Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Christmas began on November 25, 2022—well, at least the Christmas at the Castle celebrations did. Fairmont Banff Springs, the iconic castle hotel in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, celebrates Christmas from November 25 to January 2 this year, with decorations and events sure to make your winter wonderful.

Fairmont Banff Springs

The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is a 134-year-old castle in the mountain town of Banff, Alberta, inside Canada’s first national park of the same name. Nicknamed the Castle in the Rockies, it’s one of two castles in the area: less than an hour away, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise sits at the foot of Canada’s most famous lake, the glacier-turquoise Lake Louise.

First opened in 1888, the castle was initially built in the French chateau style. After a fire in 1926, it was rebuilt in the Scottish Baronial style with its interior public rooms predominantly Arts and Crafts. It’s now the Fairmont Banff Springs and the castle offers 757 luxury rooms and suites, some with views over Bow Falls and the hotel’s Stanley Thompson-designed 18-hole golf course.

And yes, during the Christmas in the Castle celebrations you can request one of Fairmont Banff Springs’ Santa Suites that’s all dolled up for the holidays, decorated by Cory Christopher Design.

Christmas in the Castle

Stunning at any time of the year, the Fairmont Banff Springs is especially breathtaking when decorated for the holidays. You’ll find immense Christmas trees reaching up to coffered ceilings and twinkling lights reflected in the Tyndall, Rundle and flagstone, stained glass windows, crystal chandeliers, and Tiffany sconces. Evergreen boughs, wreaths and Christmas ribbon line the oak-paneled walls. Fairmont Banff Springs’ gingerbread houses are always spectacular, miniature versions of the Castle in the Rockies itself. Kids and kids at heart will covet a Santa Suite, one of Fairmont Banff Springs’ luxury suites all decorated for the holidays.

Fairmont Banff Springs has many daily and special Christmas in the Castle events. The outdoor rink has both skating and curling, you can go on a Snowflake Scavenger Hunt and an outdoor Candy Cane Search, write letters to Santa, go tobogganing, take a wilderness walk, and much, much more.

The hotel’s Gatehouse Foyer has turned into the North Pole (complete with arts and crafts plus photo ops with Christmas characters) and, overlooking it, the Ramsay Bar is now the Thirsty Reindeer holiday bar. Santa’s Dining Room serves a special dinner and also turned festive are Fairmont Banff Springs’ elaborate brunch in the Vermillion Room and afternoon tea in the Riverview Lounge. Of course, there are special New Year’s Eve dinners in the hotel’s restaurants plus a gala in the Van Horne Ballroom complete with the Fairmont Banff Springs Orchestra. And yes, Santa is available not only for photos but even for bedtime stories. He sometimes pops into the campfire S’mores sessions too.

For something extra special—a joyous engagement perhaps—you can even have a meal in your own private snow globe. Fairmont Banff Springs’ 360° Dome is outdoors in one of the castle’s courtyards on a terrace above the heated outdoor pool. It boasts 360° views of the castle and the surrounding mountains plus one of the most memorable meals you’ll ever have.

New events for the 2022 holiday season

There’s plenty new for 2022 at the Christmas in the Castle too. For example, December 19 has a Jazz Swing Night, the first in the Banff Springs’ Cascade Ballroom since the 1940s. It will feature the music of Rick Climan’s Quartet, from nearby Calgary, and dance instructors from Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio who can teach guests the right moves for the music, plus show off their skills with a few performances. The Jazz Swing Night is only available to resort guests (via a limited number of complimentary tickets). VIP front-row-table seating is available for purchase too.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, December 23, is another new Fairmont Banff Springs event—Cirque de Fairmont, by Indigo Circus. Indigo Circus specializes in acrobatics, juggling and aerials and this event is sure to be seasonally special. As with the Jazz Swing Night, the performance is only able to guests staying at the resort on December 23 and tickets are complimentary (VIP tickets are on offer too).

More Rocky Mountain Christmas

Nearby Chateau Lake Louise is all ready for the holidays too (here’s how to decide which Banff National Park castle hotel is best for you). And in Jasper—three hours away on one of the most beautiful drives in the world past the Columbia Ice Fields—is another Fairmont. And yes, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge celebrates Christmas early too.

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