That was what we felt when we walked into our room at the Fairmont Banff Springs. A highlight of our vacation, and a hotel my wife had wanted to stay at for her entire life, and when we checked in on our first anniversary we were given a dark, dungeon-like room not even in the historic hotel itself, but in a 1980s-era annex off to the side. The only tiny window look directly out at a tree, meaning even in bright daylight, the room was completely dark. It was a nice enough room - a standard Fairmont room - but an utter disgrace given the >$500/night rate. In addition to the dungeon-like atmosphere, the bathroom door was chipped and cracked and the A/C didn't work.
It's almost criminal in my mind for the Fairmont to put guests in this wing while charging them full rate. And I'm certain we weren't an exception -- we weren't even on the bottom floor of this wing. There must have been dozens or more of other rooms equally as terrible.
The hotel did attempt to make amends, of sorts. For our second and final night, they moved us into a mountain view room on the third floor in the main building. That room was beautiful, and exactly what one would expect when shelling out so much money in a historic building -- light and airy, with decent mountain views, and even an old (walled up) fireplace in the corner.
The rest of the main hotel is quite nice. Once you dodge the throngs of tourists outside, valet service (another $35/day) is efficient, the interior is gorgeous, the internet (another $15/day) is functional, and the bars and restaurants all seem to be quite good. I especially appreciated their no-tipping policy; while I'm sure it's there to accommodate all of the international guests, it's great even for those of us from North America.
If we had been in this second room from the beginning, I'd be writing a 4- or 5-star review. As it is, all I can say is that this hotel is utterly a "buyer beware" sort of place, which is absolutely inexcusable given their brand, heritage, and price tag.
I would strongly, strongly caution any prospective customer to ask probing questions about the room you will be getting at time of reservation. And if you don't want to do that, I would suggest you avail yourself of any of Banff's many other, gorgeous places of lodging, and just drop by the Fairmont for a drink or some sightseeing. The cash you'll save will buy you a heck of a nice meal in town or at the hotel.
- 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