A Storybook Alpine Escape
There is something telling about the way The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise began. Unlike its sister property, The Fairmont Banff Springs, which was planned as a luxury hotel from the start, the Chateau was built in 1890 as a simple, single-level wood chalet. With just a sitting room, kitchen, bedroom and veranda, it was intended to shelter the handful of climbers, artists and scenery photographers drawn to the stunning Rocky Mountain and Lake Louise setting.
But when by the early 1900s visitors to the area numbered 5,000 a year, it became clear to the chalet’s creator, Cornelius Van Horne, general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, that expansion was necessary. Throughout the decades the hotel was renovated and grew, and in 1982 it shifted from a summer to all-season resort. Today it can host hundreds at a time, but its original warmth—a legacy from its earliest days—as well as its stunning views, remain unchanged.
A blend of quaint alpine and rugged Rocky Mountain attitudes define the style at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Bedrooms and suites feature lots of warm wood, and dining pays tribute to the heritage of outfitters, cowboys and Swiss guides that paved the way for the resort. Backpacker lunches and the signature fondues on Walliser Stube’s classic Swiss menu are among the many highlights. A selection of restaurants operate under the direction of executive chef Dominique Guyot, whose signature Fairview Dining Room features views, unique regional dishes such as Tataki of Bison, 400 wine labels and more views. Among the lounges is Glacier Saloon for drinks, billiards and live music.
Along with mountain and lake view guestrooms and junior suites, the Chateau offers upgraded accommodations on the seventh-floor Fairmont Gold Level. Beginning with private check-in, the experience is designed to provide an aura of exclusivity. Gold Level guests enjoy the services of a dedicated concierge and the use of a private living room/lounge adorned with a fireplace, bookshelves and heritage artwork. Complimentary continental breakfast, cocktail hour canapés and an honor bar are offered. The lounge also has wireless Internet and free high-speed Internet access. Additionally, wireless access is available in some public areas and meeting rooms.
The Chateau’s resort facilities include a full health club, Escape Spa and the Mount Temple Wing for business seminars and conventions. A conference service team is on hand to put unique finishing touches on your gathering, such as après ski Ice Wine Martinis at a hand-carved Ice Luge Bar or Swiss fondue dinner receptions. As well, the hotel can assist with the many activities the region is famous for: winter alpine skiing (this is the largest single mountain ski area in North America), sleigh rides, skating parties on the lake, snow shoeing, canyon walks, dog sledding and icefield tours, and summer interpretive hikes, mountaineering, canoeing, fishing and whitewater rafting. As you explore the beauty of Banff National Park, which is miraculously unspoiled despite over a century of visitors, it is easy to see what drew the first travelers to bunk down in the original little chalet in the first place.