In many German, Swiss and Austrian towns, the Christmas season kicks off with the opening of the Christmas market in the town square, where stalls are set up selling seasonal food, drinks, and things and the atmosphere is exceptionally festive with singing and dancing.
Hilton Odawara aspires to bring the spirit of the German Christmas market right in its lobby. The result is one of the grandest Christmas displays I have ever seen: a life-size gingerbread house surrounded by a marshmallow pebble garden -- all technically edible -- fills the air with a delicious sweet-spicey scent. In the center is a huge moving Christmas town complete with trains and a ski lift. Surrounding this children's fantasy are small wooden booths selling Christmas items.
If you are tempted to break off a piece of the gingerbread house, indulge your sweet tooth at the Hilton's afternoon sweets buffet. Located up a hill between Hakone and Sagami bay and a short distance from Odawara Castle, the Hilton Odawara is a destination in itself, but in the Christmas season, it would be a shame to miss.
The nearest station is Nebukawa Station along the Tokaido Main Line. A free hotel shuttle is available from the station daily.