- Chloe Chapdelaine
Castle in the Mountains: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
When someone says, “let’s go on a luxury escape,” my mind immediately always drifts to gorgeous Fairmont Banff Springs Resort. It is truly one of my favourite gems tucked away in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, which is why I’ve returned there time and time again to add a sprinkle of magic into my life. Let me tell you all about it, and why you should consider adding this to your bucket-list for luxury stays.
Before I start, I want to mention that although the property itself has glowing reviews, one factor that can often be overlooked is the beautiful journey of getting there. Fairmont Banff Springs is nestled between vast mountains of Banff National Park, located within walking distance of Banff town center. Banff is an adorable little mountain town that offers everything from winter markets and festivals to pristine wildness, and it’s no surprise it’s one of the world’s most awe-inspiring mountain destinations. In the surrounding area, you can partake in an array of seasonal activities like dog-sledding, world-renowned skiing, hiking, white water rafting, and many more. To get to the Banff Springs property, it’s just a one and a half hour drive from Calgary (where the nearest commercial airport is if you’re planning on flying in), and the drive from the city, past the farmland, and into the mountains is simply breathtaking.
Although Canada isn’t known for its castles, approaching the property you feel as if you’re about to pull up to a ball from your favourite princess movie (and the service that you’re greeted by reinforces that). Immediately you’re greeted with the option of valet parking, and can enter the lobby through the rotating doors where the on-location adventure begins.
Checking in is an easy process, and my entire experiences there have always been not only welcoming, but personalized (and with extreme attention to detail… Including a note on my gluten allergy, where they offered me a free bottle of red-wine since I couldn’t eat the cute reindeer-shaped dessert that they had offered to other people staying with me during my hosted experience). Concierge service was only a quick text away, and if I needed anything at all, they were always immediate to help (for example- a friend had forgot a phone battery pack and they offered one for her to use for the duration of her stay). The staff is extremely attentive and welcoming, and I actually felt as if I made friends by chatting with many of them while exploring the property!
Fairmont Banff Springs has 745 guest rooms and suites, and an impressive property to match. Although the surrounding area offers many activities that may be of interest, if you’re the type of person who prefers not to leave their vacation property, then Banff Springs is for you. In terms of dining, there are several options and locations on site available (I highly recommend the buffet-style brunch in the Vermillion Room, or if you’re feeling casual vibes then check out the Waldhaus Pub to feel like you’re stepping back in time to Germany). The Rundle Bar is an architecturally stunning place for a date-night drink, and if you’re a gin lover like I am, you can even try their house purple Rundle Bar Gin (that has similar notes to Empress in the sense that it too is made with butterfly pea flower).
Aside from restaurants, you can join a guide (or explore at your own place) to discover the rich history of this historic site, including the several full-sized ball rooms (like the pic of me above on the left taken by my friend Justin Wu), the tales (… I don’t want to spoil too much but there mayyyy be a ghost story involved), and many gorgeous passageways. I went at my own pace, and am glad I did. Some other must-visit amenities if you’re staying are the spa (it’s just as amazing and relaxing as it sounds), as well as the pool (that is both in and outdoors). As an ex-competitive swimmer, I have a huge appreciation for a stunning pool, and this one exceeded my expectations in every way. For a full list of amenities the Fairmont Banff Springs offers, I’d recommend checking out their website, where they also mention their golf course, shopping, and more.
The rooms themselves have a cozy and historic essence to them, with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Although my was the least grand thing of my stay, I must admit, the beds and pillows pretty much guaranteed an amazing sleep, and in no way did they disappoint. The bathrooms were spacious (my friend and I both had full makeup and hair sets and still had room for both of us), and the views from our room felt like a poster I would have hung from my wall when I was a kid (seriously!).
I’ve stayed at the Banff Springs hotel for both personal and work projects, including conferences, and I’m always excited to return. Staying here isn’t simply staying at a “hotel,” it’s a full experience that leaves you feeling relaxed, pampered, and rejuvenated (unless you party a little too hard at the Rundle Bar, haha). It’s one of the first places I always recommend to people considering staying in Banff, and will continue to be my favourite for the foreseeable future. (Oh, and if you’re looking for a place to get cute insta pics or TikTok content, this is definitely the place… I didn’t even get into the secret bookcase door at the Rundle Bar!) If you’re considering booking and it’s within your budget, this is your sign… Book it!
Happy travels and enjoy your adventure!