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Best hotels for Celebrating Christmas holidays in Toronto

Best hotels for celebrating Christmas holidays in Toronto

Toronto transforms into a magical winter destination for Christmas, boasting lavish hotel decorations, exceptional dining options, and tons of holiday cheer downtown. From the legendary elegance of Fairmont Royal York to the ultra-luxury of The Ritz-Carlton, the city offers stunning accommodations for unforgettable seasonal getaways. Whether traveling with family or looking for an upscale romantic retreat, Toronto hotels help maximize your Christmas trip through special amenities and celebrations fit for the holidays.

Toronto is increasingly becoming one of the top Christmas holiday destinations, drawing visitors from around the world who want to experience its festive ambiance, elegant hotel displays, and abundance of seasonal cheer. From the lighting of the enormous Toronto Christmas tree in the heart of the city to the charming holiday markets lining the streets, Toronto transforms into a winter wonderland that offers plenty in terms of yuletide cuisine, holiday-themed activities and performances, and Christmas magic across downtown.

Luckily for visitors, Toronto also boasts some incredibly lavish and stunning hotel accommodations to maximize your Christmas experience. With legendary venues like the historic, castle-esque Fairmont Royal York to ultra-modern downtown luxury stays at The Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, and more, travelers have no shortage of places to stay to spend their holidays immersed in upscale holiday elegance. For Christmas dinners, hotel-based New Year’s Eve parties, or simply cozy nights admiring gorgeous tree displays with some hot cocoa – Toronto’s sublime hotels help make the season bright through exceptional service, amenities, holiday decor and so much more.

Why Celebrate Christmas in Toronto?

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season, offering a unique and vibrant holiday experience. Celebrating Christmas in Toronto is not just about enjoying the festive season; it’s about immersing yourself in a city that embraces the spirit of the holidays with open arms and a warm heart.

A City Illuminated in Festive Lights

As the chill of winter sets in, Toronto lights up with millions of twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates both residents and visitors. From the iconic Nathan Phillips Square with its majestic Christmas tree and sparkling ice rink to the Distillery District’s charming Christmas Market, the city is adorned with festive decorations that bring to life the joy and warmth of the season.

A Melting Pot of Christmas Traditions

Toronto’s diverse cultural tapestry adds a unique flavor to its Christmas celebrations. Here, you can experience a multitude of Christmas traditions from around the world. Whether it’s savoring traditional holiday treats at a European-style Christmas market, attending a carol concert at one of the city’s historic churches, or enjoying a festive show at the renowned Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto offers a rich blend of experiences that reflect its multicultural heritage.

Winter Activities for Everyone

The holiday season in Toronto is filled with an array of activities suitable for all ages. Families can delight in the Santa Claus Parade, a cherished tradition since 1905, while couples and friends might prefer skating hand in hand at Harbourfront Centre’s picturesque outdoor rink. For those seeking a more tranquil experience, a stroll through the snow-covered paths of High Park offers a serene escape from the festive hustle and bustle.

Shopping and Festive Finds

Toronto is a shopper’s paradise, especially during the Christmas season. The city’s array of shops and boutiques, from the trendy Queen Street West to the upscale Yorkville neighborhood, are perfect for finding unique gifts and holiday souvenirs. The Toronto Christmas Market, known for its artisan vendors and festive goods, is a must-visit for anyone looking to capture the essence of a traditional Christmas.

A Culinary Journey Through the Holidays

Food is an integral part of any celebration, and Christmas in Toronto is no exception. The city’s culinary scene comes alive with seasonal flavors and holiday specials. From cozy cafes offering spiced lattes and gingerbread cookies to high-end restaurants serving gourmet Christmas dinners, Toronto caters to every palate, ensuring that your holiday experience is as delicious as it is memorable.

