Advantages Stunning setting
Disadvantages No wi-fi, expensive parking, impersonal.
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
This review for Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is part of our longer trip through the Canadian Rockies.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (FCLL) is a large hotel sitting at the end of a lake which is often termed "the jewel of the Rockies". The Fairmont hotel chain is worldwide, in the UK the two hotels you may know best within this chain are The Savoy in London and the one on the golf course in St Andrews. We're talking big money people. The hotel is enormous with hundreds of rooms ranging from a standard room, to a suite, to a huge penthouse. There are two choices: one overlooking the lake, one not overlooking the lake. When you're paying these prices, it is worth paying the 15% extra (approx.) to get a lake view. Don't stay in the cheapest room without a view, definitely pay for the view, you won't regret it.The hotel is decorated in the style of an old lodge, lots of taxidermic animal heads on the wall, lots of marble and dark wood, really stunning decor.
The price was a huge factor, indeed we moved the entire itinerary around just so that we could afford one night in this hotel. It is the first and last time I will pay £350 for one night in a room (room only at that ladies and gentlemen). It was the piece de resistance of our honeymoon and for one night only, worth every penny. If you've got the cash, stay a week. We didn't have the cash, so we stayed for one night only. It is worth saying £350 bought us a bog standard room with a view. However, fair dinkum to the hotel, as soon as we said (repeatedly!) in our e-mails prior to arrival that it was indeed our honeymoon, we were upgraded to a junior suite ( wit woo - we had an extra chair and a coffee table which would have cost us £150 extra!) and a bottle of champagne on ice for no extra price, making it a seriously sweet evening all round. (Hint: say it's your honeymoon even if it isn't!)If you want alternatives to staying in the area, there are many cabins, none with a lake view but all within a 5 minute drive. For cheaper alternatives again, base yourself in Banff and drive up, takes about 40 mins.
I booked a pre-pay, no refund room (cheapest!). Except I booked it a month in advance of the date I wanted. Freaking out (understandably) at potentially losing hundreds and having out dream hotel experience go out of the window, I rang Canada, and the lovely Greg agreed to swap the dates (even though the date I'd booked it for had passed and the room was non-exchange, non-refund). I was very glad of Greg that night!!!!!! Very reasonable of the hotel indeed. I'm a dingbat I know.
Worth saying, we signed up for a free Fairmont President's Club membership, you get access to "cheap dates, cheap rates" e-mail (sounds like a dodgy strip club!) for the first week of every month where certain hotels around the globe have certain deals. By staying here on the Wednesday, we saved around £200 compared with staying on the Thursday, so do sign up in advance.
Parking was in a large multi-storey next to the hotel (Adjoining it). However, it was $25 per day extra to park there (in addtion to the whopping room charges). With that in mind, I felt it was really unacceptable to charge extra money for what should be a free service. We parked our own car and were given the keys as we arrived outside of the hotel by the porter/bell boy type person. Although I understand this reduced pressure on reception, it felt very impersonal and almost as though we weren't important enough to speak to the front desk.For various reasons, mainly trying out every free facility the hotel had to offer (a nice pool, stream room etc), we decided to order room service for our meal. It cost $100 for two meals, again a massive treat for us and about £60 for two really really nice Alberta steaks. Compared to the room cost, I found the room service bill was really reasonable. There are lots of cafes, restaurants and icecremeries in the building, some are open all night which was handy for our early morning getaway.
The bathroom had bathrobes, slippers, freebies (of course not actually free...all in the cost of the room!) and a shower and a jet-spa bath! Stupidly put bubbles in the bath and the water was seriously frothing in the tub. Had a shower and a bath just to make best use of the facilities and get my money's worth!
I woke up several times in the night and I kept peeping out of the window in the middle of the night to see the view which was just brilliant.It was so haunting looking at the Victoria glacier hanging over the top of the lake, with the moonlight shimmering.I know a lot of people don't like the hotel as to be fair it is a blot on the gorgeous landscape, but for one night, it was definitely worth it.
Negative points - well the parking cost was terrible and you have to pay for the internet which is only available through a cable. If you are in the Fairmont Presidents Club (free remember!), you get internet for free, but I couldn't connect to the wi-fi through my iPhone which in this day and age, for the calibre of hotel, I found completely astounding. Sort it out Fairmont!
Whilst I didn't feel the hospitality staff shone in any way, once we got to Jasper, I realised I'd had dingbat moment number 2 and left my straighteners in FCLL. It was a 2 hour drive (or more) back to the hotel to get them. It was possible but would have ruined a day of our Jasper itinerary. More importantly, it had the only power adapter we had attached, so I was more interested in getting that back. I called housekeeping and a lovely woman found it in lost property for me. They packaged them up and put them on their Fairmont bus which takes passengers to their sister hotel in Jasper. She told me which coach it would be on and what time to pick it up. Sure enough, I went to the Fairmont in Jasper and there were the straighteners. Super service, above and beyond what I would expect. Same for Greg.
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