Christmas can be a lot. The trains home packed, the shopping lists endless, the families frankly overwhelming. Every year you think, ‘Next time, it will be different.’ Next time, you resolve, you’ll make your excuses and try something else.
And though it might seem counterintuitive, perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is to stay put in a far-more-deserted-than-usual capital and check in to one of London’s most opulent hotels.
Once there, everything from perfectly prepped stockings, ready decorated trees and lavish five-course Christmas lunches will be taken care of. All you have to do is hop in a taxi.
When The Lanesborough does Christmas, it’s done right. Enter the Christmas in Residence package, the most indulgent offering to be found in London. Arrive on Christmas Eve to be greeted with a mulled wine or hot chocolate before enjoying a chauffeur-driven car to pick up any last-minute presents from nearby Harvey Nichols. In-room Christmas trees, an on-hand butler and personalised Lanesborough stockings are just a prelude to the Big Day’s wonderfully decadent five-course lunch at Michelin-starred restaurant Celeste — followed, of course, by the Queen’s Christmas Message. Truly the crème de la crème. The Christmas in Residence package starts at £1,313 per room, per night for two people sharing (oetkercollection.com/hotels/the-lanesborough)
Look to this luxurious, long-standing favourite for a decadent four-day family escape. Check in on Christmas Eve for a champagne-fuelled afternoon with festive story time and performances by a choir and pianist. Spend Christmas Day enjoying a visit from Santa and a traditional banquet in the regal Gold & Silver Room, then ship off the children to be entertained by Sharky & George. Spend Boxing Day brunching at The Grill, then lounge around in Derek Rose pyjamas and fall into bed to watch films with Hot Toddies, hot chocolates and cinema treats before a slap-up breakfast and check-out on the last day. From £1,960 per room, per night based on double occupancy (dorchestercollection.com)
What?! A Christmas Day menu with no turkey? Calm down: ‘Déjeuner de Noël’ by The Londoner’s Whitcomb’s is guaranteed to fulfil your festive fancies with its chic French offering. We’re talking steak tartare, roasted duck, grappa granita, caramel beignets: the list goes on. Book a night at one of The Londoner’s panoramic suites to make the most of Christmas morning overlooking the city skyline, and head down to the spa for a last-minute pamper session. Lunch from £175 per guest. Rooms from £545 (thelondoner.com)
Why settle for one lunch option when you can have two? Get yourself over to the Corinthia London for festive offerings at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill to see lobster Scotch eggs with thermidor sauce grace the menu, or head to The Northall for the likes of delicately dressed crab and turbot. Sleep over in one of its iconic penthouses to reach the real heights of luxury, and plump for the seasonal festive package to receive English breakfast for two and a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne on arrival. Festive Escape package, from £1,350 per night. Lunch from £225 per guest (corinthia.com/london)
For the ultimate festive London extravaganza, head to Bankside’s Sea Containers for the ‘Get Your Skates On’ package, in partnership with Somerset House. Book an overnight stay including tickets to Skate just across the river and breakfast for two (plus a pair of complimentary cosy socks) before heading to the in-house restaurant for a festive feast that ranges from the traditional turkey to a more Mediterranean menu of burrata and truffle orecchiette — plus a glass of champagne to wash it all down. Get Your Skates On package with lunch, from £455 per guest (seacontainerslondon.com)
For a delectable taste of Mexico and Spain without having to hop on a plane, make yourself at home at this groovy, modern maverick in the heart of King’s Cross. Drink in the city’s twinkling lights while devouring Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s alternative festive feast at Decimo, featuring crispy croquetas de jamón, tender Muscovy duck with mole and a chocolate mousse to die for. Then cosy up next to a roaring fire with a Hot Toddy before immersing yourself in a hot, hot bubble bath on your private outdoor terrace — perfect for avoiding partners/kids/family alike. Two-night stay, Christmas Day lunch at Decimo and breakfast at Isla both days, double occupancy from £255 per night (standardhotels.com)
If, for you, Christmas is all about the food, then this is the place to drop your bags. Take a traditional three-course Christmas dinner with champagne in the beautiful and eccentrically clad The Colony Grill Room, squeeze in a tour of historic Mayfair in the hotel’s vintage Daimler and spend every other waking moment of your stay enjoying mulled wine and many, many mince pies in the Cub Room. £800 per room (thebeaumont.com)
Shangri-La at The Shard
Celebrate the Big Day in ultra-modern style at this sky-high retreat. Inspired by a cosy, traditional ‘Alpine escape’, staycationers can wake up to magnificent views of the capital on the quietest day of the year, indulge in a quintessentially British lunch or dinner at the hotel’s renowned restaurant, Ting, cosy up in Bar 31’s chalet-inspired huts and watch the sun set with oodles of champagne, followed by chicken schnitzel and plate loads of chocolate gateaux come evening. Lunch or dinner from £225. Rooms from £761 (shangri-la.com)