At Four Seasons Chicago, guests can have ice cream delivered to their guest room from an old-fashioned soda cart. // 2014 Four Seasons Chicago
At Four Seasons Chicago, guests can have ice cream delivered to their guest room from an old-fashioned soda cart. // 2014 Four Seasons Chicago
Some of my favorite hotels have ice cream parlors. Coincidence? Probably not. // (c) 2014 Sadies Ice Cream Shop, Grand Hotel
Some of my favorite hotels have ice cream parlors. Coincidence? Probably not. // (c) 2014 Sadies Ice Cream Shop, Grand Hotel

While there’s never a bad time to eat ice cream, for me the best way to enjoy this icy treat is while I’m chilling out on vacation somewhere far from the demands of home. Whether I’m sprawled on a beach, catching a cross-country train or disembarking at a distant cruise port, odds are I’m eyeing the nearest ice cream stand, calculating if I have enough time and local currency to grab a cone.

That’s why I’m especially thrilled to see a growing number of American hotels rolling out good old-fashioned ice cream parlors. Interestingly, many of America’s most historic properties are driving the ice cream parlor trend–maybe because customers are already feeling nostalgic, and a stop at a soda fountain is the perfect way to cap off their throw-back vacation.

In other cases hotels are serving up a staggering variety of chef-blended ice cream flavors, which are only limited by the imagination of the culinary crew and the guests themselves.

Also exciting to watch is how many hotels are partnering with local, independent ice cream companies, providing visitors with a tasty new way to explore the flavors and history of the communities they visit.

Hotels with Ice Cream Parlors


BLVD Creamery

When in Las Vegas the plan of attack should always be “go big or go home” and that even applies to the ice cream. BLVD Creamery, which opened in the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino last year, has an imaginative line up of monthly flavors, all crafted by the resort’s own pastry chefs.

Ice cream, Las Vegas style, at BLVD Creamery, where alcoholic ice cream flavors come served in flights. // © Monte Carlo Resort & Casino / Al Powers, PowersImagery.com
Ice cream, Las Vegas style, at BLVD Creamery, where alcoholic ice cream flavors come served in flights. // © Monte Carlo Resort & Casino / Al Powers, PowersImagery.com

Because it’s Vegas, it’s hardly surprising that some flavors sport an adults-only, alcohol-infused twist. The spiked treats have a minimum spooning age and do require a valid driver’s license for consumption; and past flavors have included Suds Sorbet, made with Shock Top beer; Horchata Mama, spiked with rum; Black Cab, a blackberries and Cabernet wine blend; and Tipsy Bubbles, an effervescent Prosecco-based ice cream that pops in your mouth.

The boozy selections are available by the scoop, but why not do it Las Vegas-style and order yourself an ice cream flight? Prefer something more traditional? Try a scoop of the coffee ice cream made with espresso from neighboring coffee lounge Sambalatte.

BLVD Creamery
Monte Carlo Resort & Casino
Las Vegas, Nev.
www.montecarlo.com

Bright Angel Fountain

If it’s true that good things come to those who work for them, the best-tasting ice cream in the world has to be the one served at Bright Angel Lodge, located by the Bright Angel Trail Head, just steps from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

From the archives: A group of visitors prove that ice cream really does taste better when overlooking the Grand Canyon (From the wall of the Bright Angel Lodge patio.) // (c) 1972 Quinn / NPS / Flickr.com
From the archives: A group of visitors prove that ice cream really does taste better when overlooking the Grand Canyon (From the wall of the Bright Angel Lodge patio.) // (c) 1972 Quinn / NPS / Flickr.com .

The Bright Angel Fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream Soda Fountain built in 1955, retains its yesteryear charm, while serving up tasty desserts. The ice cream here is sourced from Dreyer’s Ice Cream and the cones are brought over from Joy Cones in nearby Flagstaff. So exactly how popular is a post-hike ice cream? The Fountain, which is only open seasonally, serves more than 165,000 scoops every year.

Bright Angel Fountain
Bright Angel Lodge
Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.
www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace

In Orlando, ice cream and music collide in delicious fashion at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando. The hotel is home to an Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace, a famed Boston purveyor of ice cream, and a perfect pairing for Hard Rock because of its strong ties to the music industry.

