Picture this: A lake with water about the same colour as the emerald green ‘My Little Pony’. Next to the lake you put a towering mountain plus the Victoria glacier as cheddar topping. Make sure it’s surrounded by vast forests of pine. In the summertimes it looks absurd – the quintessential beautiful location in the Canadian Rockies. In the wintertime it looks just like in the picture above. See the tiny speck in the middle of the picture? That’s the Chateau Lake Louise.
The oldest portion of the original hotel still standing was built in 1913. The idea was copied from the success of the Banff Springs Hotel – Canadian Pacific Railroads to exploit the stunning scenery and use the newly built railroad to bring the tourists in. This hotel was winterized in 1982. Before that it had only been admitting guests in the summertime.
This is not a place as grand as the Banff Springs, nor does it offer the service level of the Chateau Whistler. But it delivers. Eight restaurants a health club with spa and numerous shops means that you may use it as base camp for at least a week of winter activities without getting completely bored to death. This is important, as the Lake Louise village itself isn’t really a village but a few buildings scattered along the Trans-Canada Highway. There’s a free shuttle service to the Lake Louise Ski Area (from where the above picture was taken) with 113 runs and back bowls will keep you busy in the days. And that’s probably why you came here in the first place, right?
So far, so good. Normally I’d let the stars rain over a place like this. But staying at the Chateau Lake Louise will come with a price. A too high a price, if you ask me. Also, the new extensions to the hotel has transformed it into something that very much looks and feels like a resort. But since it’s highly unlikely that the Fairmont management will make the place smaller, I guess that we should all just get our wallets out and enjoy the view.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
111 Lake Louise Drive
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 1E0