Advertisement

16 luxury hotels that go all-out for Christmas

Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get news about destinations opening, inspiration for future adventures, plus the latest in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.

Twinkling lights, glitter, Champagne and petit fours. It’s time to treat yourself to some holiday cheer.

Luxury hotels serve up a glamorous way to brighten up the Christmas season, whether for an overnight stay or an elegant afternoon tea.

These lavish hotels are worth a closer look for a few hours of sipping tea and admiring Christmas decorations or for a spur of the moment escape or a future holiday splurge.

The Greenbrier: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

A white Christmas at The Greenbrier certainly would be nice. - The Greenbrier
A white Christmas at The Greenbrier certainly would be nice. - The Greenbrier

Natural mineral springs have drawn guests, including US presidents, to The Greenbrier for more than two centuries. The historic hotel opened in 1913.

Letters to Santa, a fun run and cookie decorating workshops are all part of The Greenbrier’s lineup in the days surrounding December 25.

On Christmas Eve, there’s a Season’s Greetings Dinner ($125 per adult; $55 per child) and a service in the resort’s chapel. On Christmas Day, puzzles and board games, indoor planetarium presentations and a Christmas musical will keep families entertained.

Rates start at $609.

The Greenbrier, 101 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

The Fife Arms: Braemar, Scotland

Fishing, foraging and hiking are just outside at The Fife Arms, an antiques-packed, 19th-century retreat within Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands.

The hotel is 14.5 kilometers (nine miles) from Balmoral, the Royal Family’s residence in Scotland.

For winter guests, there’s a seasonal alpine fondue hut with a cozy fireplace. On the menu, a traditional Swiss option of molten cheese is joined by a Scottish take on the rich classic – a blend of two local cheeses and a local pale ale.

Rooms start at about $650 in late December. There’s also a special Christmas package, subject to availability.

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Ojai Valley Inn: Ojai, California

“Serenity Season” is right on time at the Ojai Valley Inn, where spa treatments, golf, tennis, yoga and more can be incorporated into a restorative stay at this 220-acre coastal valley resort.

In December, caroling, a nightly Menorah lighting, breakfast with Santa and story time with Santa’s elves are among the festivities. On December 24, there’s a Jingle Bell Jaunt across the resort grounds.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner will be served at both Olivella and The Oak, and there’s a grand buffet on Christmas Day at The Farmhouse ($195 per adult, including wine; $65 for children 12 and younger).

December room rates start at $795 per night.

Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai, California

The Plaza: New York

The Plaza dazzles with elegant Christmas decorations. - The Plaza - a Fairmont Managed Hotel
The Plaza dazzles with elegant Christmas decorations. - The Plaza - a Fairmont Managed Hotel

Tea time and Christmastime coincide at The Plaza’s elegant Palm Court, where three holiday tea menus will be available through December 31.

The Holiday Signature Tea ($155 per person) features savories and sweets, including a foie gras macaron and an oolong tea cheesecake.

Eloise, the hotel’s famous fictional resident, lends her name to a children’s tea available for $118 per child.

There’s a Christmas Day buffet ($325 for adults). And for New Year’s Eve, a lavish grand fête offering comes with a price tag to match: $995 per person.

The starting rate at The Plaza for Christmas week is $1,800 per night.

The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York

Anantara Golden Triangle: Chiang Rai, Thailand

Anantara Golden Triangle's "jungle bubbles" double as snow globes during the holidays. - Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Anantara Golden Triangle's "jungle bubbles" double as snow globes during the holidays. - Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort

As far as memorable holiday experiences go, it’s hard to beat sleeping in a clear bubble with elephants roaming right outside.

It’s possible at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province. The resort’s two-bedroom Jungle Bubble Lodge is transformed into snow globes for the holidays. Starlit skies and gentle giants add another layer to the magic.

The resort has a selection of more traditional luxury rooms, and guests can learn more about the beloved residents at Elephant Camp.

A Christmas Day brunch will showcase fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Rooms start at about $1,660, including meals, airport transfers and some activities.

Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Wiang, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Scottsdale, Arizona

Families will find a whole host of holiday activities at the Christmas at the Princess festival. - Rebekah Sampson
Families will find a whole host of holiday activities at the Christmas at the Princess festival. - Rebekah Sampson

A sledding mountain, two outdoor skating rinks and a new Aurora Ice Lounge are just part of the annual Christmas at the Princess festival. Add 7.5 million lights, a train and more: It’s safe to say Fairmont Scottsdale Princess doesn’t believe in holding back for the holidays.

