One of my dream hotels I always wanted to stay in since I first knew of the place was the Fairmont Banff Springs. Since I saw photos of the building with stunning (but European like) architecture built into the mountainside overlooking a stunning valley, I just wanted to stay here. Luckily I had the pleasure to stay here and I took every opportunity to explore the whole complex. Yes, it was the middle of winter with two tonne of snow everywhere but don’t let that stop you, the Rocky Mountains is the ideal place to visit especially if you love skiing.
The hotel is located in the heart of Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains, nearly a two hour drive from Calgary International Airport (and a nine hour drive at least from Vancouver for those who want to know, I know, I have done it and its stunning!), and a couple of miles south of Banff’s main downtown district. The Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also the first national park to be declared by the government back in 1885 (for you like a bit of history) and the hotel is known as the ‘Castle of the Rockies’ and has stood here for more than 130 years.
I stayed in a Fairmont room which is the basic room the hotel provides, some are non-mountain view and some are mountain view. I got the non-mountain view but that didn’t disheartened me because even though visitors are paying the cash to stay in luxury, many guests including myself are still outside most of the time exploring the beautiful area. In the room I had a king size bed (cozy and very comfortable on that cold winter’s night whilst I was there!), a massive television screen and all the usual hotel amenities like a hair dryer, iron and ironing board, coffee/tea maker, alarm clock and the one I like, the windows which open so I could breath in that fresh mountain air.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to be shown around the other hotel rooms like the suites and the signature collection by the management team (as I did book last moment and they were very busy due to the high influx of visitors in the middle of the ski season but I don’t mind as I am sure I will be back very soon) but if the suites are like anything I saw at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, then visitors will not be disappointed staying here.
Where do I start? Whilst walking around the complex, I lost count on how many restaurants there are in the Fairmont Banff Springs. I think I counted fourteen. Again, similar to that of Jasper, I was dining out most of the time as I was in town most of the time before and after doing my days activities but I did have one meal here at lunchtime (my last lunch before I headed to Calgary airport for my flight back home to the UK) and what a great one it is. I had a great burger and fries (I know, it sounds basic but the meat was spot on and cooked right but the taste, oh my god, the meat melted in my mouth!) and a nice cool local beer. However despite the excellent service by the waiter and the delicious food, my table was looking out of the window and out towards the Bow Valley. Snow capped mountains, trees, by heck, I couldn’t ask for more. Afterwards I went out onto the terrace to take in the surrounding scenery (and photos of course) and I think I must have spent twenty minutes, standing in the cold, in -20 temperatures, enjoying myself. It was certainly a great way to end my stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs.
Front of House
Ok, this should be the first thing I write about but the rooms and dining experience was the top of the list for my stay here. However on my arrival I also got the warmest Canadian welcome one can expect and get. The staff knew their stuff, very knowledge and it wasn’t about the hotel either, they knew their stuff about Banff and Banff National Park. They were very passionate about their area and hotel, for me I got the feeling that the staff here weren’t here to do a job, they were here to provide the best service and rub off their passion onto the visitors and hope they get the same feeling of the area when they depart. They sure did do that with me. Now I want to return and stay here a bit longer, summer or winter.
Yes, I love my spas. Recently when I have been traveling, I always try and do a spa and yes I did do a spa experience here. The William Stream Spa is the best place in Banff for a massage, or to let off steam, or to take a dip in the warm outside swimming pool with the cold air and snowy mountains overlooking.
In the spa there are three waterfall treatment whirlpools (totally love these, they make my back feel great), an European-style indoor mineral pool (and an outdoor whirlpool) and then of course the sauna and lounges with all the amenities (plus the robe and slippers of course). There is also a resting lounge with a fireplace for afterwards. Looking to go one further, there are treatments available, where I manage to get one full body massage. There is a full salon (which I didn’t use) which has manicure and pedicure stations.
However, I checked out the spa in the afternoon but in the morning I checked out the fitness room (as I was still in full training for the Paris marathon at the time), which is open twenty-four hours a day. What I also love about this place (which I didn’t find in many other hotels across North America) is group fitness and yoga classes! Really wish I had the time to join a yoga class. All I did was to use the weights and strength training machines, as well as doing cardio on the treadmills, bikes and ellipticals.
The other stuff
So I checked out the main places the Fairmont Banff Springs has to offer but there is more. There are plenty of shops to check out as well in the summer months, there is a golf course here (which I wouldn’t use as golf spoils a good walk for me). However if you are into your hiking, the hotel is a great place to use for a base. Get up early for those hikes and enjoy a relaxing meal and drinks in the evening or of course, have a relaxing massage to get rid of the grind of the day.
Well, what can I say. I was totally impressed by the service, the comfort, the views, the food, this is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in and would certainly come back again. I took home a lot of memories from my short stay here and would recommend this to anyone visiting the area.
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A personal note from me – my time at the Fairmont Banff Springs was paid for by myself and was not sponsored in anyway by the company. The opinions in this post are my own and is totally honest. I would like to thank the staff for making my short stay here an enjoyable one.