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“A special place.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Fairmont Banff Springs

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The Fairmont Banff Springs
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   405 Spray Avenue | P.O. Box 960, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1J4, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 33 hotels in Banff
GreenLeadersSilver level
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A special place.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

This hotel just looks outstanding. The rooms were clean, the bed comfortable, the scenery breathtaking, the food was very appertising and the service very good. The room was small but since we only used it to sleep in it was cosy. I loved the view from the window looking down onto the river and golf course. We had meals in several restaurants and every one was exceptional. The staff were friendly and catered to your every need. Being a member of the President's Club helped with added bonus's such as Wifi. A pleasant experience and enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, August 2, 2013
Thank you for your positive review. We are delighted that everything was memorable - from the room to all the dining you experienced. We appreciate that very much.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
Proudly celebrating 125 years
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (639)
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Canada
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

I have been to Banff many, many times but often we are camping and never considered checking out brunch until a ladies' weekend this past week. Oh, what I have been missing. We had reservations for our party of four and I recommend that- our table was waiting and our waitress was very helpful. There is no way you can try a little of everything so she gave us valuable advice. We skipped the large omelettes made to order and were glad we did. My favorite dishes included the duck (delicious) the salmon, the brie and berries, and the banana french toast. The salads and pasta were deliciuos as well. Sine it wad my birthday, the waitress had the pastry chef prepare a tray of dessert samplers. Needless to say, we left stuffed. We spent two hours lounging over brunch and then an hour touring the hotel and could have used more time. We saw two weddings in progress. The gentleman working in the wine store was very helpful. We could have spent another hour touring the grounds but it began raining. Overall delightful day! When you pay for parking allow lots of extra time. At 45 dollars, the brunch may seem expensive but our day there was priceless.

Room Tip: Allow plenty of time to tour the hotel and grounds.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Our culinary and food and beverage team will be delighted to hear of your positive review of Sunday brunch. Due to popular demand, we offer brunch on Saturdays also!

The Fairmont Banff Springs
Proudly celebrating 125 years
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonhutch
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

To be frank I didn't know a great deal about this hotel until the booking was made on my behalf. Having subsequently chatted to a few people I picked up that the hotel has an esteemed history and a special place in the hearts of lots of Canadians. Arriving in the town and approaching the hotel it is obvious that the location and architecture are top notch. Room was fine, I can see that others feel the rooms are a little small BUT on the bright side the compact bathrooms mean you can have a shower, do your hair and have a pee all at the same time if you so choose (I didn't). The outdoor heated pool was 10/10. Very good range of restaurants and even a pub located a short walk from the hotel. Watch out for the mosquitos down there.

There are a couple of niggles and they are quite difficult to write without sounding like the world's-worst snob. Firstly the place deserves a better dress code. The building is magnificent but I'm told the acceptable dress style is something called Resort Casual. This means you have fantastic furniture set in grand proportions and people running around in what looks to be the North American equivalent of shell suits. I'm no fashion model but the place deserves a little more effort from the patrons. The second problem is sort of understandable given the scale of the place. The owners need huge footfall to even break even. Consequently you might well be surrounded by a bunch of lanyard wearing conference attendees. We all do it of course but its not really what you want when trying to get away from it all for a few days.

Stayed July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Thank you for your review. We have shared this review with our executive committee. We certainly want our guests to feel that we are 'the best', not 'could be better' and we appreciate your honest feelings which will give us topics for future consideration.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
Proudly celebrating 125 years
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

We stayed in the Stanley Thompson wing in a suite and it was very nice. The bathroom had been completely re done. It was large and clean. We had a sitting room with a fridge and tv, the bedroom was small but we had 2 queen size beds and another tv. We ate at the Waldhaus restaurant which is very old but quaint with a nice outdoor patio. The food was pretty much pub grub but good. The golf course was very picturesque. The spa was excellent. The pools are very nice and the area was clean it is easy to spend several hours enjoying the amenities. The massage was top notch....very good and the staff was very professional. It was an easy walk into town. The Bow Falls are right there as well. We didn't have much contact with the staff other than the spa. Check in and out was a breeze...not much direction to find room though.The hotel is an historic land mark and I don't think you would expect it to have large rooms. They have done well to keep it up and please today's traveller. If you want a modern, sleek resort this is not for you. It is expensive but you are paying for the name, location and ambiance of an old established Canadian gem!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
Thank you for your positive review. We are delighted you enjoyed your stay and have shared your review with our team.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

From the minute we left the Calgary airport and headed west to Banff, we were in awe of the stunning beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, we booked a Golf for Free package, and upon arrival, were upgraded to a deluxe room. LUCKY us.. This room was a corner with 2 windows and very large (after peeking into the rooms being cleaned down the hall….realized HOW lucky we were!) The bathroom was the smallest we’ve ever had in a hotel, but the hotel is 125 years old, so expectations of something grand just weren’t there.