The festival, which runs through January 6, is open to the public. Free for hotel guests, the entrance fee is $35 per wristband with advance purchase; children three and under are admitted for free. Self-parking is $35 in advance.

Rooms start at $399. There are also holiday packages available.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona

Rock House: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Who says Christmas is all about evergreens? We'll take the palm trees at Rock House in Turks and Caicos. - Rock House
Who says Christmas is all about evergreens? We'll take the palm trees at Rock House in Turks and Caicos. - Rock House

There’s certainly a lot to be said for a warm-weather Christmas that involves lounging poolside with a cocktail.

The luxury resort Rock House on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos offers holiday programming from December 18 through January 3 including live music at al fresco restaurant Vita, a craft market, s’mores and more.

On Christmas Eve, guests are invited to a boat experience followed by brunch from chef Dennis Boon, and in the evening, a Feast of the Seven Fishes is followed by live entertainment at Vita.

A “Journey of the Mediterranean” Christmas dinner will features flavors from Greece, Morocco and Italy.

Christmas week rates start at $1,100 a night.

Rock House, Blue Mountain Road, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Hôtel de Crillon: Paris

Twinkling holiday lights set off ornate interiors at Paris' famed Hôtel de Crillon. - Hôtel de Crillon
Twinkling holiday lights set off ornate interiors at Paris' famed Hôtel de Crillon. - Hôtel de Crillon

Historic Hôtel de Crillon delivers a next-level Parisian holiday.

From December 11 through January 1, a festive afternoon tea service with pastries and canapés is available at the Jardin d’Hiver for about $95 per person.

A seven-course Christmas Eve menu at L’Écrin starts at about $650. A lavish Christmas Day brunch, featuring items such as scallop carpaccio, roasted veal rack and black truffle mashed potatoes, is available for about $250 including a glass of Champagne.

The five-star property, originally built in 1758 under the direction of King Louis XV, overlooks Paris’ Place de la Concorde.

Over Christmas weekend, rooms start at $2,265.

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, 10 place de la Concorde, Paris

Willard InterContinental: Washington

The Willard is hosting holiday choral performances every evening through December 23. - Willard InterContinental
The Willard is hosting holiday choral performances every evening through December 23. - Willard InterContinental

In the United States capital, the Willard InterContinental will host free nightly performances by local choral and vocal ensembles in the lobby through December 23, and signature holiday cocktails will be available in the famed Round Robin Bar.

Holiday afternoon tea – with finger sandwiches and pastries – will be served every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from December 2 through December 30 ($90 per adult or $102 with a glass of champagne; $65 per child).

Room rates in December start at $289.

Willard InterContinental, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Four Seasons: Hampshire and London, England

Horseback riding and English gardens await guests of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. - Four Seasons
Horseback riding and English gardens await guests of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. - Four Seasons

An hour from central London, Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire serves up a sophisticated country Christmas in an 18th-century manor on 500 acres of rolling meadows.

An equestrian center and other outdoor offerings will ensure a hearty appetite for holiday meals at Wild Carrot, afternoon tea in the Drawing Room or a cozy Swiss-inspired meal at the pop-up alpine restaurant Off Piste.

Hotel Hampshire rates during the Christmas season start around $1,045.

For a sparkling city Christmas, guests at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane will find an enchanted forest of chandeliers in the lobby, Christmas afternoon tea and other special holiday menus. Room rates start around $1,785 this season.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire and Four Seasons Hotel London Park Lane, England

Madeline Hotel & Residences: Telluride, Colorado

The Madeline Hotel in Telluride makes for a cozy winter retreat. - Whit Richardson/Auberge Resorts Collection
The Madeline Hotel in Telluride makes for a cozy winter retreat. - Whit Richardson/Auberge Resorts Collection

With 14,000-foot peaks as your backdrop, why not have a ski and spa Christmas?

Madeline Hotel & Residences in Telluride boasts luxurious ski-in/ski-out accommodation, with a spa that offers treatments such as Alpine Remedy Muscle Relief for your after-ski rejuvenation.

