Ring Out 2012 with Leading Hotels

Special Christmas Traditions

Focus on festive traditions, from 100-foot-tall Christmas trees to private screenings of Miracle on 34th Street, at these Leading Hotels of the World that create unforgettable holiday memories for guests of all ages.
ICE SKATE...
under twinkling lights at the Natural History Museum skating rink down the road from this luxurious hotel that boasts views of Kensington Gardens.
SAMPLE...
Glühwein (mulled wine) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) at the Place d'Armes Christmas market or take them back to your room at this grande Luxembourg hotel two blocks from the central plaza. ...
SNEAK...
a peek at Santa and his reindeer at the 107th annual Santa Claus Parade that winds through downtown Toronto while staying at this sleek but cozy hotel in the Yorkville neighborhood.
SNUGGLE...
under a fur blanket on a horse-drawn sleigh ride after an evening of The Nutcracker at the Bolshoi Theatre while staying at this elegant Moscow property overlooking the Kremlin and Red Square.
REVEL...
in the holiday spirit while strolling around the festive town of Basel, proclaimed to be Switzerland's most magnificent Christmas city. Check into one of Europe's most venerable hotels, with stunning ...
CELEBRATE...
Christmas Eve with midnight mass in St. Peter's Basilica, then start Christmas morning with a slice of panettone while admiring this property's magnificent 18th-century gardens.
WINDOW SHOP...
for everything from leather accessories to artisanal chocolates in Florence, then escape to the scenic hills of Fiesole and this 15th-century converted monastery.
EXPERIENCE...
an extended festive season in Kiev, where Christmas isn't typically celebrated until early January, and tour the city's hundreds of churches and magnificent opera house while based at this centrally ...
ADMIRE...
the glittering lights of both Buda and Pest while cruising on the Danube, then end the evening with a bottle of Hungarian wine at this magnificent hotel.
MARVEL AT...
Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree and the scent of roasting chestnuts in the air as you walk along Fifth Avenue to this beautifully decorated hotel.
The end of the year brings out the desire-some call it a "need"-to shop, no matter what your holiday traditions. For unique presents that are sure to please, world-class gift-givers head to the cobblestone lanes of Florence, souks of Marrakech and modern avenues of Tokyo.

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol

Florence, Italy

The blink-and-you-miss-it entrance and understated façade of this gem in the city’s centro storico provide an air of exclusivity, particularly appreciated by returning guests. Portraits of Italy’s 17th-century aristocracy cast a watchful eye over the hotel’s grand entrance hall, which opens into a charming Belle-Époque winter garden, where Florentine noblemen and local literati would meet for late night drinks (the hotel opened in the mid-19th century). A sweeping, wide staircase leads to the guest floors, each of which is filled with antique furniture and ornaments. From the enormous portrait windows of the fifth-floor suites, Brunelleschi’s famous cupola atop the Duomo appears within touching distance—a classic view of Florence.

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Hotel Okura, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Classic Japanese to its elegant core, this fabled Hotel Okura Tokyo was designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, who also created Tokyo's National Museum of Modern Art and the Crown Prince's Palace. Opened in 1962, the property celebrates traditional design and culture, as seen in such touches as the tranquil gardens, elegant tea ceremony room with kimono-clad hostesses and stunning ikebana (floral arrangement). Destination-specific details continue in the Zen-inspired rooms, which have vibrant fabrics and shoji screen–like windows. Hotel Okura Tokyo is located in a low-rise building next to the American consulate in the embassy district, making it the perennial choice for visiting dignitaries.

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Imperial Hotel, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Opened in 1890 on request of the Japanese aristocracy, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo boasts an impressive historic pedigree. Centrally located just south of the Imperial Palace grounds, the property has long drawn a high-profile clientele who rely on the discretion of the gracious staff of devoted hoteliers particularly adept at looking after discerning guests. Rooms are situated in the main building or in the gleaming tower, and many look across 40-acre Hibiya Park, the Palace and Ginza neighborhood. Two pleasures not to be missed here are the daily chanoyu (traditional tea ceremony) and a drink in the Old Imperial bar, an elegant Art Deco space containing pieces of murals and terracotta tile from the original building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923.

