holiday season. This year, the pastry team will be adding a Chicago skyline and “L” installation to amplify the Chicago holiday spirt. 

The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort (1927) Honolulu, Hawaii
To celebrate the holidays last year at The Royal Hawaiian, a replica of the hotel was made entirely of gingerbread. It was a full 360 degree replica to scale of the hotel and took a week to complete from start to finish. It was set on display in the lobby and over 100 pounds of gingerbread, 75 pounds of pink chocolate, and 60 quarts of royal icing were used in its creation. Throughout the holiday season the hotel has cookie decorating for hotel guests, Santa mail and a variety of holiday sweets and decorations. This year the Executive Pastry Chef will be constructing a seven foot tall replica of the bell tower that is on top of the hotel. There will even be a button guests can push that will ring a bell inside the gingerbread tower. 

The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park (1927) Hawley, Pennsylvania
For over 30 years, Settlers Inn has constructed a replica gingerbread house of the hotel, complete with lighting and holiday decor. This tradition was started with close family friends of the Inn in 1987 and has remained a constant ever since. The replica of Settlers Inn can be viewed from after Thanksgiving through the first of the year. 

Skytop Lodge (1928) Skytop, Pennsylvania
This year, Skytop Lodge will be creating a gingerbread house with a Willy Wonka theme. The Executive Pastry Chef, Christa Kuhar’s inspiration was the chocolate factory from Willy Wonka. The gingerbread factory that is currently in production will feature chocolate fountains, cocoa pods, cocoa beans and weigh in at over 1,500 pounds. 

The Wort Hotel (1941) Jackson, Wyoming
The Wort Hotel has been hosting “12 Days of Christmas” events throughout the holiday season for 21 years. During these special holiday festivities, there is a gingerbread house decorating event held at the hotel. Over 65 gingerbread houses are constructed during the event with over 125 people attending. The gingerbread houses are completely edible and there are over 20 different kinds of candy and toppings use for decoration. 

“The tradition of gingerbread fairy-tale houses reportedly started in the United States more than 200 years ago with the German immigrants to Pennsylvania. Today, one of the world’s largest gingerbread houses is created and baked (in parts of course) at the Skytop Lodge in Pennsylvania. Across the country, 12 people can dine in the more than life-sized gingerbread house at the Fairmont San Francisco,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Run, Run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man. is from the famous fairy-tale, The Gingerbread Man. This holiday season, run, run as fast as you can and catch the most magnificent gingerbread houses and displays at many historic hotels.” 

About Historic Hotels of America®
Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, please visit 

Heather Taylor
Historic Hotels of America
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications
Tel: +1 202 772 8333 Fax: +1 202 772 8338

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