From designer Christmas trees, life-sized gingerbread houses, and a paragliding Santa Claus, these hotels are making us rethink spending the holidays at home.
1. The Peninsula New York
During December, very few angles of this landmark hotel are spared decoration: outside, its stately facade is decked out in wreaths and white Christmas lights, while on the inside, dozens of poinsettias line the marble staircase and Christmas trees abound. Up until Christmas Eve, the Peninsula will host carolers every Friday and Saturday, along with offering special holiday afternoon tea services and gingerbread decorating classes for children.
2. Berkeley Hotel London
Upon arrival, guests staying at The Berkeley for the holiday season will be greeted with mulled wine and fruit juice, while upstairs in their suite, a fully decorated Christmas tree awaits. Come Christmas Eve, carolers will carol around the hotel, and an open-air cinema will be set up on the rooftop for intimate showings of holiday classics with mince pies and hot chocolate on hand. Don't worry: heat lamps and blankets are provided, too.
3. Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris
Nestled amongst the designer shops on Avenue Montaigne, this chic hotel sets up individual Christmas trees in its guest rooms and suites for holiday travelers. Outdoors, an ice rink is open for the obvious (ice skating) as well as for the atypical—a dining experience on a wooden sled. For curious crafters, the hotel will also offer Christmas wreath-making classes, while children staying at the hotel receive a daily surprise from the holiday chest under the hotel’s Christmas tree.
4. Claridge’s London
This swanky London hotel doesn't skimp on anything—including their annual designer Christmas tree. Last year’s tree was done by Dolce & Gabbana, and this year, the hotel commissioned quintessentially British fashion house, Burberry. Under the direction of Burberry’s chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, 100 gold and silver mirrored umbrellas were stacked in the shape of a Christmas tree in the lobby. Nearly 80,000 reactive lights were also added, making it appear as if raindrops were gently cascading off the umbrellas.
5. La Quinta Resort, Palm Springs
Guests pulling up to the sprawling Waldorf Astoria resort in Palm Springs over the holidays will be greeted with a brilliantly-lit 48-foot white fir tree decorated with 20,000 lights and ornaments. On Fridays, freshly roasted chestnuts will be served in the lobby with showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” shortly after. Nightly menorah lightings will be conducted during Hanukkah and La Quinta’s personal shopping service offers complimentary gift wrapping and delivery to the guest casitas on Christmas Day.
6. JW Marriott Desert Ridge Phoenix
As the largest luxury resort in Arizona, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge had to go big for the holidays—and did it ever. 15 pastry chefs put in more than 400 hours of work to build a Wild West-themed Gingerbread Village, which features 400-pound chocolate train and a five-foot-tall water tower. In total, 2,000 pounds of gingerbread, 1,000 pounds of chocolate and 700 pounds of sugar and candy went into creating the 900-square foot confectionary wonderland.
Check out more hotels that pull out all the stop for the holidays.
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