Few places feel quite as magical as London at Christmas time. The city has a long and rich Christmas tradition, from being credited as the birthplace of the Christmas card to the legendary yuletide tales of Charles Dickens, London’s hotels are usually packed full of visitors in December, all eager to experience the capital’s authentic holiday charm.
And the English capital’s world-famous five-star hotels are all too keen to impress, drafting in iconic artists and designers to craft a display even more dazzling than the year before. This couldn’t be more true for 2021. After a somewhat subdued Christmas in 2020, the city’s most iconic abodes are certainly bringing the festive cheer this year.
We take a look at the most noteworthy Christmas installations lighting up London’s legendary hotels.
Brown’s Hotel has partnered with Bond Street jeweler Asprey for the holiday seasons / Brown’s Hotel
This year at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, Christmas will have some extra sparkle thanks to a chic collaboration with legendary Bond Street jewelers Asprey to deliver a festive offering of glittering colors, flavors and experiences.
From the moment guests step inside, they will find hints of classic Asprey purple and silver, leading them to the centerpiece: an Asprey-decorated Christmas tree decked with rich grape and silver-hued ribbons and baubles.
Pass the life-sized snowman with his dashing matching gold top hat and scarf and head to the hotel’s Donovan Bar where mixologists have drawn inspiration from the jeweler’s archives to create the festive ‘Purple Water’ cocktail. Available throughout December, the festive tipple is an infusion of gin and Drambuie with warming notes of cacao, honey, butterfly pea flower syrup and double cream.
Claridge’s Christmas Tree has long been a festive Mayfair landmark / Claridge’s
Claridge’s always delivers on the style-front when it comes to its much anticipated Christmas tree, usually working with some of the biggest names in either fashion or floristry. This year it was the turn of Dior, who might just have created London’s most sophisticated tree. Unveiled in Claridge’s lobby this week, the extraordinary work by Kim Jones, artistic director of menswear at the Parisian fashion house, is named ‘The Celestial Snow Globe’.
The 21-ft luminous crystal creation uses state-of-the-art holographic projection to generate a magical series of traveling sparkles and reflective snowflakes. The projections radiate from the base upwards and beyond the tree, producing enchanting visuals up towards Claridge’s famous staircase.
There is also a delicate frosting of real-life Christmas baubles floating in orbit around the tree. These reflect Dior’s iconic motifs and include stars – Monsieur Dior’s celestial good-luck charm – and miniature perfume bottles in the form of Monsieur Dior’s dog, Bobby. For the icing on the top, Jones has perched his canine companion, Cookie, hugging Monsieur Dior’s lucky star.
[See also: Sketch Welcomes the Holiday Season with Christmas Installation]
The 9m Nordmann Fir tree marks the sixth year The Connaught Christmas tree has been designed by a celebrated artist / ©The Connaught
Taking pride of place on the corner of Carlos Place and Mount Street in Mayfair, as it does every year, The Connaught hotel’s outdoor Christmas tree for 2021 has been designed by artist duo (and married couple) Annie Morries and Idris Khan.
The 30-ft Nordmann Fir tree marks the sixth year The Connaught Christmas Tree has been designed by a celebrated artist, with past trees created by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Sean Scully to name a few.
This year’s tree is surrounded by three illuminated interpretations of Morris’s iconic bold stack sculptures, which are comprised of irregular spheres, precariously arranged into tall columns. The towers are said to symbolize the idea that uncertainty has come to define our lives and that beauty can be born from the unknown, and positive light can be found within darkness. Atop the tree is a shining figure representing one of Morris’s ‘Flower Women,’ a recurring motif that appears in her work.
Khan’s attention went to an often-overlooked element of a Christmas tree – the base. Designed with “support” in mind, it reinforces Morris’s sculptures representing the love and support at the core of relationships and family. Surrounding the base is a two-way infinity mirror engraved with the words ‘Merry Christmas’ translated into over a hundred languages overlapping in multiple layers of script. This is said to represent the importance of togetherness throughout the festive season.
The London EDITION
The London EDITION’s tree was designed by British artist Ed Curtis in partnership with Choose Love / ©The London EDITION
Another London hotel that has used its annual Christmas tree to communicate an important message is The London EDITION.
This year’s colorful tree, which stands at 18ft tall in the hotel’s lobby, was designed by British artist Ed Curtis in partnership with Choose Love, a UK charity that has raised millions to support refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving search and rescue boats to food and legal advice.
Decorated with an avalanche of hand-painted screen and digital artworks, Curtis’s larger-than-life take on the traditional Christmas tree features giant presents, smiley faces, stockings and wrapping-paper-esque tinsel. The artist, who recently collaborated with Stella Mccartney on a coveted ready-to-wear capsule collection, said ahead of the trees unveiling: “This will be the Christmas tree of my childhood dreams. I’ll be living my art attack fantasy by dressing this wonderful tree in hand-made, hand-painted decorations. This will be the most fun Christmas tree you’ve ever seen.”
The London EDITION will be serving its Choose Love cocktail, ‘Savoia Le Fizz’, in the Lobby Bar, with a portion of proceeds going directly to supporting the charity’s vital work.
[See also: The Most Festive Hotels for Christmas in New York]
The Grove Hotel is championing sustainability this Christmas / ©The Grove
Though not technically in London, a special mention has to be given to the Christmas display at The Grove hotel, a sumptuous five-star retreat in the Hertfordshire countryside (just beyond London’s outskirts).
The hotel has unveiled a stunning festive look inspired by the extensive grounds and gardens of its own estate. A collaborative effort between its in-house garden team and McQueens Flowers, the first florist in the world to be awarded a Positive Luxury Butterfly Award for sustainability, the hotel’s yuletide display champions a more sustainable and nature-based approach to Christmas decor.
The rustic display features decorations crafted by McQueens Flowers using botanicals, reused materials and soft textiles, echoing the surrounding flora and fauna, alongside seasonal flowers thoughtfully selected from the grounds. The hotel’s aim is to show guests that they can still create a thoroughly festive look while minimizing waste and utilizing natural materials.
A festive stroll through The Grove’s estate is sure to get guests in the holiday spirit. Brimming with holly, pinecones and red berries it’s easy to see how the beautiful natural surrounds sparked this year’s inspiration.
[See also: Spirit of the Season: Festive Hotels to Visit This Christmas]