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The Pierre
Photograph: Courtesy The Pierre

The best Christmas hotels in NYC

Whether you’re booking an overnight stay or stopping to admire their lobbies, you won't want to miss NYC’s best Christmas hotels

Written by
Danielle Goldstein
&
Elizabeth Sile
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If you’re looking for the best Christmas things to do in NYC, then why not stay at the most festive hotels? New York's elaborate Christmassy window displays may get all the attention in December, but hotels in Manhattan go all out in their holiday decor too. Whether you want to take in 30-foot Christmas trees or visit a pop-up winter wonderland, the city’s hotels deck their halls to get everyone – from the Grinch to Buddy the Elf – in the holiday spirit.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC

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Best Christmas hotels in NYC

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

Nowhere does Christmas quite like The Palace. First of all, the glowing 30-foot tree that stands proud behind the iron gates of the hotel's courtyard is an impressive sight to behold. Secondly, The Palace is an official partner of the world-renowned Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. They even offer a special package if you're staying for more than two nights, which includes a popcorn & beverage voucher for the show and a Rockettes tote. For those just passing through, however, be sure to step into the lobby so you can also gaze upon the two smaller trees at the top of the mansion’s grand staircase, then we'd advise popping over to Saks Fifth Avenue’s light show, just one block away.

  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

So famous is The Plaza for its Christmas celebrations that it was the subject of a documentary on British TV. So what is it that sets this hotel apart from the rest? It could be that the team works feverishly through the night on Thanksgiving to deck the entire place out in festive cheer, so guests wake up to a delightful surprise. It could be the variety of seasonal packages they offer, one including a six-foot Christmas tree in your room and another with a Home Alone 2 theme (it is one of the film's key locations after all). Or perhaps they're one of the top hotels for a seasonal stay because of the pop-up holiday gift shop and meet-and-greets with Santa.

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Thompson Central Park
Thompson Central Park

3. Thompson Central Park

After four decades as the elegant Parker, this Central Park hotel transformed into the Thompson in fall 2021. Practically everything was changed, except one key – and our favourite – aspect, the Burger Joint. It's no longer hidden behind a curtain, but retains all the divey charm: graffitied walls, worn wodden booths and chaotic counter. Naturally over the festive period the foyer is decked out iwth seasonal decorations, but the best thing about the hotel at Christmas is its location. The glittering, 79-foot Norwegian spruce at Rockefeller Center is just a ten-minute walk away and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is just even closer, offering everything from food to jewelry to homeware.

  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

The Peninsula’s holiday decor is perfect to gawp at from the street. The hotel goes all out on its exteriors, incorporating hundreds of feet of garland, ornaments, lights, small trees, poinsettias and winter flowers, and two reindeer statues. In the bedecked lobby, Victorian carollers sing on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December and there's an old fashioned Sweet Shoppe for the little ’uns. The roof bar gets a Swiss chalet makeover and, fo rbig spenders, there's a Nights Before Christmas package that includes an in-room Christmas tree, gingerbread playhouse, candy cane scavenger hunt and much more.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • East Village
  • price 3 of 4

The Standard, East Village, usually transforms its year-round garden into a winter wonderland from late November through to the following March and, pre-pandemic, this involved heated yurts, gruyere fondue and hot 'spiked' drinks. This year, however, they're scaling it back a bit, but that doesn't mean the festive activities aren't still on tap. If you happen to be there on Christmas Day, grab a ticket for A Very Decimo Christmas in the tenth-floor restaurant, featuring a Mexican/Spanish feast, plus a Champagne cocktail on arrival.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

Like the hotel itself, the St. Regis’s holiday decor is best described as timeless. Nutcrackers flank each side of the 55th Street entrance and, inside, garlands and ornaments are wrapped along banisters and walls. For the holidays, the hotel usually hosts activities for the little ones (like gingerbread decorating) and gives its Cognac Room a twinkling makeover.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 4 of 4

Holiday trees and garlands pop up in every corner at The Pierre, but what makes the hotel special at Christmas time is some of the scrummiest hot chocolate at Two E, the hotel’s Art Deco bar and lounge for high tea in the afternoon and cocktails in the evening. 

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 4 of 4

The Carlyle’s elegant black-and-white-marbled lobby and Art Deco splendor already make us feel cozy in the winter. But add garlands and trees—covered in silver, black and white ornaments, ribbons and lights—and we’ll linger longer in the lobby’s plush yellow arm chairs. If you happen to be there on Christmas Day, you'll even get a visit from Santa. It's also worth checking the events programme at Cafe Carlyle, where the cabaret evenings get a little festive.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Chelsea
  • price 3 of 4

For such an eccentric hotel in the trendy Meatpacking District, we'd expect nothing less than quirky when it comes to their holiday decor. In previous years they've turned their rooftop bar into a 'Midwinter Night's Dream', complete with a Christmas light tunnel and candy cane cocktails, and the lobby has been morphed into an alpine lodge with a taxidermied polar bear and snow leopard, as well as an 'Outdoor Ice Bar' with life-sized moving penguins dressed in suits at an igloo bar. This year, 

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