Landmark Hotels

The Mountain Parks are home to two of the most famous hotels in Canada: the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Both hotels are situated in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and offer luxury accommodations and fine dining. The hotels can arrange activities such as tours, horseback riding, canoeing, skiing and snowboarding, golf, and gondola rides. Each hotel has concierge service and a spa.

Rates range from $350 to $1700 per night at the Chateau Lake Louise, depending on room type and season. Rates at the Banff Springs Hotel range from $470 to $1170 per night, depending on room type and season.

Photos from the Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel websites.

Both hotels are currently owned by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, but were built at the end of the nineteenth century by the Canadian Pacific Railway company as a means to induce train travel to Western Canada.
Construction on the Banff Springs Hotel began in 1887, and the hotel was expanded between 1900 and 1928, the year the current hotel was completed. The original hotel burnt down in 1927, and was rebuilt in its current form in 1928. The hotel was closed due to the Second World War between 1942 and 1945, and the hotel struggled financially between its re-opening and the 1970s, when it first opened for the winter season. A new wing was completed in 1987, in preparation for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. In 1992, the hotel was declared a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada.
Chateau Lake Louise started off as a one-story log cabin on the shore of Lake Louise in 1890. Due to two fires early in the hotel’s history, it took on its present form in 1911. During the Second World War the hotel was closed to the public due to gas rationing, but scientists from universities across Western Canada used the lake and the hotel facilities to conduct weapons research that ultimately did not come into use. The hotel was originally open only during the summer, but was winterized and opened during the winter in the 1970s.

The Canadian Pacific Railway’s hotels played a part in the development of paleontology in the Canadian Rockies, when in 1885 a group of workers constructing Mount Stephen House in Field found ‘stone bugs’ while climbing the mountain on a day off. These ‘stone bugs’ were middle Cambrian trilobites, and the workers’ discovery became known simply as the Trilobite Beds. Charles Walcott, head of the Smithsonian Institution, was returning from the Trilobite Beds to Field in 1909 when he discovered the Burgess Shale.

History of the Fairmont Banff Springs (no date provided). Accessed 07 April 2009 from http://www.fairmont.com/EN_FA/Property/BSH/AboutUs/HotelHistory.htm
Chateau Lake Louise Luxury Hotel History (no date provided). Accessed 07 April 2009 from http://www.fairmont.com/EN_FA/Property/CLL/AboutUs/HotelHistory.htm
Chronicles of Canadian Paleontology: Mount Stephen Trilobite Beds (2007). Accessed 07 April 2009 from http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/paleochron/07_e.php

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