From twinkling trees and gingerbread houses to Santa visits and sparkling New Year’s Eve celebrations, here’s a roundup of Fairmont’s favorite activities for the 2023 holiday season.
Launching the Season in Toronto
The holiday season kicks off in style at Fairmont Royal York with the glittering annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 22. A cherished tradition, this family-friendly event welcomes a star guest, Santa himself, who’ll be joined by the Candy Cane Carolers and a special guest performer. Arrive at 4:30 p.m. for the unveiling of the Festive Window on Front Street, and take a stroll along Gingerbread Way, created from gingerbread bricks decorated with icing and candy.
Afterwards, you can swing by the hotel’s festive pop-up bar, the Thirsty Elf. Don your finest ugly Christmas sweater and settle into a cozy nook amid dangling baubles and reindeer-clad cushions, and then choose from an enticing lineup of seasonal cocktails. You could start off with the Polar Punch, a citrusy concoction of apple cider, whisky, cognac and prosecco topped off with a dash of nutmeg. Or indulge in the Naughty List, which blends Canadian-made Northern Keep vodka with ginger beer and Christmas flavors like cranberry, cinnamon and mint.
For stays between November 15 and January 6, book the exclusive Distillery Winter Village Package. You’ll enjoy luxury accommodation, breakfast and express entry to the iconic Christmas market in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District.
Slopeside Fun in Mont-Tremblant
Fancy a more rural experience? Embrace the Christmas spirit in the winter wonderland of the Laurentian Mountains, where Fairmont Tremblant is hosting an exciting lineup of activities throughout the holiday season.
If you have kids in tow, there’s plenty to keep them entertained. From December 22 through January 7, junior travelers can battle it out in the game room and arcade, get messy in the arts and crafts space, or curl up to watch a family movie (with a choice of four daily showings). Grab the whole clan to munch roasted marshmallows around a cozy bonfire on the hotel’s outdoor terrace, and keep an eye out for a special visit from Santa on Christmas Eve.
Mom and Dad will love the hotel’s relaxing après-ski yoga sessions, held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays over the holiday period. And for an unforgettable evening, sign up for a guided snowshoeing walk, where you’ll feel like you’re floating across light, fluffy powder.
To receive 10% off your accommodation, take advantage of the Mountain of Activities offer. The package also includes $100 credit per room toward meals, spa treatments or resort activities.
¡Feliz Navidad! A Puerto Rico Christmas
Away from the snow, the holidays in Puerto Rico are an epic blend of Spanish, African and indigenous traditions. Vibrant festivities are a community affair, featuring impromptu parrandas (Puerto Rican–style caroling) and soul-warming dishes like pasteles, a meaty, root vegetable patty.
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel celebrates the season with flair, decorating its spaces with glittering lights, elegant wreaths and stunning Christmas trees. Highlights of the holiday calendar are undoubtedly the resort’s fabulous festive brunches and dinner buffets, hosted on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The pièce de résistance is the New Year’s Eve dinner at signature eatery Caña, where guests will enjoy a delicious buffet accompanied by live music. For kids who can’t keep their eyes open until midnight, an early-evening celebration promises to include a photo booth, games and a show.
When you’re not savoring a lavish spread, take a dip in the turquoise waters off Isla Verde Beach or unwind by one of the hotel’s four gorgeous pools. Spend the day luxuriating in a private cabana, and be sure to set aside time for a rejuvenating Fa-la-la-la-la Facial at the Well & Being Spa.
Ready for winter in the Caribbean? Enjoy up to 15% off stays until April 30, 2024 when you select the Experience Fairmont Moments offer.
Getting Cozy in Jasper
Across the continent, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge provides a memorable holiday location with heritage log cabins that epitomize all things Christmassy. Set in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the mountain retreat has a smorgasbord of winter adventures, from ice-skating on Lake Mildred to fat-tire biking on powdery trails.
With Christmas trees as far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder Santa feels right at home here, too. He and Mrs. Claus will be checking into their own cozy cabin, where fans can pop in to say hello and snap a photo with the famous couple. If you’ve left your letter writing to the last minute, never fear! Santa checks his mailbox every day here, and you’ll receive a reply delivered right to your room via Reindeer Airmail.
When you’re not rubbing shoulders with the big man, you can wander past a temptingly aromatic gingerbread village, sip skateside drinks at the La Cabane Ice Bar or chill on floating peppermints at a Festive Pool Party. There’s no shortage of fun events.
For stays between December 15 and 31, the Festival of Christmas package is a great choice, combining luxury accommodation with a whole host of daily festive activities.
Banff: A World of Enchantment
South of Jasper, Christmas at the Castle (aka Fairmont Banff Springs) feels like stepping onto the set of your favorite holiday movie. Snow-tipped conifers and soaring peaks stretch as far as the eye can see, while the landmark hotel creates a magical aura with spectacular decorations and festive dining experiences.
