After reading the other reviews on Fairmont Vacation Villas at Riverside, I was expecting the worst. Maybe something akin to a Motel 6. However, I was pleasantly surprised by our unit and the friendly Fairmont Vacation Villa staff. We had the 1 bedroom unit with the pull out couch.
Contrary to what other commentators noted, we did have air conditioning and it looked like all the other units at Riverside did as well. Perhaps that is a recent addition. The ceiling fans in the two rooms helped circulate the air as well. We had family staying at Hillside and they too had a/c and ceiling fans. Yes, the kitchen is small but you can't really do anything about that now that the units are built. So, we put our coffee maker and toaster on the breakfast table vice the burners to counter the potential fire hazard. When washing the dishes, we just put the dish rack on the floor with a towel under it. The Hillside unit had a built in dishwasher. We did NOT see any bird droppings whatsoever. Perhaps the swallows don't nest in July.
Our room seemed very clean, including the carpet, which was nice since we had an infant with us. I thought the furnishings, bedspreads, window coverings, and wall paper were nice. I liked the free laundry machines that our unit shared with the unit next door (they even had detergent for us) and I was surprised at the size of the fridge and how many kitchen items were present.
My family at Hillside noted that they didn't have enough towel racks and the window treatments did not block out much sun so it made it hard to put the kids to bed since the sun goes down so lat there. Also, those units would be much nicer if the countertops were upgraded to granite. I hear there are major upgrades in progress, maybe that is one of them. Finally, the wireless router must be at the Rec Center near Riverside so our laptop didn't work real well from Hillside but worked great from Riverside.
The only disappointment was the Riverside Golf Course. Save your money! We played at Copper Point for the same price and there was NO comparison. CP had brand new GPS golf carts, the range balls were free and were new Nike balls, the rental clubs were brand new Nike clubs, and the course was beautiful. This is opposed to the expensive Riverside with mosquitos everywhere, garage sale rental clubs, ugly and costly range balls, old carts, and a mediocre course. They say it is an "award winning course." I'm not sure what decade it won the "award" or what type of award they won but I would NOT play there again. Now that was like a Motel 6 and Copper Point was like a Hyatt.
We did not find the local market to be costly. In fact, we prepared most of our meals in our units using the BBQ and saved a ton of $ that we used to go to the hot spring pools, Banff, Lake Louise, white water rafting etc...
One thing we did not know was that we needed to buy a pass at the Radium Hot Springs Park Entrance to stop at Lake Louise. The sign said to buy a pass if you were stopping in the park. We didn't realize that Lake Louise counted as part of the park and, apparently, you can only buy the passes at the entrances to the park. So, we parked at Lake Louise with no pass. In the end, we didn't get a ticket but we felt bad about it. Oh, we couldn't any real good restaurants or places to eat near Lake Louise except at the Fairmont Hotel so keep that in mind of you are doing Banff and LL the same day.
One thing that the Fairmont Vacation Villas did was have a calendar of things to do all day long. Great stuff for the kids and good free hikes etc...I found it funny that they added things like Tupperware parties, Mary Kay makeovers, and Partylite candle parties. Maybe this is something Canadians enjoy but I just found it to be funny. I certainly wouldn't buy those things there just to transport them all the way home to the US.
In sum, I thought the location was lovely and the unit was just fine. The mountains were breathtaking, the valley was beautiful, and the air was clean. We enjoyed our week there and would consider going back.
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- Also Known As:
- Sunchaser Vacation Villas At Riverside Hotel Fairmont Hot Springs
- Fairmont Vacation Hotel