Santa Suite at the Fairmont Washington DC

Santa, Baby: The Fairmont is Washington, D.C.’s Best Christmas Hotel

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I have a thing for Fairmont hotels. I’ve visited nearly a dozen over the past decade, from China to Hawaii and everywhere in between, and my mom and I will be staying in a few of the Canadian properties while on a mother-daughter trip next month. Just this past weekend, in fact, SVV and I jetted off to D.C. for a quick 48-hour Fairmont getaway, but nothing prepared me for just how magical the Fairmont Washington, D.C. (and the city in general) would be over the holidays.

the Fairmont Washington DC at Christmastime

Looking for a last minute holiday getaway? Here’s why the Fairmont is the ultimate D.C. Christmas hotel, in our very educated opinion.

The Fairmont Washington, D.C. Rooms

The entire Fairmont Washington, D.C. and its 413 rooms recently underwent a head-to-toe renovation to the tune of $27 million. The upgraded look was unveiled during inauguration week, and the fresh look meant that were it not for the other offerings on tap, I might not have left my room.

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

I love the modern aesthetic—the building was constructed in 1985, so it was due for an upgrade—and the way the design has woven in elements of D.C.’s culture in a contemporary way.

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Our ninth floor suite overlooked the central courtyard (I highly suggest requesting such a room with such a view), which is decked out for the holidays and has fire pits, trees, lights and even an ice skating rink.

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Lobby

I couldn’t stop snapping photos of the lobby, as the halls are decked and trees are trimmed with the kind of clean sheik you’d expect at a Fairmont. In addition to the permanent lobby art installations, the main room is ingeniously divided by a sort of glass tile chain mail, suspended at strategic points between the bar, lounge area and restaurant entrance to create a common space that is actually comfortable to use, whether for dining or work.

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Santa’s Suite

Did you know that during the month of December, Santa lives at the Fairmont Washington, D.C.? I didn’t either! But I met up with the legend in the flesh while he was kicking it in his eighth floor digs. (He was quick to tell me he had to take the elevator down since the hotel has no chimney.)

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Fairmont may be a luxury hotel, but it’s extremely kid-friendly (and pet-friendly, too!). So much so that the team set up an entire suite for Santa himself, and guests of the hotel can arrange a time to stop by and see Jolly Old Saint Nick on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm. You can even see his suite from the courtyard, and you know Santa’s there because the green light is on.

Santa Suite at the Fairmont Washington DC

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Santa Suite at the Fairmont Washington DC

He’s got a letter-writing station, a table glitzed out and ready to include his fairytale pals (Sponge Bob and Elsa were both on the place cards while I was visiting) and candy aplenty to hype up the little ones. There’s a fun story to accompany his residency, including the fact that he lands his sleigh on the roof with the beehives (yes, there’s an on-site apiary!) and loves the Fairmont’s signature warm, walnut-honey bread (Santa and I have this in common). Of course, there are also photo opps and the chance for your kiddos to tell Santa what’s on their Christmas list. It’s the only Santa Suite in D.C., and even as an adult, I got sucked into the magic of it all.

Santa Suite at the Fairmont Washington DC

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Ice Skating, Mulled Wine & Hot Chocolate

There’s a small, sustainably engineered 900-square-foot ice rink outside of the hotel in the courtyard where guests and non-guests alike can take a twirl ($5 for an hour and rental skates). The rink is open to the public on weekdays from 2 to 8pm and on weekends from 10am to 8pm. It’s not actually ice, but instead a teflon type slippery tile that seems way safer and obviously, environmentally neutral.

Ice Skating in Washington D.C.

Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.
Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

But my favorite part was the mulled wine, no big surprise, which is the perfect complement to the outdoor fire pits that encircle the rink. It wasn’t even that cold during our visit, but nothing gets me in the holiday spirit like a steaming glass of spices soaked in fermented grape juice that smell like Christmas (and taste like it, too!).

Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

For the kiddos—OK, we each had a mug, as well!—there’s a hot chocolate bar ($5) where you can dress up your own sprinkles-dipped mug with candy canes, marshmallows and a whole lot more.

Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.
Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

The space is particularly stunning at night when it’s awash in the soft glow of Christmas lights.

the Fairmont Washington DC at Christmastime

Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.
Christmas at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

Holiday Modern Afternoon Tea

Without a doubt, my favorite part of any Fairmont stay is the brand’s iconic afternoon tea. But the Fairmont Washington, D.C. goes one step further by creating an entire holiday-themed menu.

Modern Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Washington

Lot 35 Tea Company created a handful of specialty blends just for the occasion. I drank an entire pot of Fairmont’s Signature Winter Blend while SVV was drawn to the Snow Dragon. And OK, we may have also consumed a bottle of rosé champagne alongside our tea.

Modern Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Modern Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

The food, of course, was the standout. The spread arrived on a two-tiered wood and slate bento box and was full of savory delights and some truly delicious sweet treats: cranberry mascarpone mousse, gingerbread cake, pumpkin eclairs and Earl Grey macaroons. I’m salivating just mentally reliving that moment.

Modern Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Modern Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

Eating & Drinking at the Fairmont

We wound up eating most of our meals at the Fairmont Washington, D.C.: breakfast in the Fairmont Gold lounge, lunch in the lobby and dinners at Juniper Restaurant. We easily could have spent the entire weekend in our Georgetown hotel with no need to leave.

Juniper Restaurant at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

The drinks, no doubt, were a standout. I’m a big fan of a traditional Old Fashioned, and the hotel makes a dang good one. But I’m also a lover of gin and tonics, which is why The Craft was my overall favorite drink.

Juniper Restaurant at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

Want to try something you can only get at the hotel? Order the Beetini, the Fairmont Washington, D.C.’s signature drink made with—you guessed it—honey from the rooftop bees.

The Beetini at the Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel
The Beetini at the Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

If you’ve got kids in town, there’s an entire Winter Wonderland Dinner Menu that features such meals as Rudolph’s Chicken Noodle Soup or Santa’s Spaghetti.

Dinner at the Fairmont Washington D.C.

Winter Wonderland Weekend Package

If you want to recreate our own trip, Fairmont Washington, D.C. currently is offering a Winter Wonderland Weekend Package that includes overnight weekend accommodation, a visit to Santa’s Suite, a treat and a holiday gift for each child, complimentary access to the hotel’s ice rink and the chance to write Santa a letter (he responds to them all!). It starts at $185/night, and you still have plenty of time to squeeze in a visit before Christmas.

The Fairmont Washington D.C. Hotel

What’s your favorite Christmas hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

This project was in partnership with Travel Mindset and Fairmont Hotels

 

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The Fairmont Washington DC at Christmastime
The Fairmont Washington DC at Christmastime
The Fairmont Washington DC at Christmastime
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COMMENTS
  • December 5, 2017

    OMG take me there NOW!!! Adding this to the list for sure. Love these pics!

    • December 10, 2017

      Right? You know your kiddo would be in heaven! Mom and Dad, too 😉

  • December 5, 2017

    WOW! I can’t even tell you how much my kids would love everything on this list — They’re at that magic age where they’re still young enough to enjoy the Santa Suite yet old enough to enjoy afternoon tea. This is definitely going on my family vacation shortlist — and the Winter Wonderland package is very reasonable!

    • December 10, 2017

      I think I’m at that same magic age, too 😉

  • December 5, 2017

    THANK YOU! Living in LA I don’t get to experience Christmas like I did growing up in Chicago. Reading this gave me some much needed holiday cheer!

    • December 10, 2017

      Oh I hear you. We don’t get snow either in Tennessee, which is why the Luna fam is flying to Colorado this Christmas 😉 Put D.C. on your list for next holiday season!

  • December 6, 2017

    Talk about a wondrous winter getaway! I love the ice skating… I grew up skating on my pond in Ohio, so am always a sucker for a rink. Bonus: those hot cocoa mugs! Awesome getaway.

    • December 10, 2017

      You had such a magical childhood! I didn’t know there were still places you could skate on ponds. We never had that luxury in Tennessee 😉

  • December 6, 2017

    #ChristmasGoals lol. This place looks incredible and I love the idea of the Santa suite!

