Christmas Memories at Gaylord Hotels

Built around a stunning 4.5 acre atrium full of spectacular sights from around Florida, the Gaylord Palms resort is an impressive vacation destination in its own right. But at Christmas time, the experience is enhanced by a majestic Christmas tree, thousands of lights, trees, and poinsettias, and dazzling performances and shows.

After we settled into our spacious, comfortable suite, and heard the sounds of the “Christmas Wonders” show from our balcony, the whole family was eager to explore the resort. The huge atrium is divided into three themed areas – Key West, St. Augustine, and the Everglades.

The highlight of the Key West atrium is the 60-foot sailboat that houses Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp, one of several restaurants at the resort. Live music and a fun, laid-back atmosphere make you feel like you might really be relaxing in Key West.

The centerpiece of the St. Augustine atrium is a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos fort. In addition, this area features cobblestone walkways, a picturesque tile fountain, and several quaint shops and restaurants, all with old-world charm. The Emerald Bay Plaza is also housed in the St. Augustine atrium, and is the gathering place for the remarkable holiday shows that are instrumental in providing a festive, holiday atmosphere. Here, we enjoyed the performance of “Luminescence,” a musical stage show that filled the atrium with sound, lights, and aerial choreography.

Lush greenery and rustic buildings define the Everglades atrium. Here, guests can meander through wooden walkways, enjoying the wildlife – fish, turtles, and even alligators! The Everglades atrium also houses the Relâche Spa and Fitness Center. The fully-equipped fitness center is free for all adult guests at the resort (teens age 16 and up can also use the center when accompanied by an adult), and also offers fitness classes for a small fee.

Throughout the atriums, we kept our eyes open for cleverly placed Coca-Cola polar bears that are part of the “Polar Bear Pursuit” scavenger hunt. Guests who find at least 10 of the bears can enter a drawing for a Gaylord Palms VIP getaway.

After we finished exploring, the whole family enjoyed a late night snack of cookies and milk provided by the in-room dining service before settling down into our comfortable beds.

The next day, after enjoying both ICE! and SNOW!, the next item on the agenda was swimming! Gaylord Palms might be the only place in the world where guests can play in the snow inside and swim outside in the same day! The huge Clearwater Cove pool is great fun for the entire family, with a soft-play area for toddlers, a waterslide for big kids, and an abundance of Florida sunshine for everyone!

Any time of year, but especially during the Christmas season, Gaylord Palms is a great destination for an unforgettable family vacation. And during the Best of Florida Christmas celebration, the resort is offering several packages and specials that include admission to ICE! and SNOW! It’s a great opportunity to create lasting holiday memories.


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