The Big Six: Hotel Christmas trees
Saturday 11 December 2010
InterContinental Le Grand, Paris
In the spiritual home of fashion, it is only fitting that Christmas should come with a couture edge. Every winter, students from Paris's International Fashion School design one-off Christmas trees for this palatial hotel. Displayed under the glass roof of the Winter Garden, this year's avant-garde trees are united by the theme of Wild Christmas – imagine ferrets in mesh cages, creations covered in butterflies ... even a pyramid of oil paintings of wildfowl.
InterContinental Paris-Le Grand, 2 Rue Scribe, Paris, France (00 33 1 40 07 32 32; paris.intercontinental.com). Doubles start at €270, room only.
The Jewel, New York
The Rockefeller Center's Norway spruce is one of the world's most iconic Christmas trees. Lit with 30,000 lights on five miles of wire, its lighting ceremony is a stellar event. Proudly proclaiming itself "The Jewel – facing Rockefeller Center", this new hotel has opened just in time to offer its guests an unrivalled view of the tree. The bright, business-style rooms overlooking 51st Street are the ones to plump for, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the festive view.
The Jewel, 11 West 51st Street, New York, US (001 212 863 0550; thejewelny.com). Doubles start at $205 (£137), room only.
After the success of last year's whimsical, ice-inspired creation, Christian Dior's creative director, John Galliano, has once again designed a festive "tree" for the art deco landmark hotel in Mayfair, Claridge's. This time Galliano's muse is the sea, so the tree appears to flutter up the hotel's dramatic central stairwell like a delicate pink coral covered in fish, seahorses, anemone and jellyfish.
Claridge's, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR (020-7629 8860; claridges.co.uk). Doubles start at £359, including breakfast.
Hotel Skt Petri, Copenhagen
This winter, the Danish capital has been transformed by 30 fibreglass trees that have each been designed by a Danish or international artist for the Happy Xmas Trees charity project. While most of the colourful creations appear on streets and squares, one of the most dazzling has taken up residence at the design Hotel Skt Petri. The 24-carat gold leaf-covered tree by the British artist Beejoir (pictured above) will feature until Christmas Day, when all the trees will go on display at a public art gallery, later to be auctioned for charity.
First Hotel Skt Petri, Krystalgade 22, Copenhagen, Denmark (00 45 33 45 91 00; firsthotels.com/sktpetri). Doubles start at DK978 (£110), room only.
Brown's Hotel, London
Two British icons have come together to create a fashionably festive Christmas. Rocco Forte's Brown's Hotel has been decked out by Paul Smith with hand-painted tree decorations and topiary animals from The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling is said to have written the novel at the hotel). Giant baubles also feature throughout the public areas, decorated by contemporary artists such as Rob Ryan and Fiona Rae and will be auctioned for charity at the end of the Christmas season.
Brown's Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP (020-7493 6020; brownshotel.com). Doubles start at £354, room only.
Sofitel St James London
Complementing the Sofitel St James's gentlemanly décor (a section of the hotel used to be the headquarters of a Lloyds's subsidiary) is this modern, 5ft installation. The dark wood "tree" is offset with £35,000 of miniature Baccarat crystal and 24-carat gold Louis XIII cognac bottles. Evidently a star wouldn't do justice to the crown, so instead a Baccarat crystal and denim chandelier has been suspended above it.
Sofitel St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AN (020-7747 2200; sofitelstjames.com). Doubles start at £269, including breakfast.
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