WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Historic Hotels Worldwide® represents over 300 of the finest, most authentic historic hotels in over 40 countries. In December and January, these historic hotels, inns, chateaus, castles, and haciendas are illuminated in the local fashion for the season, creating beautiful spaces for guests to celebrate one or more of the festive holidays and observances that fall in this time of the year. The historic hotels featured in the 2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels Worldwide Holiday Traditions and Spectacular Displays host extraordinary parties, family art activities, one-of-a-kind cultural performances, religious services, charitable campaigns, and festive afternoon teas for the Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas season, and/or New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Many put up spectacular displays of Christmas or holiday trees, light exhibitions, magnificent gingerbread houses and hotel replicas, and greenery. The cultural diversity found around the world means booking a stay or visit at a Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel guarantees a diversity of opportunities to carry on personal traditions or to discover new ones. As 2022 comes to a close, Historic Hotels Worldwide wishes travelers and explorers Bonne Année! Frohes neues Jahr! Veselý Silvestr! Bliadhna Mhath Ùr! Happy New Year!
Dromoland Castle Hotel (1014) Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, Ireland
“Nollaig Shona Duit” means “Happy Christmas” in Irish Gaelic, and guests of Dromoland Castle Hotel (1014) in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ireland, do hear it often between December 12 and January 6. The hotel embraces a traditional Irish Christmas every year to share ancient customs and new traditions with guests. The halls are decked with deep green holly laden with crimson berries, traditionally hung to represent a wish for better luck for the coming year. Christmas trees are a relatively new custom in Ireland. Mistletoe is another ancient tradition that can be spotted at Dromoland Castle Hotel. Ancient Celts believed mistletoe possessed magnificent healing powers. It was banned for centuries by Christians, as it was seen as a symbol of Paganism. Now incorporated into the Christian holiday, it symbolizes peace and goodwill–or somewhere to steal a kiss! One of Dromoland Castle Hotel’s newer traditions is also a spectacular display: the gingerbread house. Every year, on December 12, the hotel erects its gingerbread display, a beloved tradition executed this year by Head Pastry Chef Chandima Gamage. On St. Stephen’s Day (December 26, also called Boxing Day), the Wren Boys visit the castle to perform traditional dancing and singing, dressed up in straw suits and motley garb to raise money for charity. The tradition of the Wren Boys is centuries, if not over a thousand, years old and can be traced to both Pagan and Christian traditions. Dromoland Castle Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide in 2011 and was awarded the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Historic Hotels Worldwide Sustainability Champion in 2022.
Quinta Real Puebla (1593) Puebla de Zaragoza, Puebla, Mexico
Originally constructed as the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, Quinta Real Puebla is a magnificent historic hotel today that sits in the heart of Puebla, Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in Spanish Colonial style, Quinta Real Puebla features vibrant courtyards, original religious architectural details from its past, and a staff who are passionate about celebrating the hotel’s heritage to this day. During December, Quinta Real Puebla hangs strings of lights and decks the halls to create a magical holiday environment for its guests. In addition to a magnificent Christmas tree in the main courtyard, the hotel also decorates with a spectacular display of a Christmas star-shaped, seven-point piñata, which was made in the town of Chignahuapan, Puebla. Popular around the world today and appearing in many forms, the piñata is an indigenous Mesoamerican tradition that merged with European Christianity after the Spanish conquest. The spectacular red and cream-colored piñata at Quinta Real Puebla is for decoration, but they are an important part of Christian Las Posadas celebrations, a Mexican tradition commemorating the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey as they searched for lodging before Jesus’ birth. At a Posada celebration, children will gather in a circle and take turns to try to hit it. When it breaks, candy falls. A traditional piñata shape, like the one at the historic hotel, has seven peaks. This shape represents the “seven deadly sins,” which celebrants seek to destroy by whacking it with sticks. The candies represent the gifts of overcoming evil.
