Why not let someone else take the strain this year and enjoy turkey and all the trimmings in the comfort of a spoiling hotel? Christmas in London is a magical affair, with uplifting carol singing in its beautiful cathedrals and churches, streets decorated with Christmas trees and fairy lights and shop windows full of goodies, colour and Christmas cheer. Here's our pick of the best Christmas hotels in London for 2022.
Brown's offers pedigree without pretension. Proudly English, the hotel is formed out of 11 historic townhouses and has a lobby that mixes venerable oak-panelling with striking works by leading British artists. The style in the bedrooms is calmly luxurious with fluffy bathrobes, Italian linen and every amenity provided right down to a television screen in the marble bathroom. The English Tea Room is a refined, wood-panelled venue ideal for a lavish afternoon tea and although Mayfair is full of great bars and restaurants – two of them are right here.
Claridge's is a hotel with impeccable pedigree that has long been a favourite stop for aristocrats, statesmen, film stars and supermodels. Matched to this A-list clientele is a superlative party spirit – every year it's said that guests at Claridge's guzzle some 36,000 bottles of champagne. Much of this success results from an Art Deco makeover in the late 1920s that set the stage for fun. All rooms are unique and come with comfort levels that encourage one to immediately hang up the 'Do Not Disturb' sign.
César Ritz’s classic hotel has little changed since it opened in 1909. The Long Gallery and Palm Court are ravishing; the dining room is one of the loveliest in Europe. Since 2005, historic William Kent House, just behind, has been seamlessly joined to the Ritz to provide lavish private function rooms and the hotel’s two top suites. From the doormen with their white gloves tucked into their epaulettes and the pair of bellhops who open the double doors to the chambermaids in their pinnies and caps, the service is faultless.
Kit Kemp, designer and co-owner with her husband Tim, has a talent for welcome. Her interiors look fun but don’t age: outside, Grade II-listed lampposts and striped awnings lure guests into a cheery hall with roaring baronial fire. Beds are blinding white havens and higher rooms have wonderful rooftop views. Oscar’s has a large, convivial bar that blends into the dining area. Reception is quick on the draw and everyone’s friendly.
Zetter Townhouse offers a friendly escape amid the venerable and village-like streets of Clerkenwell. The lounge, bar and dining room come dressed in a jumble of Victoriana that includes a stuffed kangaroo, armchairs upholstered with sacking, and walls crammed with oil paintings, curios and old photos. The Townhouse bedrooms offer guests a compact but super-comfortable playground – unusually, the smallest and cheapest rooms on the top floor are arguably the best.
The Front Hall is clad with hand-painted wallpaper of exotic animals (some caricatures of staff and owners) in a romantic landscape. The new Cornish restaurant, overseen by Nathan Outlaw, is an airy orangery-style space overlooking the huge private garden, which adds a unique sense of space and privacy. An open fire adds to the sense of warmth and intimacy in the bar. Bedrooms are glamorous yet homely, decorated with Gainsborough silks on the walls.
The Langham is one of London's oldest grand hotels, located in the centre of the city, off Regent Street. As such it is self assured, everything feels as if it has been running the way it should for a long time. Spacious standard rooms in the Regent wing have black, faintly oriental cabinets and pops of zingy purple velvet, both on the armchair and enormous headboard. Roux at the Landau, one of the city's finest hotel restaurants, offers dining in an elegant rotunda and menus from Michel Roux Jr.
The strength of The Dorchester is its sense of the seasons – a whimsical afternoon tea, fabulous decorations at Christmas; and its subtle pairing of tradition (doormen in top hats) with modern needs. The 250 rooms and suites rise to the ninth floor, some of which are decorated in an opulent, chintzy style, but most have been redesigned with a smart, pampering look using restful prints and hues. For memorable tastes matched with superb service, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester offers three Michelin-star French cuisine served in a hushed but enjoyable atmosphere.