Golfing at the FBS course was a highlight and the entire staff at the course treated us as Five Star guests. The golf is truly not “free”, as the room rate only included one round. The 2nd round was $230+ tax. Every hole provided another new “wow” of the mountain range, so the first day we spent a great deal of time snapping photos. Several holes (back 9) had tourists walking along the course taking pictures of the mountains, hotel and Bow River.

We dined every night at the outside Rundle patio. The views are breathtaking (understated!). The food was very good (more limited menu) and a little pricey. We opted to split menu items and switched to the local brewed beer (much less $$) the 2nd evening. What impressed us was the service—plus each server we had made us feel special and offered their unique take on the Banff area and things to do. We used the hotel gym each morning- good range of equipment and spectacular views of the Bow River valley, especially seeing the sunrise.
We joined the President’s club prior to arriving-- smart move, as we received free Wi-Fi and turndown service. Hotel was completely full for our stay, but never over crowded. There were as many visiting tourists snapping photos in the hotel as guests.

Takeaway: The hotel is historic and iconic and the service and amenities matched its reputation. It was expensive, but worth it to us -- Fairmont luxury, a gorgeous mountain setting and golfing at one of the most famous courses in the world. A real WOW experience – checking this off the bucket list with complete satisfaction.

Room Tip: Join the President's Club
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
Thank you for putting The Fairmont Banff Springs on your bucket list! We love to hear when guests have visiting our hotel as a life dream, and that visiting exceeds their expectations. It means a lot to us and we hope you will return again.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

My wife and I stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs July 13-18, 2013, and as a history buff, I was excited by the prospect of staying in this beautiful "Castle" of a building. And the exterior of the Banff Springs didn't disappoint. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and overlooking the Bow River and Mount Rundle, the imposing stone edifice appears to stand guard over the tiny town of Banff below, which is an easy 15-minute walk from the hotel. It is a beautiful structure!

We dropped our rental car off at the Valet stand and were warmly greeted by Francois, an exceedingly pleasant young man who took care of our car and offered arrangements to have our bags taken to our room. Francois turned down my gratuity, informing me that it was included in the Valet parking price (a steep $35.00 per day). So far so good.

The lobby of the Banff Springs is very nice, with beautiful flooring and lots of rich woodwork. Registartion was a breeze - it took less than 5 minutes - and the staff at the registration desk were friendly and helpful.

As we walked toward the elevators excited to see our room, we were suddenly greeted by an unpleasant aroma that resmembed...urine! Not overpowering mind you, but noticeable.

A quick elevator ride up to the fourth floor and a short walk down the hall to room 476...and the problems began.

THE ROOM
The first thing we noticed when we opened the door to our room was a dank, musty smell. Okay, the hotel is more than 100 years old, so I guess I can live with a musty smell. However, the room was extremely cramped, more like something you'd see at your local YMCA than at a world class resort hotel. And the carpet in our room was a badly faded green hue with stains everywhere. When I reached behind the bed to plug in my charger, I was greeted by a decades worth of dust bunnies and dirt. The bathroom was small and cramped with the toilet nestled snugly between the tub and the single sink. And if you happen to be using the toilet and someone opens the batchroom door, get ready for some pain because your knees are going to get whacked! There was also very little shelf space to store hygiene supplies, our tub was dirty and the shower head looked as though it hadn't been cleaned in years!

Our room didn't have the best view with a roof and air conditioning units about two floors below, but we could still see the mountain range and that made up for. I just wish the window and sill had been clean! The window does have a small opening so you can enjoy the cool mountain air at night.

The TV was a flat screen LCD that worked well, but the rest of the furnishings in the room were old, beat up and cheap...not at all what you would expect to find in a hotel of this caliber. And the more we looked at the carpeting, the nastier it appeared to get.

