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Perfect Destinations for Decking the Halls and Singing Auld Lang Syne

November 12, 2013

Christmas in New York City at The Greenwich Hotel ensures guests celebrate the holiday season in an intimate, warm, and family friendly atmosphere. To help travelers escape the usual stress of December, the hotel offers fresh pine trees delivered to their suite or penthouse. For convenience, the hotel staff is happy to decorate the tree, or for a more personal decorating experience, they can arrange a tree trimming party that includes ornaments, cookies, hot cocoa for the children, and mulled wine for the adults. For those who still have gifts to buy, a guide is on hand to take them on a two-day shopping tour of the best on-trend stores in Soho and TriBeCa, as well as to the most renowned art galleries in Chelsea. And once the shopping is done, The Shibui Spa offers a Fall Winter Treatment that nourishes the skin and body for the holidays. The pool, which is surrounded by a 250-year-old Japanese barn, is kept very warm and makes for the ideal retreat from the ice and snow.

For those who don’t want snow for the holidays, Halekulani in Waikiki is celebrating its own version of the twelve days of Christmas from December 13 to 24, by kicking off the season on the first festive Friday with Jingle Bell Rock, an hour-long morning fitness session. Throughout the coming days there will be a variety of special evening turndown gifts, musical entertainment, exercise and dance classes, children’s activities, cocktail parties, shopping excursions, and more. The highlights on Christmas Eve will start with Santa’s arrival by outrigger canoe on Waikiki Beach. Santa then greets the little ones at a children’s party exclusively for in-house guests, before spending a fun-filled evening with the ‘big kids’ at an elegant reception for hotel guests hosted by the general manager. Entertainment will be provided at both receptions by Honolulu Boy Choir.

In the heart of Philadelphia, The Rittenhouse welcomes holiday guests with a variety of festivities. For its younger guests, the hotel will be serving Teddy Bear Tea every day from November 29 through December 31 in the recently renovated Mary Cassatt Tea Room. Young patrons and their treasured teddies are invited for a tea service featuring sweet and savory petit fours and delicious teddy bear cookies. Each child will also receive a complimentary teddy bear to take home. Already famed for its Sunday brunch, Lacroix restaurant will present an enhanced version of its famous offering from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas Day. Highlights will include a raw bar featuring oysters, caviar and sushi, and three carving stations, as well as milk and dark chocolate fountains. The award-winning culinary team will also prepare gourmet nibbles for both guests of the hotel and local passersby to enjoy all season long. Treats include sweet roasted chestnuts handed out by the doorman, and homemade hot chocolate, set up in the lobby. Also, The Rittenhouse will serve up homemade hot spiced apple cider for locals and hotel guests attending Rittenhouse Square’s holiday tree lighting on Tuesday, December 3. Standing more than 30 feet tall and dressed in over 5,000 light bulbs, the tree is just steps from the hotel’s doorstep, and the lighting celebration is not to be missed.

At Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris, head pastry chef Claude Ducrozet revisits the magic of Christmas with a new tradition: a Yule tree cake! Garnished with chocolate mousse on a light hazelnut biscuit and a pecan crisp, with both a delicate vanilla and a chocolate cream, the confection is sure to delight. An extra surprise to be enjoyed with this enchanting creation: tasty Fouquet's mini-presents. Fouquet's Kids returns for the third consecutive year with a program of workshops and entertainment for children and parents alike. On December 15, children can make and personalize their own Christmas decorations, to be hung on the tree at home. Chef Jean-Yves Leuranguer has created festive menus for Christmas and New Year's Eve, as well as for Christmas and New Year's Day, for both the traditional Fouquet's restaurant and the Michelin-starred Le Diane. To bring 2013 to a glorious close, Fouquet's restaurant invites guests to dance until dawn, starting with a New Year's Eve dinner created by Chef Leuranguer, and continuing on the exclusive dance-floor overlooking the Champ-Elysées. Kingtone Paris, resident DJ of La Petite Maison de Nicole, will set the scene for what promises to be a very Parisian celebration.

On December 12, 2013, the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz will open for the winter season as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. In honor of this momentous occasion guests will receive a personal 100th anniversary gift during their stay. The hotel offers 60 spacious suites and junior suites, two outstanding restaurants and a luxurious 1,200-square-meter spa spread over three floors. The new blends seamlessly with the old and the historical values can be seen both on the inside and outside of this venerable establishment. With the “100th anniversary” arrangement, the hotel thanks its guests by offering them two nights’ accommodation with daily buffet breakfast and dinner in the Romanoff Restaurant, use of the spa, private butler service, drinks from the mini bar, shuttle service from and to St. Moritz railway station or Samedan Airport and to the ski resort in Corviglia, as well as one of a range of personal 100th anniversary gifts including a 100-minute wellness treatment in the spa, a 100-gram jar of caviar, 100 minutes in the private spa suite, 100 tips and tricks from the butler, or a tasting of 100-year-old whisky. Prices from start from CHF 1,200 Swiss francs per person.

As Japan welcomes 2014, Palace Hotel Tokyo immerses travelers in the country’s refined culture by synthesizing time-honored ceremonies, renowned arts and distinctive experiences under one roof. Culinary customs - such as eating toshikoshi soba noodles and feasting on osechiryori (foods specially prepared for the holiday) - will be presented by the hotel’s chefs. Guests will also have the opportunity to observe and participate in hatsugama, the first tea ceremony of the New Year, a ritual that symbolizes Japanese hospitality. Throughout the period between December 31 and January 2 known as oshogatsu, traditionally dressed musicians in the hotel lobby will strum tunes on the koto, a classic instrument dating back to the 8th century. A New Year’s Day dinner concert will feature a special performance on the koto by the acclaimed Gayo Nakagaki, followed by music from a philharmonic orchestra. The hotel has also invited Japan’s top magician Kyoko, and juggling masters the Kikyo Brothers to provide additional entertainment. On December 31, the New Year Countdown Cocktail Party kicks off with live jazz at The Palace Lounge, and on January 1 and 2, a series of international buffets will be laid out for breakfast and lunch in the Aoi ballroom overlooking the Imperial moats and gardens.

About The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW)
When extraordinary and one-of-a-kind intersect, you have likely found a Leading Hotel. As the largest luxury hotel collection, with more than 430 of the world’s greatest properties in over 80 countries, we seek out the exceptional. From grand palaces to intimate city hideaways, from ancient castles to sumptuous safari tent villages, from tropical aeries to mystical paradises, all are utterly unique and boldly independent. Each celebrates the culture of its destination, rather than trying to mask it with corporate-mandated sameness. Established in 1928 by several influential and forward-thinking European hoteliers, it started with 38 initial members. With our eight-decade-long commitment to providing unforgettable, authentic travel experiences, LHW selects only hotels that meet our high standards for quality and distinctiveness. To us, hospitality is not an industry; it’s an art…and our passion.
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