There's a Santa Suite at The Fairmont San Francisco and You Must Stay There
A what? I know, I could not believe it either. A Santa Suite! A suite decked out in Santa-inspired decor. As someone who starts listening to “All I Want For Christmas is You” before Thanksgiving and, thanks in large part to four years of living in a sorority, loves a theme of any kind, I was thrilled to learn this magical news.
Over the years I have visited The Fairmont San Francisco many different times, mostly during the holidays but not exclusively, because I honestly think there is no better place to get in the holiday spirit in SF. So when they invited me to stay with them - during the most wonderful time of the year at the most festive spot in the city and in THE Santa Suite - I of course jumped immediately at the chance! And if that is not awesome enough, they also graciously allowed me to invite my sister and her 5 year old daughter to join me, so down they flew from Seattle for the dreamiest of surprises.
The Fairmont San Francisco is a luxury hotel located on top of a hill in the city's Nob Hill neighborhood. This makes it perfectly located, in my opinion, because you are not directly downtown or in Union Square which can be a nightmare during the holidays. But, if you decide you want to brave the crowds for shopping or ice skating, you are close enough to quickly hop over there. Its location also makes it easy to visit Fisherman’s Wharf which can get pretty festive itself (although I generally advise friends and family to stay far away from there). And, as a local, it’s also just a quick walk or drive from some of my other favorite neighborhoods - Pacific Heights, The Marina, etc.
THE SANTA SUITE
The Santa Suite is where Santa and Mrs. Claus call home when they are in San Francisco, because of course the big guy loves SF as much as the rest of us so he needs his own spot. Since Santa is busy with Christmas preparation in the North Pole during December, guests are able to book and stay in his festively decorated suite during this time!
My stay in The Santa Suite with my sister and niece was every bit as magical as I hoped it would be. In addition to the Santa-inspired room decor, there are also a handful of other perks included in the Santa Suite package:
A gingerbread house making kit (our first time making one!)
A candy bar
A hot chocolate bar - with adult beverages, too!
A selection of classic holiday movies you can enjoy during your stay
Breakfast in Laurel Court Restaurant or the suite for up to four guests.
Santa and his elves forgot some of their clothes in the room, too, so we had a ball dressing my friend up in them while trying to convince my niece he was really an elf from the North Pole. Around the room there were tons of cute discoveries like "The Official Naughty or Nice List" where we searched for each other's names, a Christmas tree full of presents below, and even a phone that you could call Santa on!
While the Santa Suite is most obviously appealing for families, I actually think it would be a blast to go back with a group of girlfriends. The hot chocolate bar allows you to spike your drinks, there are classic holiday movies, and the room is basically Instagram heaven - i.e. it is the perfect recipe for a Christmas girls night. I think I may be officially adding that to my list for next year!
Do note that the cute male elf is not included in the package - you must bring your own ;)
HOLIDAYS AT THE FAIRMONT SAN FRANCISCO
If for some reason staying in the Santa Suite isn't on your agenda this holiday season, a visit to The Fairmont San Francisco still should be. In addition to the Santa Suite, there are a handful of holiday-specific festivities scattered throughout the hotel, both for guests and non-guests looking to get into the Christmas spirit.
LIFE SIZED GINGERBREAD HOUSE
The lobby of The Fairmont features a gorgeous 23-foot tall Christmas tree which you might be surprised to hear is not the main holiday attraction here. Just behind the tree sits a two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House, fully edible (although not to be eaten)! This world-famous attraction is 25 feet high and built of more than 10K homemade gingerbread bricks, more than 1.5K pounds of candy, and more than 3K pounds of icing. There’s a railroad track that surrounds it and if you look closely you might also notice Santa’s feet wiggling out of the chimney at the top.
The Gingerbread House also now has a private dining space which can be reserved for up to 12 guests. And throughout the holiday season the lobby also features a special champagne bar! This is a great option if you want to relax in the beautiful, festive lobby while enjoying some bubbles with a friend or date.
In addition to the Gingerbread House, 23-foot tree, and champagne bar, there is also Santa's Playroom. In Santa's Playroom you can grab some candy, coffee, or hot chocolate, sit and watch a classic holiday movie, and write letters to Santa at the North Pole express! If you aren't staying in the Santa Suite, this is a great place to bring children as it offers a subset of the things you'll find (privately) in the room.
HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD TEA
Afternoon tea is offered year-round at The Fairmont San Francisco, but during the holidays they offer a special holiday version - holiday gingerbread tea! It is served in their Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar and includes incredibly delicious house-made sandwiches, scones, pastries, and sweets. Since my sister and niece were not arriving until the following day, I invited a girl friend of mine and we had a ball getting dressed up, going to afternoon tea, and then exploring and taking photos in front of all of the holiday decorations around the lobby. And, in all honesty, the food was absolutely to die for! I was so glad I came on an empty stomach because I wanted to eat everything.
Holiday gingerbread tea is available November 24 - January 1 from 1 - 3:30pm daily. You can find the menu here and reservations are recommended!
If you follow me on Instagram then you of course know that I love two things: (1) being outdoors and (2) a pretty, photogenic view. Since The Fairmont sits at the top of Nob Hill you can catch amazing views from many different places, including the rooftop garden!
After we grabbed brunch at Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar we picked up some takeaway coffee at the cafe before heading to the rooftop garden. It offers magnificent views of downtown and has comfy outdoor seating to lounge on in the sunshine underneath the palm trees. And although not technically part of the holiday festivities here, during the holiday season it is of course decorated appropriately with red bows and other holiday-inspired decor!
CHRISTMAS EVE, CHRISTMAS, AND NEW YEARS EVE AT THE FAIRMONT
If you will be in San Francisco over Christmas or New Years, they also offer a Christmas Eve Buffet, Christmas Brunch, Christmas Buffet, and New Years Eve Dinners at both Laurel Court and The Tonga Room. You can find out more about all of the holiday offerings on their site here.