Grand Victorian townhouses, imposing Palladian manors, cosy thatched cottages, relaxing lakeside spas and stately homes from home, there are some truly enchanting properties in the Relais and Châteaux luxury portfolio. All of which offer packages to make this festive season unlike anything ever experienced before.
Feel the warming touch of a roaring log fire, revive the senses with a snow-capped woodland walk, see great halls and sweeping staircases decked out in Christmas finery. Ring in the new year with a traditional piper and Hogmanay or take part in a show-stopping falconry experience on Boxing Day, plus feast on some of the finest festive fayre in the land.
Each property is unique with the unrivalled attention to detail that Relais and Châteaux is renowned for. Where better to spend the festive season? Here are 17 of our top picks for the upcoming festive season.
1. Cashel Palace, County Tipperary, Ireland
A grand Palladian Manor enveloped in nature and spectacularly located by the Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, any guest would be hard pushed to find a warmer welcome or a more luxurious setting in which to celebrate Christmas.
Cashel Palace has availability for its Christmas and Boxing Day package which includes a three-night stay in this blissfully decadent, supremely stylish hotel. Enjoy a Christmas Eve festive afternoon tea, followed by carol-singing, mulled wine and dinner in Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Kitchen. On Christmas Day, a breakfast, lunch and supper are all served, plus games and merriment including a visit from Santa Claus. On Boxing Day, a leisurely brunch, movies and activities are rounded off with a gala dinner and after dinner entertainment.
Prices for a Cashel Palace Christmas start at €1,495 per person for an Avenue deluxe room with children’s rates available. Cashel Palace also has availability for twixmas for one- or two-night stays including festive dinner menus.
2. The Bath Priory, Bath, Somerset
Nestled in the tranquil countryside, The Bath Priory is just a short walk from the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Bath. Set in four acres of gardens, the Georgian house of honey-coloured Bath stone welcomes guests as if into their own home.
A three- or four-night Christmas Retreat is available with guests invited to arrive on December 23 and 24. Those arriving on the 23rd will be greeted with a champagne reception and delicious three-course dinner with matched wines or arrive on Christmas Eve to a fireside cream tea welcome. After a four-course dinner on Christmas Eve, many guests opt to attend midnight mass at the impressive Bath Abbey, always packed with city residents as well as visitors.
On Christmas morning, receive a special gift from the hotel and enjoy a delicious breakfast, followed by a spectacular birds of prey display, which takes place on the lawn. Toast the day with a chilled glass of champagne and a five-course festive lunch, then to end the day’s festive feasting, a light buffet dinner is served. Warm up with a mulled wine on Boxing Day before exploring the city of Bath with a guided walking tour or you could opt to enjoy pantomime fun at The Theatre Royal, all included in the package, before a final celebration evening with a champagne reception, live jazz music and five-course gala dinner with matching wine flight.
The four-night Christmas Retreat is between December 23-27 and costs from £1,966 per person, based on two sharing and including daily breakfast, dinner, treats and activities as listed. A three-night package with arrival on Christmas Eve starts from £1,555.50 per person, with two sharing.
3. Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois, Ireland
This year celebrate the rich traditions of Christmas and New Year in the heart of Ballyfin. Bedecked with twinkling lights, open wood fires burning in the reception rooms, a horse-drawn carriage outside and lots of seasonal activities and sumptuous food, wine and music, Ballyfin is perfect for a great Christmas escape.
Christmas Eve, the excitement builds with a casual lunch, mince pies and Christmas carols. Wine tasting is available in the cellar, and pre-dinner drinks with the accompaniment of the hotel’s resident pianist, with dinner served in state dining room. Christmas Day includes a champagne reception, festive lunch with selected wines followed by games, activities and a Christmas movie. A gala buffet is served in the library from 8pm.
Have a leisurely breakfast on Stephen’s Day before an action-packed day with traditional country pursuits of archery and clay pigeon shooting or a horse-drawn carriage around the lake and gardens, with a magical surprise along the way. A falconry experience rounds off the afternoon before dinner and evening entertainment featuring Irish music and dance.
Prices start from €1,645 per night.
