Life
    Travel

    The Ned, London

    London’s best festive hotels

    9 December 2020

    Baby it’s cold outside…but that’s probably where you’re eating with five of your chums. This festive season is – of course – a little different this year, but that’s no reason to scrimp on the odd glass of five star mulled wine.

    After all, since lockdown 2.0 ended, the capital’s premier hotels have pulled out all the stops in a valiant attempt to rescue 2020 in its final moments. Head inside with your bubble or have actual bubbles in any number of their specially created winter gardens, to inject some much-needed jolliness into your Covid Christmas.

    Plus, if staying at home feels too much like zooming in March and visiting grandma feels too perilous; why not treat yourself to a hotel holiday stay that Kevin McCallister would be proud of?

    The Dorchester

    Join the Boxing Day Pyjama Party at The Dorchester

    This year, The Dorchester has constructed a stunning (heated) winter garden nestled under its famous plane tree. The experience is as luxurious as you’d expect. So, yes, you can let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, because you’ll be snugly wrapped up in Johnston’s of Elgin cashmere blankets as you chow down on a three-course menu courtesy of the Avengers-Assemble-team of Dorchester chefs; Mario Perera, Tom Booton, Daniel Texter, and Jean-Philippe Blondet. Indulge in chestnut soup with bacon & sprouts, grilled dry salt aged cote de boeuf, and traditional flaming Christmas pudding, accompanied by canapés and petit fours all knocked back with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

    Should you wish to decamp to The Dorchester for a full festive stay, this year’s ‘Christmas at The Dorchester’ experience includes accommodations for two, for three nights, checking in on Christmas Eve with a welcoming festive champagne afternoon tea in The Promenade. Christmas day begins with an English breakfast taken either in room or The Promenade before Father Christmas drops by (on his way back from work, naturally) to hand out yet more presents. Christmas Day lunch is served in The Gold Room or in the three Michelin starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, for executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet’s contemporary reinterpretation of holiday cuisine. There’s even a pyjama party on Boxing Day (and yes, you get Dorchester Pyjamas). Of course- you could just stay home in your own pyjamas and order- for the first time ever- a Dorchester Christmas at home package, complete with a full Christmas feast, wine pairings, festive decorations for the table, menus, aprons and even place cards. Merry Christmas one and all!

    The Connaught

    There is something so deceptively cosy about The Connaught, you would be forgiven for thinking you were at home. You know, if home was a grand and luxurious five-star hotel… Yet the whole Christmas approach at The Connaught is directly that – a home away from home.

    It all begins with a personally addressed letter from Father Christmas before you arrive for your two-night stay. Just before bedtime on Christmas Eve, children are then encouraged to leave out treats for those special North Pole guests… after carol singing of course. Christmas morning at The Connaught means present-filled stockings for all, followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride around Mayfair, hot chocolate (or mulled wine) in hand before festive lunch back at Jean-Georges or Helen Darroze. Check out is a leisurely 2pm on Boxing Day, because you’ll want to make the most of that breakfast in bed….

     The Standard

    The Standard’s winter terrace

    Who’s up for a cool Christmas this year? Enter the Holly & Jolly package at The Standard London, the capital’s freshest new arrival and the latest outpost of the cult hotel chain. Perfect for those looking for a little modern decadence this festive season, The Standard’s Christmas offering is a chic, fun affair. As they say themselves; “It’s been a rough 2020 and you deserve to be spoiled this Christmas.”

    The two-night stay includes a unique Christmas day lunch at the critically-acclaimed 10th-floor restaurant, Decimo, which features Spanish pigs in blankets, Muscovy duck and cracking views of London at your feet. Breakfast on Christmas Day and Boxing Day is served at the Double Standard bar where you can also wrap up with a cocktail on the terrace before snuggling up in one of the hotel’s peerlessly decorated rooms. Party on.

    Claridge’s

    Could there be anything better than Christmas at Claridge’s? No. Exactly. Their legendary Christmas tree – this year created by McQueens flowers – dominates the Art Deco lobby as stockings trim the fireplace and mince pies are passed around the reading room. Wish you were there already, don’t you? Staying at the hotel for the festive season is nothing short of divine; with every smallest detail catered for. The three-night stay includes a welcome bottle of champagne on arrival, carol singing, an anticipatedly unparalleled Christmas lunch in the French Salon, Drawing Room or courtesy of the masterful chefs at Davis and Brook. There is even a festive carriage ride around Mayfair with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

    Little ones get special attention at Claridge’s. So send your new Mayfair address to Santa, and cosy up for storytelling, mince pies, carrots, special stockings and even a visit from the man himself on Christmas morning (fresh off the night shift). All one bedroom and signature suites even come with their own individual Christmas tree, trimmed and shining. Or, of course, pop in (with your household or bubble) to sample their famous festive afternoon tea (from 2 December) with the hotel’s revered pastry chefs concocting Christmas twists on the classic tea, to be gobbled up to the delicious jazz stylings of Gary Williams. Of course, you can also bring some Claridge’s magic home with you. The Claridge’s Christmas shop is replete with Art Deco crackers, special Christmas puddings, baubles and their signature hampers to add a little sparkle to your festivities at home. https://www.claridges.co.uk

    Henrietta Hotel

    Miracle bar at Henrietta Hotel

    If you’re in the market for a more low-key, kitsch Christmas, then look no further that Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden’s hidden weapon. This boutique hotel has long been famed for its unique Christmas collaboration with the cult New York bar Miracle: Miracle at Henrietta. This is the legendary 60s Christmas album, Phil Spector’s Christmas Gift for You, come to life – brimming with pure nostalgia and fun.

