Can you imagine a gingerbread recipe that requires 6,000 house-made bricks, 1,650 pounds of candy, 3,300 pounds of royal icing, and when finished 11 persons can dine inside? Another gingerbread recipe required the help of 10 master pastry chefs and two carpenters working for more than 220 hours and used 958 pounds of powdered sugar, 650 eggs, 475 pounds of flour, to create a 13 foot high replica of a legendary historic hotel.
Here is The 2018 Top 25 Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays :
Hanover Inn Dartmouth (1780) Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover Inn Executive Chef Justin Dain and Pastry Chef Pam Brochu are known for the extravagant gingerbread villages they create each year. The construction of this creation takes the entire month of November and is displayed in the center of the lobby. It takes about 60 hours of time to create this gingerbread village. The gingerbread creation was ready in time for the annual Dartmouth Tree-lighting on the Dartmouth Green at the beginning of December. This year’s edible creation is a gingerbread village, Whoville, celebrating the 125th anniversary of Mary Hitchcock Hospital, now Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Omni Bedford Resort & Spa (1806) Bedford, Pennsylvania
The historic Omni Bedford Resort has a staff of six that creates the 200+ pound gingerbread house. This year’s gingerbread creation utilized over 120 eggs, 18 pounds of honey and 9 pounds of bread shortening. The ‘elves’ that put this gingerbread creation together didn’t replicate a specific building, it was a product of team creativity and ingenuity.
The Willard InterContinental (1818) Washington, DC
Every year, The Willard’s pastry department works to create a gingerbread display that pays tribute to an iconic landmark around the nation’s capital. This year’s display honors Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, National Airport first opened for business on June 16, 1941. Spearheaded by Jason Jimenez (Executive Pastry Chef), Magenta Livengood (Pastry Cook), and David Sanabria (Engineer), and assisted by the hotel’s entire pastry team, the design of the gingerbread display began in late September, with construction beginning in November. Taking over 350 hours, this display weighs nearly 400 pounds and contains over 100 LED lights, 30 feet of electrical wire, 306 pieces of gingerbread and 30 pounds of fondant standing as the runways. It also includes a live audio feed from DCA’s control tower.
French Lick Springs Hotel (1845) French Lick, Indiana
This year, the historic French Lick Springs Hotel is being recreated in gingerbread. The gingerbread hotel is still crafted the same way as the gingerbread houses from prior years, as everything guests will see on the exterior is edible — from the real gingerbread made from scratch in the bakery, to the sugary stained-glass windows and snowflakes and other adornments that make it sparkle. The gingerbread creation has taken 500-600 combined work hours to create and can be seen at the hotel through January 6.
Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847) Point Clear, Alabama
This year, the Grand Hotel has created a massive gingerbread replica of the resort. The pastry chefs at the Grand Hotel started working on the display in late October and finished on Thanksgiving Day. From making the dough, rolling, cutting, baking, assembling, and decorating it, the four-week project is a Grand tradition. Utilizing over 150 pounds of flour and 150 pounds of royal icing, this year’s creation is one not to be missed.
Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
Mohonk Mountain House is hosting the 3rd annual Hudson Valley Gingerbread Competition. Mohonk invites 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 (Adult, Junior, and Employee) and the top five finishers will have their creations put on display throughout the hotel. Similar to the Holiday Tree Tour where guests can view multiple decorated trees, Mohonk has created a self-guided Gingerbread Tour for all to explore the winning creations during the month of December. The three blue-ribbon winners from each category have the honor of being displayed in the prime location at the bottom of the central stairs. Along with the recognition, the top three winners in each category are awarded prizes from Mohonk Mountain House.
The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
This year, The Peabody Memphis’ gingerbread display was inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The gingerbread creation is over 20 feet wide and located near the valet entrance of the hotel. It includes over 300 pounds of flour, 160 eggs, and 117 pounds of molasses. In 2009, the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef who created this year’s gingerbread creation won the Food Network Challenge: Giant Gingerbread Houses. The Christmas tree in The Peabody’s Grand Lobby touches the ceiling at 30 feet tall and has approximately 20,000 lights on it. It takes 20 florists seven hours to put up and decorate. There are an additional 11 Christmas trees and 600 feet of lighted garland used to decorate the Lobby, Mezzanine and remainder of the hotel.
Palmer House®, a Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Illinois
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 and is on display throughout the holiday season. The gingerbread holiday hearth is the creation of Executive Pastry Chef Bouet from Lyons, France, representing over 150 hours of work. The gingerbread creation is composed of 250 pounds of freshly made gingerbread, 20 pounds of royal icing and 90 pounds of Belgian Chocolate.
