15 hotels that go all-out for Christmas
Twinkling lights, glitter and gourmet menus galore — without a single dish to wash or tree to trim.
Spending Christmas at a hotel does hold a certain travel allure.
Whether you stay for a week or drop in for tea, these 15 properties go to great lengths to offer something special for the holiday:
1. The Lygon Arms: Broadway, England
Drinks and good cheer will be abundant this Christmas season at The Lygon Arms in the heart of the Cotswolds.
The charming, predominantly Tudor coaching inn is hosting a three-night Christmas house party from December 24 to 27. Cocktails and canapés, traditional afternoon tea, cream tea and a four-course Christmas lunch are among the scheduled refreshments.
The property dates back to the 1300s and saw guests including Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I during the English Civil War in the mid-1600s. In 1963, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed at the inn at the height of the scandal over their affair, and a whole host of other glamorous guests have laid their heads here.
The cost for the three-night Christmas house party, based on double occupancy of a Cosy Room, is about $3,300. The bonus? Guests for the three-night party receive a fourth night free.
There’s also a one-night stay option during Christmas week.
The Lygon Arms, Cotswolds, High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire; +44 (0)1386 852 255
2. Montage Laguna Beach: Laguna Beach, California
Montage Laguna Beach offers Christmas festivities against a stunning Pacific Ocean backdrop.
A 35-foot tree decked out on the Pacific Lawn sets the tone for a luxurious California Christmas. Gingerbread decorating workshops and holiday afternoon tea will also get guests into the spirit of the season.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, multicourse holiday menus will be available at The Loft and Studio, and a lavish brunch buffet will be offered in the grand ballroom.
Rates start at $745 during Christmas week.
Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA; +1 866 271 6953
3. Hotel Sacher: Vienna, Austria
There are few holiday destinations more charming than Austria. Christmas markets, classical concerts and — with any luck — a blanket of snow; it just doesn’t get much more festive.
At Vienna’s Hotel Sacher — home of the famous torte — five-course Christmas Eve menus will be served in its Grüne Bar and Rote Bar restaurants ($390 per person, including wine pairings). From midday on Christmas Day, three-, four- and five-course menus will be offered starting at $155 per person.
For a taste of Vienna at home, the hotel ships its signature chocolate tortes, layered with an apricot jam filling, globally. Rates for Christmas week start at about $760 for a deluxe room.
Hotel Sacher Vienna, Philharmonikerstraße 4, A-1010 Vienna; +43 1 514 560
4. Mohonk Mountain House: New Paltz, New York
Mohonk Mountain House in New York’s Hudson Valley has a full lineup of fun, family-friendly activities scheduled in December.
The 1869 Victorian castle resort is hosting the Hudson Valley Gingerbread Competition on December 8, and its second annual Ugly Sweater Weekend will be held the weekend of December 13.
Reindeer tracking, ice skating, yule log scavenger hunts and gingerbread house and cookie decorating are also part of the festivities.
Rates between December 20 and December 31 begin at $765 per night, based on double occupancy.
Mohonk Mountain House, 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY; +1 844 207 8372
5. The Ritz: London
The Ritz London is putting on exactly what you’d expect from the elegant property.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners will be held in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant, with a live band and professional dancers (about $400 per adult, $185 per child).
The restaurant, with its ceiling frescoes, marble columns and elaborate garland chandelier, was featured on beloved TV drama “Downton Abbey.”
Traditional Christmas afternoon tea, with Champagne for adults, is available in the Palm Court during the holiday season (about $100 for adults, $60 for children).
December room rates start from about $800 for a Superior King. Reserving early is essential as many of the hotel’s holiday festivities book months in advance.
The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London; +44 (0) 20 7300 2222
6. Four Seasons Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist nation, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think “traditional Christmas vacation.” But many of the country’s luxury resorts put on beautiful holiday-themed celebrations.
