OH dear. A bit of snow, as we had on Thursday, and London goes into panic mode. Flights are delayed, cancelled and rearranged, and with the threat of a BA strike only tenuously averted, getting out of London over the Christmas period seems anything but a sure bet.
But look on the bright side. It’s one of the best cities in the world for culture, leisure, beauty and sheer luxury. Whether you’ve just decided you don’t fancy the hassle of travelling or your plans are thrown into disarray by weather or other events out of your control, you are in the best possible city to take advantage of the holiday.
Here we’ve included six of the best Christmas packages on offer in London, at a selection of the world’s best hotels. We’ve gone from traditional (the Connaught, the Landmark and the Lanesborough) to international va va voom (Mandarin Oriental) to boutique (Brown’s and Hotel 55).
Chin chin and, of course, merry Christmas.
Delays to travel this Christmas period are actually an excellent excuse for taking advantage of almost unheard-of rates at what must be the very epitome of London’s spread of stately, luxury hotels. We’re talking butler service in your Regency-style room overlooking Hyde Park and champagne on arrival, plus an opportunity to stroll about the art-laden, marble halls of the sumptuous hotel, drink in its uniquely inviting, book-lined Library Bar, sup in the extravagantly decorated Apsley’s restaurant and stroll the five minutes to Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Richly decorated Christmas trees and baubles throughout enhance the festive feeling. Deluxe double room from £255, minimum two night stay. Until 31 Dec. To book call 020 7259 5599 or go to www.lanesborough.com. 1 Lanesborough Pl, SW1X 7TA
Christmas time in the heart of Mayfair at one of London’s plushest boutique hotels is a perfect antidote to travel woes. Brown’s is all soft elegance, and has an award-winning spa and restaurant. The superb Albermarle restaurant still has availability for Christmas Eve dinner and candlelit Christmas Day dinner (not lunch) – think treacle-cured salmon with pickled fennel, roast beef and boozy baked Cox apple with Somerset cider brandy custard. Christmas Eve dinner £85 per person, Christmas Day dinner £105 per person. Stay two nights and get a third free in a classic room, from £660. Or stay one night from £225 and enjoy bottle of champagne on the house. Both deals valid until 10 Jan. To book, call 020 7493 6020, visit www.brownshotel.com. 33 Albemarle Street London, W1S 4BP
Stranded in London over Christmas? The Connaught has just the festive package for you. On Christmas eve, expect egg nog and home-made mince pies on arrival, plus afternoon tea (£35 extra). That night, the hotel’s concierges can arrange attendance at midnight mass at a local church. Roll on to the big day itself: English breakfast, horse-drawn carriage ride through Mayfair village with mulled wine and mince pies, then Christmas cocktails followed by Christmas lunch. Next day it’s decadent brunch at Helene Darroze, the Michelin-starred restaurant, and late check-out. From £650 per person for a deluxe king room, based on two people sharing. Or until 10 Jan, rooms from £295 in a Superior King room. To book call 020 7499 7070 or go to www.the-connaught.co.uk. Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
A hop, skip and jump away from Paddington and the Heathrow Express, Marylebone’s grandly opulent Victorian palace has a Christmas stay that makes the most of London. The Winter Wonderland package starts with a champagne breakfast before a car takes you past all London’s most glorious sights, then on to the London Eye for a Christmas ride. Stroll along the Thames to Somerset House where you will ice skate outdoors, before being driven back to the hotel to wind down in your room for a cosy night. Or go for the Close at Christmas package, which includes a mystery gift and a champagne breakfast before a day spent in the Spa & Health Club with complimentary spa passes. Price from £615 for Winter Wonderland; £315 for Close at Christmas. To book call 020 7631 8000 or go to www.landmarklondon.co.uk. 222 Marylebone Road, NW1 6JQ
If you want to be near Heathrow, this surprising gem in an otherwise undistinguished part of town is just the ticket. With clean lines, elegant furnishings and modern canvases, as well as a garden that would challenge the one at the ultra-designed, far more expensive Hempel Hotel in Bayswater, this is just the place to go to recharge while you sort yourself out for the next leg of the journey. Rooms are in the boutique style, with minimalist but luxurious beds, chairs and bathrooms in rich colours. If you’re there before 24 December, try out the hotel’s acclaimed Japanese restaurant Momo. It’ll be closed until 5 January after that, but the hotel will fix you up with delivery from local restaurants – just like being curled up at home, only nicer. Rooms from £65 over the Christmas period. To book, call 020 8991 4450 go to www.hotel55-london.com. 55 Hanger Lane, W5 3HL
Arguably the most opulent hotel in town – and certainly the one with the most glamorous bar – the uber-slick Asian-style Mandarin Oriental puts you in a prime location to do away with the last of your travel woes with a good spree round nearby Harrods and Harvey Nicks. For the Winter Warmer package, a Jo Malone candle as a gift in your luxuriously appointed room should add some welcome cosiness, and a full English breakfast at The Park restaurant will ensure you’re well fuelled for shopping in Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. Winter Warmer package, which includes Jo Malone candle and breakfast, starts at £259 per night in a deluxe room. Valid until 31 Jan. To book call 020 7235 2000 or go to www.mandarinoriental.com/london. 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA.