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Hotels in Asia Do Traditional Christmas with a Twist

December 22, 2011 at 4:40 PM | by | ()

Christmas merriment isn't reserved for countries in the global west, though Europe and North America certainly have cornered the market on gingerbread houses and chintzy decorations.

In far reaches of the world, hotels cater to a clientele of locals, expats, and tourists alike who enjoy their fair heaping of tinsel and egg nog. Today we're focusing on three Asian hotels spreading yule tide joy in spades, some sticking to tradition, some contributing their unique cultural touch to the holiday.

The Windamere, India

The Windamere in Darjeeling nods to its roots every year from December 18th through January 1st; the hotel has been marking Christmas every year, the same way, since 1939. Old- meets new-school at the hotel, where contemporary jazz musicians are invited to perform for guests, Christmas and New Year's menus that bear traces of English influence, house "artistes" give guests a taste of "The Songs and Dances of the Hills," and carols are sung "with Himalayan flair." Accommodations are equally balanced: choose from rustic villas sans televisions and telephones or a comfy cottage complete with fireplace near which you can cozy up on Christmas Eve.

The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

At Singapore's Fullerton Hotel, you'll get all of the conventional Christmas trappings, from storytelling sessions with Santa Claus to carols from a local choir to a traditional day-of feast at Town, one of the on-site restaurants, though some of the menu items strike us as somewhat odd. (Think: Rare Roast Beef with Parmesan Cheese and Maple Glazed Champagne Ham.) If you're looking for a more locally rooted way to ring in the holiday you can opt for a sprawling and more adventuresome Chinese meal at Jade, where past menu items have included braised shark's fin. Glühwein—or, mulled wine—and hot cocoa are also available for supping as you stare at their teddy bear tree. Aww.

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

The Mandarin Oriental goes all out for its yearly celebration. Roasted chestnuts and culled wine are served from the 17th through Christmas Eve, while a local ballet school performs in the lobby to fete the holiday "Nutcracker"-style, Santa Claus makes an appearance at all hotel restaurants, and a local choir performs on-site on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But the most interesting mode of observing the winter jubilee is culturally distinct: guests can order a signature Mandarin Oriental Christmas hamper brimming with the hotel's signature products, such as homemade XO Sauce, rose petal jam, and Christmas cookies, among other gourmet perks. Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, too, hopefully.

[Photo: Sparklette]

Archived Comments:

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