Christmas in China can be a bit of a mixed bag. You might get a bad case of the Christmas shopping doldrums after spending hours listening to Christmas tunes remixed to happy hardcore techno in the mall (seriously, who can stand the blaring of Alvin & the Chipmunks "Jingle Bells?") or might even come to realize GASP! that you are probably on Santa's naughty list this year (That's you Johnny Depp! The Tourist was a bad, bad movie!). And if you're in a Santa suit on Tian'anmen Square the day the Nobel Peace Prize is being handed to hassled by the man.
On the other hand, being in China for Christmas can be a real treat. If you're in Sanya, you can soak up rays on the beach or maybe even surf Hainan's waves. If you're in Harbin, you can swoon at the magnificently lit sculptures on display at the Harbin Ice Festival, and no matter where you there will be 5-star hotels giving the gift of sensational dining, incredible creature comforts and tantalizing treatments at prices Little Tim could afford (after graduating from Harvard Med).
If you are inclined to stay, dine or enjoy a treat or two at a hotel over the holidays, take a look at the list below, these are some of the hotel offerings that have caught my attention over the last few days...
Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Though not technically in China, the majority of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent and there's plenty of business being done between Singapore and China these days. If you happen to be celebrating Christmas in Singapore and have yet to buy gifts check this out!
The hotel's newly-launched Luxe Package includes a stay at a Club Room or an Orchid Suite, including a complimentary bottle of Champagne upon arrival, an evening for two at the indulgent Chocolate Bar and S$100 off a minimum purchase of S$1000 from boutiques at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (think BALLY, Cartier, CHANEL, Dior, ESCADA, FENDI, Gucci, Hermès and the likes). Now who could return a present like that?
Book the Marina Bay Sands Singapore on Ctrip.com
Le Méridien Taipei, Taiwan
Le Méridien's chef has taken a different tact, electing instead to lure you with irresistible designer sweets available only at this hotel.
Among the goodies on offer are signature ginger breads, an inventive interpretation of Germany's festive "Stollen" holiday treat (now re-cast as coy French macaroon), and the chef's newest creation "Christmas Chocolate." I'd describe that, but in the tradition of keeping gifts wrapped 'til Christmas, I'm going to leave this one a surprise...
W Hong Kong
A Conde Naste hot list hotel 2009, the W has some of the best style cred in the city, and that means a lot in glitzy Hong Kong. If you want to bring in the New Year surrounded by designer luxuries and
impeccable service what better place than a W room or suite? Two-night deals including buffet dinners for two at Kitchen, New Year's party for two at Living Room and buffet breakfast for two at Kitchen will set you back HK$ 21,600 for a Marvelous Suite, or HK$ 9,600 for a Wonderful Room.
Beyond room deals, W is also putting together a host of sumptuous breakfasts, lunches and dinners for Christmas eve, Christmas day as well as New Year's eve and morning. Kitchen's 180-degree harbor views and all-you-can-eat buffet featuring sushi, sashimi, freshly shucked oysters and its mouth-watering assortment of roasted meats probably make it tops, but Living Room and Great Room (head there for some snappy Boston lobster) are also fantastic.
Book the W Hong Kong on Ctrip.com
A ChinaTravel.net favorite, the URBN Shanghai has won a heap of accolades for its chic bohemian atmosphere and for its implementation of green technologies and design features, but don't think that just because they trim down their energy usage that they'll skimp out on the fun.
First thing you should do when you arrive at the URBN is clash a cup of their homemade mulled wine or a Christmas Sour (RMB 56). You can follow that up with a beautiful 5-course dinner (details here) and a four-night stay. Santa's contribution is giving you that fourth night free.
Book the URBN Shanghai on Ctrip.com
Shangri-La Hotel Harbin
Harbin is gorgeous this time of year thanks to the Harbin Ice Festival. Best place to stay to be close to the action? Definitely the Shangri-La Harbin, which is just across the Songhua River from Stalin Park where part of the ice festival takes place.
Thing is, you won't even have to leave the hotel to start enjoying the festival. Starting Dec 24, the Shangri-La opens its Ice Palace and Ice Bar venues where you can enjoy steaming hot pot and tasty cocktails.
Book the Shangri-La Hotel Harbin on Ctrip.com
Mandarin Oriental Macau
Asia's Las Vegas isn't all baccarat and slot machines. The Mandarin Oriental Macau is offering Winter Sensationpackages (HKD 2,488) which include HKD 500 food and beverage credits to be used anywhere in the hotel. Special menus will be on offer Christmas eve, day and New Year's at the Vida Rica Restaurant, and considering Executive Chef Dirk Haltenhof's pedigree, the meals should be more than match for the resto's stellar panoramic views.
If you haven't had all the creature comforts and culinary delights you can take, make your way to the Spa or the Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop to pick up one of their treat-laden Christmas hampers.
Book the Mandarin Oriental Macau on Ctrip.com
The Westin Guangzhou
If sojourning in Guangzhou during the holidays, make sure to give the Westin a look, especially if traveling with family.
The kids will love the full-sized gingerbread house and massive lobby Christmas tree, while mom and dad can enjoy free flow beer, champagne and wine in the hotel's Prego and Seasonal Tastes outlets. The classic buffet at Prego will put you back RMB 688, while Seasonal Tastes' traditional buffet is slightly less at RMB 488.
Book The Westin Guangzhou on Ctrip.com
Intercontinental Sanya Resort
With their beautiful property along a stunning stretch of unspoiled white-sand beach, the Intercontinental Sanya will be a great place to celebrate the coming of 2011, especially if you join the New Year party being thrown fireside right on the beach. And don't worry about partying too hard, go ahead and work up an appetite. The hotel's excellent Mediterraneo restaurant will be serving absolutely stellar buffets all day long (RMB 398).
If you were thinking on starting the year on a romantic note, why not take advantage of the spa deals on offer here? Set the mood with a grated coconut body scrub and warm melted coconut massage (RMB 1,200, 90 mins) before retiring for a night or two of tropical bliss...
Book the Intercontinental Sanya Resort on Ctrip.com