Hacienda de Los Santos (1600s) Alamos, Sonora, Mexico
Hotels are perhaps one of the most appropriate places to celebrate the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas (“the inns” in Spanish) and the historic Hacienda de Los Santos (1600s) in Alamos, Mexico, hosts one every Christmas Eve. An important part of Las Posadas celebration is a dramatization of the Christian story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem, looking for lodging. At Hacienda de Los Santos, the Posada features three guitarists who lead a long procession from the hotel through a nearby neighborhood. The procession is Joseph leading the burro (donkey) carrying Mary, followed by Three Wise Men, and then around 75 hotel guests. The guests follow the Posada actors through Mary and Joseph’s journey until they arrive back at the hotel, where baby Jesus arrives. Hacienda de Los Santos’ spectacular holiday display is a nativity scene. Each year, the hotel builds a manger with palm sides and a roof, large enough for Joseph, Mary, and a baby to fit inside. The tradition can be traced back to the holiday planning of early Catholic friars near Mexico City and today it is a custom in Mexico, with variations of the tradition in among Catholics in the Philippines, the United States, and some other Latin American countries. The hotel embraced this tradition 20 years ago. After Posada, visitors have a toast and enjoy a four-course meal.
Pulitzer Amsterdam (1600s) Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Dutch capital is beautiful year-round, but winter is one of the most magical times to visit, as the city glistens with lights and is often covered in snow. It is the perfect place for a winter escape. The Pulitzer Amsterdam (1600s) hotel is set within a row of 17th and 18th-century canal houses in one of Amsterdam’s finest neighborhoods, making an ideal base for exploring the city’s Christmas markets or spending an afternoon ice-skating on Museum Square with views of Rijksmuseum. Each year, Pulitzer’s impressive courtyard garden at the center of the hotel is transformed into a winter wonderland. Known as Pulitzer’s Winter Garden, it is decorated with twinkly fairy lights and a spectacular Christmas tree, and it is best enjoyed under warm cozy blankets on the heated terrace. Pulitzer’s Winter Garden is a tradition dating to the time when the hotel reopened in 2016 with new inner gardens and glass corridors, inspired by Amsterdam’s hidden inner gardens tucked away behind the famous canal houses. This winter, the historic Pulitzer Amsterdam invites guests to experience a new tradition: “Floating Christmas,” a private tour of the canals aboard the hotel’s private historic saloon boat, The Tourist, with festive nibbles and drinks, as well as the chance to see Amsterdam’s Light Festival.
The Great House Antigua (1670) Saint Peter, Antigua and Barbuda
The historic hotel at The Great House Antigua is located on the island of Antigua, which is part of the independent nation of two islands: Antigua and Barbuda, one of the most culturally diverse places to visit in the Caribbean. The island’s indigenous Amerindians, believed to be primarily Caribs, resisted colonization by the French and Spanish for over a century before the English settled the islands in 1632, bringing British traditions and religion with them. The Great House Antigua was built in 1670 to be the manor of a sugarcane plantation. Enslaved Africans became the main source of forced agricultural labor in the next century, but some of the earliest 17th century settlers and agricultural workers were Irish emigres shipped in from St. Kitt’s. It is believed to be from this early group that the traditional hotel’s Old Years Night was introduced to the island and the hotel. Old Years Night–December 31–is a major celebration of the year past across Antigua. At The Great House Antigua, guests are welcome to join the staff as they walk through the estate on Old Year's Night and hit bread on the doors around the hotel estate. According to the old Irish tradition and superstition, striking at or throwing cake or bread on a door keeps away bad luck and hunger in the new year. The tradition at The Great House can be traced back to the 1960s, when it was a private manor. The Old Years Night celebration ends with fireworks and live music.
Hotel Claude Marbella (1650) Marbella, Spain
Located in the luxurious resort city of Marbella, Hotel Claude Marbella (1650) occupies the former summer residence of Eugénie de Montijo, Empress of France and wife of Napoleon III. The 17th-century manor house, built in 1650, has been fully converted to provide all the comforts contemporary guests require. Guests that stay at Hotel Claude Marbella on January 5 are perfectly situated to observe the Los Reyes (“The Three Kings”) holiday celebrations that afternoon and evening. Observed and celebrated across Spain, the holiday honors the day when the “Three Kings” arrived in Bethlehem to honor young Jesus. Celebrants observe the day through gift-giving, parades, and sweets for children. The modern celebrations of an ancient observance can be traced back to the town of Alicante in 1876. In 21st century Marbella, the festivities begin around midday, when the city’s mayor welcomes the Three Kings as they step off a boat at the Puerto Deportivo. In the evening, there is a carnival-like processional in the Old Town along Avenida Ricardo Soriano. Roads are closed on January 5 in Marbella, so plan accordingly. The hotel is about a 20-minute walk from Puerto Deportivo, where guests can wait for the Three Kings to arrive. Avenida Ricardo Soriano is half the distance, only a 10-minute walk between the hotel and the parade route. Hotel Claude Marbella puts on a display for its guests, too: inside, the historic hotel is adorned with beautiful fairy lights and a Christmas tree, with holiday music playing throughout the holiday season.