1.    Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel has been a Toronto staple since 1929, wowing guests with its historic grandeur and impeccable service. As the city’s largest hotel, it is often considered Toronto’s unofficial Christmas headquarters each holiday season. The Royal York transforms into a magical holiday oasis, featuring lavish decorations, Christmas-inspired menus, special events, and plenty of seasonal charm.

Lavish Christmas Décor

The moment you step into the Royal York’s lobby, the sheer magnitude of the Christmas décor overwhelms the senses. The centerpiece is the towering four-story Christmas tree, adorned with over 15,000 lights and hundreds of ornaments. Surrounding the lobby are wreaths, garlands, poinsettia displays, and life-size nutcracker statues, along with festive bellhop uniforms on all staff. The historic Crystal Ballroom also gets dressed up for Christmas with snow-white decor contrasting dark green accents and crimson poinsettias.

Christmas Dining Options

The Royal York offers several restaurants, each with their own Christmas flair. The iconic Imperial Room unveils a Gingerbread Village masterpiece as the backdrop for its Christmas lunch and dinner service. The Library Bar gets renamed “Mistletoe Bar” and serves holiday cocktails like the Ho-Ho-Holiday Eggnog. Guests can also bundle up and visit the Fairmont’s outdoor market for food, drinks and late-night desserts beside crackling fire pits.

Special Christmas Events

In addition to ongoing Christmas meals and performances, the Royal York hosts signature holiday events. These include Christmas tea at the Library Bar, a Christmas Day brunch in the Canadian Ballroom, and grand New Year’s galas. There is also a Santa’s Brunch every weekend in December, with Santa making an appearance for photos. Families can partake in gingerbread house building workshops or holiday-themed activities organized by the hotel.

Christmas Room Rates and Booking Tips

Due to high demand, room rates in December are higher than average, starting around $400 per night. Christmas week rates are higher still, from $500-$600 per night generally. For the best rates and availability, aim to book 6-12 months in advance if possible. While more expensive than other seasons, the Royal York’s world-class Christmas experience makes it well worth a splurge.

With its long legacy of holiday elegance, exceptional dining, and abundance of Christmas spirit, the Fairmont Royal York offers an unbeatable home base for Christmas in Toronto. Travelers seeking first-rate accommodations will find an immense array of amenities and celebrations to delight in all month long. For an iconic and unforgettable holiday stay, the Royal York reigns supreme year after year.

2.    The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto

The Ritz-Carlton Toronto brings ultra-luxury accommodations to the heart of the city’s vibrant entertainment district. Its elegant decor and top-tier amenities combined with its lavish holiday transformations make it a coveted place to spend Christmas. With chic designer rooms showcasing skyline views, The Ritz-Carlton pairs comfort with first-class service to elevate your Toronto Christmas experience.

Elegant Christmas Decorations

As expected for a luxury property, Christmas decor abounds inside and outside The Ritz-Carlton. Their lobby centerpiece is an abstract 18-foot crystalline holiday tree, accented by golden reindeer statues. Fireplaces flicker beside plush seating areas with red and green pillows. The mood is glamorous yet cozy, complemented by live music from the piano bar. Upstairs, private terrace rooms also feature outdoor fire pits and private Christmas trees to help guests feel at home.

Christmas Dining Options

For Christmas meals, guests can feast on brunch, afternoon tea, or a 5-course dinner at TOCA restaurant. Menu highlights include maple-glazed ham, seared scallops, and Buche de Noel for dessert. On Christmas Day, the hotel also offers a holiday dinner in-room dining menu so guests can celebrate in total comfort and privacy. The Ritz’s Lobby Lounge also unveils festive cocktails like the Snowball Martini and Christmas Sangria for holiday socializing. 

Luxe Holiday Spa Treatments

In need of pampering? The Ritz-Carlton Spa creates special treatments like the Peppermint Bark Pedicure and the Comfort & Joy Massage using aromatic holiday oils. Couples can book the seasonal Spiced Rum Manicure & Pedicure Suite package then relax in the lounge by the fireplace with some gourmet holiday sweets.

