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November 1, 2023

The Most Festive Hotels for Christmas in New York

These iconic hotels have gone above and beyond to make it a Christmas to remember.

By Irenie Forshaw

From ice-skating in Central Park to shopping on Fifth Avenue and marveling at the city’s twinkling light installations, there is something magical about spending Christmas in New York. The Rockefeller Center has chosen its tree – a towering 80 ft spruce – and the bustling metropolis is gearing up for the festive season. When it comes to the holidays, there’s nowhere quite like it. To help you plan your trip, we’ve curated a list of New York’s best festive hotels that have gone above and beyond to make it a Christmas the entire family will never forget. Expect lavish feasts, wonderfully extravagant decorations, and plenty of champagne.

[See also: Our Gift Guide for 2023]

The Plaza

Christmas tree and presents in the lobby at The Plaza hotel New York
When it comes to decorations no expense is spared at the iconic hotel / ©The Plaza

It’s fitting that the first luxurious hotel on our list of the best hotels for spending Christmas in the Big Apple is also one of the locations behind Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Paying homage to the classic movie, The Plaza gives guests a unique opportunity to take a limousine ride around New York City visiting other famous landmarks featured in the film including the Empire State Building, Carnegie Hall and Central Park (all while munching your way through an extra large cheese pizza, Kevin McCallister-style).

Of course, when it comes to decorations no expense is spared at the iconic hotel. On November 28, you can watch the annual Christmas Plaza tree lighting with a glass of bubbly from the Champagne Bar, while listening to live festive music to get you in the holiday mood. There are also plenty of opportunities for your little one to meet Santa, with meet and greets scheduled in the lobby throughout December, exclusively for hotel guests. As for dining, The Plaza boasts a mouthwatering Christmas menu featuring spiced honey glazed ham with all the trimmings and a traditional bread pudding with a generous splash of Grand Marnier liqueur.

The Peninsula

Exterior of The Peninsula with Christmas decorations in New York
The Peninsula at Christmas / ©The Peninsula

For a truly breathtaking Christmas decoration display in New York, The Peninsula hotel (located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan) is well worth a visit. Kicking off the festivities on 30 November, guests can head up to Salon de Ning (the hotel’s chic rooftop bar on its East Terrace) for the yearly tree lighting celebration complete with cocktails, canapés and carols. And if you’re staying for New Year’s, Salon de Ning is set to host a Studio 54-inspired disco party with a live DJ, specialty cocktail bar and plenty of champagne to toast in 2023.

To make the holiday season extra special for your little one this year, consider booking the Holiday Fun package; the hotel has teamed up with iconic New York toy shop FAO Schwartz to fill your suite with the most popular new toys of the season and give kids an unforgettable private shopping experience in store. The package also includes a sparkling in-room Christmas tree, a gingerbread cookie decorating kit, and an in-room candy cane scavenger hunt.

Lotte New York Palace

Child posting a letter to Santa in the Lotte New York Palace lobby by a Christmas tree
Kids can post their letters to Santa at the Santa Mailbox in the hotel’s grand marble lobby / ©Lotte New York Palace

Located just two blocks from Radio Music City Hall, the legendary Lotte New York Palace is the perfect place to stay if you’re planning on attending the annual Christmas Spectacular show starring the world-renowned precision dance troupe, the Radio City Rockettes. The ultra-luxe hotel is also just a stone’s throw from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and the glittering festive displays at the city’s famed department stores.

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Throughout the festive season, guests can enjoy fresh-baked sweets every afternoon and a shuttle service around Midtown for last-minute Christmas shopping trips. From the end of November, little ones are able to post their letters to Santa at the Santa Mailbox in the hotel’s grand marble lobby. In a thoughtful touch, letters are collected each afternoon by the ‘Palace Elves’ and sent to the North Pole, before personalized responses from Santa Claus are delivered to guests’ rooms.

The hotel’s grand lobby will also be home to a miniature gingerbread palace carefully crafted over 300 hours by the Lotte pastry team with over 110 pounds of flour (on display Nov 22-Dec 31).

