There comes a time when all of us overworked, under-appreciated ladies need to cut loose and enjoy some well-deserved me time. For some that means a day of pampering at the spa, heading out to the mountains to enjoy some peace and quiet accompanied by spectacular views, or perhaps reconnecting with friends over a boozy brunch or fun night out. Sound appealing? Well you can enjoy all that and more, during the annual PJ Party at the famed Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Every spring, over two hundred ladies make the trek to Jasper National Park, where Fairmont’s iconic lodge sits on the banks of sparkling Lac Beauvert. From Friday afternoon through Sunday, guests enjoy five-star treatment, gourmet meals, cocktails, seminars and live entertainment—all while wearing their comfiest pajamas. Here are just 10 of the reasons your next girls getaway should be the Fairmont’s PJ Party.
1) The amazing accommodations
The Jasper Park Lodge provides the perfect setting for the weekend, as the luxury resort is spread out over 700 acres in the national park which has been designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. A narrow road off the highway winds through forests of trees, leading straight to the impressive lodge with its soaring vaulted ceilings, massive stone fireplaces and uninterrupted views of the surrounding lakes and mountain ranges.
JPL has numerous restaurants and lounges along with shops, an art gallery, salon and spa. Be sure to make time to enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool or hot tub, which are the perfect place to relax while enjoying the scenery.
There are a number of different accommodation types on the property, including guest rooms with double beds, suites which include sitting rooms and a fireplace, and cabins with views of the lake or award-winning golf course. No matter which room you choose, you can expect numerous deer sightings!
2) You’ll get spoiled
For some lucky guests, the weekend of pampering kicks off as early as check-in. Past attendees have arrived to bottles of champagne or wine waiting in their room, or goodies such as chocolate covered strawberries or a cheese plate to tuck into. One year, everyone was gifted a pair of gorgeous rose-gold earrings from the esteemed Hillberg & Berk—how luxe is that?!
3) The fun activities
While no one would judge if you spent the whole weekend lounging around in your PJs drinking mimosas, there are a number of fun classes and activities worth getting out of bed for. Home cooking and interior design classes always prove popular, or you can get expert tips from stylists about how to give your hair the pro treatment at home.
Guests can get their hands dirty by planting their own terrarium to take home, or perfect the art of cake decorating. To burn off some of the calories you’re bound to consume throughout the weekend, start off the day with a yoga, aerobics or hoop dance class—hilarity is guaranteed!
Since it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, be sure to drop in on the mixology class to sample some tasty cocktails, or enjoy a wine tasting expertly led by one of the JPL’s sommeliers.
4) The celebrity guests
One perk of the PJ Party is getting to rub shoulders with celebs, as a keynote speaker is brought in each year. Previous guests have included Canadian singer Jann Arden, Molly Ringwald of The Breakfast Club fame, and singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk who not only captivated the crowd with her candid, easy-going demeanour, but also performed a number of her hits including Leaving On A Jet Plane.
5) The food
Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to spend time at a Fairmont property knows they don’t mess around when it comes to food, and that’s what you can expect throughout the entire weekend. The cocktail-style Welcome Reception on Friday night is made up of appetizers galore, including make-your-own lettuce wraps, quiche, sushi rolls and fondue stations.
You can keep your PJs on all night long and through to the next morning, when you make your way to a breakfast buffet including eggs, sausage and savoury Belgian waffles with every topping you could possibly think of. Lunch and the gala dinner are more formal affairs featuring multi-course gourmet meals, and the weekend wraps up with a boozy brunch on Sunday morning complete with a Caesar bar.
6) The cocktails
The drinks are free-flowing during the PJ Party, starting with cocktails and martinis upon check-in which somehow seem to taste even better while enjoyed on the outdoor patio overlooking the lake.
Flair bartenders are on hand to serve up concoctions like Horni Lemonade (tequila, triple sec, cranberry and soda), and chilled watermelon and vanilla shooters. Those needing a pick-me-up ahead of the evening’s festivities should ask for an All Nighter, which is made from chocolate vodka, creme de cacao, chilled coffee and whipped cream. Best of all, no one has to drive home at the end of the night!
7) The candy bar
Speaking of bars, there’s also a sweet treat—the candy bar! Loading up a dish with favourites like sour soothers, gummy bears and licorice will have you channeling your inner six-year-old in no time. Just beware of the sugar rush!
8) The perfect place for a celebration
By now you’re probably thinking that between the food, drinks, accommodation and activities the weekend is going to set you back a small fortune, but the good news it’s all-inclusive. That makes the PJ Party the perfect place to gather your girls and celebrate a milestone, such as a bachelorette party, birthday or even just a mother/daughter getaway. Why break the bank in Vegas, when you could relax in beautiful Jasper?
9) The video dance party
80s kids will fondly remember the days of video dance parties, where Michael Jackson music videos would play on the big screen as awkward high schoolers imitated his moon walk on the dance floor below. Fast forward a few decades, and it turns out video dance parties are still a hoot!
JPL brings in a DJ to spin songs to satisfy all age groups—though it’s clear the demographic at the PJ Party skews older when the Spice Girls come on and everyone but the 90s kids promptly leave the dance floor to refill their drinks, only to return in droves when a Tiffany hit comes on. Regardless, everyone has a fantastic time, especially as it turns out pajamas are really easy to move in!
10) The firefighters
Finally, it’s no secret that ladies seem to have a thing for cute guys in a uniform, which is why the only men you’ll find at the PJ Party are servers, bartenders and firefighters. Fire crews from around the province are on hand to cheer as ladies check in to the lodge (yes, really!), and sign calendars to help raise money for the Burn Treatment Society. Then they let loose at the Welcome Reception, much to the delight of those who are already a few cocktails deep!
How to book: Packages can be booked directly through Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge- click here for more details about next year’s event including dates and pricing.
How to get there: Jasper is a five hour drive from Calgary along the incredibly scenic Icefields Parkway, and less than four hours from Edmonton. Those who don’t want to drive themselves can book a shuttle through a company like Sundog Transportation.
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Globe Guide enjoyed the PJ Party as a guest of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. As always, partners have no editorial influence.