Oversized pine trees, red ribbons and Christmas carols epitomize the start of “the most wonderful time of the year”, as Andy Williams would say. Unlike other celebrations that come and go, the end-of-year holiday season lasts for a full month, so taking the approach of “go big or go home” when decorating your hotel makes perfect sense.
In an attempt to capture new clients and compete against homely family gatherings and tight budgets, many hotels use stunning decorations to entice visitors into their magical holiday ambiance — even if it’s just for a cocktail or a mince pie.
The festive season is also a golden opportunity to showcase your hotel’s cuisine by creating exclusive menus to serve your guests an unforgettable dining experiences or impressing guests with life-sized gingerbread houses displayed in the lobby.
Here’s our pick of the most striking hotels around the world at Christmas. Not happy with just a lobby tree or a string of twinkling lights, they stand out from the crowd by adding millions of lights, outdoor skating rinks or even a whole holiday village.
Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
Every season Jeff Leatham, artistic director at Four Seasons Hotel George V and seemingly Oprah Winfrey’s personal florist, creates stunning decorations for one of the finest hotels in Paris. This time around, he has brought his signature style to the hotel’s lobby with breathtaking polar bears made of thousands of snowballs and an eye-catching white-and-silver mirrored tree split in two. Trees and lights around the hotel give the final touch to this magical Christmas and winter wonderland, elevating the guest experience during the festive season.
This is the ninth year that Claridge’s has invited a distinguished guest to create a Christmas tree in their own style, drawing visitors and even locals to marvel at its magnificent beauty. This time, it’s a six-meter sculptural tree that is taking pride of place and grabbing everyone’s attention. ‘The Tree of Love’ is decorated with over 8.000 hand painted silver-leafed leaves, glass spheres and 150 hand-blown glass hearts. Designed by the fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, this exquisite piece of art leaves even the Grinch astonished.
The Roosevelt New Orleans
Since 1893, this iconic hotel has been charming guests with stunning decorations. This year, the holiday spirit arrived at The Roosevelt on November 27th. The most elegant ballroom in New Orleans is finely decorated with 78 birch trees and 26 Christmas trees suited up with 2.000 lights, 500 meters of garlands, 300 bows and 4,000 glass ornaments. To complete the captivating experience, a delicious holiday menu is available to delight the taste buds of even the most demanding guests.
Since December 1st, the 41st-floor Presidential Suite of the award-winning luxury hotel Swissôtel Chicago has been transformed into a stunning Christmassy display where you can visit Santa. This five-room penthouse is decorated in the spirit and magic of the season, with sweets and treats to spread good cheer and a table set for Santa and his guests.
From November 9th through January 1st, the holiday’s magic lands at Gaylord Texan Resort. Not satisfied with 2 million twinkling lights, 15.000 ornaments, a 16-meter-tall Christmas tree and a 2.5-meter-tall gingerbread house, the hotel has also transformed their atrium into an ICE! Exhibit with more than 1 million kilos of ice. What’s more, for those looking for a thrill, a twelve-line tubing hill covered in real snow and an ice rink are located on the front lawn. This is truly Christmas on a Texan scale.
Fairmont San Francisco
The luxurious Fairmont hotel located in San Francisco is well known for enchanting guests with holiday festivities and an exuberant ambiance. Since November 24th, if you enter the lobby you’ll be welcomed by a 7-meter-tall Christmas tree and a completely edible, two-story gingerbread house where you can enjoy having afternoon tea or dinner. For those who want to fully embrace the Christmas spirit, it’s possible to upgrade to experience the Santa Suite, a festively decorated room.