4. Farlam Hall, Brampton, Cumbria
Set in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, overlooking serene and sculpted grounds, that provide endless opportunities to get out and explore – Farlam Hall is perfectly situated for a memorable stay in a traditional country house that feels just like home.
Enjoy a three-night stay at Farlam with their amazing Christmas package between December 24-27, with a cream tea and mulled wine on arrival then later a champagne reception and five-course tasting menu in the Cedar Tree Restaurant.
Christmas day begins with a hearty breakfast ahead of Kir Royale and canapes and lunch. Guests will then each receive a Christmas hamper in their room filled with food and drinks to enjoy in their room. On Boxing Day walk off the indulgences with resident manager Max Winder on a guided tour around Talkin Tarn, where the Farlam Hall team will meet you with lunch. An a la carte dinner rounds off the day.
Available accommodation for this package includes The Clock House studio apartment, The Tack House cottage and The Brookside Cottage, with prices available on request.
Farlam Hall also has availability for its New Year’s Eve package with options to arrive either on December 30 or 31, which includes delicious fine dining and a spectacular firework display. Non-residents can also enjoy festive lunches and afternoon teas from £29 per person.
5. 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London
Celebrating Christmas in a magical destination like London will be sure to bring the childhood excitement back this festive season, so why not head to the beautiful Victorian town houses at 11 Cadogan Gardens in the heart of Chelsea for an unforgettable Christmas?
Located upon Pavilion Road, a treasure trove of boutiques, artisanal eateries and more – and near to the Duke of York Square, where each year a fantastic Christmas market is held, guests will have plenty to do!
The hotel’s Christmas package will allow you to enjoy a festive breakfast and one festive cocktail per guest at the Chelsea Bar, a surprise Christmas treat/gift and a small bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne on arrival and a Christmas afternoon tea for two to enjoy during the stay. From £620 per night.
Festive afternoon teas are available for non-residents between December 1-26. The festive afternoon tea is priced at £50 per person, while the champagne festive afternoon tea is priced at £60 per person.
6. Amberley Castle, Nr Arundel, West Sussex
Spend Christmas in the enchanting, fairy-tale setting of Amberley Castle. Arrive on Christmas Eve to a welcoming cream tea in the lounges and indulge in an exquisite à la carte dinner to the sounds of a live pianist, finishing with midnight mass and a nightcap of warming mulled wine.
Christmas Day morning brings a special gift from Amberley Castle before toasting the occasion with a glass of champagne and a five-course festive lunch with matching wine flight, coffee and petits fours, all accompanied by the soothing sounds of a live harpist. After lunch, step out for a crisp winter walk before settling beside one of our roaring log fires to enjoy an evening buffet to end the day.
Unwind on Boxing Day and stroll through the twelve acres of frost-tipped gardens in the heart of the West Sussex countryside. The magical Christmas retreat concludes with an exceptional three-course dinner before retiring to your luxurious guestroom.
From £945 per room, per night.
For between Christmas and New Year’s Eve
7. Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Christmas at Sheen Falls Lodge is like a magical blanket that wraps itself around you. A warm familiar welcome, with roaring log fires, sumptuous sofas and a sense of calm and occasion. Linger over a welcome drink while you soak up the atmosphere of the enchanting waterfalls and breathe in the aroma of pine and cinnamon. Watch the light fade over the snow-capped mountains and let them take care of you and your family in the tranquillity that is the essence of the festive season at Sheen Falls Lodge.
The hotel’s Twixmas Break package will run between December 27-30 inclusive. Take a short break away from it all, amidst the peace and quiet of the stunning surroundings at Sheen Falls and make the most of the opportunity to relax after the Christmas break. Enjoy a three-night break, with breakfast each morning, dinner on two evenings – one in The Falls Restaurant and one in The Stables Brasserie and Bar. The third night within the package is extended at a 50 per cent discount.
Rates are from €762.50 per person sharing in a classic room. Supplements apply for higher room categories.
Sheen Falls also has availability for a two-night stay over New Year’s Eve.
8. Ballynahinch Castle, Co. Galway, Ireland
Christmas at Ballynahinch Castle is a most favoured time of the year. Inside the hotel, the sound of the crackling open log fires is accompanied by the reflections of the twinkling decorations adorning the mantel pieces in the luxurious lounges. The scent of mulled wine and freshly baked mince pies drift through the house as our devoted team make the final preparations for your arrival.
