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The Most Festive Hotels for Christmas in New York

These lavish hotels have gone the extra mile to get you in the holiday spirit.

By Irenie Forshaw |  November 26 2021


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

There’s something magical about spending Christmas in New York City and it’s not just the promise of snow. From ice skating at the Wollman rink in Central Park to the countless light installations and winter markets, it’s hard to think of a better setting for getting in the holiday spirit. And with this year’s gigantic 79-foot Norway spruce officially installed at the Rockefeller Center ready and waiting to be decorated, the time has arrived to start planning your stay. To help, Elite Traveler has rounded up New York’s best festive hotels that have gone the extra mile to give guests a fairytale Christmas.

[See also: Elite Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2021]

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 is also one of the locations behind Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Paying homage to the classic Christmas 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 29, 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’s 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.

theplazany.com

The Peninsula

The lobby at The Peninsula in New York with Christmas decorations

The sparkling tree in the lobby is adorned with characters from the hotel’s festive children’s story / © The Peninsula

For a truly breathtaking Christmas decoration display, The Peninsula (located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan) is well worth a visit. The sparkling tree in the main lobby is adorned with characters which also feature in the hotel’s specially written festive children’s story, The Reindeer’s Travels by Mrs. Claus. On December 11, there’s a live reading of the tale followed by reindeer gingerbread making with the culinary team.

Kicking off the festivities at the end of 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. Helping to spread the Christmas cheer, half of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to The New York Center for Children. 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 2022.

To make the holiday season extra special for your little one this year, consider having your room decked out with a tree, gingerbread playhouse and candy cane scavenger hunt as part of the hotel’s Night Before Christmas package.

peninsula.com

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.

Throughout the festive season, guests can enjoy complimentary 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.

lottenypalace.com

St. Regis New York

Exterior of the St. Regis New York with festive decorations

The entrance to the 18-story Beaux-Arts hotel 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.

This year, the luxurious hotel has partnered with Broadway for Arts Education for caroling in the lobby throughout December with Broadway stars Khalifa White, Mia Gentile, Joe Medieros, and Melvin Tunstall III, followed by champagne and oysters.

marriott.co.uk

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 9 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 9ft 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.

mandarinoriental.com

Ritz-Carlton

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 the holiday season 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.

ritzcarlton.com

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 at 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 the Very Vintage Christmas 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 four tickets to the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Hall, a horse and carriage ride around Central Park, and milk and cookies from Santa for the kids.

langhamhotels.com

[See also: Twenty for 20: The Most Iconic Hotels of the 21st Century]

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