Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

An honest review

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a dreamy, castle-like structure tucked into the Canadian Rockies on the shores of some of the bluest glacier water you have ever seen.  It’s a place I’ve dreamed of since I was 16, when dear friends of mine traveled there and returned home bearing photographic evidence (before blogs and Facebook existed- oye!).

Lake Louise lies within Banff National Park and is a little over 2 hours from Calgary International Airport.  We rented a car at the airport and first visited Emerald Lake Lodge, then traveled south to Lake Louise.

While Brian parked the car, I headed into the lobby to get our room keys and take a few photos.  Because I’m very mature and refined, the stairway reminded me of the movie Titanic.  Haha. #jackandroseforlife.  No, really, it is a grand staircase.  Stately royal blue carpet says, “this place is fancy” while mounted elk and moose heads say, “but we’re in the mountains, eh.”

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sorry a little blurry- selfie stick woes

The Chateau felt stuffy, but down-to-earth (oxymoron, I know!).  Even though we consider ourselves “travelers on a budget” we didn’t feel as though we didn’t fit in. The staff is overly friendly and accommodating AND there are people visiting from all over the world, so lots of different styles and tastes.  The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is also an outdoor playground in the sense of all the hiking trails, ski trails, and the like, so even though the decor in the resort is very upscale, most people are just dressed for the weather!

Room

The room was adequate. Even though we *ahem* stayed for free, I thought the room was a little small for the nightly rate of $669 Canadian.  When we ordered room service (twice!  also free!), they could hardly even get the table around our bed, and one of us had to sit on the bed to eat it.  Only one chair would fit.  #firstworldproblems

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Teeny tiny bathroom. Shower was to your left.

The bed was super comfy though, and the complimentary robes and slippers were a plus.  There was also a small fridge in the room- just down the road in Lake Louise Village there are a few shops so if you wanted to save money on snacks and drink this could be helpful.

Location

The hotel‘s location right on the shore of Lake Louise can not be beat!  You’re less than a 5 minute walk from your room to kayak and canoe rentals, hiking trails, and more.  Unfortunately we hit Lake Louise right as winter hit Alberta, so we did not partake in any of the guided hikes or activities (mostly because we weren’t packed for snowshoeing, dangit)!

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Dining:

We enjoyed dinner at the Lakeview Lounge on our first evening.  This business casual dining option is great for the scenery AND the people watching (Hey you, people on their phones when you’re at one of the most beautiful places on earth, I’m talking about YOU.  GRRrrr).  The prices are mid-range.

As I mentioned before, we enjoyed the in-room dining for breakfast and appetizers and ate two rounds of poutine.  Have you had poutine?  Your taste buds will thank you, but your gall bladder will not.  I digress.

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Overall

As much as I dreamed of this place, I wasn’t as awestruck by the resort as I was by Emerald Lake Lodge.  While the views and the service are excellent, it felt like really any major worldwide resort.  However, we did find a big perk in those extra amenities like room service, that allowed us just to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet away from the hustle of family life.  We didn’t expect the weather to leave us wanting just to unwind, but sometimes those big resort treasures are worth the extra cost.

What do you think?  Have you been to Lake Louise?  Stayed at a Fairmont Resort?  Eaten poutine?

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*This is not a sponsored post*

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The Icefields Parkway drive within an hour of Lake Louise

In researching our trip to the Canadian Rockies, I knew that the Icefields Parkway was something we had to cross off of our list.  The Icefields Parkway is an iconic drive, maybe lesser-known to Americans than California’s Highway 1 or the Blue Ridge Parkway, but lacking nothing in jaw-dropping views.

Icefields Parkway is also known as highway 93 and it begins just north of Lake Louise.  The parkway itself is free, but you do need to have your National Parks Pass for admission.  We paid $80 CAD for a 4-day pass to the parks.  You can take the Icefields Parkway all the way to Jasper, AB but our short getaway just didn’t allow us the time we needed to do this.

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The road is well-maintained and has numerous pull-over spots.

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They were obviously out of neutral colors at the rental counter.

The first place I knew I wanted to see was Bow Lake.

For the best view, don’t pull over at the lookout- but look for the signs for the Num Ti-Jah Lodge.  The Lodge was not open while we were there (it appeared to be under renovation), but you can still park there and walk right up to the lake.

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If it would have been a little warmer, I’d been happy to sit on this bridge with a good book.  The reflections in the lake are gorgeous, if you can get past the tour bus crowds arriving every so often! 🙂

Just a little more north of Bow Lake is Peyto Lake.  This is the stop I’d been waiting for, as the photographic image I’d placed in my mind begged me to see it in person.  The electric blue water against the snow-draped mountains is a highlight for travelers from all over the world (trust me, you’ll see all the tourists even on a snowy day)!

Those not arriving by bus have to park about 1/4 mile from the viewing platform and walk up the hill (err, mountain).  The walk is well-paved but it is very hilly.  This is where Mr YT and I determined that we were either dealing with some altitude-related struggles OR we really needed to hit the treadmill when we got home — the answer is probably both!

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Thinking this view alone was worth the hike- not realizing what I was about to see.

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Snnoowww

From Peyto Lake, we returned south towards Lake Louise.  We really wanted to get settled in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise before dark so we could have a look around the property.  I’m so glad we did because we had about zero visibility the next two days!

So friends, you don’t have to have an entire day to enjoy some spectacular Canadian Rockies views.  I’d easily do this drive again with the entire family!

Have you been to the Canadian Rockies?  Maybe the US Rockies?  Where can I find blue water as bright as this?!

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