    The Christmas-themed pop-up bar, renowned across America for its creative cocktails garnished with a side of kitsch, will launch on the hotel’s mezzanine again this December for the third year running. All your favourite imaginative cocktails will be back this year: The Bad Santa and SanTaRex favourites, plus new creations the Fruitcake Flip (Brandy, Jamaican Overproof Rum, Amaretto, Fruitcake, Cherry Bitters, Whole Egg) and Jolly Koala (Gin, Vermouth, Pine-Cardamom-Sage Cordial), all served in famously fun and festive glassware. Delicious snacks from Farinata and Parmesan, Gnocco fritto and Calabrian guanciale, to Sardine and lemon skewers, courtesy of the highly-acclaimed Italian Supper Club also feature. Plus, unique to this year (hello pandemic) the pop-up will continue well into January with their new The Extended Christmas Story by Miracle, for anyone in need of even more cheer than usual. That’s everyone then.

    45 Park Lane

    Festive negroni at 45 Park Lane

    For a sleek, sophisticated Christmas, 45 Park Lane is your go-to. The renowned restaurant Cut is offering a delectable festive menu from Christmas Eve onwards, complete with special live performances and the cosy and cool Bar 45 is taking all of their classic cocktails for a festive spin this year. The hotel is decked out with classic yet contemporary Christmas stylings and festive guests are greeted with sloe Negronis on arrival before tucking in. Wake up on Christmas Day with a view over Hyde Park and luxury breakfast in bed before checking out what Santa left you…

    The Berkeley

    The Winter Garden at The Berkeley

    Need a festive al fresco spot for you and your non-bubble buddies? Look no further than The Berkeley’s superlative new addition, the Winter Garden. Bringing an après ski atmosphere to the snowless-slopes of Belgravia, you can nestle yourself in fir, fairy lights and the company of five of your best friends. The Winter Garden comprises five private cabins (each hosting six, of course) with a festive menu that’s straight from the alps. So, yes, there is raclette, but also hearty oxtail soup with toasted Gruyère croûte, smoked sliders and crips rösti loaded with beetroot-cured smoked salmon. But, why not make a stay of it? Winter Garden diners will be offered 20% off a stay at The Berkeley and, indeed, why not sample this beautiful hotel for Christmas? After all, if carol singing, hot toddies, (fake) snowfall, a luxury Christmas Day meal in the hotel’s atmospheric Collins Room AND an actual horse drawn carriage ride around Belgravia doesn’t warm the heart of even the Grinchiest…..https://www.the-berkeley.co.uk

    The Ned

    The Ned, London – home to a 22-foot tree

    If it’s one of the biggest Christmas trees in town you’re after, it has to be The Ned. The former bank-turned-Soho-House-offshoot is a palatial juggernaut of vaulted ceilings and marble pillars, replete with decorations created by in-house florists Grandirosa, including a four-metre wreath ‘halo’ illuminating The Nickel Stage and yes, that 22-foot Christmas tree. The halls are decked but are also filled with live Christmas music and carol singing to set the mood, festive afternoon teas at Millie’s Lounge and Christmas Day feasts at Cecconi’s, The Ned is determined to inject some cheer into the season this year, so why not stay over, and have lavish rooms and feasts included. https://www.thened.com

    The Stratford

    The Stratford, London

    It made quite the entrance to the London hotel scene last year and now, for its second Christmas, The Stratford is pulling out all the stops. The East London stylish behemoth has just opened the Beluga Vodka’s Cocktail Bar which has taken its residency on The Terrace.

    With a distinct aprés-ski feel, this Alpine themed cocktail lodge features open fires, roasted chestnuts, Christmas cocktails, festive food, heaters, blankets & sheepskin rugs, al fresco Christmas movies, and a weekend brass band for you…and five friends of course! Meanwhile, The Brasserie and The Lounge are offering special festive treats (as well as Christmas Day lunch) and the seventh-floor restaurant Allegra has just launched a lip-smackingly good winter menu, including Confit chicken wings, parmesan dumplings and wild mushrooms with sorrel Pumpkin velouté, quince, black garlic & shaved chestnut. You could even gobble this up on the heated outdoor terrace – for Christmas decadence with an unparalleled view of the London skyline. https://www.thestratford.com