Typical Holiday Room Rates

Given the high-end amenities and coveted location, rooms average $500+ per night, with suites ranging from $700 to over $4000 nightly. Despite the splurge, experiencing the ultimate luxury Christmas getaway in the heart of downtown may be worth a special treat on your list this year.

3.    Shangri-La Hotel

The towering Shangri-La Hotel offers both modern luxury and old-world Christmas elegance.  Renowned for its unique sculpture-like design, the hotel features ample windows for natural light, allowing holiday décor to shine. Christmas trees adorn all the hotel’s stylish common areas while the iconic Lobby Lounge unveils massive floral displays, ribbons, and thousands of lights. With its prime downtown location, well-appointed rooms, and abundance of holiday cheer, the Shangri-La creates an unparalleled backdrop for Christmas in the city. 

Lavish Christmas Tea Service

While the Shangri-La offers exceptional dining year-round, their holiday tea service is a true Christmas highlight. Hosted in the cozy Lobby Lounge, the experience features a bespoke tea menu with flowing champagne. Sweet and savory treats like Smoked Salmon Tartines, Turkey Sandwiches and the decadent Yule Log cake are served while a harpist plays beloved carols. The overall experience encapsulates the elegant essence of a European Christmas.

Nearby Winter Activities

In addition to the hotel’s seasonal touches, its proximity to downtown attractions amplifies the Christmas spirit. The Shangri-La sits adjacent to the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District, perfect for browsing twinkling stalls while sipping mulled wine. Guests can also lace up their skates at the Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre just minutes away. And for unrivaled city views, the CN Tower sits within walking distance.

Christmas Room Rates and Booking Tips

Over the holidays, rooms typically start at $450 per night or higher, depending on room type. While not the most budget option, a stay at the Shangi-La grants you easy walking access to Toronto’s top Christmas attractions. Aim to book early for the best availability at lower seasonal rates, especially if planning a Christmas stay this year. 

For luxurious accommodations combined with Christmas magic right in Toronto’s downtown core, choose the magnificent Shangri-La Hotel. With dazzling lights, festive lounges, winter activities closeby and their signature holiday tea, it has endless ways for you to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Best Budget-Friendly Hotels for Christmas in Toronto

For travelers seeking a more affordable hotel stay over the Christmas holidays, Toronto has great options that still deliver holiday charm. Ranging from cool hostels to design-forward boutique hotels, these wallet-friendly accommodations offer cheerful decorations, festive dining, and plenty of savings to splurge on Christmas fun instead.

1.    Planet Traveler Hostel

Located right downtown, this highly-rated hostel goes all out for Christmas with lights strung across the communal lounge and fully decorated trees. They organize free activities like Christmas cookie decorating parties and movie nights to bring travelers together. Their on-site Vegan restaurant also unveils special holiday menus. Private rooms with shared baths offer hotel-like accommodations for under $100 a night.

2.    The Anndore House

This chic 15-room boutique hotel features a contemporary design with exposed brick and dark wood accents. Their holiday decor is more understated but still cheery, with classic wreaths, garlands, and twinkling lights in the parlor. Their fantastic in-house restaurant Arthur’s offers special Christmas features like turkey, ham, and all the trimmings at great value. With nightly rates around $130-180, it’s a nice stylish option.

3.    One King West Hotel & Residence

This cool historic building houses both standard hotel rooms and multi-room suites, all affordably priced between $120-250 per night during Christmas. Festive touches include a tall tree and village display in their two-story lobby atrium, life-size nutcracker statues, and holiday music. Their contemporary restaurant offers Christmas prix-fixe dinners and breakfast with Santa on select dates.

By comparison shopping early and choosing one of these creatively-decorated yet lower-priced options, budget-focused travelers can still fully embrace the holiday spirit. What you save on accommodations means more money to enjoy everything Toronto’s Christmas has to offer.