E&B was founded in Boston by Bob Rook, a music lawyer who started it as a place where musicians could hang out after their gigs while also satisfying their munchies. E&B serves up ice cream using only the finest, freshest ingredients. At the Hard Rock, guests will be left humming when they order such flavors as Bye Bye Miss American Mud Pie, Deep Purple Cow and Jumping Jack Grasshopper Pie.

Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Orlando, Fla.
www.hardrockhotelorlando.com

Ice Pan

At Ice Pan, located in Harrah’s Las Vegas, handmade actually means made right before your very eyes. Ice Pan is the first ice cream to use an innovative frozen pan technology. Customers choose from one of eight ice cream flavors and select a type of milk (whole, non-fat, low-fat, soy.) Orders are prepared on-the-spot in metal pans that have been chilled to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so guests can watch their dessert transform itself from a liquid into a creamy treat.

Ice Pan
Harrah’s Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nev.
www.harrahslasvegas.com

Moo Time Creamery

San Diego’s charming seaside community, Coronado is home to one of Southern California’s most-famous hotels, the Hotel Del Coronado. Built in 1888, the hotel is easily recognizable to classic movie fans as the setting of the 1958 Billy Wilder film, “Some Like it Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe. With all its grandeur and history, it should come as no surprise that the hotel features an old-fashioned ice cream shop.

Moo Time Creamery, a favorite San Diego treat since 1998, opened its Hotel Del Coronado location in 2001, supplementing the hotel’s offerings with a nostalgic 1950s ice cream parlor setting. Serving ice cream, sherbet and yogurt, Moo Time handcrafts all its own ice cream in an off-site facility, and the ice cream parlor staff rolls out their handmade waffle cones, on-site, daily.

Moo Time Creamery
Hotel Del Coronado
Coronado, Calif.
www.hoteldel.com

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

The Grand Hotel, located along the shores of Lake Huron on Michigan’s famed Mackinac Island, has been a favorite getaway since the late 1800s. Although the hotel has been welcoming guests since 1887, it only opened its ice cream shop, Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor in 2013.

The Grand Sundae at Sadies Ice Cream Shop features 8 delicious scoops of ice cream, served in a bone-shaped bowl. // (c) 2014 Grand Hotel
The Grand Sundae at Sadies Ice Cream Shop features 8 delicious scoops of ice cream, served in a bone-shaped bowl. // (c) 2014 Grand Hotel

Don’t let its young age fool you. Sadie’s serves up an old-fashioned ice cream experience, with an on-site ambience that draws heavily from local influences. The furniture is custom-made by Michigan-based Kindel Furniture.

What about the ice cream, you ask. That’s local as well. The shop serves 24 flavors of Michigan’s Hudsonville Ice Cream, AKA the official ice cream of the Detroit Tigers. Hudsonville, which has been making ice cream in Holland, Mich., for 80 years, introduced a seasonal flavor, the Grand Hotel Pecan Ball, inspired by Grand Hotel’s other famous dessert.

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor
Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island, Mich.
www.grandhotel.com

Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor

What’s the only thing better than ice cream? How about ice cream served beachside? Florida’s legendary Pink Palace, the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, is home to Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor. The hotel and the ice cream shop are located adjacent to 7 miles of some of Florida’s finest beachfront property, making them the perfect combo for a summer getaway. The old-fashioned ice cream shop is a favorite hangout for visitors and locals alike, with a menu that includes sundaes, shakes and banana splits, all made with local, small-batch ice cream from Working Cow Ice Cream.

Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor
Loews Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach, Fla.
www.loewshotels.com

Pop Up Ice Cream Shops


What happens when a hotel doesn’t have the square footage to launch a new ice cream parlor? Seasonal pop up ice cream stands make a coast-to-coast appearance this summer.

Four Seasons Boston

When Four Seasons Boston introduced its pop up ice cream shop Scoops a few years ago, the concept became an immediate hit. This year Scoops returns for a third summer, morphing the hotel lobby into an ice cream social every weekend.

The shop serves Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream, which is made in Maine and uses high-quality New England ingredients. In particular, Scoops is serving Gifford’s new Outdoor Adventure Series, featuring ice cream flavors inspired by the great outdoors such as Campfire S’mores, Muddy Boots and Mt. Katahdin Crunch. Need an extra-sweet incentive to visit Scoops? The stand is also serving warm, homemade cookies handmade by the hotel’s pasty team.