Hacienda Labor de Rivera (1700) Teuchitlán, Jalisco, Mexico
The Mexican resort at Hacienda Labor de Rivera dates back to the mid-16th century, when a settlement was founded by Spanish colonists within the old town of Tepechitlán, Jalisco. Celebrations of Jesus’ birth began on the estate then, as the Spanish families living there brought Catholicism with them and established a chapel there in the late 1500s. Today, Hacienda Labor de Rivera carries on a Mexican tradition that dates back to the colonial era, Las Posadas. It is a commemoration of Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for a shelter where Mary could give birth to Jesus. It is traditional throughout the country to do this by praying and singing, ending with breaking a piñata. Out of respect for the beliefs of the hotel’s guests, there is no prayer involved at Hacienda Labor de Rivera’s Posada. The 2022 Posada is a tradition going back 10 years. Guests are invited to sing and help break the piñata, but not pressured to participate more than they are comfortable. Many guests enjoy simply observing the spectacle. For a spectacular display, the hotel presents an interactive Nativity scene where all guests can participate by adding something to the display. Hacienda Labor de Rivera also offers holiday treats, including Christmas punch and buñuelos, doughy fried treats often served around the world during Christmas, Hanukkah, and Ramadan holidays. In Mexico, buñuelos are made with a wheat-based yeast dough, often flavored with anise, that is thinly rolled, cut or shaped into individual pieces, then fried and finished off with a sweet topping.
Hotel Maximilian's (1722) Augsburg, Germany
According to oral tradition, the first iteration of the Hotel Maximillian’s (1722) in Augsburg, Germany, appeared in the 1490s, when it offered accommodation to overnight travelers from across Europe. In 2022, the hotel is celebrating 300 years of hospitality, and, when asked about its time-honored holiday traditions, the staff are quick to tell a story that dates to its earliest recorded existence: the story of the Four Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Monks. In the winter of 1495, when the historic inn was diagonally opposite to where its current building stands today, four holy men of the Abyssinian Church were traveling through Germany during a harsh winter. According to legend, they sought shelter but were turned away at every door. On the outskirts of Augsburg, one of the men lost his life to the merciless conditions, but the other three continued to search for help. The historic hotel’s innkeeper Konrad Minner brought the three survivors back to his inn and aided in their recovery through the remainder of winter. Before their departure the following spring, the three were immortalized in a blackboard sketch that then became the inn’s sign. Three terracotta busts depicting the monks, original creations by sculptor Ehrgott Bernhard, hang in the lobby today. Carrying on this spirit of charity over the centuries, one contemporary tradition at the hotel is its Christmas wishing tree. Children from the Frère-Roger Augsburg Children's Centre are invited to write a wish for a certain gift on a letter and place the letter on the tree. Staff and guests of the hotel are encouraged to take one of these letters and fulfill the wish of a child. On Christmas Eve, every child receives their Christmas present. The tradition began in 2016, and the hotel considers it part of its investment in the happiness and future of the city. Hotel Maximilian’s was inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide in 2019 and won the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Historic Hotels Worldwide Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel in 2022.
