Forget a Michelin-starred chef or state-of-the-art super-spa, a designer Christmas tree is the ultimate status symbol for London’s five-star hotels over the festive season.
Collaborations with jewellery Maisons, fashion houses and perfumers have become de rigueur for (ho-ho-)hospitality heavyweights, transforming already opulent lobbies and forecourts into dazzling destinations in their own right.
The best in the game is Claridge’s, whose annual unveiling is toasted at a celeb-studded champagne reception. The 2024 partnership is with Louis Vuitton, which follows in the fashionable footsteps of Jimmy Choo, Dior, Christian Louboutin and Karl Lagerfeld. (The term ‘tree’ is used loosely for Louis Vuitton has forgone a traditional fir in favour of a stack of monogrammed malles vestiaire).
Traditionalists will be drawn to the gold-hued glamour of Garrard’s partnership with Rosewood London. The jeweller celebrates 20 years of its Wings collection – and the recent launch of Wings Rising – by decking the halls of the lobby and Mirror Room. The centrepiece is the courtyard’s 24ft Christmas tree, adorned with blue and gold Garrard baubles, twinkling fairy lights and topped with a towering set of wings.
A frivolous take on festivities is found at 45 Park Lane, where Hormazd Narielwalla has adorned the tree with ornamental odes to pop culture. Another artist, Dame Rachel Whiteread, was enlisted for the 34-footer outside The Connaught but to rather more poignant effect: her simple hoop decorations symbolise togetherness and hope.
The Shangri-La at The Shard and The Londoner both have their Christmas trees standing proud in the lobby (the former in partnership with Jo Loves, the latter with designer Huishan Zhang), with the possibility of more designer-clad partnerships on the horizon.
Read on to discover more of the best designer hotel Christmas trees to welcome the festive season in London.
The best designer Christmas trees in London hotels
Louis Vuitton at Claridge’s
In the centre of Claridge’s black-and-white marble lobby the French fashion house has erected a towering 5.2 metre-high display of LV malles vestiaire (wardrobe trunks). Fifteen chrome cases form a reflective centrepiece, framed by two supersized trunks in the label’s signature monogram print.
The designer Christmas tree celebrates a centuries-old relationship between the two luxury powerhouses. Louis Vuitton luggage has been carried through Claridge’s since its earliest days. Both businesses were founded in 1854 and Louis Vuitton personally packed the wardrobe of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, for her sojourns to her winter residence: Claridge’s.
Garrard at the Rosewood
There has been plenty to celebrate for both Rosewood London and Garrard in 2023. The collaboration marks the culmination of Rosewood London’s 10-year anniversary campaign, Rosewood X. Garrard, the first official crown jeweller, toasts to the 20th anniversary of its signature Wings collection.
The Christmas collaboration extends beyond bringing sparkles to this luxury stalwart. The hotel’s Art Afternoon Tea has been given a seasonal revamp with a festive menu Garrard‘s honour.
Hormazd Narielwalla at 45 Park Lane
Taking the crown for the most frivolous designer hotel Christmas tree is the vibrant collaboration between 45 Park Lane and Hormazd Narielwalla. The artist has hand-crafted a selection of ornaments celebrating pop culture icons. Spot miniatures of David Bowie, the Beatles and Sir Cliff Richard, who joined Narielwalla for the official unveiling of the tree.
Fans will have an opportunity to take home a piece of the magic when the ornaments are sold for charity in January 2024.
Huishan Zhang at The Londoner
Fashion designer Huishan Zhang hosted his spring/summer 2024 London Fashion Week show at The Londoner and has returned just in time for Christmas. Zhang imbues the hotel tree with the same frothy femininity that define his clothes. Think: an elevated monochrome design featuring large black and white roses.
Jo Loves at The Shangri-La at The Shard
The branding on this collaboration can’t be missed. A giant Jo Loves perfume box stands proud next to the 14ft Christmas tree, which is decorated in red and white (the perfume brand’s signature colours). Striped bows and baubles adorn the tree alongside miniature bottles of perfume.
Dame Rachel Whiteread at The Connaught
Turner Prize-winning sculptor Dame Rachel Whiteread brings high-brow artistic flair to the 31ft designer tree outside The Connaught on Carlos Place. The tree is simple but packs a poignant message. The branches are hung with glowing white hoops, a common motif in Whiteread’s work, which are intended to foster a feelingness of togetherness and hope. ‘Tis the season, after all!