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On a warm spring evening, I found myself in the vast European-style healing mineral pool of the 38,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. As I laid back to float, I heard music playing beneath the surface of the water. It was definitely unexpected, but then the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel always seems to exceed expectations.
If you don’t think that the words “luxury” and “national park” belong in the same sentence, you probably haven’t been to Alberta’s Banff National Park. Situated in the heart of the majestic Canadian Rockies, the park is home to some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world and some of the best luxury accommodations in the nation. If “roughing it” is not your client’s idea of fun, these unique luxury accommodations — complete with top-rated spas, fine dining and incredible wine cellars — are sure to fit the bill.
Fairmont Banff Springs HotelAffectionately known as “The Castle in the Rockies,” this stunning hotel was built in 1888 and has been an icon ever since. Perched on a hill above the Banff town site, it has spectacular views of the Bow River and the surrounding mountains. The hotel offers many on-site amenities, including a top-rated golf course and a magnificent spa where pampering has become an art form. There are also on-site riding stables, a bowling alley, family activities and several gourmet restaurants and lounges that together form a unique culinary universe.
Insider Tip: Clients can join the Fairmont’s President’s Club for free prior to their visit and receive complimentary access to the Internet and health club, a shoe shine and discounts at the spa during their stay.
Rimrock Resort HotelSituated next door to the outdoor hot springs on the steep slope of Sulfur Mountain, this luxurious nine-story hotel offers incredible views from almost every guestroom. The on-site Eden Restaurant is one of the highest rated fine-dining restaurants in Canada. The property also features a large fitness area with squash and racquetball courts, an indoor pool, a steam room, a sauna and a hot tub. The hotel offers a seasonal free golf or ski shuttle as well.
Insider Tip: Almost every room in this hotel has a view, but it’s best to request a room on a higher floor for your clients, as some of the views from the lower floors are blocked by trees.
Banff Caribou Lodge & SpaThe Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa is within walking distance of the lively downtown area of Banff and has luxurious elements in addition to value features, such as complimentary Wi-Fi access, free heated underground parking and complimentary transit passes. The hotel’s Red Earth Spa has six treatment rooms, an esthetics room, a 26-person jetted hot pool, a steam room and an exercise room. There is a Keg Steakhouse restaurant on site.
Insider Tip: This hotel offers a laid-back kind of luxury. The most luxurious room option is the Loft Jacuzzi Suite.
Fairmont Chateau Lake LouisePerched on the shores of a glistening emerald-green lake, surrounded by mountains and glaciers, the Chateau Lake Louise is situated in one of the most picturesque locations in Canada. Originally built as a haven for outdoorsmen, the hotel has been an oasis of luxury since it was first constructed in 1890. The property offers nearly half a dozen dining choices, stables, a variety of activities, pools, hot tubs, a sauna, a steam room and a lovely spa. In the summer, canoes are available to rent, and in the winter, guests can rent skates or ride a sleigh around the lake.
Insider Tip: A lake-view room has the best views year-round. Some rooms have terraces and there is a private concierge floor with exclusive amenities and personalized service.
Post Hotel & SpaThe Post Hotel is much smaller than the other luxury hotels in the park, but it has its own rustic elegance. The hotel’s gourmet restaurant is a highlight of any visit, and the chef works to create fresh market cuisine from in-season ingredients — serving it with amazing wines. The hotel has the best wine selection in the park, with more than 2,200 labels and 24,000 bottles on hand. Other amenities on property include a full-service spa, a large swimming pool, a sauna, a steam room, a hot tub and a fitness center.
Insider Tip: Rooms on the back side of the hotel are a little quieter and have better views than rooms on the front side, which overlook the parking lot and may be subject to train noise. For real romance, book your clients in one of the three streamside cabins.
Banff Caribou Lodge & Spawww.bestofbanff.com/banff-caribou-lodge
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotelwww.fairmont.com/banff-springs
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louisewww.fairmont.com/lake-louise
Post Hotel & Spawww.posthotel.com
Rimrock Resort Hotelwww.rimrockresort.com