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6 of the world’s most magical festive holiday hotel displays

When it comes to festive decorating, nobody gets more competitive than luxury hotels. Hospitality groups often set aside sizeable budgets to create magical displays for visitors and spend months planning for the season. Some even draw on the expertise of specialist designers, florists, fashion brands or even jewellery houses to give their venue some extra sparkle. With the countdown to Christmas in full swing, we travel the globe to find some of the most creative festive displays put on by hotels on both sides of the Atlantic.

Claridge’s, London

Claridge’s has developed a reputation for its show-stopping christmas trees, created in partnership with prestigious names including Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin and Dior. This year, the Mayfair hotel chose to break the mould once again by collaborating with Louis Vuitton to create a display as iconic and distinguished as the fashion house.

London hotel Claridge's partnered with Louis Vuitton for this year's holiday decorations - Effect Magazine

The brand reinterpreted the traditional tree concept, swapping pine branches for 15 shiny chrome trunks stacked in the silhouette of a tree. Instead of baubles, the cases are topped with 21 Louis Vuitton Vivienne mascots, including a figurine of Father Christmas. The ‘tree’, which has an Art Deco aesthetic that matches the hotel lobby, is positioned between two large ‘Malles Vestiaire’ wardrobe trunks which are decorated with Claridge’s travel stickers. It’s an unmissable style statement. “We are excited to unveil the Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2023 by our legendary friends at Louis Vuitton,” says Paul Jackson, general manager at Claridge’s. “Christmas is the most magical time for us here at the hotel and we look forward to welcoming guests and seeing visitors immerse themselves in Louis Vuitton’s world.”

Le Bristol Paris

Iconic Paris hotel Le Bristol Paris collaborated with renowned Parisian creative firm Studio Björg to add a serious dose of glamour to its 2023 festive display. The studio took its responsibility seriously, reimagining traditional décor with elegant touches that spread through the common areas and façade.

Le Bristol Paris collaborated with Studio Björg for their 2023 festive display - Effect Magazine

The theme is the ‘tree of life’ and the studio modernised festive traditions by placing a living tree painted in gold in the focal point in the lobby. The glistening scene is complemented by light-filled wreaths, pines and seasonal florals in eye-popping reds. In the hallways, designers created a nativity scene that combines classic iconography from the 18th century with Neapolitan architecture of the period. It’s a smart and sophisticated take on festive decorating.

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Bellagio Las Vegas

The famous Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas is known for its dancing fountains and glitzy casino, but this month it’s causing a stir of another kind with its festive display inspired by The Nutcracker. The Sin City icon, which is not known to do things by half, transformed the entire botanical garden into scenes from the classic Tchaikovsky ballet – picture vibrant floral displays interspersed with giant figures of toy soldiers, mice, polar bears, and other wintery characters.

Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas themed its 2023 holiday season decorations around  the classic Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker - Effect Magazine

Unmissable highlights include a giant Christmas tree laden with 8,700 ornaments, a beautiful ballerina with a tutu made from 500 ostrich plumes, and a 30-foot-tall Mouse King adorned with a cape embedded with 10,000 preserved roses. The scene is enhanced with light from 110,000 bulbs and 20,000 poinsettias, among other seasonal florals.

NoMad London

At Christmas time there’s nowhere in the world quite like New York City, which is why the NoMad is bringing festive cheer from the Big Apple to London. This year, the hotel gives a nod to the American city with an installation inspired by Rockefeller Center’s tree. Spanning the lobby and the common spaces, the display was created by celebrated floral designers Federica Carlini and Marzena Joseph.

“The design concept for this year’s Christmas at Nomad London is centred around the allure of sparkly lights, carefully crafted using materials that possess the unique ability to reflect and refract light in a magical manner,” the designers say. “Our inspiration stems from a careful examination of the intricate design of Christmas at the Rockefeller Center. The sight of lights twinkling, graceful figures gliding across the ice, and the sweet melodies of carols filling the air – this is Christmas. We were captivated by the presence of the lights that consistently take center stage in this iconic location.”

Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.

The storied Williard InterContinental Washington, D.C. claims to be America’s most festive holiday hotel, and each Christmas it transforms into a magical wonderland. For 2023, the property has gone full throttle into the world of festive nostalgia with a display that starts outside where green wreaths and red bows adorn grand pillars.

Facade of Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C. at Christmas 2023 - Effect Magazine

Inside, the Beaux Arts-inspired lobby is a sea of green, red and gold – wreaths, festive florals and lights illuminate the grand space while the scent of pines fill the air. The showstopper is a giant Christmas tree adorned with hundreds of shiny baubles that stretches right to the gold ceiling.

Visitors stopping by to marvel the scene throughout December can time their visit to enjoy complimentary carol performances every evening from 5.30pm. There’s no better place in the capital to get into the festive spirit.

Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris

If you’re looking for sparkle, there’s nobody better to recruit than a jewellery house, or at least this was the thinking behind Le Royal Monceau’s festive collaboration. The five-star hotel partnered with haute jeweller Messika to transform the property into a winter wonderland of purples and silvers – the brand’s signature colours.

Pass through an entrance guarded by frosted trees and discover a dazzling, seven-foot diamond-covered snowflake surrounded by a forest of eight-foot purple pine trees. The bold theme extends throughout the hotel’s common areas, including the Le Bar Long which is decorated with jewels, the dining room which features arches of gold and silver, and the indoor pool above which floats a levitating snowflake.

Read more: Design | Interior Design | Design Hotels