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The 5 Best Hotel Christmas Trees

For Condé Nast Traveler, by CNT Editors.

While we love the traditional Christmas tree (because, who doesn't?), hotels like Claridge's and the Connaught in London, and a whole host in New York City, decide to put their own creative stamp on the holiday icon each year. From macarons to minimalism, these are our favorite hotel Christmas trees.

1. The Peninsula Chicago

It's no surprise that this luxury spot—voted the third best hotel in Chicago in our annual Readers' Choice Awards—would also have a spectacular 24-foot Christmas tree to boot. Sat in the hotel's main lobby, it shimmers in all the requisite reds, golds, and greens. Did we mention how much we love the giant star at the top?

2. Claridge's, London

Christmas at Claridge's is always the glitziest (and most British) way to spend the holiday in London, and the annual unveiling of the lobby's Christmas tree is a particularly festive occasion. This year, Apple’s chief design officer, Sir Jony Ive, and designer for special projects, Marc Newson, have taken on the challenge of designing the highly anticipated spruce (Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry are past collaborators), turning the yuletide tradition into a fully immersive installation—complete with glowing illustrations of silver birch trees lining the walls.

3. The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

There's a taste of Paris at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte this year, with a tree constructed out of precisely 8,000 pink macarons—plus another croquembouche tree made from 1,700 profiteroles. The tower of macarons, which comes in at 12-feet, took around 170-hours to be assembled by the hotel's pastry team. Meanwhile, in another part of the hotel resides an environmentally-friendly tree made out of 789 recycled green bottles.

4. London EDITION

Over at Ian Schrager's London EDITION in Fitzrovia, the 2016 Christmas tree has been designed by set designer and artistic director Simon Costin, who has worked with the likes of Alexander McQueen, YSL, and Hermès. The inspiration is Welsh mythology, with fantastical looking moths and squirrels, and purple baubles decorating the branches. As for the angel at the top? Costin opted for an extravagant owl to watch over guests.

5. The Connaught, London

The prize-winning British sculptor Anthony Gormley is responsible for The Connaught's minimalist tree in London's Mayfair. At 57-feet high, the Western Red Cedar is illuminated by a glowing beam of light that runs up the trunk, in turn making each of its branches glow. "I want the tree to celebrate life and all its myriad forms," Gormley said of the tree. "At this, the darkest time of the year and at a moment of global dysfunction, I hope this magnificent tree conveys a feeling of continuance and vitality.”

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