By Shoshana Dubnow
Phoenix might not have a White Christmas, but the city makes up for it with holiday spirit, an influx of out of town visitors, and festivals like Christmas at the Princess. Since 2011, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort has offered the quintessential holiday experience to Arizona locals and visitors from all over the country and world.
Each year, the Princess staff, led by general manager Jack Miller, looks for ways to improve and add to the events, which run from November 22, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Often times, the best advice comes from the people who make the festival possible– guests.
“The Princess team gets together, and each part of the team looks at their areas and guest feedback in how we can improve,” said Valerie Lee, the director of public relations at the Princess. “Sometimes within the festival, we will tweak things to make them better as we go, not even waiting for the next year.”
One of the unique components to the six-weeks of events is that you don’t have to stay at the actual resort in order to enjoy its festivities.
“Certainly our overnight guests have the best opportunity to experience everything because they get VIP access to all of the attractions,” Lee said. “But with this festival, anyone can come just for the evening and experience the magic as well.”
If you’ve considered checking out Christmas at the Princess, but you aren’t quite sure about what options you will have for entertainment, here are a few of many attractions available to you.
Desert Ice Skating Rink
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ice skate while surrounded by cacti? Here’s your chance! The 6,000 square-foot desert ice skating rink at the Princess is made of real ice and its open to the public every night. The price is $20/person and an extra $5 for renting skates.
Nothing says holiday season quite like lights, and the Princess continues to add more to its display every year. This year, the resort shines brightly with 4.5 million LED lights. Visitors enter in a 17-foot long infinity tunnel with ever-changing colors. Whether you want to take your own stroll or ride on the Princess Express Train, you don’t want to miss out on the fantasy land known as Lagoon Lights. The lit-up tour will include swans floating on water, a pirate ship, a whale, a dolphin, a mermaid, and more. The lights don’t end there! You can also find 280 trees wrapped with lights and draped with icicles and snowflakes, as well as a giant snowman and elves throughout the resort.
Restaurants at the Princess serve delicious food throughout the year, and during the holiday season, each offers a special seasonal menu. Depending on what type of food you’re in the mood for, you can choose from Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Toro Latino Restaurant & Rum Bar, and La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval. There are also dining options for Christmas ballroom brunches and New Year’s Eve festivities.
“Let It Glow” at Well & Being Spa
Looking to relax and refresh yourself before the new year? The spa at the Princess is offering several holiday-themed ways for you to be pampered. These include “Mistle-Toe” pedicures, peppermint manicures, a s’mores body treatment, and even a chance to create your own moisturizers and scrubs! Another perk of having a spa day is that you will get access to all facilities, which entails exercise classes, the steam room, the waterfall grotto, and the whirlpool rooftop pool.
On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, a menorah lighting ceremony will take place in the resort’s lobby at 5:30 p.m. Latkes and applesauce will be served. You can also keep your eyes out for the 25-foot menorah, 4-foot dreidel, and 4-foot gelt featured in the Lagoon Lights display.
Santa’s Secret Headquarters
This new attraction will allow guests to write their Christmas wish lists, learn the secret elf pledge, and have a picture taken with Santa. Photo packages are available for purchase.
Christmas at the Princess offers something for everyone, no matter your age or whether or not you celebrate Christmas. If you are interested in being a part of the magic, visit the website for more information on admission prices and other events.