Fairmont Banff Springs

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Hot off the press from Banff, Canada

GENERAL INFO

Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

How to get there: Fly into Calgary (YYC) and drive 1 hour 40 mins to Banff

Should I rent a car? YES! There is a lot to see in the area and you need a car to get around.

INTRO

As I slipped outside of the impressive castle, a shocking chill went up my spine and slapped me right in the face. Brrrrrrr! It’s cold! It was the tail end of summer and I was expecting it to still be slightly warm. I was in the picturesque mountain town of Banff, Canada, and there’s no way I was going to miss out just because of the cold, so I stepped out of my whiny-pants and into my big girl pants.  Then it all rushed into my veins like an adventure junkie getting a fix. The crisp fresh wilderness air, immense snow-capped mountains, and glistening turquoise springs completely engulfed my senses. I was peering out from the deck at my hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs. Usually people have to hike for hours to experience remote views like this. That freezing cold feeling was soon replaced by excitement, as I was anxious to get out there and explore. 

From the Fairmont, I followed a path of stairs that led downhill towards a trail. When I got to the bottom I saw a pebbly stretch of beach sitting along a brilliant teal river. The towering peaks that surrounded me were made even more stunning by their radiant carpet of massive pines.  Upstream I could see kayaks, people riding horses, and a gushing waterfall. This. Smells. Like. ADVENTURE. I followed the trail and about twenty minutes of eye-indulging views later I arrived in tiny downtown Banff.

From my perception, Banff was a place that must feel like Christmas time year-round. Snow powdered rooftops covered charming shops and restaurants while horse-drawn carriages toted people sipping hot chocolate. Everyone was bundled up with their scarves and mittens.  This is the cozy cuddle weather that makes me want to sing carols around a fire. Of course, this was September and everyone back at home was melting in the heat wave.

Back at the hotel I was presented with quite the choice of dining and entertainment options. I came to Banff to explore the outdoors, but the things I had access to without even leaving the resort were quite tempting. For starters, which one of the Fairmont’s 18 dining options would I choose for dinner? Should I go take advantage of the fact that there is a bowling alley in the hotel? Or perhaps get a massage at the Willow Stream Spa? Go check out the pool, shops, or work out in the gym? I could definitely have spent a lot more time here. Keep reading to see which activities and restaurants were my favorites.

WHAT TO PACK

  • toothbrush & toiletries
  • warm clothes to sleep in (it gets cold at night, even inside of the hotel)
  • bathing suit for the pool / hot tub
  • hiking shoes
  • hiking clothes
  • very casual attire – this is a mountain town, no need to dress up
  • rain coat
  • warm jacket/scarves/gloves
  • rain boots

MY SECRET TIPS

The Fairmont Banff Springs is about a 45 minute drive from the popular tourist destination of Lake Louise. If you plan to visit Lake Louise, there is also a Fairmont property there, and you can use the valet and amenities at that resort if you let them know you came from their Banff Springs property.


This hotel is what it is because of the location, amenities, and top notch service. However, be prepared for a very rustic interior, meaning, some updates are needed.


The patio at Waldhaus Pub (at the hotel) offers breathtaking views. Be sure to stop here during daylight hours for a meal or appetizer.


This hotel has different wings which are not attached. I suggest requesting a room in the main wing (the one with the main lobby). This part of the hotel is a lot nicer than other parts.

SPECIAL TOUCHES

The vibrant blossoming flowers everywhere, the positioning in which to best take in the views, the friendly and accommodating staff.

summer vacation in canada
summer vacation in canada

GET WILD

Here are my favorite ways to get adventurous in and around Banff.

Canoe/Kayak  along Bow River, Forty Mile Creek, or Vermillion Lakes and discover Banff National Park.

Heli tours of Banff National Park

Explore Lake Louise (pictured below)

Explore Moraine Lake (pictured below)

Hiking (many trails – ask concierge for recommendations)

Dog Sledding (winter)

Skiing (winter)

Canyon Ice Walks (winter)

Banff Gondola

Horseback riding (summer)

Mountain biking (summer)

RESTAURANTS

The Fairmont Banff Springs offers many dining options. My favorites were:

1888 Chop House for dinner

Rundle Lounge for cocktails and a fantastic view

Waldhaus Pub and Patio for lunch with the best views / casual hang out with pool table

Indian Summer – traditional Indian cuisine

Afternoon tea – Rundle Lounge – teas, finger foods

 

other great options

Bow Valley Grill – Rocky Mountain Cuisine

Castello Ristorante – Italian

Samurai Sushi Bar & Restaurant – Japanese

Grapes Wine Bar – charcuterie, cheeses, wines

Ramsay Lounge – a casual, quiet lounge

Stanley’s Smokehouse – southern barbeque

The Lookout Patio – wonderful views, salads, sandwiches

13 below – ice cream shoppe

Castle Pantry – coffee shop, bakery

 

off property

Magpie & Stump – Rustic & fun Mexican dining featuring tacos and tequila

Eden – Fine dining

Three Ravens restaurant & Wine Bar – Fresh local ingrediants

summer vacation in canada
summer vacation in canada
summer vacation in canada

Like the look of the Fairmont Banff Springs?

Showing 2 comments
  • Erin Hunter

    I love Lake Louise!!! It’s beautiful!!!!

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  • […] views! Banff is a cute little town and was the perfect place to end our trip. We stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs which was a little outdated but was close to two of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen in my […]

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