Wentworth by the Sea (1874) New Castle, New Hampshire
Wentworth by the Sea’s gingerbread house weighs in at over 600 pounds and is over 10 feet tall and took eight people six days to create and decorate. The gingerbread creation is a replica of the historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa. Included in this creation are the following: gingerbread cookies, licorice, peppermint, icing, colored ginger snap cookies, and assorted hard candies. The gingerbread house a favorite among locals and visitors. Many residents from the area will stop by just to see and photograph the magnificent gingerbread structure.
The Jefferson Hotel (1895) Richmond, Virginia
This year’s gingerbread inspiration was the classic Christmas poem, The Night Before Christmas. The structure is a depiction of a fictional house awaiting the arrival of Santa. The pastry team of five worked an average of six hours per day for 20 days to complete this year’s confectionary creation. Weighing over 600 pounds, this gingerbread display includes over 200 pounds of royal icing and 20 pounds of peppermint candies. The display is unveiled at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and will remain at the hotel for viewing through New Year’s Day.
Pinehurst Resort (1895) Pinehurst, North Carolina
This year’s gingerbread village is a complete recreation of landmarks from the Village of Pinehurst, including the Village Chapel, Carolina Hotel, and other cottages from around Pinehurst. This year’s gingerbread village is quite massive requiring 14 tables to support over 80 pounds of gingerbread. It takes a staff of 12 three months to complete and requires engineers, an electrician, audio-visual setup staff to work around the pastry crew from 7 am to 5 pm non-stop. 50 gallons of royal icing and over 70 pounds of assorted candies are used for this creation, complete with a train around the village.
The Fairmont San Francisco (1907) San Francisco, California
Fairmont San Francisco’s two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House in the hotel’s grand lobby has become a must-see attraction for guests from near and far. Fairmont San Francisco’s talented culinary and engineering teams have joined forces to meticulously plan construction of this year’s enormous Gingerbread House, which will be even larger than last year’s stunning, two-story-high Victorian! Once complete, the impressive, edible abode will stand more than 25 feet high, 35 feet wide and 10.5 feet deep and will feature more than 6,000 house-made gingerbread bricks (largest bricks to date), 1,650 pounds of candy and 3,300 pounds of royal icing. The gingerbread house’s railroad track also delights guests of all ages, who happily gaze upon this favorite feature. The beloved Gingerbread House now offers a private dining space for up to 10 guests. This space can be reserved in advance and is the ideal place for afternoon tea or dinner, or a special occasion.
Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) Asheville, North Carolina
It all began with a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 as another way to celebrate the holiday season with no plans to continue the following year. There was no possible way to know that more than two decades later The Omni Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House Competition™ would be one of the nation’s most celebrated and competitive holiday events. The gingerbread display has grown in more than just entries; it has become a true family holiday tradition. The 26th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ was held on Monday, November 19, 2018. The winning creations will be on display Sunday, November 25, 2018 – January 4, 2019.
Omni William Penn (1916) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This year’s gingerbread house is a replica of the historic Omni William Penn, dating back to 1916. Located in the lobby for all guests to admire from mid-November through January, this gingerbread house took 80 hours to complete utilizing all of the hotel’s culinary team and measuring in at five feet tall and three feet wide. Over 200 pounds of gingerbread, 48 pounds of powdered sugar and 252 mint candies were used when creating this replica gingerbread hotel.
The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Broadmoor is wrapping up its centennial year celebration with its largest gingerbread display to date, measuring in with an over 13 foot tall replica of the 1918 resort. A holiday tradition since 1964, this year’s Broadmoor gingerbread display honors its heritage. The Broadmoor’s gingerbread display took over 10 master pastry chefs and two carpenters over 220 hours to create and includes 958 pounds of powdered sugar, 650 eggs, and 475 pounds of flour. Over the years The Broadmoor has come up with some innovative and ambitious gingerbread displays including a full size steam engine in 2016 and a 13 foot tall chapel in 2017.
The Drake (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 confectionary holiday inspired gingerbread village. This is 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 on the Plaza traditionally creates a Gingerbread Hotel every holiday season that proudly occupies a center space in the lobby. Chef Lane and his elves put over 24 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 on the day of the construction for everyone to gather and watch the creation. The weight of La Fonda on the Plaza’s Gingerbread hotel is estimated to be about 50 pounds.
The Brown Hotel (1923) Louisville, Kentucky
The Brown Hotel has continued their annual tradition of using gingerbread and sweets to build a holiday structure. This year’s theme is Santa’s Elf House. It took 40 pounds of gingerbread, 18 pounds of royal icing and three days to create this gingerbread masterpiece. It is located on the second floor lobby of the hotel through the remainder of 2018.