Kids will love hanging out at the hotel’s “North Pole,” where they can build elaborate gingerbread houses, have a private photo session with Santa and listen to bedtime stories with Mrs. Claus. You can also send them outdoors to burn off energy on a candy cane scavenger hunt.
An unmissable tradition is the annual performance of A Christmas Carol, staged at the hotel throughout December. Featuring puppets and joyful singing, this production of the beloved tale of Scrooge and his spectral encounters is the perfect all-ages activity. Book early to get your tickets!
You could also pop over to the neighboring Rimrock Resort Hotel, whose winter activities include everything from caroling and holiday crafts to a manager’s reception with eggnog.
For an exceptional stay in Banff, the Christmas at the Castle offer includes elegant accommodation with a decorated in-room tree, plus complimentary parking.
Mouthwatering Menus in Victoria
Fairmont Empress has been a byword for glamour since 1908. This is especially evident over the holidays, when glitzy events and fine dining are the order of the day. Overlooking Victoria’s lively Inner Harbour, the iconic hotel is also ideally placed for romantic horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas shopping and the annual Santa Claus Parade on November 25.
Foodies are in for a treat here. A must-do is the Festive Afternoon Tea in the historic Lobby Lounge, where carolers perform as you nibble on delicate Christmas sandwiches, melt-in-your-mouth sweets and raisin scones dolloped with clotted cream. Or you can snuggle beneath cozy blankets and patio heaters on the Veranda and share a cheese or chocolate fondue with friends.
Topping the list of dressy occasions is the New Year’s Eve Dinner in Q, the hotel’s storied dining room. Take your pick from an early-evening, three-course meal or book the late sitting for a decadent five-course menu with optional wine pairings.
Visiting with children? The Kids Rule the Castle package includes family-friendly accommodation, breakfast and a scavenger hunt, plus yummy milk and cookies.
Seasonal Delights in San Diego
Step inside Fairmont Grand Del Mar during the holidays, and you’ll be greeted by the glistening lights of the magnificent 25-foot tree. You may be in balmy Southern California, but you’ll find all the classic seasonal traditions here, from exquisite dining to appearances by Santa.
Come Thanksgiving weekend, you can even skate across the glice (a revolutionary ice-like surface) at Grand Social, the hotel’s laid-back outdoor lounge. Be sure to reserve a private cabana chalet to snack on gooey s’mores around a firepit. And if your legs are a little achy the following day, soothe those muscles with an energizing peppermint and pine massage.
Another of the hotel’s delightful holiday experiences is the Nutcracker Tea. Held on December 23 and 24, this wonderful event begins with a delectable afternoon tea, followed by a performance of the famous Tchaikovsky ballet by dancers from Scripps Performing Arts Academy.
The best part about a California Christmas? When you book two nights at Fairmont Grand del Mar, the third night is free.
Hawai‘i Holiday Festivities
If you’re hoping to capture the aloha spirit this holiday season, look no further than Fairmont Orchid. Set on secluded Pauoa Bay on the Big Island, this Hawaiian retreat offers a packed calendar of festive activities, kicking off with the Holiday Hula Performance on December 15.
Need a last-minute gift? Join classes to create your own bath bomb or spa scrub, complete with Hawaiian scents. Or treat your loved ones to a refreshing afternoon iced tea.
You can entertain the kids at the keiki cooking classes, where youngsters can decorate cupcakes and Hawaiian-shaped sugar cookies, build a “grass roof hale” gingerbread house or whip up their very own pizzas or sushi rolls.
For the ultimate Hawaiian extravaganza, ring in the new year with a traditional Lūʻau feast beneath the stars. You’ll enjoy a fantastic dinner as well as lively hula and fire-dancing performances.
Make your stay even more memorable by booking the Fairmont Gold Experience package. This offer includes 20% savings on luxury Fairmont Gold accommodations, a bottle of Champagne on arrival, plus breakfast and sunset canapés in an exclusive lounge.
An Atmospheric Hangout in Chicago
Back on the mainland, the Lodge at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park is the place to see and be seen this winter. Opening mid-November, the sophisticated seasonal venue promises a cozy vibe with festive foliage, twinkling lights and comfy seating for curling up with your favorite tipple.
To bag the best spot in the house, book a snug indoor “firepit” table, where you and your friends can feast on sweet and savory fondue treats, s’mores and tasty craft cocktails. Come between 6 and 9 p.m., and you’ll also enjoy terrific live entertainment.
If you’re planning a little R&R in the Windy City this holiday season, you can save up to 25% on your stay with the Experience Fairmont Moments offer.
Looking for more holiday inspiration? Check out Fairmont’s Merry Map!