Whether you’re heading to colder climes or staying closer to home, choosing the right hotel will get you well into the magical Christmas spirit. Here’s a festive hotel to stay in in destinations around the world, perfect for the Christmas season.
It may sound like an obvious choice, but if money is no object then The Plaza is one of the most festive hotels in one of the most Christmassy locations – New York City.
Located at Central Park South, you’re in the heart of Fifth Avenue’s shopping district, which gets all dressed up for Christmas. Only a stone’s throw away are two iconic ice rinks – the one just down the road at the Rockefeller Center, which has a great atmosphere with its stunning Christmas tree and bright lights, and my preference, the larger Wollman Rink in Central Park.
The Philippines, with its large Roman Catholic population takes Christmas seriously with a celebration that starts months in advance of the rest of the world and lasts until the Epiphany on 6 January.
The hotel is the place to get traditional with a twist – this year the special theme is ‘A timeless Christmas’, inspired by the literary imagination of French novelist Jules Verne, who is famous for such classics as Around the World in 80 Days. The hotel will feature hot air balloons to symbolise hope afloat, gold keys to unlock dreams, and clocks to represent the timelessness of the season.
Christmas is a national holiday in South Korea and given its climate, it can really lay on a traditional atmosphere. Whether there is snow or not, staying at a hotel that boasts its own ice rink can really enhance that magical feel.
Grand Hyatt Seoul is offering a special ‘winter on ice’ package, consisting of accommodation, ice rink and skate hire, and festive food at the hotel’s restaurants. This year will feature skating shows, live Christmas music and a special Christmas cake and hampers.
The Dutch celebrate Christmas earlier in December than many countries, so by the 24th and 25th things may be winding down, but this can work in the tourist’s favour because many businesses are still open.
One of the Netherlands’ grandest hotels, the Grand Hotel Amrâth, is housed in beautiful old Shipping House (the Scheepvaarthuis) – a stunning corner building in traditional Dutch style. Located right on the canal, you can sit and take in the Christmas lights from your hotel or rug up for a canal boat tour to take in the wintry city from the water.
A traditional hotel with its grand Victorian facade, the Hotel Windsor celebrated its 130th birthday in 2013 and is actually older that The Savoy in London, New York’s Waldorf Astoria and the Ritz in Paris. With the lobby and the hotel decorated in Christmas style, you could easily forget you’re in Australia, so this is not the place to be if you’re expecting a ‘beach Christmas’.
The hotel is located in the city and the Grand Christmas Festival ensures that Melbourne is feeling the festive spirit with the Melbourne Town Hall gift wrapped and a giant living Christmas tree in City Square. At the hotel, the six-course Christmas lunch combines traditional turkey and Christmas pudding with a hint of ‘mod Oz’ fare, which is evident in the Western Australian crayfish starter.
Hong Kong really celebrates Christmas – it’s busy, bright and bustling, which sounds like Hong Kong anytime but it’s even more so, with a two-day public holiday complete with Christmas displays and trees.
The Peninsula Hotel is world famous and does Christmas in style, too. Dine at the iconic hotel while listening to carols. The festive afternoon tea on the days leading up to Christmas will be accompanied by yuletide music from different musical groups, such as the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir. A 10-piece big band will also perform live in the lobby each evening from Christmas Eve until New Year.
Christmassy activities include gingerbread house-making and a Christmas night market at the front of the hotel, modelled on European markets, complete with twinkling lights and gluhwein.
Finally restored to its former glory, this magnificent building next door to St Pancras International train station exudes Christmas atmosphere. Built in 1873, it features Gothic-style architecture and lay empty for decades – used only as a creepy backdrop for movies, such as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Batman Begins.
Now it’s a luxury Marriott hotel and makes a good stop-off to experience the magic of Christmastime London.
Dining at The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant is a Christmas experience in itself. The traditional British fare, such as Norfolk Bronze turkey with cranberry sage stuffing, accompanied by mulled wine, really gets you into the Christmas spirit.