The holiday season brings limitless sparkle and extra luxurious touches to the world’s most elegant hotels and resorts. For an unforgettable and opulent Christmas getaway, here are the finest destinations across the globe guaranteed to evoke festive wonder through indulgent decor, gourmet feasts and signature yuletide amenities only accessible this remarkable time of year.
The Plaza – New York City
Just steps from the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lies New York City’s legendary Grand Dame hotel dressed to impress all December long for Christmas at The Plaza. Towering evergreens dazzle the lobbies/mezzanines while the Palm Court hosts the hotel’s legendary Afternoon Tea beneath twinkling lights and towering Christmas trees. Signature holiday amenities include the Eloise-themed Christmas tree ornament gifted to guests in partnership with the New York Historical Society along with skating passes to Rockefeller Center’s iconic ice rink. After a wonderful Christmas in Manhattan, retire to spacious newly renovated accommodations featuring the Eloise Suite’s pink Eloise-inspired Chanukah display plus the Regal Christmas Suite showcasing NYC’s most ostentatious holiday finery – think life-size nutcrackers and grand feasting tables. One simply does not do Christmas in NYC properly without celebrating at The Plaza – a Fairmont Managed Hotel.
Ashford Castle – Cong, Ireland
Perched along the emerald shores of Lough Corrib lies majestic 800-year-old Ashford Castle where Christmas cheer glows as bright as massive fires in sweeping hearths. Dating back to 1228 A.D., the iconic Irish estate transforms each Yuletide season adorned in festive greenery, tinsel and fairy lights. Holiday entertainment fills the days with everything from plum pudding making, cruising the lake for carol singing at waterside villages to family photos with the estate’s Irish wolfhounds and falcons. Afternoon high tea and champagne receptions prelude lavish feasts in the illuminated George V Dining Room crowned with a mouthwatering six-course Christmas Day Dinner. For the ultimate in Irish elegance, reserve the spacious Reagan Presidential Suite with priceless Lough Corrib views and private cinema to conclude Christmas evenings.
The Oberoi Rajvilās – Jaipur, India
Transport into Eastern exotic opulence at India’s leading luxury resort the Oberoi Rajvilās, a royal escape in Rajasthan near famed Pink City. Here amid sandstone carvings, landscaped gardens and reflecting pools linking hand-painted luxury tents, holiday magic flourishes by oil lamps and lanterns as festive lights sparkle across palace grounds. Holiday hospitality shines through signature Oberoi touches like daily afternoon high tea, Ayurvedic wellness treatments and artfully plated multi-course feasts celebrating global Yuletide favorites like traditional Christmas turkey entrees and holiday spice-infused curries. Guests delight in festive camel rides, private Bollywood-style dance performances and holiday floral or henna design sessions. Availing Oberoi’s exclusive butler service ensures Christmas wishes come true in grand Maharajah style within these lavish tents perfectly balancing remote atmosphere with 5-star sophistication.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley – Australia
Down under the starry Southern Hemisphere skies at Australia’s secluded One&Only Wolgan Valley nestled within a wildlife conservancy sits a one-of-a-kind eco-luxury retreat believing in ‘Conservation through Celebration’. Throughout December the heritage-listed 4000-acre nature resort sparks seasonal magic by showcasing unique Aussie-style holiday happenings. Think family-friendly gingerbread house building workshops, afternoon wildlife shows featuring kangaroos/koalas in Santa hats plus Tasmanian devil feedings and stargazing tours ideal for spotting the Southern Cross. Salute Christmas day with an Aussie Barbie (barbeque), holiday high tea under leafy trellises and a traditional Christmas feast starring local rack of lamb and seafood starting with tuna sashimi tacos. supreme indulge Earth Lodge accommodations provide total privacy thanks to separate bedroom/lounge areas warmed nicely by wood burning fireplaces facing floor-to-ceiling mountain views where early mornings often reveal grazing wildlife right outside.