The Mozart Prague (1770) Prague, Czech Republic
Originally constructed as the private residence of Count Pachta, The Mozart Prague (1770) is a family-owned boutique hotel located in the most historic district of Prague, Czech Republic. Its coveted location across the iconic Charles Bridge affords direct views over Prague Castle and the Vltava River. Christmas celebrations at the palace date to its founding in the late 18th century when Pachta organized extravagant parties for his friends and illustrious guests, including composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself or author G.G. Casanova. The contemporary holiday season at The Mozart Prague aligns with the Christian Advent, a period of several weeks of reflection over the first four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. The 2022 holiday season was kicked off during the first week of advent (November 25-27), when the hotel hosted its own Christmas Market, to support the charity Act for Others. Retaining majestic glamour with ornate décor, crystal chandeliers and ceiling frescoes, The Mozart Prague holds a unique reputation as an artistic haven. During the season, it hosts festive fashion shows and an orchestra symphony, and a spectacular Christmas Lighting Ceremony each year. The Mozart Prague’s holiday decor can be viewed within its beautiful courtyard, where an 18 ft. tall Christmas tree is decked among garlands and ornaments all around the building. There are astounding fairy lights covering the front facade and both courtyards, and many smaller but eminently charming Christmas trees can be spotted in the restaurant, cafe, and at reception. The Mozart Prague creates a festive and welcoming atmosphere, so guests can enjoy the holiday season in the heart of Prague with all its winter magic.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (1780) Bagac, Philippines
Set on the sandy banks of Bagac Bay, Philippines, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (1780) is a prestige collection of historic Spanish-Filipino Colonial structures. Founded with the mission to celebrate and preserve cultural Filipino heritage, the resort at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar sponsors a variety of magnificent displays and traditions during the Christmas season. The lead up to Filipino Christmas lasts for nine days, the Roman Catholic novena that starts on December 16 and ends on December 24. The church within the resort, the Sanctuario de San Jose, also conducts an evening mass, Simbang Gabi (Filipino for “night mass”), every evening at 6 p.m. Guests can attend the mass while at the resort and partake on the Filipino traditional food at the food kiosks stationed near the church. Bibingka (a rice cake made with sugar and coconut milk, baked in an oven) and Puto Bumbong (purple rice steamed in bamboo shoots, served with toppings like butter, sugar, and coconut shavings) will also be available all day at the La Parilla for the guests to try signature Christmas snacks. A spectacular, glowing artificial Christmas tree stands in the resort’s Plaza Mayor de Tobias. It is made of locally-sourced materials and is 27 ft. tall, 15 ft. in diameter, and it is covered in colored lights. The season commenced on December 2, 2022, when the tree was first illuminated in a ceremony that was followed by a performance by Las Casas Cultural Dancers and Teatro Las Casas actors.
Antica Dimora Suites (1820) Crete, Greece
Set on the northern coast of the Greek island of Crete, Antica Dimora Suites (1820) offers guests a winter holiday with access to the sunny, sandy beach of Rethymno. Antica Dimora Suites is in a Greek “Newer Monument” building that was established in the 19th century by a wealthy Turkish businessman. His family sold it to a Greek family, the Chobitis family, after World War I and the Chobitis family has managed the building as a historic hotel since 2006. Antica Dimora Suites is a luxurious but small hotel, and an intimate getaway. Because of the personal touch approach to hospitality, early in the holiday season it is traditional for guests to participate in decorating the Christmas tree and “decking the halls” of the historic hotel as they might in their own homes. During the decorating activities, guests are offered traditional Greek sweets, such as kourabiedes (almond cookies covered in powdered sugar) and melomakarona (honey-drenched cookies with flavors of oranges and cinnamon). The tree remains decorated until January 7, the day after the Christian Feast of the Epiphany. The hotel is located within the historic Old Town, where guests are mere steps away from public holiday decorations, shopping, and street events.
Great Southern Killarney (1854) Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
The Great Southern Killarney has been a focal point of the historic town of Killarney, Ireland, in County Kerry since it opened in 1854 to serve passengers of the new railway lines that passed through the town. One tradition that has carried through the centuries throughout the year is Afternoon Tea, which has been served in Great Southern Killarney since Victorian times and always receives a holly-jolly twist during the Christmas season. In December, the Festive Afternoon Tea is served beneath the gold-gilded ceiling of the hotel’s elegant Garden Room restaurant. Festive Afternoon Tea includes a complimentary glass of warming mulled wine along with festive treats including cranberry scones, gingerbread, and mince pies. On Christmas Eve, guests are invited to a traditional concert of Christmas carols in the historic Grand Foyer. The evening culminates with treats of warm mulled wine and mince pies, a traditional British Christmas dessert pastry containing a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, spices, and (sometimes) animal fat. On Christmas Day, the Great Southern Killarney provides more musical entertainment for grownups and hosts Father Christmas (Santa Claus), who arrives in costume with gifts for younger guests.
Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin (1885) Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands
Just a short distance between Amsterdam and The Hague, the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin (1885) in Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands, is a historic seaside retreat that has been offering fantastic views of the North Sea for more than a century. Since 2009, the hotel has celebrated the December holidays with a massive Christmas tree in the hotel garden. At the beginning of the month, the hotel hosts a spectacular tree-lighting ceremony with a different ambassador visiting each year to illuminate the tree. According to tradition, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ambassador is kept secret until the last moment, and, during the ceremony, the anonymous ambassador is called forward to be revealed by the director of Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. The ambassador takes center stage, pronounces their wishes for the Christmas season, and then presses a big, red button. Brilliance erupts! After a music and light show, the Christmas tree is officially lit, and the Christmas season starts in Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. Ambassadors are chosen for different reasons at different years, but most of them have a background in sports, politics, cultural influence, or entrepreneurial success. Regular guests and staff families are invited to the ceremony. The tree, which stays up through the first week of January, is a popular place for holiday portraits and family photos throughout the holidays.
Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, A Fairmont Managed Hotel (1885) Hamilton, Bermuda
The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club opened in 1885 as an urban oasis in the Bermuda capital city of Hamilton. Built in honor of the British Empire’s Princess Louise after her 1883 visit to Bermuda, the hotel is still known as a getaway that promises to delight guests any time of the year. During December, the delights get kicked up a notch at “The Pink Palace,” and there is no shortage of holiday season traditions and spectacular displays for guests and visitors to enjoy. In addition to the hotel’s traditional Christmas décor, the hotel displays a magnificent gingerbread house just outside of the Crown & Anchor restaurant. Adorned with Christmas cookies, the square, gingerbread brick-style house is 10 ft. tall and features an icing-plastered interior space with glass mosaic and Christmas tree. The seven-chef pastry team began planning the structural concept in August, and it took two weeks to complete. The House consists of 400 bricks made from 572 pounds of gingerbread, 540 eggs and 40 pounds of powdered sugar. 80 hours were spent making and baking the gingerbread and finally constructing the house. One tradition that is unique to the island hotel among Historic Hotels Worldwide members is the Boxing Day dance performed by a troupe of masked Bermuda Gombeys. The term Gombey is derived from an African word meaning rhythm or drum. The Gombeys are a tradition that grew from the culture formed in the 1700s by enslaved Africans and West Indian people and British settlers. Though other islands share a similar tradition, Gombey dancing was recognized as a uniquely Bermudian art form at a UNESCO Cultural and Conservation Conference. During the holidays season, the Gombeys dance on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, as well as other important events and festivals on the island. From records, the hotel knows its Boxing Day Gombeys performance dates at least to the 1970s.
The Savoy London (1889) London, England
In the early 1880s, impressed by the grand American hotels he visited on his trip to the United States, entrepreneur and theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte decided to build his own magnificent hotel in the heart of London. The Savoy London, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2011, was completed in 1889 and Carte financed the entire project through the profits generated by the shows at the Savoy Theatre. In keeping with its historical connections to the world of live theater, Christmas 2022 has a stunning theatrical theme. The Savoy has formed a “double-act” with champagne brand Laurent-Perrier to put on a show, with a festive activation entitled, "It’s Showtime" that will give guests a truly memorable experience. Add drama and delight to the traditional afternoon tea: when guests pair tea at The Savoy London with a glass of Cuvée Rose, they can also choose to make, "A Christmas Promise with Laurent-Perrier." Guests are invited to watch with delight as a Christmas-scented bubble is blown onto the top of their Champagne glass. Next, guests will pop the bubble and make a wish before enjoying their rosé. Storytelling is another tradition carried on this year at the hotel. For children and families, The Savoy London team wrote and illustrated a special Christmas tale, Once upon a Savoy Christmas, which tells the story of Grace, who goes on a series of adventures through the past and present by following a little black cat. The hotel will host a limited number of storytelling sessions throughout December to raise funds for the Children’s Literacy Charity.
The Waldorf Hilton, London (1908) London, England
Fantastic parties are a tradition of The Waldorf Hilton, London since it opened with a glamourous Champagne reception in 1908. In its early years, exhilarating dance parties happened regularly at the hotel’s Palm Court ballroom, with the tango becoming a popular pastime. By the 1920s, the Waldorf was hosting special Tango Teas at its restaurant to accommodate the dance’s sheer popularity. The party is still going over a century later and the historic hotel's 2022 holiday theme is “The Great Gatsby Christmas.” Glamourous Roaring ‘20s design is everywhere, covering the interior of the historic hotel with gold and black Art Deco elements like gold willow branches, and warm pearl lights. A common theme this year for hotels, “The Great Gatsby Christmas” was selected because 2022 is the 100th anniversary of the fictional events in the American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. The book describes an era of absolute decadence and excess—notably, occurring in the wake of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic—and The Waldorf Hilton, London hopes to recreate that exciting scene for guests eager to let loose after the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. On New Year's Eve, the hotel will host a fantastical Great Gatsby party celebration in its iconic Palm Court, where partygoers will be thrilled and enthralled by theatrical acts, dancers, showgirls, and free-flowing drinks. Another annual tradition paused during the pandemic but returning this year in great style is the hotel’s bespoke, light-up gingerbread hotel that is on display in the lobby through December. Measuring three ft. long, the gingerbread hotel was designed by the Biscuiteers Baking Company and is almost entirely edible.
