The holiday season is a time when many festive traditions re-emerge, and one classic holiday activity from many people’s childhoods is building a gingerbread house. While most people think of haphazard walls barely glued together and scattered gumdrops when it comes to gingerbread houses, the Fairmont Hotel in SF does things a little differently.
Every year, the Fairmont creates a real, massive gingerbread display. The 22-foot-tall structure has two levels and is totally decked out for the holiday season, covered in a rainbow of candy, including classic gumdrops, strands of Nerds Rope, and many more. The gingerbread takes the classic tradition and elevates it to new heights— and yes, the walls are actually gingerbread glued together with icing.
See the famous Fairmont Gingerbread House from Nov. 25, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024.
Making the massive holiday decorations isn’t easy; planning typically starts all the way in July for the house. Each year, the life-size Victorian structure takes 520 hours to build, light, and outfit with thousands of pieces of candy. Over 8,000 baked gingerbread bricks are glued together with none other than mountains of icing. 50 gallons of egg whites and 1,000 pounds of powdered sugar are needed just to make the icing alone, and we haven’t even gotten to the 2,000 pounds of candy used to decorate the houses.
If you want to immerse yourself in the colorful candy world fully, the hotel offers a swanky option to dine inside the gingerbread house. The private dining room is available to rent for groups of up to 8 people, and in years past, it hasn’t come cheap. Guests can book the candy house for a $300 rental fee covering 2 hours, and a $1,200 minimum is required for food and beverage, plus tax and gratuity.
For those of us who can’t commit to a luxe gingerbread experience, the house is on display for public viewing within the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby. The hotel will be decked out with its classic large-scale Christmas tree and holiday train, perfect for getting you in the holiday spirit.
The Fairmont Hotel will continue its classic holiday events, including a champagne bar, Santa Suites, and a Holiday Tea. Santa Suites are decorated with festive flare for the holidays, and the tea offers classic pastries inside Laurel Court. You can find more information on the Fairmont Hotel’s website.
Find the Fairmont Hotel at 950 Mason Street in San Francisco.
By Jamie Ferrell and Dana Flynn