Outside, the peace and tranquillity of Connemara’s beauty awaits you; the winding trails, forest walks and walled garden are especially enchanting at this time of year.
For Twixmas, a two-night package starts from €780 per couple/€390 per person sharing inclusive of two nights bed and breakfast with dinner on one evening in the restaurant.
9. Airds Hotel and Restaurant, Port Appin, Scotland
An idyllic setting, supremely stylish interiors, some of the best food in the country and all the charm and character you’d expect from an 18th century coaching inn, coupled with a generous helping of warm, traditional Scottish hospitality. Perched on the edge of the picturesque Argyll Coast, Airds Hotel and Restaurant has earned itself a stellar reputation as a dining destination for with sea, sky and mountain views that are second to none.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place then to spend the hiatus between Christmas and New Year, leaving the leftovers and lethargy behind for a rejuvenating stay on Scotland’s stunning west coast. Tranquillity awaits.
The price, from £490 for a double room, includes full Scottish breakfast and a four-course à la carte dinner each day. Arrive on Tuesday 27 or Wednesday 28 of December. Price is subject to availability, based on two sharing and includes VAT and service.
Airds Hotel and Restaurant also has availability for Hogmanay (December 30 until Jan 2) from £820 for a classic double room including a daily full afternoon tea with mulled wine, full Scottish breakfast (including porridge and a wee dram if desired), candlelit dinner, Ceilidh dance on New Year’s Eve and black-tie gala dinner, plus a champagne and canapes reception on January 1 with a Scottish piper at dinner.
For New Year’s Eve
10. Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire
A Grade I, privately-owned stately home set in 376 acres of idyllic National Trust preserved grounds, Cliveden House is a five AA Red Star, award-winning, Relais and Châteaux hotel and spa that has remained a pinnacle of intrigue and glamour for the elite.
Although the hotel is fully booked for Christmas there is availability for the New Year’s Eve package which includes champagne on arrival followed by afternoon tea and a decadent pampering session in the spa. An evening of feasting is followed by a live band and disco with a traditional piper and rendition of Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the New Year.
A New Year’s Eve brunch buffet is served the next day, before an evening reception with Champagne and canapes plus a three-course meal.
Prices start at £3,550 for a classic room.
11. Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae, Scotland
Celebrate the highlight of the Scottish calendar with a true taste of the highlands. The three-day New Year House Party package at Glenapp Castle includes Scottish pipers, whisky, fine food, a curling bonspiel, star gazing, champagne and of course Auld Lang Syne. Guests from all over the world flock to Glenapp Castle to enjoy its splendour and exquisite cuisine, a perfect sanctuary in which to ring in the new year.
Prices start from £4,795 for a garden view suite.
12. Lympstone Manor, Exmouth, Devon
The three-night New Year stay at Lympstone Manor starts on December 30 in jubilant style with champagne on arrival, before guests dine in the Georgian fine dining rooms.
The team pulls out all the stops for the most glamorous New Year’s Eve party. A black-tie eight-course signature tasting menu and wine flight. Guests welcome in 2023 listening to live music from The Swing Kings followed by a spectacular firework display over the breath-taking vineyard and estuary, with a champagne toast at midnight.
Start the New Year with a stroll around grounds or join a guided walk along the coastline and River Exe. Guests can finish off their stay leisurely warming by the roaring fire in the snug lounge and unwinding in the evening over an à la carte dinner.
Lympstone Manor is a cosy and decorative lovingly restored mansion, set across 28 acres of stunning countryside, and is perfectly placed for an exceptional festive experience.
The ‘New Year at the Manor’ package is eligible for a three-night stay from December 30 until January 2, priced from £1,215 per night based on double occupancy.
13. The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall
The Idle Rocks, situated in the Cornish fishing village of St Mawes, is the ideal destination for a secluded New Year’s getaway. Perched perfectly on the rocks, in the heart of St Mawes, this aspirational home away from home, is offering a four-night staycation package to welcome in 2023. With a night of celebrations on December 31, complete with a pre-dinner Cornish sparkling wine reception, delicious canapés, and an exceptional New Year’s Eve gala dinner, created by executive head chef Dorian Janmaat, this will be an unforgettable staycation.
