Never before have I stepped inside a house comprised mostly of gingerbread – yes, gingerbread. Every year, the legendary Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco transforms its lobby into a holiday paradise. This includes the annual construction of a grand Victorian manor of gingerbread, icing, and other materials (some edible, some not). I had the fortune to visit the Fairmont for the Official Opening of the Gingerbread House on November 30th.
Standing twenty-two feet high and twenty-three feet long, the Mansard style home almost touches the lobby ceiling. Feeling very much like Hansel from the famed Grimm’s tale, I walked through the doorway of the impressively festive abode.
Through the front windows of the house, one can see a room in Santa’s Workshop, everything the right size for elves. A small lighted tree illuminates the front, with a four-car train traveling the surrounding track.
The second floor of the home boasts a larger tree, elaborate lights, and a roof with a widow’s walk. Is that Santa I see upon the chimney?
I love the attention to detail the home was given. Thick icing in shades of green, red and white frame the windows. Unlike most gingerbread houses, there was a surplus of edible building materials for the guests at the event. One could eat the cake, and have it too, so-to-speak. I was able to sample some and it was sheer holiday perfection. It went amazing well with the hot chocolate that was also being passed out. Notice another view of the elfin workshop through the window.
The back entrance to the house opens onto the Fairmont’s Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar. They are hosting a Gingerbread Tea Service on the weekends through December 15th, and then every day between December 16th through December 29th. For more information regarding the Gingerbread Tea, please visit the Fairmont website: http://www.fairmont.com/san-francisco/promotions/gingerbread-house/
A life-size tall Nutcracker has his own room in the tower of the home. I estimate him to be about five feet tall.
A Nutcracker carved of ice was on display for the opening. Beautiful and exquisite.
On loan from the San Francisco Ballet is the Molinari Family Nutcracker Collection, on display throughout the holidays. Which nutcracker is your favorite?
In fact, there is even a friendly competition between The Fairmont and the Westin St. Francis, as to who has the better gingerbread creation. I haven’t seen the other house, but it is much smaller in size and more castle-like. As for feng shui purposes, The Fairmont’s Gingerbread House creates a full-fledged environment. How, exactly, is this specific gingerbread house good feng shui? Well, unlike most gingerbread constructions, one can actually walk through this one (they are typically much smaller). The house is also structurally sound. Following building codes, a wood frame acts as skeletal support, with the gingerbread and other materials then applied. And then there is the smell. The aroma of gingerbread fills the lobby’s environment. This fosters a sense of festive holiday cheer. And the closer one is to the house, the stronger the fragrance.
The new addition this year to the house was the Gingerbread Doghouse. Located over in the kid’s section of the event, I was unable to get a good photo of it due to the crowd. This area was ideal for kids to make their own fanciful buildings and drop off letters to Santa Claus in his designated mailbox. However, he was there in person if one’s Christmas List needed immediate attention. A beautiful tree takes center stage in front of the main entrance. Decorated in golds, silvers and cobalt, it harmonized perfectly with the gilded resplendence of the lobby.
I loved the carvings on the mirrors and walls of the entry hall. Above is a close-up of the birds attached to the golden mirrors that hang throughout. Simply stunning.
Topiary sculptures covered in lights adorn the roof the lobby’s front desk. The Gingerbread House will be on display through January 1st.
The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco
950 Mason Street (Nob Hill), San Francisco, California 94108
415 772 5000