Delightful. Magical. Picture-perfect. Those are just a few of the words that sprung to mind when I saw photos of the Countdown to Christmas Holiday Suites, a first-time collaboration between the Hallmark Channel and timeshare resort Club Wyndham. Led by the Hallmark Channel’s head of design, three suites at Wyndham properties across the U.S. received 360º Christmas makeovers just in time for the 2021 holiday season, complete with floor-to-ceiling backdrops of wintery scenes, in-room kitchens spilling over with seasonal treats, elaborately decorated Christmas trees and general holiday-decoration overload.
While each room puts that famous Hallmark movie twinkle front and center, they all feature their own local flavor of holiday cheer: In Avon, Colorado, guests are treated to a “Snowy Mountain Christmas” complete with light projections of falling snow; in Nashville, the rustic “Country Christmas” cottage features a country music bent; in New York City, the “Classic Hallmark Christmas” room embraces traditional holiday charm with views of the Chrysler Building.
Available November 12 through January 1, and starting at $295 a night, the suites quickly booked up after shortly after they were released to the public on November 1 — but I was lucky enough to be invited by the hotel to spend the night in the “Classic Hallmark Christmas” suite at the Club Wyndham Midtown 45 in New York City.
TAKE NOTE: The CDC recommends all eligible people get fully vaccinated before traveling. Before making vacation plans with children who cannot get vaccinated at this time, read the CDC’s latest travel recommendations for safer travel.
As I exited the elevator on the 32nd floor of the hotel, there was no mistaking which room was mine — a Hallmark Channel welcome mat and a giant wreath festooned with mini Christmas gifts led the way. Inside the door, I’m greeted by wondrous sight: A corner suite that has been transformed into a holly, jolly wonderland with windows covered in paper snowflakes, walls draped in twinkle-lit garlands and windowsills filled with glowing Christmas villages. I feel like I’ve walked onto the set of a Hallmark film, and it’s hard to know where to look first, since every corner of the space is packed with detail.
To my left is a fully equipped kitchen dressed up to look like a gingerbread house, where I find a Christmas cookie-making station, a Hallmark-themed bowl filled with popcorn packets and a gingerbread house-making kit. On the dining table, there’s a hot cocoa bar overflowing with marshmallows, candy canes, chocolates and more cookies. By the entryway, there’s a giant “Letters to Santa” mailbox with all the stationery I need to make my Christmas wish list. Surrounding the trimmed tree (which is prepped for a DIY tree lighting ceremony!) there’s a working train, as well as a Christmas song karaoke machine. It’s all a bit cheesy to be sure, but it’s hard not to smile — everything just looks and feels so festive.
I wander into the bedroom, where I find more Christmas decorations, a full Santa suit hanging in the closet (!) and a Christmas scent machine that allows me to choose whether I want the space to smell like evergreens, gingerbread, sugar cookies or peppermint.
Back out in the living room, I sink into the cozy couch decked out with holiday blankets and pillows, and flip the TV to the Hallmark Channel, of course. A few of my coworkers swing by to check out the space, and as I begin to pour them glasses of Hallmark-branded wine, they notice there are DIY ornament crafting kits under the coffee table as well as gifts scattered around the suite that say “open me.” As we start to unwrap the presents and the elaborate gift basket sitting on the dining room table, it starts to feel just like Christmas morning. We divvy up the swag so everyone gets something: Monopoly’s Hallmark Channel Holiday Edition board game, Hallmark Christmas movie-inspired books, Hallmark Christmas movie DVDs, Hallmark-themed tea from The Republic of Tea, a Polaroid camera, Christmas ornaments.
The joy is palpable as everyone sips cocoa and wine, decorating Christmas cookies and crafting ornaments. We end the evening by putting on a DVD of Hallmark’s Christmas Town, which features our co-worker, Amanda. No disrespect to Candace Cameron Bure, but we decide to fast-forward to the end to watch Amanda’s big moment as an extra in the town tree-lighting scene.
At the end of the night, after everyone leaves, I slip into my fuzzy Hallmark-branded socks and a bathrobe, pour myself another glass of wine, snuggle into bed and press play on Christmas in Evergreen. The next morning when I wake up, I sit quietly in bed, watching the sun rise over the Manhattan skyline and the East River. I desperately don’t want to leave my Hallmark movie fantasyland. I close my eyes so I can dream of sugarplums just a little bit longer.
The author was a welcomed guest at Club Wyndham Midtown 45’s holiday suite.
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