Fairmont Empress (1908) Victoria, British Columbia
In the heart of Victoria, British Columbia in Canada, and on the edge of nature, discover a historic castle that appears to come to life with the spirit of the holidays. Opened in 1908, this gorgeous hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury and overlooks Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Today, it is a National Historic Site of Canada. The Fairmont Empress’ jaw-dropping holiday decorations can be found throughout the hotel: the impressive hotel lobby Christmas tree is covered in elegant ornaments that shine under the Twill Flower, a 6-meter-high stunning chandelier that weighs two tons and features 250,000 hand-cut crystals. Steeped in tradition, Fairmont Empress has been home to Victoria’s grandest ritual of afternoon tea for 112 years. The experience takes place in the updated Lobby Lounge where guests sip tea surrounded by history, two fireplaces, and a view of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbor. During the holiday season the festive afternoon tea experience includes seasonal takes on traditional delights. Guests enjoy a creative assortment of holiday-inspired tea sandwiches, traditional English golden raisin scones served with house-made clotted cream and strawberry lavender jam, along with Christmas pastries. Caroling serenades the tearoom, as guests and visitors indulge in an exclusive collection of luxury grade, seasonal, hand-picked whole leaf LOT 35 teas. More than 400 people per day come to enjoy a tradition that commenced when the hotel opened on January 20, 1908. Festive afternoon tea is served daily from the end of November to early January, with three daily seating times available. Book online to secure a spot. A special Prince or Princess Tea is available for children.
Villa Copenhagen (1912) Copenhagen, Denmark
Located in what once was the Central Post & Telegraph Head Office in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Villa Copenhagen (1912) today offers luxurious and unique accommodations in the heart of the ancient Nordic city. The hotel is decorated for the season—in particular, there are stunning decorations in the courtyard, where homemade Glögg (spiced or mulled wine or spirits) is served every day in December in the Courtyard—but its staff are more eager to share news about a charitable tradition and purposefully not spectacular display: The Lonely Christmas Tree. Every year since 2012, Nordic Choice Hotels has collected Christmas presents for children and adults who find themselves in a difficult life situation. They do this through the initiative "Lonely Christmas Tree Seeking Presents.” Neighbors, guests, and employees can put gifts under the Christmas tree at Villa Copenhagen, which will then pass the gifts on to a local organization or association. This year, the Villa Copenhagen carries out this initiative in collaboration with Danish Red Cross. Gifts left at the historic hotel go to children at Danish asylum centers.
Fairmont Hotel MacDonald (1915) Edmonton, Canada
Known locally as “The Mac,” the historic Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (1915) has been an iconic figure against the Edmonton skyline since its grand debut on July 5, 1915. This holiday season, the Châteauesque-style hotel charms thousands of visitors with its annual magnificent gingerbread house tradition. In November, the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald unveiled its magnificent two-story, 20ft.-tall holiday gingerbread house in its historic lobby. The display can be enjoyed through early January. The Victorian-style house features towering pyramid roofs, scalloped and square shingles, and frosted windows that give visitors a peak into an illuminated interior. The gingerbread house is illuminated along its edges with colorful LED lights and a balcony above the first floor is adorned with 19th -century style Santa Claus dolls. The gingerbread house construction used over 440 pounds of brown sugar, 13 gallons of corn syrup, 55 pounds of white sugar, and 60 pounds of powdered sugar. Globs of sparkling, frozen icing stalactites hanging from the eaves attest to the massive amounts of the sweet stuff that was required. The gingerbread house took over 600 hours and 28 team members to bake, construct, and decorate.
