Corinthia Hotels in Prague, St Petersburg and Budapest offer the best of Christmas, when city squares are transformed into traditional winter wonderlands and packed with the sights, sounds and smells of the festive period.
Traditional handicrafts, Christmas tree decorations, mulled wine, festive food specialities, outdoor ice skating rinks and an appearance by the big man himself, Santa Claus, create the true spirit of Christmas.
The five-star Corinthia Prague is a five-minute drive from the historical city centre where the main Christmas markets are held between December 2nd and January 6th. Find them at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, five minutes from each other. A large brightly-lit Christmas tree dominates both spaces, surrounded by brightly-coloured wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts, glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves and scarves, puppets and dolls.
Visitors can watch traditional foods being made and sample them too, such as ham roasted on spits, barbecued sausages, cakes and pastries, plus locally-brewed Pilsner and Budvar Czech beer to wash it down with. The Old Town Square market has the additional magnet of an animal stable where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.
The city runs a festive programme of opera, ballet and concerts through December, including Swan Lake at the Hybernia Theatre, The Four Seasons at St Clement’s Cathedral and The Magic Flute at Estates Theatre.
The hotel offers a luxurious haven of relaxation in the shape of the Apollo Day Spa for when guests need to unwind from the bustle of the city.
Corinthia Budapest is one of the city’s impressive landmarks and is the perfect place to languish when returning from the busy Christmas market on Vorosmarty Square in the heart of the city. Running between November 10th – December 31st, the market boasts over 100 wooden stalls and two outdoor stages for live entertainment such as light and music shows. Find gloves, hats, gifts made from wrought iron, Christmas decorations, traditional honey cookies, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, roasted meats, fried sausages and home-made strudels in abundance, plus puppet shows and an open-air ice rink.
For a change of diet, the hotel offers everything from Far Eastern cuisine to Spanish tapas, as well as somewhere to relax, in the hotel’s original 19th century Spa, magnificently restored and managed by ESPA.
The hotel is offering an Enchanted Christmas package for stays between December 18th-30th 2017. From Euros299 per night, it includes accommodation for two, buffet breakfast, airport limo transfer, in-room gift upon arrival, Christmas buffet dinner on December 24th or 25th and access to the Royal Spa.
In addition, 14 food-themed events take place between November 26th and January 1 2018, including Royal Tea Time (HUF3,500/Euros12), Christmas Tree Lighting Brunch on November 26th (HUF11,500/Euros36), and Beauty’s Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner with French oysters, green shell mussels, marinated salmon and pumpkin pie (HUF18,500/Euros59). Log on to [email protected] for more details.
Between December 24 and January 8th, Moskovskaya Square is one of several squares in St Petersburg that come alive with a colourful market. Children can meet Santa Claus (Ded Moroz), marvel at ice sculptures and gingerbread houses, listen to Christmas carols and buy any number of gifts and sweets and toys from the stalls. The biggest market in the city kicks off earlier (December 19- January 11th) in Pionerskaya Square, with ice rink, live performances, plus candles, ceramics, handicrafts, tree decorations, hand-made chocolates and festive fare to buy on the stalls.
However, the biggest party is saved for New Year’s Eve on Palace Square. Thousands of Peterburgers throng into the square to watch the fireworks bring in the New Year. Culture vultures can listen to The St Petersburg Philharmonia, which hosts a classical Christmas concert on December 25th and several on December 30th and 31st.
The majestic Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg, located at the heart of the main throroughfare, Nevsky Prospect, offers a cosy respite from the outdoor entertainment, as well as spectacular Christmas feasts and a Christmas package.
A four-course Christmas Eve Dinner, festive Christmas lunch, sumptuous afternoon tea and New Year’s Eve four-course dinner are among the Christmas feasts on offer, while a Christmas package - available between December 23rd and January 7th 2018 - offers a four-night stay for the price of three and includes welcome drink and sweets on arrival, breakfast, accommodation in a deluxe room, and access to the gym and sauna. The New Year’s Eve dinner is priced at RUB14,500 per person. Please see our Corinthia St Petersburg festive hub for more details.