Grounded in joyful celebration, every country has their own unique customs and traditions at Christmas time.
In Germany and Belgium, Saint Nicholas arrives early, delivering gifts to good children on the evening of 5th December. Santa Claus jingles over Britain on his sleigh on 24th December and in Italy, there’s Babbo Natale and the Christmas Witch, La Befana, who flits about on her broomstick or on the back of a goat.
Unveiling the Christmas experiences unique to Rome, Munich, London and Brussels, our Concierges reveal why Christmas is so special at the city they call home.
With colorful boxes of panettone stacked in every pasticcerie and food shop in Rome, visit the Eternal City in winter and you’ll be swept up by a metropolis buzzing with Christmas markets and street performers where the main Piazza Navona square sparkles under thousands of lights.
Crossing Rome, from south to north, travel ten minutes by car from Hotel de Russie and you’ll arrive at Renzo Piano’s architecturally intriguing Auditorium of the Musica, recommended by our Head Concierge, Salvatore Maraschio. Here you’ll find shell-like buildings, clad in lead and steel, containing three music boxes, surrounded by a skating rink and cosy Christmas village. Once inside, you’ll hear spine tingling gospel music, pop, jazz, rock and opera, finely tuned by the pitch perfect acoustics of the Parco della Musica.
For enquiries about festive experiences in Rome and Hotel de Russie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +39 06 32888836.
Under the cover of shimmering snow, Munich knows how to put on a show at Christmas. Amid the throng of Munich’s Magical Christmas Markets, our Concierge’s favourites are the Medieval Christmas Market at Wittelsbacher Platz, where you’ll find the best Glühwein in Munich, and Weihnachtsmarkt am Chinesischen Turm, the enchanting Christmas market in the Englische Garten which is less crowded than many markets in the inner city.
Here to help with your search for the lesser-known delights of Munich at Christmas, our Concierge at The Charles Hotel, Lena Speckmeyer, points to classical concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in a wedding chapel where Mozart once performed.
Listen to soaring live music, elevated among the lofty ceilings and gilt-framed frescoes of the Court Chapel. Combine with a visit to the Munich Residenz, exploring the wealth of gold, rich tapestries and hidden treasures of the grand palace, once home to the Kings of Bavaria.
For enquiries about festive experiences in Munich and The Charles Hotel, email email@example.com or call +49 89 544 5550
With its generous array of exquisite chocolate shops, Brussels is a winter wonderland that’ll appeal to your inner Willy Wonka. Wittamer hot chocolate, served from behind a bright pink awning in the Place du Grand Sablon, is the best in town, says Head Concierge at Hotel Amigo, Marc Neuville.
For families, Marc advises, “Young children will love the heart-warming family performance organised by Bozar and the Belgian National Orchestra just before the Christmas holidays.” After the performance, return to Hotel Amigo and explore the Christmas market and the vast, 20-metre shimmering Christmas tree illuminating the Grand-Place, right on your doorstep.
Frequently asked for the best restaurants in town, Marc recommends Comme Chez Soi – a respected and very special restaurant, run by the fourth generation of the same family. Ask our Concierge if you need help booking this unique restaurant with two Michelin stars, for an unforgettable night out during the festive season.
For enquiries about festive experiences in Brussels and Hotel Amigo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +32 2 547 4747.
Instead of the obvious Christmas attractions such as the Oxford Street Christmas lights, our Concierge guides guests at Brown’s Hotel to the more intimate experience of Shepherd Market, a pedestrianised recess in northern Mayfair, beautifully lit up at Christmas with a celebrity, from Dame Joan Collins to Sir Martyn Lewis, enlisted to ceremoniously start the illuminations.
To experience carols like a local, head to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. A ten-minute stroll from Brown’s, this hidden sanctuary on Mayfair’s Mount Street hosts Pact's Christmas Carol Service, raising spirits as well as life-changing funding for former prisoners.
For enquiries about festive experiences in London and Brown’s Hotel, email email@example.com or call +44 20 7493 6020.