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Jingle bells at London hotels.
It’s Christmas time. Time for singing carols, eating too many mince pies and drinking too much mulled wine. And also time for London hotels to put up Christmas trees.
London hotels traditionally vie with each other for the best trees. Claridges has hired Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz to create a tree that really is ‘glitz to the max’, hung with brightly coloured baubles that hardly leave an inch of green fir tree showing. It also features little mannequins of hotel maids enjoying a drink with the guests – rather sweet. But all in all, I’m afraid Alber Elbaz agrees with my mother on Christmas tree design; bang on as much bling as possible and as for taste, remind me what that was again?
The Ritz is more restrained while no less glittery, with just three colours: red, green, and gold, and chaste clear lights. I particularly like the mini Christmas trees along the corridors. If the Claridge’s tree is like a Christmas pudding in its richness and exuberance, the Ritz is more of a white wine spritzer.
Brown’s knows how to do Christmas with style, and it’s going for a Dickensian theme this year with the “bejewelled Christmas” designed by Garrard – crown jeweller to Queen Victoria, so completely appropriate for the period! Raspberry red “pockets” contain glittering jewels and are hung on the Christmas tree, where one “lucky pocket” awaits its winner…
The Hoxton Hotel even comment on Twitter that “the garden now looks like a forest” with all the Christmas trees in it!
There’s also a rather unique white Christmas tree, beautifully decorated in the Bijou Bar of The Radisson Blu Edwardian which is certainly one of the more interesting Heathrow airport hotels. But the Christmas special par excellence has to be the pop-up Alpine ski lodge at the Montague on the Gardens. No gluhwein here – it features flavoured vodkas and an outside bratwurst barbecue, plus one of my all time favourite London snacks, roast chestnuts. At £20 for a platter of food and three vodka shots, it’s good value as well as one of the most unusual Christmas experiences in the city.
If you’re in London over the Christmas season and want to see a really unusual tree, make your way over to St Pancras station where the monumental tree is made entirely of Lego. Two months of hard work and 600,000 bricks went to make up this amazing construction. Once upon a time, someone said to Duncan Titmarsh, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and he said “I just want to play with Lego.” Unlike most of us, he actually managed to and is now the UK’s sole Lego Certified Professional and the creator of this tree among other fascinating works.
Photo credits: London Hotel Insights blogger Timea, Montague on the Gardens, Brown’s Hotel, Claridge’s Hotel.