The following days will also be filled with plentiful opportunities to relax and soak up the waterside comfort The Idle Rocks offers with movie screenings in the hidden cinema and a New Year’s Day brunch. The hotel’s location, accompanied by the hospitality that is genuine and engaging radiates a calming environment to enjoy with friends or family this New Year.
Room rates start from £2,480 (based on two people sharing).
14. Grantley Hall, Ripon, Yorkshire
Grantley Hall is a hidden jewel found in the Yorkshire Dales, offering 47 exquisite bedrooms, five indulgent restaurants and three stunning bars. All of which have culminated in Grantley Hall being crowned AA Hotel of the Year England 2022/23 at the AA Hospitality Awards 2022.
Bring in the New Year in true Grantley Hall style with an indulgent three-night New Year House Party that’s the perfect mix of relaxation and festivities. A delicious festive afternoon tea is served on arrival, along with time to relax in the hall’s premium spa and wellness facilities. Throughout the stay guests will be given a choice of delectable dining, all topped off with gala menus and sparkling entertainment throughout the hall on New Year’s Eve.
Prices start at £3,500 for a deluxe room for the New Year’s House Party.
Non-residents can also join in the festivities, Grantley Hall will transport guests to a glittering winter wonderland at its elegant black-tie Crystal and Ice Ball which is always an ideal way to celebrate the New Year in style. Guests will be welcomed to the event with a sparkling champagne drinks reception at 7pm before enjoying a specially designed six-course menu and live entertainment throughout the evening. Welcome in the New Year with a piper and fireworks display.
Price is £220 per person for non-residents or a £100 supplement per person for residents on the three-night New Year’s break.
15. Park Kenmare, Kerry, Ireland
Escape to mystical Kerry for the festive holidays and enjoy the splendid warmth of the Park Hotel Kenmare between December 24 and 27. The tradition of Christmas is preserved in this little Victorian haven overlooking Kenmare Bay. The days are filled with many options from a walk with the Kenmare Walking Club to the serenity of SÁMAS, the hotel’s deluxe destination spa.
Evenings by the fire or dancing to the sounds of a live band in the drawing room will ensure a most enjoyable visit to this rural retreat. Rates are all inclusive of three nights luxurious accommodation, full Irish breakfast served daily, candlelit dinner nightly and a whole host of classes and activities planned as part of your festive break.
Rates from €1,550 per person sharing.
16. Chewton Glen, New Milton, Hampshire
A quintessentially luxury five-star hotel and spa on the edge of the enchanting New Forest. Chewton Glen is a true English original, an 18th century country house set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside that offers an idyllic escape.
Welcome in the New Year in splendid style with friends and loved ones during a fun-filled celebration brimming with fine food, wine, and a glass or two of bubbles. Dance the evening away and then sink into one of the glorious guestrooms to enjoy a night of luxurious comfort.
A two-night stay includes champagne on arrival, afternoon tea and a bubbly pre-dinner reception before a six-course gala dinner. Toast in 2023 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé and a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Midnight piper and fireworks, followed by dancing. Start the first day of the new year with a leisurely breakfast, a champagne brunch and gourmet five-course dinner with entertainment.
The New Year House Party at Chewton Glen starts from £4,194 based on two guests staying in an estate room.
17. Hartwell House, Vale of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
The New Year’s Eve house party at Hartwell House is a time to relax and enjoy the marvellous atmosphere and the best of everything in this remarkable country house located within the Vale of Aylesbury and on the edge of the Chilterns, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of England’s finest stately homes, it is situated just 40 miles north west of London in over 90 acres of gardens and parkland.
A two-night celebration to welcome in 2023 includes a cream tea and welcome dinner onDecember 30. A cooked breakfast, champagne reception and four-course black tie New Year’s dinner with fine wine pairings followed by fireworks and dancing. Guests can then enjoy a New Year’s Day Hartwell brunch.
Prices start from £935 per person, based on double occupancy. Why not take advantage of the special additional night rate from £395 for a double or twin room to include a £59 allowance each towards dinner, cooked English breakfast and use of the Hartwell Spa?
Article Source: Luxury Lifestyle Magazine