One of our favorite San Diego luxury hotels, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, celebrates the holiday season in grand style with a host of festivities this year. From Thanksgiving to New Year — and plenty of Christmas events in between — the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is a fantastic place to enjoy the holidays in San Diego.

Whether it’s ice skating, a Nutcracker Tea with the kids, or a sophisticated New Year’s Eve party for just the adults, the hotel has something for everyone during the holidays.

Here are some of the many things you can do here, whether you’re a San Diego resident or hotel guest.

1. Celebrate Thanksgiving in Style

The Fairmont Grand Del Mar kicks off the holiday season with two separate Thanksgiving options in their renowned restaurants, Amaya and the Manchester Salon.

Amaya

A festive but traditional Thanksgiving feast will be served in the hotel’s elegant Amaya restaurant. Featuring a three-course tasting menu, this gourmet all-day event will include the unique flavors of autumn. Each booking includes a glass of sparkling wine or cider.

The celebrations take place from 12– 8 p.m. Tickets cost $195 per adult and $98 per child and can be purchased online.

Manchester salon

A great option for families, this Thanksgiving appetizer and dessert buffet in The Grand’s Manchester Salon is a great way to gather and give thanks to the whole family.

The event lasts from 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Tickets cost $180 per adult and $90 per child and can be purchased online. For both the Manchester and Amaya bookings, a $50 per person is required, and a 72-hour cancellation fee applies.

2. Skate Outdoors on the Glice Ice Skating Rink

The Grand’s popular holiday ice skating experience is back. The outdoor Glice Skating Rink is a family favorite for locals and tourists alike, and it’s a great reason to visit the hotel in the holidays.

After zooming around the ice, you can opt to reserve a rink-side cabana, complete with a fire pit, to rest your weary feet. You can purchase holiday-themed beverages and treats and, of course, roast the obligatory s’mores.

Glice Skating can be booked on November 22–26, and then December 1– 4, 8–10, 15–17, and Dec 22–Jan 14, 2024. Times are Monday–Saturday: 4–10 p.m. & Sundays 3–8 p.m.

Tickets cost $35 per adult and $17 per child and can be purchased online.

Two small children roast s'mores at a table.
Photo Credit Paul Barnett Photography

3. Enjoy Festivities at the Annual Tree Lighting

The Fairmont’s spectacular 25-foot Christmas tree will come alive in a stunning lighting ceremony on Monday, December 4. You can watch the tree illuminate at 6.30 p.m. in the hotel’s Grand Social area.

Special holiday treats and drinks can be purchased, and the Glice Skating Rink will be open for business.

General admission to the tree lighting costs $20 per person. In addition, from 4–9 p.m., you can reserve a Cabana for an extra $300 or a Fire Pit reservation for $150.

A different kind of tree — Photo Credit Paul Barnett Photography

4. Enjoy a Holiday Afternoon Tea

The Fairmont’s elegant Lobby Lounge will host a special festive tea on select dates in December. The delectable menu includes sweet treats, scones, and delicious sandwiches, all served in the lobby’s sophisticated setting.

The tea takes place every Saturday and Sunday in December, plus weekdays from 18– 22 December, from 12– 4 p.m. Tickets cost $125 for adults and $65 per child. A $25 deposit per person is required, and a 24-hour cancellation policy applies.

5. Book a Nutcracker Holiday Tea

Another delicious – and unique – way to get in the holiday spirit is with a special Tea and performance of the timeless Christmas classic, ‘The Nutcracker,’ at the Manchester Salon.

The package includes a delicious afternoon tea of traditional holiday favorites, after which guests will be treated to a special narrated, abridged performance of The Nutcracker, performed by the Scripps Performing Arts Youth Academy.

The Nutcracker Holiday Tea is available on December 17 and 23. The tea starts at 2 p.m., and the ballet performance begins at 3:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $170 per adult, and $88 per child, and you can order free-flowing bubbles for an extra $20. You can pre-purchase tickets here, but note there is a 72-hour cancellation policy.