I found our king bed to be quite comfortable if a little soft for my taste, while my wife that it was "mushy" and "lumpy."

SERVICE
Service is a huge deal with me, and I am sad to report that for the most part, the Banff Springs disappoints. We call housekeeping the first evening to request two extra pillows and they assured us they would be right up. An hour later - still no pillows - I called again and was offered apologies and again assured someone would be right up. About five minutes later there was a very light tap at our door. We opened the door to find two pillows - without pillow cases, set on the dirty floor outside our door. I again call housekeeping to request two new pillows with pillow cases and about 10 minutes later they were hand delivered to our room, again with apologies.

Perhaps the simplest service any hotel can deliver is a wake up call, but here again the staff at the Banff Springs dropped the ball. On our second morning at the resort, we got no wake up call as requested. When I called that evening to arrange a wake up call for the following morning, I told them of the gaffe and was assured it wouldn't happen again. Guess what...the next morning it happened again. And the digital alarm clock with radio that you get at most hotels won't be found at the Banff Springs. Instead they provide a cheap little battery powered clock and alarm, and while the alarm worked, it wasn't very loud.

FOOD AND DRINKS
We only had one meal in the hotel at the Bow Valley Grill, and it was very good. We had a great server (can't recall her name) and the Filet - while not the best I've ever had - was quite good. The dessert bar was excellent with a great variety of treats to throw your diet plans off kilter.

We had drinks nearly every night at the small bar outside the Bow Valley Grill and the service was very good there with a fairly good selection of Canadian beers. The mixed drinks were also very good. Before drinking too much, remember you're at altitude - approximately 5,000 feet above sea level - and the alcohol hits you a little hard than at lower altitudes.

I had breakfast three times and it was good, but nothing great.

VALUE
For my money, the Banff Springs is not a good value. My bill for a five-night stay in a YMCA caliber room was more than $1,700.00! That includes the $35.00 per day for Valet parking. To be fair, the valet service was very good, if expensive. You can choose to self park for JUST $25.00 per day, but for my money the convenience of Valet parking was worth the extra $10.00 per day.

There is also an extra charge for in-room WIFI...really?! Charging for WIFI access? And if you want to use the indoor pool at hot tub at the spa, that's an additional charge as well unless you received a spa treatment! And because the town of Banff is located within the Banff National Forest, we had to pay $98.00 in park fees for our six day stay!

When you add it all up, the value is just not there.

SUMMARY
Would I return to Banff again? In a New York second! The town it gorgeous with a great selection of restaurants (more on those in later reviews) and centrally located to great outdoor activities.

Would I stay at the Banff Springs Hotel again? Sadly, no. I'm all about getting the most bang for my buck, and the Banff Springs Hotel just didn't deliver for me.

Room Tip: Request a room with a view of Tunnel Mountain and the Bow River.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are disappointed to read that we failed you, as this is certainly a loss/loss and we care very much about it. A Hotel representative will reach out to understand more about your stay.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
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Lake Charles, Louisiana, Usa
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

We booked 6 nights at the Fairmont and were happy we did. The view from our room was incredible. In fact, the view from all directions was as if someone had painted a huge backdrop of mountains behind the trees. The hotel was as important to our trip as the scenery. Outstanding staff: from ease of checkin, to an excellent concierge staff, and the Grill Restaurant served great food. Is this hotel Expensive? Yes. But if your budget can allow, this will be the memory of a lifetime.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the Bow river side
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairmont_Banff_Mgmt, Manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs, responded to this review, July 26, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to complete a review on Trip Advisor. We are delighted to hear of the engaging service you experienced and will be certain to share this feedback.

The Fairmont Banff Springs
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Additional Information about The Fairmont Banff Springs

Address: 405 Spray Avenue | P.O. Box 960, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1J4, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Banff
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Banff
#1 Romantic Hotel in Banff
#1 Green Hotel in Banff
#1 Family Hotel in Banff
#2 Business Hotel in Banff
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Banff Springs 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs resort stands as a landmark in the picturesque alpine town of Banff. This year round luxury resort is styled after a Scottish baronial castle and offers guests spectacular mountain and valley views, a championship golf course during the summer, unparalleled skiing in the winter, and an award-winning European-style spa, the Willow Steam Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Banff
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The Fairmont Banff Springs Banff
Fairmont Banff Hotel
Fairmont Hotel Banff
Banff Fairmont

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