At the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, guests can experience northern Thailand’s famed culture and cuisine — but with plenty of Christmas trimmings.
Nestled in the mountains of Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district, the resort is famous for its natural setting, with many of its guestrooms overlooking luscious green rice fields.
This scene is amplified with a splash of Christmas spirit from December 13, with a beautiful open-air Chiristmas tree lighting ceremony at Lansai Village, complete with carol singing, cocktails and Christmas treats whipped up at cooking stations.
On Christmas Eve, the Cocktail Lawn hosts an extravagant open-air holiday buffet featuring cuisine from around the world. And there will be plenty of entertainment for the kids, too. The buffet costs about $105 per adult and $53 per child.
The resort’s Rim Thai Kitchen hosts its annual Christmas Day brunch ($92 for adults, $46 for kids), which includes classic holiday dishes as well as international favorites. Entertainment includes live jazz and a visit from the big man himself — Santa.
Room rates start at $1,800 for Christmas week, including breakfast for two.
Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand; +66 (0)53 298 181
7. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Scottsdale, Arizona
An animated holiday light show, Mrs. Claus’ Corner gift shop, tasty S’mores Land, an ice-skating rink, trains and more than 4.5 million lights: It’s safe to say that the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess doesn’t believe in holding back for Christmas.
The resort’s Christmas at the Princess festival is open to the public. Free for hotel guests, the entrance/parking fee for up to six non-guests is $55 for self-parking and includes many of the holiday attractions and events.
A “Sip, Savor & Celebrate” holiday package, starting from $259 per room, includes accommodation, a $75 daily resort credit and express access to some of the holiday attractions.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, AZ; +1 480 585 4848
8. Triple Creek Ranch: Darby, Montana
Rustic luxury is offered year-round at Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana. Add twinkling lights, homespun holiday decor and a blanket of snow for a cozy, low-key Christmas.
Christmas trees — live or artificial — are available upon request in every fire-lit cabin. Guests can decorate trees themselves or have them trimmed and ready upon arrival.
Stockings turn up in every cabin on Christmas Eve filled with fruits, nuts and sweets.
Winter activities include horseback riding, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat-tire snow biking, dog sledding and snowmobiling.
Year-round rates start at $1,050 per couple, per night, all-inclusive. Triple Creek Ranch welcomes guests 16 and older.
Triple Creek Ranch, 5551 West Fork Road, Darby, Montana; +1 800 654 2943
9. Claridge’s: London
Lucky guests who snapped up rooms early will be treated to horse-drawn carriage rides and carol singing over Christmas at Claridge’s in London.
The Christmas packages are sold out, but the hotel will still be a hot destination during the holiday season. Rates from December 1 to 20 start around $735 a night.
Festive afternoon tea will be offered from November 12 through January 1 starting around $115 per person on weekdays.
Claridge’s enlists celebrated designers each year to create a signature, eye-catching lobby Christmas tree.
Christian Louboutin will design the hotel’s 2019 tree, which is set to be unveiled on November 21. Last year, Diane von Furstenberg created a shimmering “Tree of Love” adorned with more than 8,000 hand-painted, silver-leafed leaves.
Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair , London; +44 (0)20 7629 8860
10. Four Seasons Hotel George V: Paris
Spectacular dining is at the heart of holiday offerings at Paris’ Four Seasons Hotel George V. The hotel is home to three Michelin-starred restaurants that will all offer special Christmas menus.
At Le Cinq, the hotel’s three Michelin-starred restaurant, a multicourse Christmas Eve dinner featuring hazelnut-crusted langoustine and roast Bresse chicken with fermented black truffle is available for about $650, excluding beverages.
Dazzling decorations by hotel artistic director Jeff Leatham will appear in mid-November.
Room rates for a six-night stay, beginning December 23, start around $1,170 per night for a Superior room.
For a true splurge, the newly renovated Parisian Suite goes for nearly $13,400 a night.