6. Book a Grand Christmas Brunch

The Amaya hosts a luxurious festive brunch every weekend in December. The restaurant exudes style and sophistication for this special event, and the menu features delectable holiday-inspired classics, both sweet and savory.

The Brunch takes place every Saturday and Sunday throughout December from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

7. Dine at Amaya on Christmas Eve

The Amaya is also the venue for the hotel’s Grand Feast this Christmas Eve. The spectacular festive dinner comprises a four-course tasting menu inspired by the festive season and will be served from 5 p.m.–10 p.m.

You can buy tickets for this December 24 event online here, and they cost $205 per adult and $98 per child. Note the required $50 deposit per person and the 72-hour cancellation policy.

8. Enjoy a Spectacular Festive Dinner on Christmas Day

Amaya

If you want to forgo cooking the family feast and eat out on the big day instead, The Fairmont Del Mar Grand is a great option at the luxurious end of the price scale. The culinary festivities in the hotel’s Amaya restaurant feature a four-course tasting menu among elegant and festive surroundings. The event runs from 12–8 p.m., so there’s no rush!

Tickets are priced at $225 per adult and $115 per child. A $50 deposit per person is required, with a 72-hour cancellation policy. Tickets can be purchased online.

manchester salon

Over at the Manchester Salon, another option to sample the hotel’s culinary delights is a festive buffet, which will be served while guests enjoy live entertainment. A great family event, the meal features an appetizer and dessert buffet, and each guest will receive a glass of sparkling wine or sparkling cider.

Tickets are priced at $190 per adult and $95 per child. A $50 deposit per person is required, and there’s also a 72-hour cancellation policy. You can book online.

9. Ring in 2024 at the New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Amaya

You can bid farewell to 2023 in sophisticated style at the hotel’s Amaya restaurant (again!). Their New Year’s Eve party promises a celebration oozing opulence and elegance and an exclusive five-course tasting menu.

Guests will feast on a gourmet culinary journey with the specially crafted menu, and each booking includes a glass of Champagne or sparkling cider.

The party goes from 5–11 p.m., and tickets cost $295 per adult and $147 per child. A $50 deposit per person and a 72-hour cancellation policy are required. You can book online.

lobby lounge

Over in the Lobby Lounge, guests can enjoy live music and plenty of ambiance from 5 p.m.–1 a.m. You can countdown to midnight and welcome in the new year in style in the lobby’s warm atmosphere.

Guests can either opt for open seating in the Library and Lobby Bar areas, or tables with a view of the band can be pre-booked from 8 p.m. Each table costs $100.

10. New Year’s Day Champagne Brunch

Start the new year in glorious style with a sumptuous brunch in Amaya. The three-course tasting menu will be fabulous, and each booking will include a glass of sparkling wine.

You can enjoy the brunch from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Tickets are priced at $125 per adult and $63 per child, and you can prebook online.

11. Stay Overnight — With VIP Benefits

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Fairmont Grand Del Mar's Christmas tree in the lobby.
Photo Credit Paul Barnett Photography

Fairmont Grand Del Mar is one of the hotels that I recommend when people ask me where to stay in San Diego.

The best way to enjoy their holiday activities is to check in as an overnight guest. We can book you in with value-added amenities at no cost to you that include:

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (excluding suites)
  • Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom, served in Amaya or in-room dining (up to $70 per bedroom per day)
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

When booking Fairmont on Virtuoso.com use only the number of adults traveling to get the correct rates. Kids may otherwise be priced as adults. We will add them after we follow up to collect your arrival details.

*When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them after I contact you about your reservation.

It may be San Diego, but remember, it does get chilly in the evenings, especially for those on the outdoor ice skating rink. Remember to bring layers! See what to pack for San Diego and San Diego in December if you need more advice.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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