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Palace Hotel Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Heir to some of the city’s most exclusive real estate, Palace Hotel Tokyo opened in May 2012 on a stunning, moat-side setting in Marunouchi. The Brand new hotel features multiple restaurants and bars, extensive function space and Japan’s very first evian Spa – all of which features views of the Imperial Palace gardens against the backdrop of the surrounding skyline beyond. With earthy color palettes throughout, the hotel’s elegant and luxurious cozy interiors invoke its proximity to the city’s natural splendor. Most of its guestrooms feature private balconies – a true rarity in Tokyo. Inheriting a legacy as one of Tokyo’s iconic hotels, the contemporary reinvention of Palace Hotel maintains the same independence and distinct commitment to homegrown hospitality which it established over half a century ago.

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Palais Namaskar

Marrakech, Morocco

Commanding more than 12 acres of pristine seclusion, tranquil lakes and inspiring panoramas, the Palais Namaskar explores new dimensions in hospitality – indulging guests with unrivalled spaciousness, personal freedom and majestic grandeur to create an undeniably unique experience. Nestled between the Atlas Mountains and the Djebilet Hills, the Palais Namaskar hosts guestrooms, suites, villas and palaces. The décor is a vibrant combination of Eastern-inspired architecture infusing Feng Shui principles with a contemporary interior design. Almost all residences offer either a private pool or an outdoor Jacuzzi, and the Palaces offer up to 4 bedrooms.

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Ringing in the New Year in South America is just as much fun as it sounds. Particularly the celebrations in Brazil and Argentina are filled with magnificent fireworks displays, citywide street parties and late-night cocktails on the beach.

Alvear Palace Hotel

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The landmark Alvear Palace opened in 1932 as a luxury hotel for European visitors and continues to exude Belle Époque splendor. Located in the exclusive Recoleta neighborhood, which comprises elegant boulevards and leafy parks, the hotel has grand French-inspired public areas, with crystal chandeliers, velvet fauteuils and gilded-wood-paneled walls. Guest rooms, in Empire, Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, have butler service, fresh flowers and Hermès bath amenities. High tea, served in L’Orangerie, draws an elegant crowd. Upping the luxury quotient is the 8,600-square-foot Alvear Spa, a serene, light-filled space offering a range of wellness and beauty treatments, including the Radiant Treatment, designed by La Prairie especially for Alvear.

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Belmond Copacabana Palace

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro’s grand dame hotel, represented in the film Flying Down to Rio, where Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced across the ballroom floor, stands as a landmark of 1920’s architecture. Inspired by Nice’s Negresco, it evokes the glamour of a bygone era. Many of the bedrooms overlook Copacabana beach just steps from the hotel, although the scene at the outdoor swimming pool is as popular today as when Santos Dumont or Carmen Miranda took afternoon tea or sipped cocktails at sunset. The Sunday brunch and traditional Brazilian feijoada at the poolside Pérgula restaurant are unforgettable highlights, and in the world-renowned restaurant Hotel Cipriani, chef Nicola Finamore serves an innovative North Italian menu in a breathtakingly romantic setting.

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Hotel Emiliano

São Paulo, Brazil

Cosmopolitan São Paulo is Brazil’s largest and richest city, as well as a vibrant cultural center, with a film festival, a contemporary-art biennial, fashion week and carnival. One way to escape the bustle is to book a room at the sleek Emiliano. Located in the central Jardins district, on boutique-lined Oscar Freire Street, the property ushers guests into a calm haven, starting with a complimentary fifteen-minute massage at the fullservice spa. Rooms have contemporary Brazilian furnishings mixed with iconic Eames pieces, LCD televisions, Hungarian goose-down pillows and fine Egyptian-cotton linens. For a culinary treat, the Champagne & Caviar Bar offers a selection of rare caviar and European roes.

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