The ultimate European festive escapes (including the oldest hotel in Madrid)

A dazzling display of winter fairytale decorations on display at Gleneagles Townhouse, located on St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
A dazzling display of winter fairytale decorations on display at Gleneagles Townhouse, located on St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
For those of us living south of the equator, a white Christmas is what dreams are made of. 

Christmas in Europe is entirely different, with roaring fires, magical Christmas markets and days spent skiing, rather than swimming.

We have compiled a list of our favourite European hotels for Christmas so you can toast the festive season in style.

Bonjour Champagne!

Surrounded by lush rolling hills, Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is the region’s first contemporary luxury hotel, located in the middle of the vineyards that stripe the hills of Épernay, and the historic villages of Champillon and Hautvillers of Dom Pérignon fame.

This year’s Christmas festivities include an exclusive Christmas eve dinner at the hotel’s world-class restaurant, featuring king crab grilled on vine ember with tangy cream; pan-seared scallop with Champagne sauce and Ossetra caviar; and, to finish, a light Champagne mousse with candied citrus, kaffir lime, and sorbet. And don’t miss the hotel’s ‘Champagne, Please!’ button, which features in each of the 47 suites for instant access to a fabulous, bespoke Champagne trolley delivered to one’s door – the ultimate sparkling room service for the festivities.

The oldest hotel in Madrid

Enjoy an authentic Spanish Christmas at the family-owned Gran Hotel Inglés, the oldest hotel in Madrid, that first opened its doors in 1886. The hotel is perfectly situated to explore all of Madrid, from Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, the Prado Museum and Retiro Park. Chef Juan Viu has created an exclusive Christmas Eve Dinner menu featuring dishes such as anchovy and marinated ‘boquerón’ brioche with aioli and grilled tomato, Royal Iberian pork served with truffle and boletus, and a variety of Christmas sweets to finish.

Uber-chic at the 1850

For the ski-lovers out there, the glamorous L’Apogée Courchevel is the ultimate choice for Christmas. Located in the heart of Courchevel’s exclusive Jardin Alpin, at the very top of the former Olympic ski jump, the immaculate wonderland is a dazzling escape for adventure, endless fun, and the perfect base for anyone wishing to be immersed in the most vibrant ski resort in the world. The ski-in/ski-out, 55-bedroom hotel is one of Europe’s most stylish Alpine retreats, and an inspired design collaboration conceived by acclaimed designers India Madhavi and Joseph Durand.

For those lucky enough to be staying in the Penthouse Suite, there is even a hot tub on the roof terrace – perfect for soothing tired limbs in the hot hydrotherapy waters while enveloped in the extraordinary Alpine landscape. The property even has a 40-metre private conveyor belt to transport guests smoothly off the slopes directly into the perfumed, uber-chic Ski Room, and into the warmth of the hotel. Enjoy a glass of Champagne at Le Bar de L’Apogée, a cool, laidback après ski outdoor terrace offering supreme sushi from the hotel’s excellent Japanese restaurant, Koori, delectable light-snacks, and refreshing beverages in sensational snowy mountain surrounds.

Parisian Grande Dame

Escape the cold at the iconic Le Bristol Paris on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, the ideal spot for Christmas shopping. Be wrapped up in the magical scent of Christmas trees lining the exterior entryway and leading indoors to a potted pine forest.

The lobby will be illuminated by a cascade of 500 crystal pendants draped from the ceiling, casting its infinite reflection on the surface of a mirror topped central table. Guests embarking on a Parisian Christmas, will be delighted by the hotel’s exquisite dining experiences, at triple Michelin starred Epicure and Michelin starred 114 Faubourg.

Lucky little ones will be awoken on Christmas morning with their very own stocking filled with personalised gifts and for grown-ups, Champagne and chocolates will be served in the comfort of their chic room or suites, before embarking on a truly unforgettable Parisian Christmas Day at one of the world’s most iconic hotels.

Most enchanting time of year

An English Christmas must feature country house vibes, and The Lanesborough is the most magical destination to celebrate a luxe tweed Christmas in London. Enjoy Yuletide feasts, festive afternoon teas, sparkling Christmas décor and the ultimate luxury shopping experience with Harvey Nichols.

This year, set your Christmas feast dreams high with The Lanesborough’s new flagship modern British restaurant, The Lanesborough Grill hosting a series of celebratory and immersive dining experiences until 5 January 2023. The exclusive Festive Set Menu has been created by acclaimed Executive Chef, Shay Cooper to honour the very finest British produce, including cured salmon and Lytham shrimp cocktail, Cornish cod with sprout tops and smoked bacon cream, and apple and blackberry crumble.

And if a regal Christmas is your thing, the Christmas in Residence package is for you. Enjoy your beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a chauffeur-driven car to Harvey Nichols or Hamleys to pick up any final presents, and onto St. Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge for a jolly evening service – with the benefit of having a dedicated Butler on hand to help with any last-minute present wrapping.

Christmas Day will dawn with a delightful Champagne breakfast, hand-delivered by the Butler and served in bed if preferred, while little ones enjoy their personalised Lanesborough stocking. After the excitement of exchanging gifts, friends and families can join loved ones around the table at The Lanesborough Grill for a sumptuous five-course Christmas Day lunch, followed by a live broadcast of the King’s Speech. Boxing Day begins with a quintessential English breakfast and the opportunity to make the most of the famous London Boxing Day sales.

The Newt, Somerset

Other English delights include a whimsical Christmas at The Newt featuring fine foods and woodland walks, washed down with plenty of cyder. Don’t miss meeting the noble residents in the Deer Park or watching carol singers by the Cyder Bar fire.

Enjoy endless country walks beneath the Ochil Hills, at the glorious Gleneagles accompanied by Henry, the property’s resident Labrador. And treat yourself to the hotel’s spa with innovative treatments inspired by, and containing, healing botanicals from the Scottish landscape, harnessing the powers of the country’s legendary natural resources. With a bespoke spa menu, designed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading wellness brands, and a Dr. Barbara Sturm skin clinic offering guests the opportunity to experience her pioneering medical-led approach, Gleneagles is cementing its position as the country’s leading wellness destination – perfect for guests looking to relax and switch off during the busy Christmas period.

Less than an hour away from Gleneagles, the festive season turns buzzy Edinburgh into a glittering wonderland at dusk, and guests at Gleneagles Townhouse – the iconic hotel’s first ever city outpost – can expect fabulous live music, free-flowing cocktails, and gastronomic feasts, amidst a dazzling display of winter fairytale decorations.

Looking for more 2023 travel inspiration? Discover ultimate bliss at these 6 luxury resorts around the world.


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