Las Vegas’ Four Seasons creates ‘sugary wonderland’ — PHOTOS

Updated December 5, 2017 - 9:19 am

“Do not drop that house,” chef Courtney Williams exclaims to co-workers, her bright pink holiday socks protruding from under a wooden platform, where she’s adjusting holiday lights.

The “house” is actually a Dr. Seuss-style castle, adorned with oversized sugar snowflakes and holiday packages, that seems to sway in the breeze near the top of the platform.

With the lighting secured, Williams is pulled by those socks from under the platform. She and her cohorts begin coating the wooden slope with hundreds of gallons of royal icing. A few feet to their right stands a massive Christmas tree, behind them two carts of assorted sugar creations.

It’s a little before 7 p.m. on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and the display shows only hints of what it will become. By the next morning, as holiday guests begin arriving, the team will have transformed the spiral stairwell in the hotel lobby into a sugary winter wonderland that will remain on display through the New Year.

Set behind a white picket fence, a frosting mountainside sprawls down from the door of the castle. A village of bright white fondant cottages, roofs with shingles of crystalized sugar and adorned with chocolate window panes, nestled among a forest of brilliant Christmas trees, oversized white toadstools dotted in silver and gold, monstrous snow-white pumpkins and magical sugar orbs, all crafted of sugar. A curving roadway runs through the center of town, lined with white and silver striped lampposts that appear to bend to a fantastic winter wind. And the entire landscape is dotted with miniature villagers engaged in holiday tasks. There’s even a tiny reindeer that seems to have mistaken the fantasy land, quite clearly labeled as #VEGASSTRONG on its front gate, as someplace closer to the North Pole.

Four Seasons executive pastry chef Jean-Luc Daul has been crafting a sugary holiday scene at the hotel every year since it opened its doors in 1999, much to the delight of customers.

“We have had kids climbing the picket fence and playing with the houses and the snow. And one year I put a mailbox on it, and before I knew it I actually had letters to Santa in the mailbox.”

Over the years, the display has become more compact, more modern, and more striking.

“Back in the day,” the Frenchman recalls, “the gingerbread houses were traditional, like Hansel and Gretel. But this year we’ve completely moved away from it to make it a little more contemporary.”

His current ingredients of choice: fondant, sugar (rolled and poured), frosting and marzipan. (The only remnant of gingerbread is in some spices in the icing, which serve more as a symbolic nod to tradition than anything else.) The color scheme is almost all brilliant white, with bright flashes of silvers, a few dots of gold and the only slightest hints of the rest of the rainbow.

Daul and his team began work on this year’s display two weeks before their late-night installation. Over the course of several days they would take advantage of lulls in the workday to begin creating silicon molds, and using them to create the component pieces of the village out of liquid sugar, or the sugar substitute isomalt (which is less prone to yellowing and crystallization).

The following week was spent working on the wooden frames of the project, which is dismantled each January and kept safely in storage for next year.

“The goal,” Daul explains, “is if I can stop people and get them out of their reality for a minute, and put them in a different place for the holiday, then I think we have achieved what I want to do. Because when people come to Vegas this time of year, it’s not a Christmas destination per se. So we’re trying to give them a taste of that, whatever way we can.”

Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like