The holidays are all about traditions. Some we inherent, others we establish for ourselves. What’s important is they’re filled with meaning (and that caregivers aren’t too drained after executing them!).
We’re big fans of getting into the holiday spirit in sumptuous surroundings and on this, Fairmont Palliser delivers. There are few establishments in this city that look as merry as this grande dame hotel does. And we can’t think of a better holiday tradition than tucking into their festive afternoon tea.
Visions of sugar plums are sure to be dancing in your children’s heads if you treat them to the Little Queens and Kings menu. The first year this tea is on offer, your little highnesses can sip cereal flavoured milk, munch on freshly baked chocolate chip scones and a selection of tiny tea sandwiches. Made with finicky eaters in mind, there’s a black forest ham and cheese, peanut butter and banana croissant and strawberry cream cheese tartines. Pastries include mini sprinkle cupcakes, chocolate mousse and kid-inspired chocolates. There’s way more that gets served up on the three-tiered tea stand, but we want you to have some element of surprise.
For grown ups, you can stick with tradition (scones, house-made clotted cream, finger sandwiches and pastries) or go big with their new Her Majes “tea”s Menu. We suggest the later, as it comes with a charcuterie board and glass of sparkling wine – this in additional to all the traditional tea accoutrements. Speaking of tea, there are nine different types to choose from, ranging from black to green to herbal.
Be forewarned: It’s a very substantial meal and you won’t leave hungry. Sit in either the Rimrock dining room or the elegant lobby near the newly constructed life-size gingerbread house.
A house like no other
Other Fairmonts in Alberta go all out with their gingerbread house displays, but this is the first year Fairmont Palliser has done it up in a big way. Forget gingerbread house, gingerbread mansion is more like it. The life-size confection is comprised of individual gingerbread men iced together to make the front entry. There are 5kg of assorted candy on its walls and a whopping 120 kg of sugar was used in the construction.
This labour of love was a 500 hour project shared between the Calgary Drop in Centre and Fairmont pastry elves—errr…chefs. But it’s not just something pretty to admire and take selfies in front of. As fun as it is to whoop it up this season, it’s a difficult time for many Calgarians. A visit to Fairmont Palliser ticks many boxes off your holiday to-do list.
Step into the magical gingerbread house with either a non-perishable food item for the Calgary Food Bank or a cash donation for the Drop In Centre. Once you’re inside the whimsical creation, you’ll notice its interior walls are lined with whiteboard material. Dry erase markers are at the ready, so you can write down a wish you hope comes true for children from Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern & Central Alberta. Each night, Fairmont Palliser will record the daily wishes until January 3. Three of these wishes will be granted thanks to big hearted Calgary breweries: Wild Rose, Big Rock and Last Best Brewery – all ponying up to make these dreams come true.
Oh, that candy in the gingerbread window box? It’s yours for the taking—a clever bribe so littles don’t pry sweets off the walls.
Making spirits bright in Banff
Should you be in the mountains over the holiday season, you must pay a visit to their sister property, Fairmont Banff Springs. This year they’re opening up a Santa Suite—a festive space designed by renowned event designer Cory Christopher. Entry into this wonderland located in the Oak Room begins December 16 and is complimentary. It’s the perfect spot to get holiday photos taken, and you can snap away using your own camera. (Read: no professional photographer set up here, but they don’t mind if you take photos.) And yes, Santa will be making a few appearances in his namesake suite on weekends and the days leading up to Christmas. Note: The Santa Suite is only open during the afternoon.
Another new tradition is playing out at the Castle in the Rockies this season. A Christmas Carol will be performed at Fairmont Banff Springs’ Conference Centre Theatre December 2-31, 2017. Don’t worry, Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas past shouldn’t be too heavy for wee ones to watch. Puppets and music are at the heart of it all, plus there’s an intermission. And if you want to get really decadent, tack on weekend brunch. There are discounts for the play if you’re dining or staying at the hotel, so be sure to mention that when you make your reservation.
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