Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Discussion in 'Fairmont | President's Club' started by MSPeconomist, Aug 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This is one of the historic former "railroad hotels" in the Fairmont chain and indeed, one of their most interesting and elegant properties. It's a fabled iconic hotel that surely appears on a lot of bucket lists.

    Having said that, the reality is that the current hotel is large and seems to cater to (bus) tour groups. At times the mobs in the lobby area are off putting. OTOH, the setting and view are priceless as is the hotel's history, including success in facing service challenges of providing a luxury resort experience in an isolated location.

    I stayed here for one night on a rack rate (IIRC about a bit under $400) reserved a day or two before my stay when the hotel was filled to capacity in early summer. I think the reservation was made by AmEx PTS but not on a FHR rate, although my rate did include a huge buffet breakfast in a choice of restaurants. (I'm not sure whether room service was an option.) I probably arrived around 3-4 pm and the front desk seemed to almost cross examine me whether I was only staying for a single night. I told them my flight plans and may have even shown them my itinerary. The front desk person was a bit vague about the room type I was given, but the number seemed to be a high floor and ending in either 00 or 01 (sorry, I forget). As I approached the room, it seemed to be in the corner of the building on the lake side. When I got closer, I saw that the room was a "named" suite, which was a nice surprise and surely good news.

    What I got was a two-bedroom two-level suite with two huge full baths. I felt lost in it, but very very happy. The suite apparently came with chocolate dipped strawberries on a silver tray as part of my turndown service. Needless to say, the lake views were fantastic.

    However, the normal rooms here are small with small bathrooms. They seem identical and not at all impressive. Lakeside rooms of course have views but I'm not sure how much time I'd want to spend in the room. There are no balconies. I consider the regular rooms, even on the lake side, to be depressing.

    The hotel has large public areas, mostly decorated in Canadian Rockies style. There are a bunch of restaurants--I had an excellent dinner in a small mountain-themed setting but I forget the name of the restaurant I chose--and also a bunch of shops. The hotel has grassy lawns and an interesting footpath most of the way around the lake. I was not impressed at all by the pool. There's a parking garage and lots of other facilities. I had a full buffet breakfast in a much larger mountain-themed dining room. The place was mobbed and servers were working hard but finding it extremely difficult to keep up with replenishing food, service coffee, and removing used plates. The room was noisy, crowded, and filled with large groups and families with unruly small children. More generally, the hotel seemed to cater to large (bus) groups that moved through the lobby in mobs. This detracted greatly from the hotel.

    The drive here is pretty but the hotel is quite far (maybe ten miles) even from the small Lake Louise village, which contains a bunch of other smaller hotels, at least one of which is supposedly luxurious. Be sure to drive down to the neighboring lake (Emerald?) also for the views, probably also about ten miles from the hotel. There doesn't seem to be even a single food outlet or shop outside of the hotel within easy walking distance.

    Overall, I'm glad I took advantage of the opportunity to see this iconic hotel and stay here, but I would have been very upset to pay rack rate for a standard room, even one with a lake view. I had a good stay but I was saddened and disturbed by the impression that obnoxious tour groups were taking over the property, which didn't seem to be able to handle so many people well. (However, I've had similar experiences at other historic Fairmonts in Canada, so this should not be surprising.)
     
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  2. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    It is indeed worth a visit. It's a beautiful setting in winter, too, with the Lake Louise ski area across the road. Though we were staying at a hotel in Banff, we visited the Fairmont for apres ski drinks and a walk out on the lake one afternoon in 2002. (There were ice sculptures and an ice castle built on the lake at the time.)
     
  3. Jasper2009
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    Jasper2009 Silver Member

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    WOW, fantastic upgrade!!! Do you have any status with FPC?

    Did your room have a balcony? I´m having a hard time identifying the exact suite category you stayed in. There are Belvedere and Royal suites which consist of two storeys (and a private balcony), and there are two-bedroom suites without balconies which don´t seem to be spread over two levels.

    Anyways, good to har you had a great stay! It´s a great property, but as you said, the standard rooms are quite mediocre and certainly not representative of the general Fairmont standard. And yes, the tour groups are a major pain.
     
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  4. snfitch

    snfitch Active Member

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    Sounds amazing - I am a platinum and have a friend that did me a huge favor and loves skiing. Would I be able to book standard room for him and his family and use one of my confirmed suite upgrade certificates to book this two bedroom suite for them? Not sure how easily I can gift the plat certificates.

    Tks
     

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