Beijing Hotel NUO (1917) Beijing, China
Inspired by the artistic and cultural visionaries of the Ming Dynasty, Beijing Hotel NUO (1917) draws on China's past to create a masterpiece of modern Ming living, proudly made in China. Beijing Hotel NUO has been among China’s most prestigious hotels for more than a century and has attracted a multi-cultural following. Many international luminaries have stayed at the hotel including revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, former USSR First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, and former U.S. President Richard Nixon. For this special season, the hotel’s lobby and Writers Bar are decorated for Christmas. There is a magnificent gingerbread replica of the hotel’s iconic heritage building displayed in the lobby, with the historic, signature staircase behind it and dreamy star lights and crystal chandelier hung above. But the main event at Beijing Hotel NUO during the Christmas season is tea, a globally celebrated Chinese cultural artifact dating back millennia in East Asia. To create a memorable experience for guests this December, Beijing Hotel NUO partnered with Caran d’Ache, a Swiss-based luxury art supply company, to serve a colorful, co-branded Christmas Afternoon Tea and Hotel Heritage painting activity between December 25-31, 2022. Red, yellow, and blue will reign at this year’s Christmas Afternoon Tea, where desserts and teacups appear in primary colors. At the painting activity, guests borrow Picasso’s favorite Caran d’Ache colors to paint their own dream hotel.
Sommerro (1917) Oslo, Norway
One of Historic Hotels Worldwide’s most recent inductees is Sommerro (1917) a brand-new hotel in a historic building that was once the headquarters for Oslo, Norway’s first electric company. The historic Oslo landmark reopened as a boutique hotel in 2022, fully rehabilitated as “Sommerro.” New owners renovated the old electric company headquarters to blend its neoclassical elements with newer Art Deco aesthetics. This holiday season, the Sommerro team is excited about debuting new traditions. The hotel offers guests and visitors live Christmas jazz by the house band at the hotel restaurant, Ekspedisjonshalle, and afternoon tea at To Søstre. Sommerro also has an Advent calendar in the lobby café, Kafé Lucy, where sweet treats are given out during the Advent period of four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Sommerro’s most popular singular attraction for the holidays, however, is its spectacular display, presented for its inaugural holiday season: a chocolate statue of a women, Lucy Krohg. Sommerro's pastry chefs were so inspired by French gallerist and artist Lucy Krohg—once a model for French artists including Henri Matisse—that they chose to sculpt her likeness in cocoa, fat, and sugar. Lucy Krohg’s connection to the hotel is that she was married to internationally acclaimed Norwegian muralist Per Krohg, who painted the hotel's grand frescoes in the 1930s. The sweet statue is located outside of the hotel’s Kafé Lucy, named in her honor.
Hotel New Grand (1927) Yokohama, Japan
A designated historic monument and considered one of the most historic Western-style hotels in Japan, Hotel New Grand is the epitome of Yokohama history. Established in 1927, Hotel New Grand is an international hotel that has welcomed guests from all over the world and it serves a very warm welcome during the holiday season with special amenities and decorations. The hotel’s 2022 holiday theme is “Ribbon,” which is apparent throughout the hotel’s décor and holiday offerings. There are two holiday trees on display: A real fir tree in the lobby of the Tower Hall, and another in the second-floor lobby of the main building along with a Santa Claus display. In addition, the “Garden of Light” display is installed in the courtyard for the holidays, as well as the magical illuminations of the “Arch of Light” and “Wreath of Light” located by the central fountain. Kadomatsu, traditional bamboo or pine wood displays intended to welcome ancestors and are popular between Christmas and January 7, are installed in front of the Tower Hall to celebrate the New Year. Guests who book the New Year Stay 2023 package in January receive at check-in an omikuji, a slip of paper with a Japanese fortune reading that is popular throughout the year but traditionally read on New Year’s Day. After check-in, the hotel gives guests a taste of its own unique tradition by delivering previous guest Douglas MacArthur's favorite pure rice sake, Tocho.
Fairmont Le Château Montebello (1930) Montebello, Quebec, Canada
In Quebec, Canada, directly on the Ottawa River, sits the grand cedar lodge and resort of the Fairmont Le Château Montebello (1930). With over 10,000 red cedar logs used in the construction of the three main buildings, this elegant, rustic resort contains the largest log cabin in the world. In December, the lobby of the world’s largest log cabin transforms into a holiday spectacle, decked with greenery and fairy lights, and featuring a 12 ft. tall Christmas tree. On the mezzanine level of the lobby, it is also traditional to have many smaller Christmas trees decorated by local businesses through the Trees of Hope program. This is a charitable initiative to raise money for the local food bank. Local businesses can sponsor one tree for a specific amount of money and oversee decorating their tree. Guests can vote for their favorite tree and can donate to the local food bank. The Trees of Hope event is celebrating its ninth year at Fairmont Le Château Montebello. Another tradition, one that goes back to the early years of the resort, is a visit from Santa Claus. On Christmas Day, December 25, Santa Claus gives personalized gifts to every child staying over at the Château under the Country Christmas Package. This tradition started with the founders of Château Montebello, The Seigniory Club, in the 1930s.
