Christmas at the Gaylord Texan

Since our anniversary comes right before Christmas (December 23rd), we rarely get a chance to celebrate it with just the two of us. Usually we’re too busy with family events, and when Kniki comes home for the holidays, we certainly don’t want to leave her on one of the very few days that we get to see her. This year, of course, she’s off in Afghanistan. Kris was busy working on a paper, and we decided to forego hosting a big party for the extended family (something we’ve done for the past five years and just decided it was time for a break). So we actually found ourselves with some extra time.

Consequently, Tom made reservations for us to stay in the Deluxe Suite at the Gaylord Texan last Saturday and Sunday, and it was a weekend to remember. The suite was huge – over 900 square feet.

The bedroom of the Deluxe Suite is enormous. Those windows look out onto the atrium

The package deal included the suite, complimentary champagne and fresh flowers in the room, take-home robes, breakfast in the room each morning, dinner at their upscale restaurant, the Old Hickory, valet parking, and use of the fitness center and spa.

The hotel is impressive anyway, much like a Las Vegas theme hotel. The way it was decorated for Christmas was just amazing. The balcony in our room looks down on the huge atrium, shown below.

The atrium features a 40 foot Christmas tree, model trains that run throughout, a replica of the Alamo, a huge oil derrick, trees and rivers and much more

At night, the whole thing takes on an even more magical feeling.

Thousands of lights give the place a magical glow at night

The Alamo, remembered

The replica of the Alamo is inspiring both at night and during the day.

Even an oil derrick can look special all lit up

On Saturday night, we first had a drink and appetizer at the Texan Station, a sports bar with a gigantic 52 foot screen and surprisingly good food.

Texan Station

Later, we went to the murder mystery dinner play at the Riverwalk Cafe. It was entertaining, although in my opinion not as well put together as those put on by Tim Shane’s group back when the old Texas Queen was operating on Lake Ray Hubbard. However, the food was better: a huge buffet with something for just about everyone. They had Mexican food, seafood, pasta, roast beef and turkey carving station, soups and salads and a massive array of desserts.

The Riverwalk Cafe

The next morning, we went walking and encountered Hank, a life-like Texas longhorn who provided a popular picture-taking spot.


Finding your way around inside the big self contained dome can be a challenge, but there were plenty of signs to lead the way.

Pointing the way

Everywhere there are fountains, waterfalls, man-made rivers and other water features.


Water features galore

The riverwalk in the daytime

Saturday afternoon, we attended the ICE! exhibit. Sculptors from China are flown in to carve approximately 2 million pounds of ice into cool (in more ways than one) creations.


On Sunday evening, we had dinner at the Old Hickory. I had lump crab cakes and seared scallops in a great lobster sauce. Tom had lobster bisque and a ribeye that looked like it was about a foot thick. We shared a cheese platter and tasty garlic truffle fries. There was no room for dessert.

Wine bottle Christmas tree and piano man at the Old Hickory

On Monday (Christmas Eve) we had late checkout (1 p.m.) that was included with the package. We made it back home just in time for a casual dinner and gift opening with Kris, then a movie and relaxing evening.

Taking leave: the grand lobby and beautiful star tile pattern at the front door

All in all, it was a great weekend and the Gaylord is highly recommended for a Christmas (or any time of the year) getaway.

About debshinder

Technology analyst and author, specializing in enterprise security. Author of or contributor to over 25 books, including "Scene of the Cybercrime." Fourteen-year Microsoft MVP, married to Microsoft FTE Tom Shinder, and proud mom of two wonderful grown-up human children and three amazing Japanese Chin pups. In my spare time, I love to travel - especially on cruise ships - and write about my grand adventures.
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