Banff National Park has been on my bucket list ever since I saw those beautiful videos on Instagram of Lake Louise. If you’re wondering if those videos are filtered, they’re not – the lake is just breathtaking beautiful. I can’t believe I got to celebrate my birthday at Banff this year and want to come back to do Jasper National Park!
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We stayed at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, ‘Castle in the Rockies’, the year-round luxury mountain resort. The hotel is Scottish baronial style and was built in 1888 in the heart of Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. We wanted to stay inside the park and the Fairmont is just a 15-minute walk from downtown Banff, 9-minute walk from Bow Falls and 4-minute walk from Spray River West Trailhead.
Banff is a popular destination in the winter for ski season but I wanted to enjoy it in the summer. Fairmont Banff has added several new activities this year so read down below for our stay!
2022 Review of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
How to get to Banff National Park
Fly into Calgary International Airport and from the airport, it’s a scenic 90 minute (87 miles) drive to Banff. From Austin, we had a layover in Dallas before landing in Calgary and picked up our car rental. We explored Calgary the first day and stayed the night in Cochrane in a cabin in the woods overlooking the valley. Then made the drive from Cochrane to Banff!
Fairmont Banff has 745 guest rooms and suites – we had a mountain view room with a king bed and woke up to beautiful sunrises and sunsets of Rundle Mountain and Tunnel Mountain.
- Willow Stream Spa
- Indoor swimming pool & outdoor swimming pool
- daily housekeeping
- 3 outdoor tennis courts
- Fitness center
- 18-hole award winning golf course designed by Stanley Thompson
- 13 food and drink options
- ski storage
- babysitting services
- complimentary public transportation (ROAM transit passes available at the Front Desk)
- valet parking
- pet friendly
ON PROPERTY ACTIVITIES
Complimentary bikes from Adventure Centre
Fairmont Banff offers one-hour complimentary bike or ebike rentals from the Adventure Centre located in the Gatehouse Rotunda (under the Ramsay Bar). Bike to downtown Banff, around the national park, or just around the property. The weather was perfect!
Guided forest bathing experience
Forest Bathing is a mindfulness practice born in Japan and known as Shinrin Yoku. This is an exclusive experience offered by the Fairmont Banff Springs that encourages guests to connect with nature in a deeper and more profound way. We did the two-hour private session with an accredited guide and learned all about the healing benefits of of Shinrin Yoku, about the forests in Banff, and ended with a tea service.
Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course
Named one of the top ten golf courses in Canada and one of the best in the world, people come all over to golf at Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. The 18-hole golf course lined with pine forest and backed by the mountain scenery of Canada’s Rocky Mountains is designed by master golf course expert Stanley Thompson.
Golf Cart Tour and Driving Range
If you don’t like golfing, opt for the golf cart tour. The golf course is beautiful and we enjoyed learning about all the facts and seeing the animals. The golf course guide took us on on a short cart tour of this iconic course, played by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, famous sportspeople and even royal guests since the early 1900’s. If you feel up to it, the golf course guide can also stop at the driving range for a few hits.
Soak in the mineral pools at Willow Stream Spa
Banff was known for it’s natural hot springs back in the day and you can enjoy the experience at the mineral pools at the Willow Stream Spa. The spa offers treatments like massages, facials, and more. There are three plunge pools of varying temperatures, hot tubs, a eucalyptus inhalation room, sauna, steam room, and outside whirlpool.
Banffchella Summer Art Installation at Outdoor Pool
New art and Instagrammable 3D structures by the Wknders feature just for the summer at the outdoor pool and indoor pool! There is a curated cocktails menu in partnership with Veuve Clicquot. Live DJ set every Friday throughout summer by DJ Adam DoubleYou too!
Cocktail making class at Rundle Bar
Learn the secret to professional mixology at a cocktail making class with award-winning Rundle bar’s talented bartenders. We learned how to make the Signature Mountain Series Cocktails, showcasing the essence of each Fairmont property in the mountain region – Fairmont Banff Springs, Lake Louise Chateau and Jasper Park Lodge.
There are 13 food and drink options at Fairmont Banff Springs.
360° Private Dining Dome
This was one of my favorite dining experiences I’ve ever had – the 360° private dining dome is located on the picturesque Upper Garden Terrace. We enjoyed coffee and a signature breakfast of eggs benedict, toast, fruit, and pastries while surrounded by panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and the 132-year-old Castle.
