We came to Lake Louise for Christmas, and it may be the most magical place in the world for the most magical holiday of the year! We had a lakeview room and were extremely reluctant to ever close the curtains. The view was magnificent -- a wall of glacier-covered mountain peaks enclosing the lake. With the light on the mountains constantly changing, it's hard to get tired of a sight like that. The large ice sculpture of the hotel and the hotel guests ice skating on the lake made it even more picturesque. All day on Christmas there were horse-drawn sleighs pulling up in front of the lake to unload one group of passengers and take on another group. It was all right out of a Christmas card.
The hotel is a lovely property, and when it's all decked out for Christmas, it positively glistens. The staff could not have been more wonderful; even though they were working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, rather than enjoying those times with their own families, they were cheerful and helpful. On Christmas Eve there was a visit from Santa Claus in the lobby, then a complimentary reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres (the mini bison pot pies were outstanding), then caroling.
Guests tended to be happy and pleasant as well. There were lots of families with children decked out in their holiday best and on their best Santa-is-coming behavior. Fairmont is pet friendly, so everywhere we looked there were doggies dressed up in Christmas bows or vests.
We ate Christmas Eve dinner in the Fairview Dining Room. In retrospect, that might have been a mistake. The food was fancy and chef-y, but not necessarily more tasty than more ordinary dinners. Moreover, you pay for the fussy presentation, both in money and in time. Our three-course dinner lasted two and a quarter hours, and not because we ate slowly. The wait between courses was way too long -- 45 minutes between the main course and dessert, for instance. While that's acceptable if you're ordering souffle or if you've asked for something special, it's way too long for regular menu dishes incorporating already-made mousse, shortbread and sorbet.
Overnight, Santa came for everyone -- when we got up on Christmas Day, we found the hotel had hung a stocking on the door of each guest room. Ours included two tangerines, some cookies, a piece of stollen, two candy canes, a deck of playing cards, a slinky, and a card featuring a view of the hotel.
We had the hotel's regular breakfast buffet, then tea in the Fairview Dining Room for lunch. For Christmas dinner we had fondue in the Walliser Stube, a much better experience than the previous night's dinner in the Fairview Dining Room. The thin slices of beef and bison from the meat portion of our dinner were tender and tasty, the cheese fondue was delicious, and we were only sorry we didn't have enough room to eat every last bit of the beautiful chocolate fondue.
Hardly any hotel chain tops Fairmont for making guests feel welcome, and this was a splendid visit. Having discovered it, we can hardly wait for our next Christmas there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise resort is nestled deep within Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enveloped by soaring mountain peaks, the majestic Victoria Glacier and a glistening emerald lake, the natural beauty of this destination permeates every nook of the historic resort - originally built as a base for outdoor enthusiasts and alpinists. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a year-round luxury resort which specializes in offering extensive Guided Mountain Heritage programs, unparalleled skiing in the winter, exceptional food and beverage experiences and a new spa, The Spa at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel Lake Louise
- Chateau Lake Louise
- Fairmont Lake Louise
- Lake Louise Fairmont
- Fairmont Hotel Lake Louise