    • December 10, 2017

      Total #ChristmasGoals. I wish every hotel decked their halls like this!

  • December 6, 2017

    This is AMAZING! What a beautiful looking hotel, the food looks incredible, and now I know where to find Santa too! What else could you possibly need?!

    • December 10, 2017

      Exactly! Everything was ON POINT.

  • December 6, 2017
    Rachelle

    I love the sleek look of the hotel! So fresh and clean. I can only imagine the feelings you had when you saw that lobby! I would just love to wander aimlessly around!

    • December 10, 2017

      Alllll the Christmas feels. I’m curious what it looks like not during Christmastime!

  • December 6, 2017

    I love this property! I stayed here with my husband before our daughter was born. I love that Santa has a suite there! My daughter would be so excited if she could visit Santa at the hotel, what an awesome concept. And the food looks so amazing too!

    • December 10, 2017

      Well, now you owe it to her to go back and take her to that Santa Suite 😉

  • December 7, 2017

    Wow, this looks like the loveliest of hotels ever:D I can’t believe Santa had a suite there, that’s adorable:) Your photos are so beautiful, you made me want to go there right now… Great post!

    • December 10, 2017

      Thank you, Helene! It’s easy to get inspired in such a festive place. =)

  • December 7, 2017
    Felicia Broccolo

    This is such an amazing post! And your photos are beautiful! I would die to stay here, I need that hot coco bar!

    • December 10, 2017

      Pretty sure I gained five pounds over the weekend, but it was worth it!

  • December 7, 2017

    Magical is right! I am going to have to add that tea to my holiday bucket list.

    • December 10, 2017

      Oh girl, you MUST. Followed by the hot chocolate bar, natch 😉

  • December 8, 2017
    Angela

    Beautiful pictures. Fairmont hotels around the world never missed to impress people.

    • December 10, 2017

      I so agree. It’s a great brand! Staying in two of their Canadian properties next month while traveling with my mom.

  • December 8, 2017

    This is a stunning hotel to stay in. I definitely need to look into it when I head for my US tour next year. Beautiful pictures taken !!! LOVE IT.

    • December 10, 2017

      Add it to that list, Farah! And swing down to Nashville while you’re in the “area” 😉

  • December 8, 2017

    Aw! Santa is so cute. I would definitely stay there for my birthday (happens to be Christmas) next year.

    • December 10, 2017

      Isn’t he just the best Santa? I’m convinced he’s the REAL Santa.

  • December 8, 2017

    wow I have never seen a hotel with an ice skating rink before, this is beautiful! what a wonderful place to get into the holiday spirit, and the food and drinks look incredible as well!

    • December 10, 2017

      They really outdid themselves with this one!

  • December 9, 2017

    Having stayed at the Fairmont Washington DC a few times I totally see why you and Santa chose to stay here. I haven’t visited DC at Christmas and it looks like I need to change that ASAP.

    • December 10, 2017

      Is it just as magical at other times of the year? And yes, girl, get yourself on a train into D.C., stat! You still have plenty of time =)

  • December 9, 2017
    Leigh

    That seems like a great price for the Fairmont! Worth it for the hot chocolate bar alone, that looks amazing!

    • December 10, 2017

      I thought so, too! Can’t believe the prices are so affordable.

  • December 11, 2017
    Linda

    Very informative. Keep it Up!

  • December 11, 2017

    I am not a big holiday person, so I don’t think I would seek out a hotel for Christmas, but this hotel is actually on my bucket list, I have wanted to stay there for years! Also P.S. I would not expect anything less from the Fairmont, but that is one jolly and healthy looking Santa, I have seen some pretty sad/suspect Santas and he is a keeper!

    • December 11, 2017

      Not a holiday person? Are you a Grinch like my sister? 😉 Kidding, but I can’t relate!

      I think you’d like the Fairmont at this time of year anyway, as so much of the lobby decor is tasteful white and gold, so it feels very evergreen (no pun intended).

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