We know the real Christmas tree versus artificial tree debate can go all night, so we won’t even go there. But if there’s one thing most revelers can agree on this season, it’s that the 10 trees we have featured in this festive roundup are sensational firs — real, fake and edible ones — we’d all love to wake up to on December 25.
Fashioned by Dolce & Gabbana, the 23-foot Christmas tree at this storied Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star is dressed in iconic traditional decorations combined with Sicilian themes, inspired by the designers’ Italian heritage. The decadent assemblage of colorful confections made by Italian artisans includes 450 hand-blown glass pieces, a custom luminarie framework of multi-hued bulbs and 30 handcrafted marionettes depicting medieval knights, sporting velvet robes.
Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.
Few holiday trips exude the sweeping opulence of the American Christmas as much as a stay at Biltmore Estate, the country’s largest home completed by transportation tycoon George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. Visitors to the Four-Star hotel are treated to a stately 13-and-a-half-foot, twinkling Frasier fir aptly decorated in a Gilded Age winter wonderland theme of white, silver and gold, set off by the lobby’s stunning chandelier. Ten members of the estate’s floral staff decked the tree in 4,500 lights, 450 ornaments, faux berry sprays and glittery stems.
The Plaza Hotel, New York City
This Four-Star hotel captures the imagination with a wintry-wonderland-themed tree towering in the foyer. The Plaza had legendary retailer Saks Fifth Avenue curate a collection of gorgeous snowflake ornaments, which cascade down the 18-footer’s branches, also awash in gilt bits and bobs and capped with a striking, 24-inch wide, 3-D printed snowflake designed by Marian Bantjes and printed by MakerBot. The tree celebrates The Plaza and Saks joining forces to shed light on charity, benefitting the good works of Volunteers of America-Greater New York.
Two noble firs are better than one at this Five-Star hotel, where both the lobby and Aria Pavillion feature designs that evoke Old World glamour. More than 3,000 sparkling lights reflecting off of gold, red, coral and burgundy ornaments on the 16-foot lobby tree greet guests as they check into the hotel. And richly toned decorations captivate on the 20-foot tree in the Moroccan-inspired Aria Pavilion, under the flickering lights of the night sky’s stars.
The Four-Star dazzler makes the season sweeter with a looks-good-enough-to-eat, show-stopping, 8-foot macaron holiday tree, topped with a big golden bow. Using 10,008 egg whites, 15 cups of water and 57 cups each of powdered sugar, sugar and almond flour, the hotel’s pastry team worked tirelessly to make, bake and expertly place 8,000 perfect French macarons in a 58-hour assembly marathon.
The St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif.
Opting to save a tree, this Five-Star Orange County hotel chose a 35-foot silk alternative crafted in California to display on the Grand Lawn. Designer Leslie MacMillan of Chris Lindsay Design and her team decorated the scene-stealer, adding lights layer by layer and branch by branch, draping it in weather-resistant mesh, then adding industrial-grade ornaments in golds, burnt orange and copper — some as big as 52 inches tall.
Capital Hotel, Little Rock, Ark.
Considered the jewel of Little Rock, this Four-Star hotel keeps up a grand tradition with a slender, 30-foot white fir from Oregon on display in its majestic lobby. Inspired by the hotel’s stained-glass ceilings, Howard Hurst and his team at Tipton and Hurst Florist chose a classic palette of burgundy and gold, covering the branches with all-glass ornaments in a range of deep reds and an ethereal gold ribbon running through the sea of deep green.
For Vegas-style glitter, the Four-Star palace’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens boasts the Strip’s largest tree — a breathtaking 42-foot-tall, 18-foot-wide and 6,800-pound white fir from Mt. Shasta, California. With just the right amount of flash for Sin City, 7,000 warm white LED lights and 2,500 jewel-toned ornaments adorn this centerpiece of a supersized winter wonderland decked in whimsical floral sculptures.
This Four-Star gem amps up that magical feeling it’s known for with a 12-foot noble fir in the main lobby, adorned with artisanal California flair. Warm and inviting in traditional red and gold, the painted glass balls were handmade by resident craftspeople in the resort’s own Artist Cottage & Apothecary, referencing Ojai’s reputation as a haven for artists and haute hippies.
The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Va.
Flaunting more than 1,000 lights, the tree at this renowned Five-Star hotel stands proud at 28 feet in the stately, marbled Rotunda lobby. Continuing his tradition of decorating the tree for the last 15 years, house floral designer Rick Lunsford festooned it with bright red, green, gold and silver oversized bulbs, adding bows and tassels as accents. A private collection of approximately two dozen antique Santa Claus statues sits underneath on display.
Photos Courtesy of Claridge’s, The Biltmore Company, Dario Calmese, The Grand Del Mar, The Ritz Carlton Charlotte, The St. Regis Monarch Beach, Heather Collins, Bellagio, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and The Jefferson Hotel