There’s a three-course Christmas Eve dinner that can be packed to-go or enjoyed at Black Iron Kitchen + Bar, featuring juniper-glazed Cornish game hen or herb-crusted Colorado lamb leg, for $175 for adults, $55 per child.

A Holiday Maker’s Market will be held on select days leading up to Christmas, and the interactive art installation Alpenglow is returning for a second year. The resort has teamed up with a local holiday decorating service to offer a menu of in-room Christmas trees with choices from Tartan & Tradition to the sparkly All That Glitters.

The starting rate during Christmas is $1,799.

Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, Mountain Village Blvd. Telluride, Colorado

Royal Mansour: Marrakech, Morocco

Royal Mansour has four different bûches de Noël this year, including a strawberry and pistachio stunner. - Royal Mansour
Royal Mansour has four different bûches de Noël this year, including a strawberry and pistachio stunner. - Royal Mansour

The holidays are a gourmet affair at the Royal Mansour in Marrakech.

The property’s restaurants will feature special menus for Christmas and New Year’s Eve from Michelin-star chefs.

At La Grande Brassiere, which debuted at Royal Mansour on November 1, chef Hélène Darroze is introducing a festive afternoon tea featuring items such as an orange blossom tropézienne and a cardamom opéra.

Pastry chef Jean Lachenal and Darroze have created four bûches de Noël this year, including a mango and gingerbread yule log topped with a light cream with local cinnamon.

The hotel will host a Christmas market in its lobby on December 16 with handmade crafts, Christmas sweets and gift items for sale, with proceeds going to local charities.

Hotel rates start at about $1,420 per night.

Royal Mansour, Rue Abou El Abbas Sebti, Marrakech, Morocco

The Breakers: Palm Beach, Florida

The Breakers dates back to 1896. - The Breakers
The Breakers dates back to 1896. - The Breakers

Founded by Standard Oil Co. magnate Henry Morrison Flagler in 1896, The Breakers Palm Beach carries its lovely traditions right through the holiday season.

The oceanfront Italian Renaissance-style resort dazzles with sparkling lights, and holiday tea is available at HMF on December 20-23 and December 26-30 for $120 per person.

The Circle will host a buffet brunch on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ($285 per person; $100 for children 12 and younger). There’s also a Christmas Day buffet in the Ponce de Leon ballroom, and the resort’s Flagler Steakhouse will serve three-course, prix fixe menus on December 24 and 25.

There’s limited room availability in December with rates starting at $1,090.

The Breakers, One South County Road, Palm Beach, Florida

Ritz: Paris

Glittering trees, festive menus and afternoon tea. It's Christmastime at the Ritz Paris. - Ritz Paris
Glittering trees, festive menus and afternoon tea. It's Christmastime at the Ritz Paris. - Ritz Paris

The Ritz Paris is putting on exactly what you’d expect from the elegant luxury property.

Christmas Tea is available at Bar Vendôme and Salon Proust, starting at about $75 per person with a hot beverage or about $95 with a glass of Champagne.

The Salon d’Eté will serve a lavish holiday brunch on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for about $325 per person. The Ritz’s new restaurant Espadon is offering a next-level New Year’s Eve tasting menu for about $2,220 per person, including wine pairings.

Rates around Christmas start at about $2,300 a night.

Ritz Paris, 15 place Vendôme, Paris, France

Claridge’s: London

Claridge's 2023 Christmas tree is by Louis Vuitton. - Claridge's
Claridge's 2023 Christmas tree is by Louis Vuitton. - Claridge's

Guests at Claridge’s will be treated to horse-drawn carriage rides and carol singing over Christmas.

Three-night Christmas packages feature those festive events, plus a personal Christmas tree, Champagne, a visit from Father Christmas, a Christmas lunch, stockings for all and a full English breakfast each day. (Pricing available upon request).

Festive afternoon tea, served through January 1, starts at about $130.

Claridge’s enlists celebrated designers each year to create an eye-catching lobby Christmas tree.

This year’s tree, from Louis Vuitton, is a sculptural creation situated within two large LV wardrobe trunks. Both Claridge’s and Louis Vuitton were founded in 1854.

Rooms start at about $1,060.

Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair , London

A version of this story has been published in years past. This version has been updated with 2023 holiday programs and pricing.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com