Omni San Francisco Hotel (1926) San Francisco, California
In 2017, the Omni San Francisco Hotel conducted a confectionary creation as grand as the Foggy City itself! The hotel’s Executive Chef, Thomas Rhodes, led a team of five artisans in recreating the City of San Francisco entirely from gingerbread and candy. The cityscape featured such iconic buildings as the Transamerica Pyramid, the Ferry Building, the Salesforce Tower, and of course the Omni San Francisco Hotel. It took three full months for the team of six to bake and craft the cityscape, which consisted of 204 sheets of gingerbread, 65 pounds of candy, 15 gallons of icing, and three cases of graham crackers. This year, the hotel has gone a different direction, hosting an Omni Associate gingerbread house decorating competition. Each department of the hotel staff including Housekeeping, Food & Beverage, and Sales, will be given a kit and several pounds of candy. Once the houses are complete, they will be displayed in the lobby where guests will be invited to vote on the house they believe to be the most creative, uses the materials in the most innovative way, and is the most aesthetically pleasing. All guests who vote will be entered in a raffle to win a stay at the Omni San Francisco Hotel.
Hilton Chicago (1927) Chicago, Illinois
This six foot gingerbread hotel replica utilizes 300 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of powdered sugar, and 16,000 gingerbread bricks and weighs over 750 pounds. Three pastry chefs worked tirelessly to create this masterpiece totaling over 270 hours of work to get the gingerbread creation completed. It took 16,500 individual gingerbread ‘bricks” and 300 “windows” to create the scene. This year’s display features notable Chicago landmarks including the Historic Hilton Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, Willis Tower, John Hancock Tower, and the Cloud Gate, among others. Every Saturday from November 17th through December 15th, the hotel will have a cookie decorating station for kids at 10 am-12 pm by the Gingerbread Hotel.
Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washington
The Mayflower Park Hotel has created an intricate and detailed gingerbread village this year, consisting of four houses and of course, a hotel. A gingerbread replica of the 91 year old Mayflower Park Hotel is prominently displayed in the middle of the edible village. Guests can peek inside and see the front desk and the lobby chandelier. Visitors and guests of the hotel who visit during the holiday season are encouraged to vote for their favorite house. This was an all-hotel effort to get this project done. Many hands assisted to make this magical event happen in a timely fashion.
The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park (1927) Hawley, Pennsylvania
The historic Settlers Inn has an annual gingerbread display that guests have come to know and love throughout the years. The windows of the gingerbread house have intricate details with noted similarities to the Inn. This replica of the hotel features most details of the hotel including the sign out front. It takes three days to bake and assemble- about 28 hours of total manpower to put together this replica gingerbread creation.
Skytop Lodge (1928) Skytop, Pennsylvania
The 2018 gingerbread display at Skytop Lodge is one not to be missed. Construction of the 11 foot tall and 19 foot wide gingerbread structure began in August and was erected in the hotel at the end of October. Using 250 pounds of powdered sugar and 60 pounds of egg whites just for the icing alone, this life-sized gingerbread house is impressive to all visitors and guests of the hotel and can be seen at the hotel through the end of the year. More than 1,000 hours of labor and a few thousand pounds of gingerbread went into making this year’s display. The theme of the gingerbread creation for this year is Skytop Lodge itself, with bakers replicating resort’s main building in edible form.
The Edgewater (1948) Madison, Wisconsin
The historic Edgewater’s gingerbread display features a 30 inch wide by 22 inch tall replica of the neighboring Wisconsin State Capitol situated just three blocks from Madison’s historic urban resort. Created solely by new Pastry Chef Paul Trecroci, who has been designing Gingerbread sculptures for 13 years, the 25 pound display consisted of 80 pieces of gingerbread and involved 30 hours of work. Two days of baking gingerbread pieces and making the windows and five days of assembling and decorating went into making this display the masterpiece it is. The gingerbread sculpture features sugar windows, royal icing, candy canes and assorted gummy bears Hersey’s chocolate bars, skittles, gum, M&M’s and licorice.
Hotel Captain Cook (1964) Anchorage, Alaska
The gingerbread village at this historic hotel is named Marina’s Village after Joe Hickel’s oldest daughter. Joe Hickel is one of the hotel’s owners and the pastry chef. The estimated weight of the village is over 1,000 pounds, utilizing 700 pounds of gingerbread. Measuring over 17 inches in height, the Christmas village has gingerbread houses named after longtime employees, and friends of the hotel. The gingerbread houses are started every July and completed in November. The village is assembled typically the third week of November and is completed the first of December.
“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, 11 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. “Each is a work of culinary artistry. We are pleased to recognize the many historic hoteliers, pastry chefs, carpenters, and other artisans that have created these wonderful gingerbread displays.”
For a complete listing of magnificent gingerbread displays, visit www.HistoricHotels.org/gingerbread.php.
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 HistoricHotels.org.