Four Seasons Hotel George V, 31 Avenue George V, Paris; +33 (1) 49 52 70 00
11. The Cloister at Sea Island: Sea Island, Georgia
Elf tuck-ins, ornament-decorating and gingerbread-house construction are among Sea Island’s many family-friendly activities during the holiday period from December 21 to 26.
These offerings are available for a fee, but there are also a range of complimentary events from caroling to a family fun run.
Christmas Day brunch will be served at The Cloister and The Lodge ($85 for adults, $30 for kids).
Rates start at $599 per night during Christmas week for a Garden Wing room in The Cloister’s main building.
The Cloister at Sea Island, 100 Cloister Drive, Sea Island, GA; +1 855 572 4975
12. Willard InterContinental: Washington
In the United States’ capital, the elegant Willard InterContinental will host free performances by local choral and vocal ensembles in the lobby from 5:30-7:30 nightly from December 1 through December 23.
Roland Mesnier, a former executive pastry chef at the White House, will join veteran Willard bartender Jim Hewes on December 19 for History Happy Hour — the holiday version. Tickets are $56.
Mesnier will share tales from his 26-year tenure serving five American presidents, and Hewes will provide instruction on making cocktails inspired by some of Mesnier’s renowned desserts.
Afternoon tea — with finger sandwiches and pastries — is served almost daily in December ($75 for adults) in the hotel’s Peacock Alley.
Room rates start at $199 per night for Christmas week.
Willard InterContinental, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC; +1 800 424 6835
13. The Plaza: New York
Tea time and Christmastime coincide at The Plaza’s elegant Palm Court, where three holiday tea menus will be available from November 23 through January 6.
The New Yorker Holiday Tea ($95) features an array of sweets and savories, including eggnog tart with cranberry preserve and deviled egg salad sandwiches, while the Champagne Tea ($125) adds some effervescence to the occasion.
The hotel’s most famous fictional resident, children’s book character Eloise, lends her name to the Eloise Holiday Tea, available for $79 per child 12 and younger.
On Christmas Day, a grand buffet ($245 for adults, $89 for children 12 and younger) will be served in the Palm Court.
Room rates start at $895 for Christmas week.
The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York; +1 888 850 0909
14. The Breakers: Palm Beach, Florida
Founded by Standard Oil Co. magnate Henry Morrison Flagler, The Breakers Palm Beach carries its lavish traditions right through the holiday season.
The oceanfront Italian Renaissance-style resort dazzles with sparkling lights, and holiday tea is available at HMF on select days in late December for $75 per person.
There’s a Christmas dinner buffet in the Ponce de Leon ballroom ($195 per person; $75 for children 12 and younger).
This year, the resort’s elegant holiday decorations will be inspired by the vibrant colors in the new hand-tufted lobby carpet, the centerpiece of a recent makeover.
Rooms have already been snapped up for Christmas week, but there’s availability leading up to the holiday from December 1-20, with rates starting at $475, based on availability.
The Breakers, One South County Road, Palm Beach, FL; +1 877 724 3188
15. The Roosevelt: New Orleans, Louisiana
The Roosevelt New Orleans’ annual Teddy Bear Tea, complete with Santa and his elves, will be served on December 1, Saturdays and Sundays the following two weekends and December 19-24. The tea is $55 for children ages 3-10 and $75 for ages 11 and above. Sparkling wine and mimosas are included in the price for adults.
The hotel’s elegant lobby features glittering Christmas trees and lighted birch branches decked out with 135,572 lights and 2,200 glass ornaments.
On Christmas Day, brunch — complete with seafood bar, omelet station, carving station and more — will be served in the Crescent City Ballroom ($109 for ages 11 and up, $47 for children ages 3-10).
Rates start at $218 per night the week of December 22.
The Roosevelt, 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA; +1 800 925 3673
And if you want to get out and about on Christmas, the Roosevelt’s central location makes it ideal for exploring New Orleans and all it has to offer.