The 360 private dining dome is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I can’t imagine how magical is it during the winter time when it’s snowing!
Pricing: Sunrise breakfast is $70 per person, reservations required in advance
STOCK Food & Drink
Located on lobby level past the concierge desks, STOCK is the coffee shop and casual cafe. We got coffee and pastries here every morning and swung by for sandwiches and snacks in the afternoon. Great spot to pick up snacks for hikes and picnics as well.
Rundle Bar has the best view of Rundle Mountain with a beautiful outdoor patio view and a secret doorway through a bookcase, designed by female-led FRANK architecture in Calgary. The new menu features dishes like Brandt Lake Beef Carpaccio, cold smoked arctic char, and head chef Atticus’ warm Rundle OGC (Oooey, Gooey, Cookie).
We had lunch, dinner, and cocktails here several times during our stay!
Considered one of the best patios to enjoy a beer or cocktail, Waldhaus is a Bavarian-style cottage with German-inspired alpine dishes. Soft pretzels, potato onion soup, cheese fondue, schnitzel, and more. Waldhaus has both local and international beer. Try the beer flight (five 6oz tasters), stein or the big beer boot (64 oz)!
Named after master golf course expert Stanley Thompson, Stanley Smokehouse is located at the golf course and has a BBQ menu. Classic avocado on toast, Alpine omelet with locally sourced meats, or even the breakfast poutine.
I love pasta so I was excited to dine at Castello Italiana – handmade pasta, classic Italian dishes and a bottle of wine. We loved the chicken picatta and fried calamari.
The Vermillion Room
If you like French cuisine, go to Vermillion Room for French classics from hors-d’oeuvres to desserts and a bar with incredible views of the Canadian Rockies.
THINGS TO DO IN BANFF NATIONAL PARK
Hike Sulphur Mountain
The hotel offers complimentary roam bus passes at the concierge desk. The bus stop is just a 10-minute walk towards downtown Banff and will take you straight to the summit station at Sulphur Mountain.
The hike took us about two hours (would be hour and a half but I’m a slow hiker) up the mountain to a beautiful mountaintop view of six mountain ranges, the Bow Valley and the town of Banff from the Sulphur Mountain summit. Banff. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and a boardwalk to enjoy the view. We took the Sulphur Mountain Gondola back down or you can hike down.
The Banff Gondola is an 8-minute journey to an elevation of 2281 meters (7486ft) above sea level.
Tickets: varies from $40 – $70, ages 5 & under ride for free but require a ticket.
100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B2, Canada
Scooter ride around Banff National Park
Scootering around Banff was one of my favorite activities on this trip! We picked out a bright yellow Vespa scooter and drove around the park to Lake Minnewanka. So many animals along the way – elk and big horned sheep! The best way to see and experience Banff.
Banff by Scooter store is conveniently located next to the hotel. Scooters are available for rent for 2-hours, 4-hours, full day, or multi-day. Includes unlimited gas, 2 helmets, and unlimited kilometers. No motorcycle license is needed and sunglasses required.
Availability: May to Sept
405 Spray Avenue, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada, banffbyscooter.com
Canoe Lake Louise
Canoeing on Lake Louise has been on my bucket list for years and I can’t believe we got to do this!! If you’ve seen those iconic videos of a blue lake on Instagram, it’s Lake Louise and it looks just like that in real life.
The lines to rent a canoe can get really crazy but we got super lucky that we found a parking spot right away and the line was short for the canoe.
Tip: arrive early at 7am to get a parking spot (or take the shuttle in) and get in line for the canoe. If you’re a guest at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, there is a separate expedited line.
Cost: $145 for one hour or $135 for 30 minutes
Hours of operation: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM (last boat at 7:00 PM)
111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise – Alberta, more info
Afternoon tea at Fairmont Lake Louise
We didn’t have time to do the high tea experience at Fairmont Lake Louise but it was highly recommended. We did stay for lunch after canoeing and enjoyed the view of Lake Louise from the patio.
Cold plunge in Bow River
The Bow Falls has a drop of 30 feet (9.1 meters) at the corner of Bow River. Made popular by the 1953 Marilyn Monroe film River of No Return. If you’re up for it, you can take a cold plunge in Bow River. The water is surprisingly clear and beautiful.