Deck the Halls With Hilton: Decoration Inspiration From Some of the World’s Most Luxurious Hotels
For many households, the festive season begins with decorating the Christmas tree, adorning windows with fairy lights and hanging an oversized wreath on the front door. From extra-large bows to sustainable paper decorations, Hilton has enlisted an illustrator to sketch how some of the world’s most luxurious hotels are decorating their trees, providing festive inspiration with a style to suit every household.
Adding tartan bows to a Christmas tree is a quick and easy way to add festive flair. At Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, the ribbons are made especially by Kinloch Anderson in Royal Stewart tartan.
For a playful touch, the hotel is adding a North Pole train to look like it is driving through the tree’s branches. This idea can be recreated at home by positioning a toy train around the base of the tree.
Christmas is also a time for indulging in sweet treats. So much so, the pastry chef at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh is baking an entire gingerbread village, complete with a house, church, windmill and trees to add unforgettable fairy-tale magic to the final spectacle.
All-white fairy lights and baubles will give any tree an instantly sleek and sophisticated yuletide look, reminiscent of the Norwegian “winter wonderland”–themed tree at The Biltmore Mayfair.
Pinecones sprayed white will perfectly complement delicate ornaments made from glass and make striking natural decorations.
The festive forest theme can be continued with the careful use of artificial snow and even fire logs positioned under the tree.
Achieve a classic Continental look by trimming the tree with velvet lace and opting for vintage-style decorations in sumptuous green, red and gold colourways.
The traditionally Italian tree at Rome Cavalieri will be adorned with candy canes, which add to the vintage look when hung from individual branches.
Working in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund Italia, the hotel has also created sustainable paper decorations for its show-stopping tree. Made from seed paper, which can be planted, guests will be invited to take these decorations home with them when they leave.
Wildflower seed paper is now widely available online and can be used to make decorations that double as unique and thoughtful gifts for festive visitors to take home.
For those with young ones in their lives, incorporating playful touches is a recipe for decoration success. Children will love discovering miniature toys and festive figurines hanging from the tree, inspired by the two-metre-tall nutcracker figures that greet visitors at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre.
Playing with textures is also an easy way to add decorative drama. Gold baubles in a mix of textures, from matte to shiny, give any tree an unforgettably glamourous and opulent look.
For a truly spectacular tree that children will adore, it does not get better than the “teddy bear heaven” tree at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah's Peacock Alley.
As part of the hotel’s “Give a Bear a Home” initiative, guests can purchase a set of two Waldorf Astoria teddy bears — one to take home and one to donate to the Rashid Center for People of Determination*.
Recreate this look at home by perching full-sized teddy bears in the branches of a tree, accompanied by coloured lights and baubles to bring this fun, festive look to life.
Illustrations by Masha Karpushina
RECIPE FOR GINGERBREAD HOUSE FROM THE PASTRY CHEF AT WALDORF ASTORIA EDINBURGH -THE CALEDONIAN:
For the Gingerbread:
- 500grs Plain Flour
- 1tsp Salt
- 2tsp Ground Ginger
- 2tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1tsp Nutmeg
- 200grs Unsalted Butter
- 100grs Caster Sugar
- 100grs Light Soft Brown Sugar
- 250grs Golden Syrup
- 2 Whole Eggs
Mix the dry ingredients, then add butter until the mix crumbles. Mix the eggs and golden syrup together without overbeating. Add the egg mixture to the dry mix, then rest the dough wrapped in clingfilm for 1 hour.
Create a gingerbread house pattern by cutting out a stencil from pieces of stiff paper or cardboard, and preheat the oven to 170°C.
Divide the dough in two, and roll out to an even thickness of 1/4 inch, with a dusting of flour to avoid sticking.
Place the pattern pieces on the flattened dough and cut with a small sharp knife, then transfer the dough to a greased, flat cookie sheet.
Bake in the oven until the edges just begin to darken (11–15 minutes for large pieces or 6–8 minutes for small pieces). Rotate halfway through for an even bake.
Once the baked dough comes out of the oven, place on a rack to cool and trim the pieces while they’re still warm, adding windows and doors to your design.
For the Royal Icing:
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
Whisk together the egg whites and half of the sugar together until smooth. Then add more powdered sugar gradually and beat until it forms stiff peaks. Place a dampened clean towel over the bowl to avoid it drying out.
This is where it really helps to have more than two hands working on a house, and why making a gingerbread house is so much more fun with company than alone. If you are working on this alone, it may help to grab some canned goods from the pantry and use the cans to help prop up the pieces while the icing mortar is drying.
Pipe the icing onto the gingerbread pieces to construct the sides of the house using a pastry bag or cut freezer bag — just cut off the tip of one of the corners. Mortar each piece with royal icing, holding in place until the icing is partially set.
Pipe icing along the seams inside and outside the house to fill in any gaps and add extra stability. Leave the structure for at least an hour to set before adding the roof.
If any of the gingerbread house pattern pieces break, as can happen easily when working with what are essentially cookies, most likely you can repair them. Let repairs harden completely before using the piece for the house construction. When it comes time to decorate, you can pipe icing right over the broken seam, and no one will be the wiser. Let the house stand for a few hours before decorating.
This step requires a trip to the candy section of your local grocery store. You can decorate your house with whatever types of candy you like best. Red hots are really practical, as are small gumdrops and candy canes. Chocolate truffles can be used to create a stone wall around the house, and waffle-patterned cookies can be used for roof tiles.
Pipe royal icing to make decorative designs around the walls of the house and roof. Use royal icing to “glue” pieces of candy to the house.
About Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of 32 iconic properties that creates a unique sense of place with a relentless commitment to personal service and culinary expertise in landmark locations around the world. Unified by their inspirational environments and True Waldorf Service, Waldorf Astoria hotels deliver graceful service from the moment a guest books through checkout. In addition to the brand’s renowned hotel offerings, Waldorf Astoria boasts a best-in-class residential portfolio, including 18 properties either open or in development, that provide the comfort of a private home combined with the unsurpassed amenities and legendary service of Waldorf Astoria. Waldorf Astoria is a part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Experience Waldorf Astoria by booking at www.waldorfastoria.com or through the Hilton Honors mobile app. Learn about the brand by visiting newsroom.hilton.com/waldorfastoria, and follow Waldorf Astoria on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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LXR Hotels & Resorts is Hilton’s luxury collection brand, with each location offering a singular travel experience native to its place, history, and tradition. Found in the world's most alluring destinations, LXR Hotels & Resorts immerse you in truly profound travel experiences. We've connected legendary luxury properties into a network of hotels that are set apart by an unrivaled commitment to personalized attention and luxurious, yet locally immersive experiences for their guests. LXR Hotels & Resorts is part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company, and each property benefits from the strength of the Hilton Enterprise and its award-winning Hilton Honors program. Visit www.lxrhotels.com to learn more.