Fairmont for all Seasons: Walking in a Winter Wonderland

By local contributor
Julia Hill

This series explores the exciting events at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a luxury resort set in the pristine natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert. This sunny vacation playground draws locals and visitors year-round to its renowned spa, restaurants and stylish rooms. But the perfect retreat doesn't stop there. With the Fairmont’s full calendar of activities, you’ll want to plan your stay to experience a few seasonal surprises.

Christmas at the Princess

When you’re in Scottsdale for the holidays, you don’t have to shovel sunshine! Our warm days and pleasant nights make this winter wonderland a first choice for families celebrating the season together. And although we don’t have snow, we don’t skimp on the festive cheer. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess keeps the splendor of the season bright (something we could all use in 2020) with its annual Christmas at the Princess, a beloved local holiday tradition.

Now in its 11th year, Christmas at the Princess transforms the resort into a magical festival of twinkling lights, lovable holiday characters and attractions for kids – and grown-ups – of all ages. It’s a destination for remembering beloved classics and creating new memories, from the guest-favorite outdoor ice-skating rink and s’mores fire pits to the surprises at Winterland (complete with romantic igloos, fire pit seating and an ice bar). Enchanting photo ops, children's rides and plenty of treats keep it sweet every night of the holiday season.

The festivities kick off Nov. 20, 2020, as the resort’s four-story Christmas tree comes to life in a sparkle of music and lights. You can gather in the Enchanted Plaza every night to see the musical tree twinkling to your favorite holiday songs while the resort facade lights up for a stunning five-minute show. And the spectating doesn’t stop there. Wander around the resort’s lagoons or hop aboard the Princess Express to enjoy more than 5 million LED lights in fanciful shapes.

Christmas at the Princess

As you explore and savor a gorgeous Scottsdale winter night, you’ll notice something interesting among the saguaros: A real ice-skating rink, in the desert! After a twirl on the ice, families can sip hot cocoa and relax by the fire pit rentals to soak up the music and holiday cheer. The rink also gets a nightly snowfall – just a bit of the Christmas magic you’ll find around the resort.

Kids are all smiles for Santa’s holiday friends, a cast of characters visiting from the North Pole to spread some cheer. Santa Claus himself spends time at his headquarters, where families can snap a photo (socially-distanced, of course! and even create wish lists to share. Come for a favorite childhood treat and stay for the fun in S’mores Land, a family-friendly area with campfires to roast marshmallows and a Christmas-themed carousel, Ferris wheel and four-lane slide.

And if you’re in Scottsdale with your partner and looking for a mistletoe moment, couples can bundle up for a romantic night in Winterland. Enjoy complimentary igloos, a village of twinkling lights, an ice bar and a three-story tree . Toast with champagne or warm up with hot wassail for a pic under a beautiful arbor, then head over for a bit of Christmas shopping at the seasonal pop-up shop . Make it a dinner date and savor holiday restaurant specials at the resort’s fine-dining restaurants.

Christmas at the Princess

Anyone can enjoy the attractions with paid parking, but staying at the resort adds an extra touch of magic to the tradition. Guests and staycationers can book the Christmas at the Princess Experience for VIP access to rides and attractions. The Jingle for Joy package includes a $50 daily dining credit, $100 off published rates and more! It’s a no-hassle option for a family vacation – and you’ve got the magic of Christmas at the Princess right outside your door.

A portion of the proceeds from every Jingle with Joy package booked or Desert Ice Skating session purchased will benefit the #LoveUp Foundation. The Foundation's mission is to improve the lives of children in the Foster Care System.

Christmas at the Princess takes place every evening from Nov. 20 - Dec. 31, 2020 (times vary by day). Please note that all tickets must be pre-purchased online. There will be no walk-ups will be allowed this year since capacity will be limited. To purchase tickets, view admission and safety informationas well as insider tips to enjoy Christmas at the Princess, click here.