This past September I attended a 3 day business conference at The Fairmont Banff Springs. Due to limited direct flights from NJ, I had to take fly in a day early. From the Calgary airport, I took the Banff Airporter shuttle to the resort (a 2 hr ride). It was a clean and comfortable ride.
When the bus reached the entrance of the Banff National Park, I felt like I was entering a little corner of Switzerland! The snow dusted mountain peaks and the tall pines and quaint little villiage shops were unlike any that I've ever seen before. We made a few stops on the way to drop off other passengers at their hotels and I was the last one on the bus. Ironically, the bus driver actually was from Switzerland and he agreed with my perception of the area!
When I arrived at the hotel, I entered the lobby and wasn't immediately sure which way I should go (there seemed to be 2 sets of reception desks). I took my chances, proceeded to the right, and took my place on line. The woman who greeted me behind the desk was very nice and she warned me to keep my resort map handy at all times because it was quite easy to get lost.
I was given a room on the 2nd floor, but it wasn't that easy to find it because it was quite a distance from the elevators. Then the hallway split at a T intersection. I didn't realize it at first, but all ODD numbered rooms were in one section and all EVEN numbered rooms were in the other. My room was at the very end of the hall and was oddly shaped. There were 2 closets - one was extremely small and triangular in shape. It was totally useless for storing a suitcase, but if I had a duffle bag, it probably would have been fine. The other was suitable (also on the small side) and there was even a small safe inside. The bathroom was suitable and looked like it was refurbished within the last year. There was a queen sized bed and a medium sized TV cabinet that sat on the right side of it. Oddly, the TV (old style) was only able to be viewed at a side angle. Since there were no dressers in the room in which to put my small clothing items, I had to live out of my suitcase.
The view from my room was awesome. Seemed like I was much higher up than on the 2nd floor. The mountains were very grand and the surrounding pine trees were so picturesque. Reminded me of paintings by Bob Ross!!
I was in a quandry about trying the spa b/c of all the reviews I read. Some wrote it was the very best and others said it's way overpriced. Since I had no concept of how far away the other resorts were, I decided to book my appt at The Fairmont.
I arrived early enough to take advantage of their famous "pools" and "waterfalls", but I found them to be a bit overwhelming rather than relaxing (the 3 waterfall pools are about the size of a jacuzzi and are set to a single temperature - one is approx 75 deg F, one is 90F, and the other is something like 101F) . The noise volume caused by the falling water was also not a soothing experience for me. The center pool was much larger and supposedly had mineral salts mixed into it. I didn't find it to be anything special.
There was no segregation of pool facilities between men and women, so that was a bit strange to me (since the spa I go to in Mexico is strictly segregated). There were several "lounge" areas that were not near the pool. One was a ladies lounge, one for men, and one co-ed. It all seemed like being in someone's house rather than at a spa facility as evidenced by the carpeted spiral staircase leading downstairs to the "treatment" rooms. The room that I had for my massage was EXTREMELY tiny. The therapist was barely able to walk around the table. I decided on only a 60 min session because of the price. It was ok, but would've been better if I didn't feel so much like I was in a closet.
Finding a place for dinner at a reasonable price was a challenge at The Fairmont, so I decided to take a walk downtown to Banff. It was farther than I expected, but not overwhelming. It was also getting dark, so I was unsure of how I would return to the hotel after dinner. While I was walking around downtown, I saw the city buses (#1 and #2) and checked the map on one of the lamp posts. Fortunately one of them went directly to the Fairmont, so I was in luck. Only $2 CAD for a 1 way trip too -- such a deal!
The next morning I had breakfast in the hotel at the Bow Valley Grill. It was a large restauant on one of the Mezzanine levels of the hotel (a strange concept for me). The food was served buffet style and it was quite extensive. I thought the food quality was quite good, but I found it difficult to digest at the price of $28 CAD.
My conference was held across the courtyard near the Business Center in one of the meeting rooms. Food and room were of good quality, so no complaints. Fortunately the cost was part of my conference registration fee.
During the free time I had, I enjoyed exploring the architecture and grounds of the hotel and tI ook lots of pictures. I'll post them soon!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, getaroom.com, Despegar.com, Odigeo, TripOnline SA and Tingo so you can book your The Fairmont Banff Springs reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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