A fancy hotel is the answer if you’re stranded by snow

IT’S not looking good for those of us planning to head away for Christmas, which means it could be time to rethink things. Option one: wallow at home, rueing the fact that your plans have been scuppered and the shops have sold out of turkey; option two: book into a hotel, relax and enjoy a stress-free Christmas for once. If you’re stranded in London it’s a no-brainer, and there’s plenty of availability. Here are our picks.

THE BERKELEY, KNIGHTSBRIDGE
The roof terrace of the Berkeley’s spa has been transformed into a mini outdoor cinema, hidden between the trees of a makeshift pine forest. It’s showing winter classics while hot chocolate, warm blankets, fluffy cushions and furry hot water bottles (plus heating lamps and huge down feather jackets) keep viewers cosy. If you’re staying for Christmas, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Belgravia, four course Christmas lunch at Koffmann’s, a Santa’s grotto in the Blue Bar and Christmas stockings are all included in the £550 per person Christmas package. Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL. www.the-berkeley.co.uk

BROWN’S HOTEL, MAYFAIR
London’s oldest hotel is a discreetly luxurious Mayfair institution. Paul Smith has designed this year’s festive decorations, including a tree decked with Smith’s hand-painted baubles. Rooms are available between December 23-29, and there are a number of packages, such as the Family Festive Celebrations package (from £565 per night), in which you get a deluxe room with another interconnecting room for the kids. Small kids get a 50 per cent reduction on food and drink, and on Christmas Eve Santa will be visiting to deliver goodie-filled stockings. Albemarle St, W1S 4BP. WWW.ROCCOFORTECOLLECTION.COM

FLEMINGS, MAYFAIR
One of Mayfair’s less showy boutique hotels – on the outside, anyway – has gone through a major refurbishment recently and emerged a thing of chic, quirky fabulousness. The interior design sits somewhere between Moulin Rouge and Alice in Wonderland, while the newly-invigorated cocktail bar & tea room (the afternoon teas are highly recommended) has been picking up plaudits from those in the know. For staying over Christmas, the Cupcake and Champagne package is available from £185 per room per night, staying in a classic double or twin. 7-12 Half Moon St, W1J 7BH . www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk

CLARIDGES, MAYFAIR
As last year, fashion designer John Galliano has designed a Christmas tree for Claridge’s Art Deco lobby, this year coming up with what resembles a vast piece of pink coral, surrounded by oceanic life. It’s perfectly extravagant, as is a Claridge’s Christmas, which can include a horse-drawn carriage ride through Mayfair, a seven course Christmas Day lunch, a visit from Father Christmas for kids, an overnight stocking delivery, and breakfast on Christmas day and Boxing day. That’s part of the Timeless Claridge’s Christmas package, which is for two nights (24-26 December) and costs £680. 29 Brook Street, W1K 4HR. www.claridges.co.uk

LANDMARK LONDON, MARYLEBONE
Ineffably grand and aptly named, the Landmark London – famous for its huge covered courtyard housing the Winter Garden restaurant – has a Home for Christmas package (£570 per room based on two sharing) which includes mince pies and Champagne served while you unwrap a mystery gift, a complimentary day pass for two for the hotel’s rather special spa and £100 credit for the restaurant. Or choose the All I want for Christmas deal, which includes a £100 voucher for Hamleys, Selfridges or M&S. A five-course Christmas day lunch is £170 per person. 222 Marylebone Rd, NW1 6JQ. www.landmarklondon.com

THE HOXTON HOTEL
For something a bit more affordable – and extremely comfortable – head to the heart of hipsterville for a stay at the ever-so-groovy Hoxton hotel. The hotel, which has garnered a reputation for selling five rooms each night for just £1 (released periodically throughout the year) is an eclectic mixture of urban cool and creature comforts, with exposed brick walls and polished concrete next to huge, old leather armchairs and roaring log fires. There are rooms available between Christmas and New Year, and while they may not be £1, they’re a relative snip at just £69. 81 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3HU. www.hoxtonhotels.com

SOFITEL ST JAMES, PALL MALL
Sofitel St James is a place of beautiful, old-fashioned opulence in the heart of Pall Mall. The St James bar has launched a special Christmas cocktail – involving a double cognac shot and a frozen shooter – which you can enjoy while gazing at the Christmas tree adorned with 200 miniature, handmade Baccarat bottles of Louis XIII cognac. Bear in mind that the Brasserie Roux restaurant is fully booked for Christmas lunch, but you’re hardly short of places to head for a festive feast round here. The spa is running a selection of special Christmas treatments. From £258 per room per night. 6 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4AN. www.sofitelstjames.com

SOHO HOTEL
Beloved by fashionistas and the media crowd, the Soho Hotel is as stylishly, discretely comfortable as it is cool. Being on the doorstep of the Soho film industry, it comes equipped with its own, ultra-luxe screening room (complete with cowhide chairs) which will be showing the acclaimed George Clooney movie The American to aide the Boxing Day comedown on the afternoon of December 26. A Christmas stay also includes English breakfast and a festive gift from the hotel, while rates are from £260 for a Superior room (excluding VAT). 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH. www.firmdalehotels.com

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