Historic Hotels of America® offers travelers memorable ways to experience holiday traditions, many dating back decades, if not centuries. Gingerbread houses are a German creation, perhaps inspired by or popularized by the fairytale "Hansel and Gretel" in the early 1800s. Immigrants to the United States brought ginger and gingerbread traditions with them. As an art form for pastry chefs and a sweet treat for children, gingerbread decorating is a tradition to unite the generations, and gingerbread displays are the centerpieces of elegant lobbies at the world’s most prestigious hotels. Year after year, legendary hotels, resorts, and inns create magnificent gingerbread displays to delight and inspire guests. The 2023 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays are the result of thousands of hours of culinary, pastry, confectionary, engineering, and carpentry teams working for weeks, and even months, to design, create, mix, bake, build, and, of course, decorate. Collectively, the ingredients of these displays add up to thousands of pounds of sugar, eggs, and flour; hundreds of pounds of spices; more than 10,000 individual candies; and hundreds of gallons of molasses and honey. Feast your eyes and enjoy!


Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847): Point Clear, Alabama


Located on 550 acres on Mobile Bay in Point Clear, Alabama, the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa has been known as The Queen of Southern Resorts for over 175 years. In record-time this year—just 23 days—Chef Kimberly Lyons and her team built the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection’s annual gingerbread display in the historic Alabama resort’s lobby. An annual Grand Tradition since 2006, the display offers guests a sweet tour of the Historic Main Building (listed in the National Register of Historic Places) and the surrounding grounds of the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa through this larger-than-life gingerbread village. The gingerbread display is a replica of the resort’s Historic Main Building that was built in the 1940s, and Bucky’s Lounge, Bayside Grill, the activity lawn, and other features of the resort, which are made out of delectable icing, candy, and spice cake. Chef Kimberly and her team used 150 pounds of icing, 75 pounds of flour, 25 pounds of sugar, 14 pounds of shredded coconut, 1,000 gumdrops, and 30 different types of candies. The display measures 18 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 3 feet at its tallest point. Making the tradition a game each year, Chef Kimberly and her team hide nuggets of fun throughout the display to see if guests can find them.

Some of the hidden references this year include:

  • A Butterfly Tree, an homage to the Monarch Butterflies that migrate through the resort every October

  • Snowman Chefs, each representing a member of the resort’s culinary team

  • Michael Herzog, the resort’s General Manager

  • Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa’s friendly ghost, who loved the hotel so much that they never left

  • 3 Beach Bikes, a great way to get around the resort

  • A Wedding Cake, a nod to many joyful occasions held at the resort over the past year

  • Nitro, Chef Kimberly’s pet dog


First published by Historic Hotels of America. Read the full list here