Four Seasons Boston
Boston, Mass.
www.fourseasons.com/boston

Shore Hotel

Santa Monica’s eco-chic Shore Hotel, located along the city’s hopping Ocean Ave., is also helping guests cool down with a series of summer pop up events, all starring local ice cream purveyors.

Beach meet ice cream. Santa Monica's Shore Hotel does weekly pop up events throughout the summer, featuring local ice cream purveyors. // (c) 2014 Shore Hotel
Beach meet ice cream. Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel does weekly pop up events throughout the summer, featuring local ice cream purveyors. // (c) 2014 Shore Hotel

Last year Ice cream fanatics enjoyed liquid nitrogen ice cream from Ice Cream Lab, juicy popsicles from Paleta and Pure Pops and bicycle-churned ice cream from Peddler’s Creamery. Of course, no self-respecting pop up event in LA would be complete without a food truck appearance, and a few ice cream trucks are schedule to make an appearance. Ice cream events occur on select weekends through the end of August, but Shore Hotel also does other pop up events throughout the year, including Valentine’s Day.

Shore Hotel
Santa Monica, Calif.
www.shorehotel.com

More Great Ice Cream


Four Seasons Hotels

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that ice cream has been elevated to an art form throughout the entire Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts brand.

Four Seasons chefs around the world are whipping up innovative treats such as the Sweet Iced Guacamole and Tomato Cilantro Marmalade at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, the Bacon Cookie & Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village in Los Angeles, and the Lemon Grass Iced Tea with Lemon Grass Sorbet at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita.

Even the Four Seasons Food Truck, which rolled through West Coast and East Coast tours last year, served up Butter Pecan and Peach Ice Cream Sandwiches.

At the Four Seasons Chicago, guests can even have ice cream delivered to their guest room. The on-site Ice Cream Man drops off made-to-order sundaes served from an old-fashioned soda cart complete with plenty of colorful toppings.

At  Four Seasons Chicago, guests can have ice cream delivered to their guest room from an old-fashioned soda cart. // 2014 Four Seasons Chicago
At Four Seasons Chicago, guests can have ice cream delivered to their guest room from an old-fashioned soda cart. // 2014 Four Seasons Chicago

Even if you’re not traveling this summer, you can still replicate the Four Seasons ice cream experience at home. From the Carmel Popcorn Sundae at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston to the Espresso Teppanyaki Ice Cream at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, Four Seasons chefs have shared the recipes for some of their top ice cream creations at the Taste by Four Seasons website.

Four Seasons Hotels
Worldwide
www.fourseasons.com

Hotel Bethlehem

Although the award-winning Hotel Bethlehem doesn’t have it’s own ice cream shop, it still serves up a pretty mean scoop of locally produced ice cream, especially after it recently announced a partnership with Berkey Creamery. Berkey, located on the Penn State campus, just happens to be the largest university creamery in the nation. At the hotel, the ice cream is available in sugar cones, waffle cones or waffle bowls. Guests can enjoy the tasty treat in the hotel’s fine dining establishment, 1741 on the Terrace, or in the more casual Tap Room, or they can place an order to go at the hostess stand.

Hotel Bethlehem
Penn State Creamery Ice Cream
Bethlehem, Penn
www.hotelbethlehem.com

Menger Hotel

In San Antonio, the hotel closest to the Alamo is the three-story Menger Hotel, which as has been serving guests for more than 150 years. Soon after it opened in 1858, next door to the abandoned site of Texas’s first brewery, the elaborately designed hotel became a favorite place for Texas titans to hang out. Incidentally, this is also where Teddy Roosevelt recruited his famous Rough Riders cavalry brigade.

Of the hotel’s many cherished traditions, the most enduring might be its mango ice cream, once made fresh from the mangos growing in the courtyard garden, and still served in the hotel’s Colonial Room. This famed ice cream is so popular, it was even the designated ice cream served at President Bill Clinton’s two presidential inaugurations.

Menger Hotel
San Antonio, Texas
www.mengerhotel.com

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Monica Poling, the editor of Travel Glitter, is a Starbucks-addicted, video-game obsessed travel writer with a weakness for hotel rooms with a view, luxury spas, and sometimes Hello Kitty. Her dream trips include ice fishing in Ohio's Put-In Bay, driving Highway 50, the "Loneliest Road," across Nevada and sailing around the horn of South America.