New York City is brimming with life and energy at any time of the year, but this festive spirit really comes to live around the holidays. Lots of people travel to NYC in the winter months to see the fun Christmas decorations and store displays, to shop for gifts, and to attend top-notch arts performances. From the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park, Union Square Holiday Market, and sledding around the city, this is a truly magical place to be.

Lots of the local hotels get in the holiday spirit as well with their decorations and themed events. Here are some of the best places to stay for your holiday trip to New York City!

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Lotte New York Palace Holidays at Lotte New York Palace
Holidays at Lotte New York Palace

Lotte New York Palace

Old-world elegance and new-world luxury are combined at the Lotte New York Palace, which has 909 rooms and suites on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The newly-opened Villard Restaurant and Pomme Palais offer breakfast dishes, pastries, and sandwiches. And there’s a 7,000-square-foot full-service fitness center available to help you stay in shape over the holidays. Pet-friendly accommodations are available so you don’t have to leave your pup behind. This hotel typically puts up a great Christmas tree behind the gates of its Madison Avenue courtyard. The staff sets up smaller trees in the lobby, and there’s even been elaborate gingerbread houses displayed at the top of the grand staircase.

Dream Downtown

Dream Downtown

Dream Downtown is a boutique hotel with a buzzing lobby, a glass-bottomed swimming pool, and built-in nightlife options that make going out easy. The PH-D Rooftop Lounge is ideal for a penthouse party, and the Bodega Negra restaurant is decorated with vintage guitars and has a south-of-the-border atmosphere. There’s also the Electric Room, which has a cool speakeasy vibe. During the Christmas season, Dream Downtown gives its lobby a makeover that is both festive and eclectic. Past displays here have featured taxidermy-style snow leopards and polar bears, as well as outdoor ice bar and alpine ski lodge themes.

The Plaza

The Plaza

This is one of the most iconic hotels in New York City, located on Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. The Plaza opened its doors in 1907 and has since been the NYC hotel to see and been seen at. It has been the setting of various Hollywood movies and drawn in presidents, kings, and celebrities over the years. The Plaza Food Hall has some great counter-style dining options, the Palm Court serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner, and the Todd English Food Hall serves excellent seafood and pasta. The Christmas decorations at the Plaza usually go up around Thanksgiving to make the hotel festive for the season. You’ll typically find wreaths, garland, and ornament strung about to welcome guests into the Fifth Avenue entrance.

Gramercy Park Hotel
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Gramercy Park Hotel

Your holiday trip to NYC will be festive as well if you plan to stay in the exquisitely decorated Gramercy Park Hotel. Red rugs and velvety furniture make the lobby lovely all throughout the year, but you’ll also usually find trees with decorations here and in the Rose Bar during the holiday season.This hotel is filled with Julian Schnabel’s furnishings, and the Renaissance revival-style décor features bronze-studded velvet headboards and a saw-tooth chandelier. The artwork on the walls is ever-changing, and Maialino restaurant is known for roast suckling pig and flavorful pasta dishes.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
Credit: Ritz Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz-Carlton gets all decked out for the Christmas season too, and it’s conveniently located by Central Park. This hotel is in Midtown Manhattan and close to all the best shopping, near Radio City Music Hall, and also by the Modern Museum of Art. Many of the 259 luxury guest rooms and suites here overlook Central Park, and guests enjoy afternoon tea and cocktails at the Star Lounge. La Prairie Spa specializes in luxury skincare treatments, and the Auden Bistro & Bar is a great place to grab a bite to eat.

The Pierre – A Taj Hotel
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The Pierre – A Taj Hotel

Here’s another Fifth Avenue hotel that overlooks Central Park and really knows how to do the holiday season right. There are 140 rooms and 49 suites here, as well as a 24-hour fitness center. Guests enjoy the Turkish marble bathrooms, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, and fine dining French specialty restaurant onsite. You can also enjoy afternoon tea at Two E, and there are activities and services for families traveling with kids. At the Pierre, you’ll usually find lots of Christmas trees with shiny ornaments and lights in the common areas. Another decorating tradition here is faux fireplaces that are hung with stockings, just waiting for Santa to arrive and fill them.

JW Marriott Essex House New York
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JW Marriott Essex House New York

It’s also exciting to stay at the JW Marriott Essex House for a while you take in the festive sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of NYC at Christmastime. This hotel has 40 floors, 394 rooms, and 117 suites. Onsite you’ll find a full-service spa, fitness center, meeting event space, and pet-friendly rooms. Bring the whole family along because there are family suites available, family-friendly breakfast packages, and package deals that make traveling with kids more affordable.

Four Seasons Hotel New York
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Four Seasons Hotel New York

The holidays are also a fun time to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York because of its wonderfully decorated Art Deco lobby. For past Christmas seasons, the hotel has displayed a 25-foot tree that’s wrapped in garland and accented with thousands of lights, ornaments, and bows. Setting all of this up takes many hands and many hours! Elsewhere in the hotel, you can expect to find carefully placed poinsettias and maybe even a gourmet gingerbread village. You’ll also be very close to Madison Avenue shopping when you stay at the Four Seasons. There are family package deals and many family-oriented activities offered here, as well a beauty spa with nine treatment rooms and 24-hour fitness facilities. Also, there are fewer than 12 rooms per floor at this hotel, which helps to ensure a quiet and peaceful stay.