The Most Festive London Hotels at Christmastime

If you’re visiting London for the holidays, booking a stay at one of these luxury hotels guarantees a merry time filled with mulled wine, festive menus, and delightful Christmas decorations.

When it comes to festive cities to visit during the holidays, no place is quite as magical as London. Every neighborhood comes with its own set of Christmas activities and sights. Stroll through Covent Garden to get a glance of the 55-foot tree and wait for the hourly snowstorm that descends upon the crowd. Iconic shopping destinations Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, and Liberty London undergo magnificent transformations, with floors brimming with lights, red bows and greenery, gifts for everyone on your list, and every Christmas delicacy imaginable.

To the south, you'll find Kew Gardens, illuminated for its after-dark "Christmas at Kew" event. To the north, the grounds of Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath light up for visitors searching for holiday cheer. There's Carnaby Street, ice skating outside the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland… you could visit London every December and still not participate in every Christmas activity in the capital.

This level of holiday celebration can also be found in some of London's best hotels. If the idea of Christmas-themed afternoon teas, lobbies filled with Fraser Firs, and garland draping fireplaces and banisters sounds like your ideal way to spend the season, you're in luck. Read on to discover our picks for London hotels that go above and beyond during the Christmas season.

The Langham, London

Christmas cookies and tree set up in a suite at The Langham
Courtesy of The Langham

London's list of luxury hotels with recognizable names is long — The Savoy, The Ritz, The Lanesborough — but one stands out from the rest as a Christmas destination. During the month of December, The Langham, which sits slightly north of Oxford Street, goes full holiday glitz and glam. This year, The Langham takes Christmas celebrations to another level with its partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella. Upon entering the impressive lobby, guests will find Christmas trees adorned with glass slippers and velvet pumpkins. Afternoon tea is served in Palm Court, one of the hotel's restaurants, delighting guests with a dessert course featuring a shoe made entirely out of white chocolate. The Langham doesn't just settle for serving guests festive cocktails — each table in the hotel's bar, Artesian, has a miniature alarm clock that sounds at midnight, signaling it's time for complimentary tipples.

The Stafford

Christmas External lights at The Stafford London
Simon Brown/Courtesy of The Stafford

London crowds during the Christmas season are notorious, but The Stafford — set in the historic St. James's, Mayfair — is the perfect holiday haven. Grand dame hotel meets cozy getaway, The Stafford greets guests with lights, multiple Christmas trees, and room after room (including an outdoor terrace) filled with seasonal decor. Whether you're cozying up in The American Bar, mulled wine in hand, or tucking away the Christmas pudding at The Game Bird, a stay at The Stafford will leave you feeling exactly how you should during the holiday season: warm, merry, and in the mood to sing a few Christmas carols.

The Rubens at the Palace

The New York Bar at The Rubens at the Palace
Courtesy of The Rubens at the Palace

As any visitor will tell you, exploring London will take you ages. A weekend trip is barely enough time to see all of the main sights. If you stay somewhere in the heart of things (in this case, right next to Buckingham Palace) you'll be able to soak up more of what the "Big Smoke" has to offer. The Rubens at the Palace is old school — think deep hues, velvets, and a penchant for British heritage — and, as any guest will tell you, the property's dining experiences will get anyone in the Christmas spirit. You can't visit the United Kingdom without enjoying an afternoon tea, so you'll have to save room for The Rubens' "Winter Wonderland" Afternoon Tea. The 90-minute experience includes bottomless mulled wine, speculoos fruit scones, and pastries aptly named Santa's Log and Rudolph's Cupcake.

The Dorchester

Stockings hanging in a suite at The Dorchester
Courtesy of The Dorchester

"Glamorous" is the only way to describe The Dorchester at Christmastime. Evergreen trees line The Promenade; silvers, golds, and reds catch your eye with every step. Dressing up is a must, as is ordering from the hotel's seasonal menus. Guests and visitors dining at The Grill at The Dorchester can enjoy head chef Tom Booton's three-course festive lunch or four-course dinner, afternoon tea alongside carolers, or a Sunday roast accompanied by Yuletide greetings. The best part? The Dorchester is only steps from Hyde Park, where you can experience the Winter Wonderland festivities.

The Christmas Lobby tree at The Dorchester
Courtesy of The Dorchester

The Goring

Teddy the pony infront of a christmas tree at The Goring
Sim Canetty-Clarke/Courtesy of The Goring

No one does English luxury like The Goring — and the royal family's favorite hotel doesn't hold back at Christmastime. The Belgravia icon becomes the epitome of elegance meets the holidays. This year, the family-owned hotel partnered with Fortnum & Mason to outfit their "Naughty & Nice" Christmas trees. Teacups and miniature hampers hang from the "Nice Tree"; Champagne bottles and sweets cover the "Naughty Tree."

Shangri-La The Shard

Pastries and scones at Alpine Afternoon Tea, Shangri-La The Shard
Courtesy of Shangri-La The Shard

London or the Austrian Alps? At Shangri-La The Shard, otherwise known as London's highest hotel, it's a little bit of both this holiday season. Guests can lounge in outdoor chalets (complete with fairy lights and cozy blankets) and cheers to the new year with hot toddies and boozy hot chocolate. An Alpine gingerbread village and ski gondola complete the wintry scene. Because you can't stay at Shangri-La The Shard without a meal accompanied by a view, enjoy an Alpine Afternoon Tea at TĪNG Lounge — cranberry sausage rolls, scones, and cocktails included.

Claridge's Hotel

Claridge's Hotel Chirstmas Tree
Courtesy of Claridge's Hotel

Although Claridge's has been around since the 1850s, it's maintained its place as an icon and a must-visit, especially during the holidays. New York City has the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and London has Claridge's tree, which is designed each year by a different artist. 2021's tree, named The Celestial Snow Globe, was created by Kim Jones, artistic director of the Dior men's collection. To experience the full Christmas at Claridge's, you'll want to book an afternoon tea or sip on a cocktail in Claridge's Bar or The Painter's Room. Even if you can't fit everything in during your stay, the sheer amount of holiday decor found in the Mayfair hotel will ensure you feel that seasonal cheer at every turn. You can even take a bit of Claridge's Christmas home with you. The hotel has Christmas crackers, hampers, tea sets, and more available for purchase on their online shop.

The Mayfair Townhouse

The exterior of The Mayfair Townhouse
Courtesy of The Mayfair Townhouse

The newest hotel on the list, The Mayfair Townhouse has made a name for itself since its opening in late 2020. While its Christmas season offerings might not be as expansive as some of London's other luxury hotels, it has that electric feel you can't replicate — no matter how many trees or lights you put up. Guests can book a "Dandy Christmas" stay, which includes breakfast, Fortnum & Mason biscuits, and a festive cocktail in The Dandy Bar. It's simple, it's elegant, and it's a hotel you'll want to return to again and again — for the holiday season or any time of the year.

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