[See also: Lotte New York Palace Unveils $100,000 Holiday Package]

St. Regis New York

Exterior of the St. Regis New York with festive decorations
The entrance to the 18-story Beaux-Arts hotel is decorated with mini Christmas trees and giant nutcrackers / ©St. Regis

Since opening its doors over a century ago, the St. Regis New York has established itself as one of the most opulent hotels in New York and a hot spot for the rich and famous. Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan (five minutes from Central Park) you’re within walking distance of New York City Ballet where you can catch a performance of holiday favorite, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

Before you even step foot inside St. Regis New York, you know you’re in safe hands when it comes to festivities. With timeless decorations even Scrooge would have a hard time complaining about, the entrance to the 18-story Beaux-Arts hotel is dotted with mini Christmas trees and flanked by giant nutcrackers.

Mandarin Oriental

Inside the Holiday Winter Suite Escape at the Mandarin Oriental New York with Christmas tree and festive lights
The festive suite includes a 7 foot 5-inch snow-frosted tree and decorative hanging stockings / ©Mandarin Oriental

Situated on the 35th – 54th floors of the Deutsche Bank Center, with breathtaking views of the skyline and Hudson River, the Mandarin Oriental deserves a mention for its location alone. While the distinctive interiors blend Asian-inspired décor with a contemporary design when it comes to Christmas the lavish hotel keeps things traditional.

If you’re looking for a festive home from home, you can choose to transform your suite with the Home for the Holidays package. The cozy makeover includes a 7 ft 5in tree, decorative hanging stockings, wreaths and an array of festive candy.

If you can bring yourself to step foot outside your suite, head down to the stylish lounge to enjoy a special Christmas feast (the eggnog brioche French toast is not to be missed). And if you’re wondering what to do for New Year’s Eve, the Mandarin Oriental will be keeping the bubbly flowing with a special celebration complete with live music and all the choicest nibbles from caviar to wagyu beef.

[See also: Moet & Chandon Commissions Illuminated Sculpture in New York]


Inside Contour bar at the Ritz-Carlton New York
Guests can enjoy a festive tipple at the bar or in the cozy lounge / ©Ritz-Carlton

Located across the street from Central Park (and the iconic Wollman ice skating rink) the Ritz Carlton is a safe bet when it comes to spending Christmas in New York. First opened in 1930, the legendary hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2019 and is looking more glamorous than ever.

As well as enjoying a delicious Christmas menu at Contour, you can warm up with a festive tipple in the cozy wood-paneled lounge. And if whisky’s your bag, the hotel can organize for you to join a certified bourbon steward for an exclusive tour and tasting at New York’s oldest distillery, Kings County in Brooklyn.

[See also: When is the Best Time to Visit New York?]

The Langham

Exterior of The Langham in New York with Christmas decorations
The plush 60-story hotel is the ideal base for enjoying the city’s ample festive offerings / ©The Langham

No festive round-up of the best hotels for spending Christmas in New York would be complete without The Langham. Located on Fifth Avenue, between Bryant Park and the Empire State building, the plush 60-story hotel is the ideal base for enjoying the city’s ample festive offerings. Whether you’re dropping by Saks for a spot of Christmas shopping or catching a show in the theater district, you’ll be right in the center of the action. And when the hustle and bustle of the city gets too much, you can retire to one of the elegant suites (all of which boast floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views of the skyline).

If you’re looking for a touch of holiday magic, consider booking the Nutcracker Land of the Suites package. As well as decking out your suite with a tree, you can choose to have your family’s ornaments and stockings shipped to the Langham so they’ll be waiting in your room on arrival to make you feel at home. The package also includes Orchestra or Fire Ring seats to New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker with a luxury car service to and from the show.

The Mark

The Mark
The entrance has been transformed into a glittering gingerbread house with Swarovski crystals / ©The Mark

Last but by no means least on our roundup of the best hotels for spending Christmas in New York is The Mark in the heart of the Upper East Side. The iconic hotel has pulled out all the stops to celebrate the holiday season, collaborating with Swarovski to transform the façade with a stunning display of crystal decorations.

The entrance of the hotel has been reimagined as a glittering gingerbread house made from millions of toffee-colored Swarovski crystals topped with a frosting and whipped cream roof and an enormous emerald bow. Guests will be able to warm up with a hot chocolate, selection of festive treats and edible oversized Swarovski lollipops, served in carts outside.

[See also: The NYC Hotels with the Best Views of the City]

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