It’s the most wonderful time of year, and what makes it so wonderful (other than mince pies, endless parties and the fact it’s socially acceptable to drink as early as you like) are the decorations. We’re not just talking about the lights on Oxford Street and the competitive displays in shop windows – although we mean those too – but the humble Christmas tree. Here we have rounded up 8 of London’s best, from Claridge’s techie take on nature, to a modern work of art at Aqua Shard, with equally as impressive – if slightly more traditional – versions at hotels in between.
The Tree You Can't Miss
If you find yourself in Mayfair before Christmas it’s highly likely that you’ll end up seeing The Connaught Christmas tree; as a 17.5m tall column of brilliant light it will be hard to miss. The magnificent Western Red Cedar tree, commonly used for totem poles, has been designed by widely-acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley, who decided “it would be fun to light its core; the trunk, transforming it into a radiant centre against which the branches would become illuminated and silhouetted” – and we agree.
Welsh Mythology-Themed Christmas Tree
Set designer and art director, Simon Costin is behind The London Edition’s tree which he created based on his passion for folklore, taking inspiration from Welsh mythology. Found in the Lobby Bar of the hotel, the tree tells the story of the beautiful Blodeuwedd, a woman created from flowers and later turned into an Owl by the magicians Math and Gwydion, so instead of an angel or star on the tree you’ll find a festive owl. We can get on board with that.
A Christmas Tree But Not As You Know It
Take everything you know about Christmas trees and chuck it in the furnace as this year aqua shard has bypassed the traditional fir tree in favour of a 9-metre high cascading installation, named Human Nature. Timothy Hatton Architects in collaboration with Sir David Attenborough are the masterminds behind the creation which is made up of thousands of delicate woodland leaves, printed in 3D using recycled plastic. After Christmas the installation will be deconstructed into thousands of individual leaves available to purchase with proceeds going to Fauna & Fauna International. As if we needed any more reason to love Mr Attenborough.
Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Champagne Christmas Tree
How do you make an already magnificent Christmas tree even more so? Add booze to it! One Aldwych’s resident florist Mark Siredzuk has decorated their 25ft tree with 140 Champagne bottles. The Champagne-hued fern has been adorned with pearls, glitter, and matt gold and silver garlands which only add to the Champagne look. Looking at all those bottles will surely encourage a taste for bubbly, so whilst admiring the tree, enjoy the five festive cocktails the Lobby Bar has to offer, and yes, some of them are Champagne-based.
Where: 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 4BZ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Charing Cross (0.4 miles)
Oodles and Boodles
Boodles, if you don’t already know, is a luxury jewellery brand, so you can imagine if Boodles have inspired The Savoy’s tree, it’s going to be pretty spectacular. The tree has been decorated according to an ice and diamond theme, with bespoke decorations and cut mirrored squares all in classic Boodles pink tones. The hotel have also, for the first time in their history, installed an indoor ice rink, complete with an ice rink-inspired, cascading Champagne bauble installation. Maybe book a whole day in the diary for this one.
Opulence and Tradition
Arguably, there is no hotel more iconic than the Ritz. With their reputation, you’d expect them to do something really special, and certainly, they have. Their 25ft tree was grown especially for them in the Scottish Highlands and has been decorated with baubles, cherubs, reindeer heads, silver tea pots, all in a red andgold colour scheme. If that wasn’t enough, the hotel’s Long Gallery has been lined with lots of smaller trees and garlands, which lead the way to the restaurant. It’s all very traditional, but sometimes, breaking the mould just won’t cut it.
“Once upon a time…” how all magical tales begin, including Christmas at Sofitel, since this is their decoration theme. The bespoke tree, designed by master florists has been beautifully decorated, evoking an enchanted world. Also, in line with the theme, the hotel have recycled books to create ‘book trees’… Intrigued? You’ll just have to visit the hotel to see them for yourself.
Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
Nature Meets Technology
Think Christmas tree and you think of Claridge’s – their annual tree collaboration is as much a part of the festive build up as, say, the windows at Liberty’s and the lights on Oxford Street. This year the hotel has turned away from fashion designers and sought the design advice from Apple duo Sir Jony Ive and Mark Newson. An immersive experience, visit the tree and enter a magical forest complete with snow-covered birch trees, a white floor and canopy of natural green pine. The 3ft high tree in the middle is symbolic of future growth and light is used to resemble night and day. Well, they say the apple never falls far from the tree…
Feeling festive? There’s endless details of winter pop-ups, terraces, afternoon teas and more on our Christmas page…