Last Minute Getaways with Holiday Spirit!

Written by: Elisa Drake

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time for a change of scenery. But you don’t have to go very far to feel a world away.

Worth the Drive

At the Grand Geneva in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, less than two hours from the city, decking the halls means months of planning to create the annual, spectacular “Christmas in the Country” celebration—and it’s a total charm-fest. Trees and tinsel galore fill every floor of the Playboy Club-turned-resort and spa, while a display of animated lights lines the drive in. Bring your bundle-up gear for skiing and snowboarding on the resort’s 18 downhill slopes; ice skating; snowshoeing; and sledding. Through Dec. 23, you can take advantage of The Christmas in the Country Holiday Package that includes an overnight stay in a deluxe guestroom; two tickets for the “Hooray for Holidays!” musical; lunch or dinner before the show; a trolley tour through the resort; and admission to the Festival of Trees display and the Quilts of Christmas display. Rates start at $199. Or, starting at $262 per night, stay at the adjacent Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark with a package that includes four waterpark passes. If you can squeeze it in, the Well Spa is well worth it. Grand Geneva: (262) 248-8811, Timber Ridge: (866) 636-4502,

Stay Close

Make your shopping trip a mini vaca with the beautiful Elysian Hotel’s Miracle on Walton Package through Dec. 30. The $465/night deal gets you in-room custom hot chocolate, in-room holiday-themed movies; and breakfast for two. And if you’re thinking the price is steep, remember, this classy stay was recently rated the No. 1 hotel by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards. Just 10 guestrooms on each hotel floor insure intimacy and a welcoming sense that you’re definitely VIP. Spacious rooms feature mirrors that double as TVs, fireplaces, and 460-thread count Italian linens. And when you do hit the stores, leave your car and opt for a ride in a luxury Lexus.

The new JW Marriott’s Holiday Shopping Package makes shopping sweeter with its $100 Macy’s Gift Card, which you can also spend on lunch at the Walnut Room. The JW is a quick walk to Christkindlmarket, Millennium Park ice skating, and all of the State Street shopping. Packages range from $254 to $604 and are available through Jan. 31.

Just for a Day

Schaumburg. Yes, that’s right. Get over the fact that it’s Schaumburg and get out there for some major mall shopping. Check out to find out who’s offering what sales. And if you need to put down the packages for some kid fun, make tracks to the Legoland Discovery Center for its Holly Jolly Holidays activities, including photos with a life-sized Lego Santa and snowman; Lego-tree trimming; the chance to help build and decorate a 10-foot Lego holiday tree; and make-your-own Lego ornaments (for a fee). On New Year’s Eve, they’re hosting a kid-friendly countdown. Family-friendly dinner deal: At the Rainforest Café, kids’ meals are $2.99 on Wednesdays after 5 pm.

Happy Holidays!!!

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 8:08 AM