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“Historical Landmark free for viewing”

Historical Banff Springs Hotel Tour
Ranked #13 of 31 Tours in Banff
Attraction details
Reviewed July 15, 2014

The Banff Springs Hotel is over 100 years old and is itself a museum with the architecture, artwork and views. The first two floors of the hotel are open for public viewing. There is a historical section of artifacts, documentation and photographs on the 2nd floor which was very informative and well set up.

There are valuable paintings and photographs throughout the hotel. One in particular is a landscape painted by Cornelius Van Horne whose vision got the hotel built in order to bring well-heeled tourists to see the "million dollar view". What is not well-known is that the original floor plan was read backwards so that the hotel was built with the front facing back and the back facing front. Van Horne was so angry, he signed his painting with his name written backwards, "Enroh Nav". It was eventually fixed so that it wasn't the kitchen facing the "million dollar view" and the staff, not the tourists, enjoying it.

The terraces and balconies on the 1st and 2nd floor are open for visitors to see the beautiful view of mountains and rivers.

What would have enhanced the experience is if the artwork were labelled. There were no signs or placards that state the title of the artwork or the artist. Even Van Horne's painting has no label or explanation. When asked, one of the hostesses of the hotel had to go ask other staff as to where the painting was. We found it tucked away in a hallway with no label. It was only due to a school project that our son had done that we knew about the painting. Trying to find it was a treasure hunt in itself.

It was a pleasant hike along the Bow River trail to get to the hotel. Getting up the hill by stairs (pointing to a restaurant, not to the hotel) from the Bow Falls was a feat only for those fit to do so. Walking Spray Avenue is a nice provided it is not too hot. There is very little shade.

Still, what attraction can you view for no charge at a tourist place like Banff? A must see for its historical value let alone it's architectual beauty.

2  Thank jdglek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 - 42 of 53 reviews

Reviewed June 30, 2014

Please note that the Historical Tour of the Hotel is now only available to Registered Guests of the Hotel. This policy came into place on the 1st of May, 2014. Hopefully it will become available to the Public again. The Hotel has a wonderful story to share.

6  Thank theunyun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

If you are able to stay... even one night....do so and you will never regret it!
This is on my top 5 list of places I have stayed!
The historical aspect of this magnificent chalet is incredible!
If you do not stay, at least take the time to tour it with a guide that can give you all the details of it's history!

Ever floor is something to be experienced / viewed!

I felt like I was in Europe when there!

The town feels like you are in a quaint little village town in Switzerland!
The views are incredible!
Experience the hot springs if you can!

My minds eye holds pictures of so many details of this most special place!

1  Thank UberLiciousVintage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2014

This is a beautiful old hotel with breathtaking views of the rocky mountains. The tour is extremely interesting and informative. If you are a guest of the hotel it is free. If not, there is a reasonable fee to take the tour which lasts approximately one hour. Bring a camera and take the tour. You won't be sorry you did!

Thank Michael J Mr K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2013

we did a self guided tour of this awesome old hotel with some guidance from hotel staff along the way, amazing history being told at every corner, the resort is huge and we found ourselves exploring some beautiful rooms and areas in the place. bring a camera. incredible old place.

Thank andypegonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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