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (1939) Vancouver, British Columbia
Known as the 'Castle in the City’, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has graced the skyline of Vancouver, Canada, since 1939, when it was the tallest building in the city. Notably, its construction was expedited in the spring of that year in order to accommodate King George VI of the United Kingdom and Elizabeth Queen Consort of the United Kingdom during their Royal Tour in the Dominion. Ever since the royals stayed over 90 years ago, the hotel has offered visitors and guests fun, festive, and meaningful ways to celebrate holiday seasons with friends and family. For example, a festive-themed Afternoon Tea is a longstanding December tradition at Hotel Vancouver. The private dining room at Notch8 is transformed into a winter wonderland, creating a fully immersive holiday experience for all ages. Another tradition is the hotel’s famous dinner of prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, a British recipe, served as a side dish, of savory pastry often baked in muffin tins. This dinner has been featured on holiday menus since the hotel’s opening in May 1939. Just as was common in the early years of the hotel, the décor, festive buffets, and afternoon tea services continue to draw people in from the surrounding areas of Vancouver and beyond to experience a piece of history and embrace the holiday spirit. For the third year running, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is host to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees. A cherished community tradition, the hotel lobby transforms into a holiday wonderland to raise funds for the children’s hospital. Between November 23, 2022, and January 1, 2023, guests can take in the interactive spectacle throughout the hotel lobby and join the festive fun by donating to the hospital and voting for their favorite tree. Many guests who frequent the hotel during the holiday season are dazzled by the grandeur and timeless luxury that lives within its walls.
The Murray Hong Kong (1969) Hong Kong, China
An iconic luxury landmark hotel located along Hong Kong’s legendary Cotton Tree Drive, The Murray Hong Kong (1969) presents the joy and delights of a “Merry Murray Christmas” to travelers and guests of all ages who visit this December. The Murray Hong Kong was inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide in 2019 and was awarded the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Best Historic Hotels Worldwide Hotel in Asia/Pacific in 2022. Keeping with tradition, the hotel offers an extensive range of Solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s dining offers, as well as holiday accommodation packages, Christmas market, and family activities. Between December 1 and January 8, the hotel’s traditional Afternoon Tea transforms into the traditional Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Garden Lounge, presenting an elegant afternoon tea beset with a tempting selection of holiday treats. For children especially, The Murray Hong Kong installed Santa’s Grotto, where guests are invited to visit all through the month of December with the legendary Santa Claus and take photos with the holiday celebrity of Western culture. On December 22, the Winter Solstice, The Murray Hong Kong invites guests to enjoy a Dim Sum Lunch or Dinner. The Winter Solstice Festival is an important holiday in Hong Kong and throughout China, and it is often celebrated by sharing a warm, hearty meal with family.
“Hospitality shines brighter around seasons of light, life, and hope. Historic hotels carry on time-honored, beloved traditions that offer authentic experiences for families and friends,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Historic Hotels Worldwide represents over 300 hotels in more than 46 countries, with as many ways to celebrate the annual holidays that their guests and staff treasure. Cultural travelers seeking new experiences and wanting to discover new ways to celebrate shared beliefs can do no better than to book their next adventure through Historic Hotels Worldwide.”
About Historic Hotels Worldwide®
Historic Hotels Worldwide® is a prestigious and distinctive collection of historic treasures, including luxury historic hotels built in former castles, chateaus, palaces, academies, haciendas, villas, monasteries, and other historic lodging spanning ten centuries. Historic Hotels Worldwide represents the finest and most distinctive global collection of more than 320 historic hotels in more than 46 countries. Hotels inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide are authentic historic treasures, demonstrate historic preservation, and celebrate historic significance. Eligibility for induction into Historic Hotels Worldwide is limited to those distinctive historic hotels that adhere to the following criteria: minimum age for the building is 75 years or older; historically relevant as a significant location within a historic district, historically significant landmark, place of a historic event, former home of a famous person, or historic city center; hotel celebrates its history by showcasing memorabilia, artwork, photography, and other examples of its historic significance; recognized by national preservation or heritage buildings organization or located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and presently used as historic hotel. For more information, please visit HistoricHotelsWorldwide.com.