You may not think of China as the ideal Christmas escape, but between holiday cheer in Hong Kong, blissful spa treatments in Beijing and succulent feasts in Sanya, you might just discover a host of new merry moments and family traditions at these high-end Asian hotels.
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star urban retreat. The historic Hong Kong hotel has set up a beautiful Charity Wishing Tree in the main lobby, where you can get into the spirit of the season by making a donation to Mother’s Choice, a local foundation that supports orphaned children and pregnant teens. The Mandarin Salon is offering a charitable holiday manicure with proceeds benefiting the organization, too.
All month long, you also can indulge in a festive afternoon tea at the Clipper Lounge or Café Causette.
And from December 18 through 24, enjoy seasonal treats like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts in the lobby as well.
But that’s just the warm-up. From December 23 through 25, the hotel will roll out a series of family friendly entertainment, including magicians, face painting, visits from Santa and ballet and children’s choir performances.
The Langham, Hong Kong
From the moment you enter the lobby at this elegant Five-Star escape, Christmas cheer fills the air thanks to a glamorous fireplace and sparkling tree surrounded by bundles of gifts. Not only will Santa Claus be paying a visit to the Hong Kong hotel, but there will also be live music throughout the month and, of course, carolers on December 24.
Get even more into the holiday spirit at Palm Court with the whimsical White Christmas afternoon tea or partake in a more casually festive feast at Main St. Deli. The eatery promises a three-course set lunch and dinner menu on December 25 and a burger- and cupcake-packed New Year’s Eve celebration.
After dinner, grab a bar stool at the U-shaped Artesian bar, adjacent to the lobby and Palm Court. In honor of the season, the mixologist has designed a special X’mas Negroni (made with gin, Campari, Dubonnet, grapefruit and orange bitters) that will warm up even the iciest Grinch.
A calming oasis in the heart of Beijing’s busy business district, this Four-Star stunner knows how to spread holiday cheer in style. But even before diving into the festivities, we’d suggest an end-of-the-year pampering session at Four-Star Sense, A Rosewood Spa. At this 32,000-square-foot retreat, relaxing winter treatments — like the celeb-favorite Timexpert LIFT(IN) facial by Germaine de Capuccini — will leave your skin looking as flawless as the hotel’s holiday decorations.
The indulgence continues with decadent seasonal offerings at each of the property’s six restaurants and lounges, including a French-inspired Christmas Day menu at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Bistrot B that includes langoustine, veal and foie gras.
If you’re still around for New Year’s, leave your resolutions at the door. The glamorous Red Bowl restaurant will tempt you with contemporary décor and a warming holiday hot pot menu, while Country Kitchen promises a home-style Chinese menu brimming with dumplings, seafood and winter soups.
InterContinental Hong Kong
Every year, this beloved Five-Star Hong Kong hotel decks the halls — quite literally. Holiday revelers will appreciate the property’s joyous traditions, including its annual Christmas carol performances, kids’ gingerbread-decorating classes and the glittering Wishing Tree in the Lobby Lounge, where you can make donations to a local charity by purchasing recycled wooden Nutcracker ornaments.
This year, try it all with the Festive Suite Experience. Available through February 24, the package includes a stay in a Harbourview Suite, exclusive club-level access and a HK$500 (approximately US$64) hotel credit per night to spend on dining or pampering.
Unwind after a busy year with I-Spa’s Ginger Winter Warmer Experience, a two-hour treatment that harnesses the healing powers (and holiday flavors) of coffee, ginger and frankincense.
Cap off the relaxing day with a Cantonese set lunch at Five-Star Yan Toh Heen.
Speaking of delicious food, you can’t go wrong with any of the festive dining options around the luxe hotel, either. Each of the five restaurants and lounges has designed its own celebratory menu and experiences, including a charming Nutcracker Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge; a semi-buffet lunch at The Steak House Winebar and Grill; and Christmas Eve meals at recently opened Rech by Alain Ducasse.
If you’re still in town to ring in 2018, be sure to reserve a spot at the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party with front-row seats to Hong Kong’s iconic fireworks show on Victoria Harbour.
The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort
You won’t find a white Christmas on the beaches of Sanya, a sunny island off the coast of China, but you will discover a heart-warming holiday wonderland at this oceanfront resort. Tucked away on the remote southern coastline of Hainan Island, the romantic getaway promises beachfront bliss right alongside a lineup of seasonal festivities.
The delightful yuletide traditions here revolve around an annual Christmas Eve buffet barbecue on the grand front lawn, where you can dig into turkey, seafood and tasty desserts accompanied by gentle waves and ocean breezes.
Afterward, stay put for the St. Regis Champagne Ritual, an event where you grab a glass of bubbly, move to live music and try your luck with a few gift giveaways.