In late November, the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle kicks off the holiday season by lighting a forest of decorated trees in the lobby and opening the enchanting Teddy Bear Suite. The cute stuffed animals fill the room, along with bear-themed children’s books. Visitors can take holiday photographs and enter a drawing to win afternoon tea.
The winner of the drawing is in for a treat, because teatime is no small affair here. It involves 13 tea choices, savories, dainty finger sandwiches, house-made scones, and pastries served in the splendid, light-filled Georgian Room.
There is also a Teddy Bear Suite benefit which takes donations for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The teddy bears take visitors from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., pre-Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas.
Tree Sales Benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital Patients
Other festivities at the Fairmont Olympic are:
- Tree lighting ceremony, the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. A 25-foot Noble fir is lighted to signal the opening of the annual Festival of Trees.
- Festival of Trees. Twenty elaborately decorated trees are displayed, starting the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The trees are sponsored by local businesses and individuals and decorated by members of the Dr. Forrest L. Flashman Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital. Each tree is dedicated to a hospital patient. The festival has been a Seattle tradition for more than 30 years. Trees are available for purchase as a fundraising event for the hospital.
- Chestnut Roasting. On three weekday afternoons in December, cones of hot roasted chestnuts are sold in the hotel lobby for $5. The proceeds benefit the YWCA Angeline’s Day Center of Homeless Women.
- Holiday Choir Series. For two weeks in December, local schools and youth choirs gather in the main lobby to sing and spread holiday cheer.
Holiday Feasts and Culinary Art at Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Food is a significant part of the holiday celebration. It includes:
- Dinners featuring Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year menus: roast turkey with all the trimmings as well as more exotic menu items such as seared scallops with melted foie gras, roasted venison, and sweet onion tarts. Lavish dessert buffets include truffles, pastries, and two chocolate fountains.
- Gingerbread artistry. The Executive Pastry Chef and his assistants craft an amazing construction of gingerbread, a different one every year. In 2008, they made a gingerbread replica of the Space Needle, complete with detailed engravings of Asian inspired art. Another design was the entrance to world-famed Pike Place Market, in cunning detail. The market’s flower stand, fish company, signs, even a Santa on his sleigh were rendered in gingerbread and frosting. This creative effort is on display in the main lobby between Thanksgiving and Christmas.