The tony London hotel Claridge’s is synonymous with Christmas. Every year, the 190-room Mayfair hideaway partners with an international designer to decorate the towering Christmas tree in the historic Art Deco lobby. Past tree-trimmers have included Burberry, Diane von Furstenburg (who also designed some guest rooms), Alber Elbaz, formerly of Lanvin, and Apple — yes, the tech company.
During the season, the more than 200-year-old hotel also welcomes a choir singing Christmas music at tea time, and dramatically decks the halls and facade that dates to 1898 (room rates start at about $767 a night; claridges.co.uk).
The Highline Hotel
'Twas the year 1823 when A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published. The author, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal theologian and heir to a sprawling Manhattan estate, helmed the construction of a seminary complex that now encompasses Chelsea’s chic Highline Hotel.
Behind the original brick facade, guests repose in 60 eclectic rooms that feature period art and antiques.
Common areas include an Intelligentsia Coffee counter and a garden champagne bar. Of particular note is the Refectory, a spectacular cathedral-like hall complete with stained-glass windows, wood-paneled walls and a sculpture of the man who created the international image of today’s Santa Claus — Mr. Moore himself (room rates start at $399 a night; thehighlinehotel.com).
The dancing fountains that front this hotel on the famed Strip are so well known they are essentially emblematic of a Las Vegas visit. During the holiday season, the waters move and sway to a collection of popular Christmas carols every 15 minutes. (The Carol of the Bells performance is especially fun.) Inside, the hotel is a holiday spectacular, with larger- than-life decorations showcased throughout. Vegas wedding fun fact: The Bellagio has a package that includes a dancing fountain nale. Couples choose the song (room rates start at $143 a night; bellagio.com)
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Just hear those sleigh bells ringing — well, not exactly. At this mod 290-room resort on Maui, Santa makes a visit via a tra- ditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe. The Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) ritual features the vacay-mode Santa Claus posing for guest sel es. There is also a special Christmas Day brunch and fireside s’mores. Try your hand at steering an outrigger canoe: Daily guided sessions explain the history of the boat, and include basic techniques and a 25-minute paddle. Other resort activities include stand-up paddleboarding, sunrise and sunset yoga classes and, of course, sur ng (room rates start at $242 a night; maui.andaz.hyatt.com).