Booking Tips for Christmas Hotel Stays in Toronto

Plan Ahead for Availability

As one of the most popular seasons in Toronto, hotels fill up fast over the Christmas holidays. By booking your preferred hotel 6-12 months in advance, you’re more likely to secure your top choice at the best available rate. Procrastinating until October or November means you’ll have far less selection and likely pay higher prices on remaining rooms.

Aim for Weekdays vs. Weekends

Weekend rates around Christmas and New Year’s Eve are typically much higher than weeknights. So if possible, aim to arrive midweek and depart just after the weekend to maximize savings. Using this strategy could reduce your per night rate by $100-200 in some cases. Just note that minimum stay requirements may come into play on certain dates.

Consider New Year’s Eve Stays

While Christmas accommodations may be sold out, rooms New Year’s week are often still available at most hotels. So when searching, try quoting a stay from 12/28 through 1/2 rather than strictly over Christmas. This gives you plenty of time to still enjoy the city’s holiday ambiance while likely scoring a great last-minute rate.

Bundle Your Room with Extras

If booking a luxury hotel, look for special Christmas packages that bundle discounted room rates with nice perks like breakfast, parking, resort fee waivers and hotel credits. These promotions offer excellent overall value while making your holiday stay more special. The earlier you book, the more package deals are generally available.

By putting a bit of strategy into the booking process, you can land fantastic Christmas hotel rates and availability even at the most popular Toronto properties. Follow these tips and you’ll find it easier than ever to secure the perfect place to spend your holidays immersed in seasonal magic.

Conclusion

When visiting Toronto over the Christmas season, your accommodation choice plays a major role in maximizing your trip’s magical ambiance. With so many fantastic hotels offering lavish seasonal offerings, you have ample options depending on your holiday vision and budget.

The legendary Fairmont Royal York provides a true Christmas tradition with historic grandeur, stunning decor, and plenty of Yuletide dining and entertainment packed under one massive, castle-esque roof. For pure luxury in the heart of the entertainment district, The Ritz-Carlton Toronto elevates your trip with designer suites, exquisite meals, and ultra-luxe amenities at every turn. And towering downtown hotspot Shangri-La Hotel blends cutting-edge style with Christmas elegance through events like their signature holiday tea blending modern twists on tradition.

So when envisioning the ultimate Christmas getaway this year, look no further than Toronto’s fabulous and diverse hotel scene. Whatever vibe you seek–lavish or laidback, timeless tradition or trendy retreat, family-friendly or adults-only–the city boasts fantastic home bases to eat, drink and be merry while making lifelong holiday memories.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the best hotel for families visiting Toronto at Christmas?

The Fairmont Royal York is likely the best bet for families. They offer a Santa Brunch on weekends, gingerbread decorating workshops for kids, life-size nutcracker displays, and one of the most elaborately decorated lobbies. The large property size also gives families more room to spread out.

2. When do Christmas decorations in Toronto hotels typically go up?

Most hotels start decorating public spaces like lobbies, restaurants, and bars in early to mid November. Guest rooms also get light decor additions around the same time. Decor tends to stay up through early January. 

3. Are there any New Year’s Eve galas or events at Toronto Christmas hotels?

Yes, many top hotels like Fairmont Royal York and The Ritz-Carlton Toronto host decadent black-tie New Year’s Eve galas with gourmet dinners, dancing, champagne toasts at midnight and more. Tickets can cost $300+ per person for the luxury gala experience.

4. How early should you book a Christmas hotel stay to get the best rates?

Ideally book 6-12 months out for the top holiday rates, availability and promotions like Christmas hotel packages. Waiting until October or November will yield much fewer deals and options.

5. What are average Christmas hotel rates compared to rest of year?

In top hotels, average nightly rates from mid-December through New Years are roughly 20-50% higher than in summer. So prime holiday season rooms generally run $400+ per night even in 4-star chains and exceed $500+ for luxury hotels. Read more: Canadian Holiday Cuisine

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