Fairmont Banff Springs
What We Love
- Stables and a championship golf course on the resort grounds
- An award-winning spa, decked with waterfalls and a mineral pool
- Jaw-dropping Bow River views
- There are 11 restaurants, cafés, and bars onsite
What To Know
- This resort was once dubbed “ The Castle in the Rockies” and owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway
- Families should book a room in the more spacious Stanley Thompson wing
- Don’t miss neon blacklight bowling at the property’s entertainment center
- Ski season stretches from mid-November to mid-May here
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Parking On Site
Guests choose this 125-year-old resort for access to world-famous ski slopes, hikes, and “champagne powder,” as the inimitable snow on Rocky Mountain is called—though the wow-factor isn’t just limited to its natural surroundings. With its turrets and stonewalls, the dramatic exteriors of this alpine castle are a worthy match for its picture-perfect backdrop, while in-room flourishes like chandeliers and crown molding hint at its 19th-century origins (the property’s initial wood incarnation burnt down in 1926, but was swiftly replaced two years later). Despite nearly 800 rooms and suites, the resort’s grand and almost overwhelming scale is juxtaposed with personalized service: the friendly mixologist at the Rundle Lounge is always ready to stir up a custom-made cocktail, while the attentive concierge staff has been known to assist with wedding proposals. The extensive dining selection here is practically a culinary kingdom of its own; highlights include a seasonal sushi bar, a high tea service, and a fondue restaurant housed in a picturesque Bavarian cottage.
In the Area
The resort is an hour and half’s drive from Calgary, though you’re most likely here to escape the city. With a trio of the area’s best mountains just short drives away, you can ski a different summit every day (guests have access to ski at the Fairmont’s other properties, in Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Banff Mount Norquay). During the summer months, opt for a self-guided road trip—the concierge can help you plan—that hits area attractions like a 1930s-era bathhouse, the Banff Gondola, and Mount Norquay Road, where you’ll spy plenty of wildlife such as bighorn sheep, elk, and even bears.
How to Get There
A once in a lifetime chance to stay at the Fairmont Springs as I was attending a conference. The exterior, lobby, shops, bars, banquet hall and restaurants are fantastic and opulent. Great service (full of friendly kiwis and Ozzy's having a great OE) with breathtaking views. The rooms on the third floor where we stayed were nice but at the end of the day were just another hotel room. If you ever get the chance to stay grab it but not sure if I would want to pay the eye-watering full rates.
I have it on good authority that the gold level was well worth the extra money.
We were excited to explore the historic building and experience the views, and our first visit did not disappoint. The second however, devolved when we first arrived to a front desk who said “it’s just like your last visit”, curt about what the hotel had to offer alongside our American Express platinum fine hotels experience benefits. The room provided had a cheap plastic dollar-store alarm clock, a cracked mirror, a cracked bathtub ring, and the bathtub stop came off in my hand trying to bring it up such that I had to manually screw it back on. I have stayed at motels with better standards. When disappointment was expressed, staff did offer a room change or maintenance service at 11:30pm in the evening, which we declined. We were tired, and it is not the role of the guest to provide quality control but rather the hotel to have higher standards.
The next day, I had to ask front desk for another room- which they provided, though with an underlying discontent wherein they made it seem ridiculous to expect better from the rooms considering the views. As if they should be mutually exclusive. The room for the second night, which did not have the same views understandably on a busy long weekend, was worthwhile - but it took us cajoling that paying hundreds of dollars per night for substandard motel room experience (regardless of the views on offer) is not up to par to the excellence promised.
At Chop 1888, we had great food but received a cocktail different to that ordered with a dead floating fly. The waiter joked I was lucky there was a fly such that I would get another cocktail which would be truer to the order I had actually attempted, as if the fly was correcting their mistake. They suggested I was the one benefitting even though it was my friend’s birthday, as if a dead fly was commendable. The only shining aspect was the room on the last night we stayed at after some prodding. And without doubt, most importantly, the dedication of the amazing concierge who excel beyond praise. The concierge team saved our trip, and are worth their weight in gold.
I would say this hotel is great for one visit, but for millennials, the one ought to be enough. The spa is fine, the health club is great as expected, the lounge was interesting, the history is enchanting, and the views are amazing. But beyond that, they rest on those laurels. Do stay at Fairmont Jasper Lodge as often as possible though, as what they lack from Banff Springs, they more than exceed for excellence in service and passion to their guests. If Fairmont Banff Springs is overwhelmed by conferences and busy, you will have to fight to have delivery of excellence.
My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary on November 10th, 2019, and enjoyed the fabulous Afternoon Tea at Rundle Lounge. The entire experience exceeded our expectations. The venue, food and tea are second to none. Our server Meghan was exceptional. Thank you for the complimentary Prosecco. We were both very touched. We will be back!