The annual "Christmas at the Princess" is in full swing at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in North Scottsdale, Arizona now through January 5, 2014. Every year, the AAA Five-Diamond resort brings the magic of the holidays to guests and local residents. From the moment you step away from your car and into the beautifully decorated lobby, you'll see why the Princess is still one of the city's best resorts, 25 years after it first opened its doors.
The centerpiece of the holiday exhibits at the Princess is the musical Christmas tree and animated light show in Princess Plaza. The tree has 67,000 LED lights that twinkle and dance to a dozen holiday songs. You can catch the light and music show every evening from 6 to 9 p.m.
Desert Ice Skating Rink
Ice in the desert? Yes! You can skate on the ice rink made of real ice. The rink, surrounded by the resort's cactus garden, is open to the public daily through January 5, 2014. The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and younger and $5 for skate rental. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Phoenix Children's Hospital. The full skating schedule is online at www.scottsdaleprincess.com.
In addition to the public skating, the Princess has some fun special events scheduled. You can come out for the ice show presented by the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona. These local competitive skaters perform shows choreographed by the Ice Den Skating staff during the evening of December 7, 11 and 21, 2013.
Hockey fans can head over to the resort on December 17, 2013 when the Phoenix Coyotes' mascot, the Howler, will mix and mingle with fans on the ice from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m.
The resort is decorated with 1.6 million lights. If you stroll through the grounds past the resort's lagoons, you can catch the illuminated results. You'll see swans floating on the water, a buccaneer pirate ship, 14-foot poinsettias, a teddy bear, toy soldiers, a fishing Santa, rocking horse and candy cane forest. As you wander through the resort, have your camera at the ready. There are 130 trees wrapped in lights, draped with icicles and glistening with snowflakes.
Speaking of lights and snowflakes, head to the lagoon entrance for a ride on the Princess Express Train sponsored by Waste Management Phoenix Open. As you wait in line to climb aboard the white train, you can watch the snow falling like magic from the desert darkness. The train offers complimentary rides around the Lagoon Lights every night until 9 p.m. for kids of all ages.
For a tender moment, head to the resort's Fragrance Garden to view the 88-foot narrated Nativity light show. The 10-minute show, which begins at 5 p.m. nightly and goes every 10 minutes until 9 p.m., tells the story of Christmas.
Magic for the Children
Christmas is always special for children. During this holiday season, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots in partnership with Scottsdale Fire Department through December 20, 2013. Even if you don't make it into the resort for the festivities, you can pull up to the front and give your donation to one of the bellmen.
To delight the kids (of all ages) you bring with you to Christmas at the Princess, head to Santa's Workshop from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights through December 21, 2013. Have a photo taken with Santa for just $10. If you purchase $50 or more at the resort's restaurants, spa or retail outlets, your photo with Santa is free.
Who doesn't love listening to Christmas carols? It becomes even more magical when carolers perform them throughout the resort from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Christmas Eve.
Christmas Presents for Those on Your List
If you're still looking for just the right gift for those on your list, be sure to check out the goodies at Kringle's Corner Holiday Shoppe. The boutique has a selection of cold weather gear such as hats, scarves and mittens, along with ornaments, blinking novelty items and gourmet chocolates. You can also get cards designed by patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital for their annual card project fund raiser.
Of course, you can also pick up a gift certificate for Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa. If you want a gift certificate, you can place your order by phone (480.585.4848) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., then either have the gift certificate mailed out or you can arrange to stop by the resort and pick it up curb side 24 hours a day with a three-hour notice. The lucky recipient can use the gift certificate at the spa as well as at the community market, which offers items such as aromatherapy products, active wear, hand-crafted jewelry, books, candles, robes and more.
Savor the Culinary Delights at the Princess
A perfect way to get into the holiday spirit is with a visit to one of the unique food and beverage outlets at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Try one of these offerings:
- Holiday Hideaway for adults at Bourbon Steak. Snuggle up to the new fire pits and try one of the holiday cocktails, some of the small bites, or adult s'mores infused with specialty liqueurs. Try the restaurant's French Kiss Eggnog, hot buttered rum or the House Fire with Bourbon Steak's own barrel aged version of Fireball whisky. Available 6 to 9 p.m.
- La Hacienda at Feliz Navidad Plaza. Richard Sandoval's La Hacienda is the perfect spot for enjoying homemade tamales or a flaming coffee featuring Patron XO Café, dark cocoa, Baileys Irish Cream and pumpkin syrup. Book a table on the patio and enjoy holiday music and the beautiful 25-foot tree. Classic holiday movies will show nightly for diners on the Barbecoa patio.
Remember that parking is free if you dine at the resort. Normal parking for local residents attending the festivities is $16 for valet and $10 for self-parking. The restaurant will validate your parking ticket when you dine at the resort.
Book a Room and Enjoy a Holiday Vacation Package
For the ultimate way to celebrate the holidays, or to relax from all that shopping, book one of the holiday packages and spend a night in one of Fairmont Scottsdale Princess's 649 oversized guest rooms, where you can enjoy one of five heated swimming pools. The two holiday packages are:
- Christmas at the Princess Family Package that includes Fairmont accommodations; a second room at 50% discount; Desert Ice Skating for two adults and two children, valid for one skating session for each booked night; four Grande beverages at the Princess Coffee Shop, including hot cocoa; family s'mores package for four that you can use at any of the resort's fire pits. Based on availability through January 4, 2014 starting at $289 per room, per night.
- Sip, Savor & Skate Package that is a perfect romantic escape for couples. Includes a commemorative holiday ornament; two adult passes for one skating session at Desert Ice Holiday Rink for each night booked; $50 food and beverage credit per night booked, which can be used for any resort restaurant, including Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak or La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval. The package is based on availability through January 4, 2014 starting at $284 per room, per night.
Both packages include a $5 donation to Phoenix Children's Hospital.
To book your room, make dinner reservations, book a spa treatment or ask questions about the holiday festivities, contact the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess at 480.585.4848 or online at www.scottsdaleprincess.com.