I attended a three day business function at the hotel and had a very nice time. Not long enough, so will have to return for more exploring. I stayed in room 387, which had a king sized bed and a mountain view. Honestly, I wouldn't pay extra money for a room with a mountain view, as there are mountains on every side of you, and honestly, how much time does one spend in a hotel room looking out the window? Yes, the rooms are small by modern standards, but mine was quite large enough to do yoga without moving furniture, and the bathroom, although small, was completely functional. Same for the closet. The fresh cream in the fridge for my coffee/tea was a very nice touch, as was an actual tea kettle for a proper cup of tea!
The bed was very comfortable- the right level of firmness, not too soft. And I loved the pillows. In fact I almost bought one from the shop on my way home.
Most of our meals were catered during work functions, so I didn't eat at any of the restaurants or cafes. There are shops on the main level as well.
Upon my arrival, I did manage to indulge in afternoon tea, a guilty pleasure of mine. Although outrageously priced for what one gets, the view is spectacular, and it is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon when it is -26C outside. The server comes to the table with a cart and explains each choice of tea available, where it is sourced, and its particular uniqueness. Once your tea is chosen, the tiered plate is brought out, and one's enjoyment of the afternoon with cucumber finger sandwiches, smoked salmon on crostini, and various tiny dessert cakes may begin. I have to say the size of my single scone was quite disappointing, but it was freshly baked, and the Devon cream and fresh jam quelled some of my pastry envy.
I also spent an evening networking in the lounge. We had a couple of appetizers, which were very tasty and well presented. The service was also exceptional. Our hostess and server tag teamed us so we were never without someone within speaking distance. The bar specialty cocktails were a big hit, especially the Moscow Mule - grey goose vodka, homemade ginger ale, and something citrus- very refreshing. For the tee-totallers, the home made ginger ale is very tasty; tart with a gingery kick. Yum.
I spent one evening at the spa enjoying the pools, various saunas, and three hydrotherapy waterfalls of varying temperatures. I highly recommend this after a long day of travel or sightseeing/mountain activities. And if you go after 7pm it is very reasonably priced. My favourite part was the outdoor saltwater hot pool. It was dark and very cold out, and the steam rising off the water combined with the myriad of stars above was incredible. There are indoor and outdoor pools of pretty much every temperature you might want. There is a dry and a wet sauna, jacuzzis, quiet rooms, waterfalls, mineral pool, and loads of lounge chairs. The spa also offers many services, such as massage, facials, etc.. I was quite happy to enjoy the hydrotherapy pools and take a nap. Naps, actually. The staff was so gracious and helpful, and as expected, there were loads of provided amenities. Also of note, when you book the spa, you get access to the hotel gym as well. Ask for the rates, because there are some great multi day, multi use rates, some vary based on what time of day you want to use the facilities or on the duration of your stay. They are also quite happy to show you around as you decide what is best for you.
Take time to take the guided tour (3pm every afternoon?) of the castle. If that doesn't work, just wander the hotel. It's a maze of corridors and rooms, and you will get lost and discover something interesting. Like the coffin shaped doorways in the 1700 wing, or the buffalo heads, or the large carved wooden eagles with creepy shell eyes that follow you as you walk by. You may even see a ghost. And you will definitely see kilts and hear bagpipes.
Honestly, I didn't step outside the hotel for three days. And i got lost several times a day. maybe bring a compass!
Make time to explore it, even if you are not lodging there. It's pretty cool, and a part of Canadian history.
- 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
- Fairmont Banff Hotel
- The Fairmont Banff Springs Banff
- Fairmont Hotel Banff
- Banff Fairmont