Why not let someone else take the strain this year and enjoy turkey and all the trimmings in the comfort of a spoiling hotel ? Christmas in London is magical affair, with uplifting carol singing in its beautiful cathedrals and churches, streets decorated with christmas trees and fairy lights and shop windows full of goodies, colour and Christmas cheer. The following hotels all do Christmas with fun, panache and not a little excess.
The Zetter Townhouse
The City, London, England
Zetter Townhouse offers a friendly escape amid the venerable and village-like streets of Clerkenwell. The lounge, bar and dining room come dressed in a jumble of Victoriana that includes a stuffed kangaroo, armchairs upholstered with sacking, and walls crammed with oil paintings, curios and old photos. The Townhouse bedrooms offer guests a compact but super-comfortable playground – unusually, the smallest and cheapest rooms on the top floor are arguably the best.
Charlotte Street Hotel
Bloomsbury, London, England
Kit Kemp, designer and co-owner with her husband Tim, has a talent for welcome. Her interiors look fun but don’t age: outside, Grade II-listed lampposts and striped awnings lure guests into a cheery hall with roaring baronial fire. Beds are blinding white havens and higher rooms have wonderful rooftop views. Oscar’s has a large, convivial bar – try the rhubarb and lemon grass Bellini – that blends into the dining area, where a row of glowing Kilner jars separates diners from the glass-walled kitchen. Reception is quick on the draw and everyone’s friendly.
Belgravia, London, England
The Front Hall is clad with hand-painted wallpaper of exotic animals (some caricatures of staff and owners) in a romantic English landscape. The Bar & Lounge, by Tim Gosling, is richly decorated in reds, yellows and gold, and the Dining Room, by David Linley, is notable for its love-them-or-loathe-them Swarovski ‘blossom’ chandeliers, while the huge private garden adds a unique sense of space and privacy. The bedrooms are glamorous yet homely, decorated with Gainsborough silks on the walls.
Mayfair, London, England
Claridge’s is a hotel with impeccable pedigree that has long been a favourite stop for aristocrats, statesmen, film stars and supermodels. Matched to this A-list clientele is a superlative party spirit – every year guests at Claridge’s guzzle some 36,000 bottles of champagne. Much of this success results from an Art Deco makeover in the late 1920s that set the stage for fun. All 203 rooms are unique and come with comfort levels that encourage one to immediately hang up the “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Hyde Park, London, England
The strength of The Dorchester is its sense of the seasons – a whimsical afternoon tea for the Chelsea Flower Show, fabulous decorations at Christmas; and its subtle pairing of tradition (doormen in top hats) with modern needs. The 250 rooms and suites rise to the ninth floor, some of which are decorated in an opulent, chintzy style, but most have been redesigned with a smart, pampering look using restful prints and hues. For memorable tastes matched with superb service, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester offers three Michelin-star French cuisine served in a hushed but enjoyable atmosphere.
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