Merry and bright: The best luxury hotels for a magical Christmas break


It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but with all the pressure of accommodating the throngs of visiting family and friends, Christmas can also be one of the most stressful seasons. This year, forget the hassle of hosting and let someone else do the hard work so you can spend some truly special quality time with your nearest and dearest on a seasonal staycation

From five-star central London hideaways to sprawling country estates, Britain’s best luxury hotels have put together some truly indulgent packages to help you celebrate Christmas in style – with all the trimmings and none of the clean up. Whether you’re into carols and champagne or mince pies and mulled wine, these are the most magical hotels to head to for a truly memorable Christmas stay…

The best hotels for Christmas in London

Dukes, St James’s

Indulge in the magic of Christmas at St James’s bolthole Dukes. To mark the festive season the country house hotel in the heart of Mayfair is offering not one but two special stays steeped in tradition. Throughout December, as well as an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s decadent double rooms, you’ll enjoy a lazy festive afternoon tea with a glass of champagne or mulled wine, and an English breakfast the following morning. If you’re looking to put your feet up on the big day itself, book in for Dukes’ Ultimate Christmas Break for a truly memorable stay.

You’ll be greeted on arrival with mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies, before being whisked away late on Christmas Eve to Midnight Mass at the church of St James’s. Children, meanwhile, will receive hot milk and cookies before bedtime – all the better to induce dreams of sugarplum fairies. On Christmas Day itself, once presents are duly taken care of, you’ll be invited to enjoy champagne and canapés before tucking into a traditional Christmas lunch in the hotel’s Great British Restaurant. Resplendently decked out in twinkling lights and warmly scented with pine needles and spiced mulled wine, we can’t think of a better place to settle in for the season. 

Festive Escape from £610 per night; Ultimate Christmas Break from £1,865 per person,

Pan Pacific, City of London

Enter the world of the Nutcracker this Christmas at Pan Pacific as the hotel pays homage to Tchaikovsky’s renowned ballet. As well as a host of festive feasting offerings – from afternoon tea to Christmas lunch – the luxury City of London hotel is providing everything you need for an enchanting Christmas escape, making it a yuletide to remember for the little ones with more treats than even Santa Claus could carry.

Your overnight stay includes breakfast at Straits Kitchen, dedicated children’s swimming hours and a festive gift pack to keep the kids occupied. But it’s not all about them, as you’ll benefit from access to the hotel’s well-appointed wellbeing floor, complete with an infinity pool, sauna and steam room. The hotel is also throwing in a complimentary 30-minute Bonpoint face and body treatment and 30-minute Naturalia Sintesi Holistic massage, so you can take time to unwind amidst the magical madness of the season. 

Festive packages from £525,

The best hotels for Christmas in the UK

Cameron House, Loch Lomond

If you ask us, there are few places more picturesque during the harsh winter months than the snow-dusted bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Situated where the Scottish Highlands meet the lowlands, this sprawling country estate makes for an idyllic escape at any time of year and to celebrate Christmas and Hogmanay this year, Cameron House has pulled out all the stops. For a quick getaway, opt for the four-night Christmas or three-night Hogmanay packages, both of which will see you well with a jam-packed festive itinerary and a culinary experience worthy of a Laird. 

If it’s an all-encompassing festive break you’re after, however, Cameron House is opening its doors for an opulent 10-night stay that promises a Christmas to remember. Greeted on arrival by the sounds of a string trio, your stay will kick off with a range of exciting activities including craft beer and champagne tasting sessions, decorating workshops for the little ones and an evening of musical entertainment. Christmas Eve offers a packed itinerary that includes breakfast with Santa Claus, horse and carriage rides and a visit from the elves for a bedtime story.

You’ll be awoken by the arrival of the big man himself on the house’s front lawn come Christmas morning, before he leads a procession to the Loch Katherine Suite to hand out gifts to little ones, followed by a traditional lunch and family quiz in the evening. A range of festive events and musical performances will keep you busy throughout the next few days – Betwixtmas, if you will – as the hotel warms up for Hogmanay. Heralding another three days of celebration, culminating on New Year’s Eve with Highland games for all the family and traditional Ceilidh, disco and Hoolie (depending on which tickles your fancy), fireworks over the Loch at midnight will signal the ball dropping. But it doesn’t end there – you’ll be ushered gently into the New Year with a decadent brunch, family boardgame challenge and casino night marking the end to a truly Scottish yule. 

Rooms from £305 per night; festive packages from £3,150 per room,

Ellenborough Park, Gloucestershire

Take to the Cotswolds this year for a truly Cosy Christmas at Ellenborough Park, where the team has put together a luxurious package offering the ultimate retreat. Met with a dazzling miniature afternoon tea on arrival, you’ll be whisked away to the Old Chapel for a candlelight Christmas Eve carol concert before returning to the 15th Century manor for a delectable three-course dinner.

On Christmas morning, you’ll enjoy a full English breakfast, before taking time to relax and open presents as the team takes care of all the cooking. Champagne, canapés and Christmas lunch with all the trimmings will follow before you’re invited to unwind as you wish – whether through a brisk country walk, a dip in the heated pool, or a luxuriating treatment at the hotel’s spa, access to which is included throughout your stay. Come Boxing Day, a long, lazy brunch followed by fireside board games and a candle-lit dinner marks the perfect end to a truly magical Cotswolds Christmas.

Rooms from £1,120 per night,

The Runnymede on Thames, Surrey

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city this year and take a short trip to Egham for a stay at the Runnymede on Thames. Set just ten minutes from Windsor, this quirky Thameside hotel is ideally located for a relaxing Christmas retreat, allowing you to disconnect while enjoying everything the Royal Borough has to offer, from Christmas at Kew to Windsor Great Park Illuminated.

From warm mince pies in the Runnymede’s vintage airstream to an afternoon tea with bubbles and a supper soundtracked by smooth jazz, the hotel’s festive package kicks things off properly on Christmas Eve, before amping things up for the big day itself. Enjoy breakfast with a riverside view, then gather for a traditional Christmas dinner, after which you’re invited to retire for a marathon of festive movies accompanied by a charcuterie, cheese and wine supper. Of course, everything is made that much more enjoyable by the notion of a luxurious lie-in, courtesy of a complimentary 2pm checkout come Boxing Day. 

Couples Christmas packages from £900 per room for two nights, based on double occupancy; Family Christmas packages from £1,050 per room for two nights, 

The Spread Eagle, Sussex

Flee the city for a merry break this December at The Spread Eagle hotel in the charming market town of Midhurst. Centred around the festive light trail that sees Cowdray Park transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland, the hotel’s Light Up & Sparkle package offers everything you need to enjoy this truly memorable experience. Welcomed at the hotel with time to spare, you’ll begin your relaxing stay with an indulgent afternoon tea, before taking a stroll through picturesque Midhurst en route to the start of the Light Up trail.

Ideal for families of all sizes, the interactive trail sees Cowdray’s parkland lit up in a dazzling display of lights and filled with joyful song. Once finished, you’ll return to The Spread Eagle to continue the festivities aside the fire with a glass of Sussex sparkling wine or hot chocolate and homemade cookies. As well as your overnight stay, also included in the package is a full English breakfast and full access to the hotel’s spa facilities and swimming pool. 

Rooms from £180 per night; Light Up & Sparkle package from £301,

Read more: The best luxury Christmas hampers for 2022

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