As a part of our 10 day trip to Alberta, Canada, my husband, Eugene, and I made a 24 hour (ish) stop in Lake Louise. This cozy winter wonderland made for the most relaxing stay I’ve probably ever had. Let me walk you through our late November visit at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Hospitable Arrival & Welcome
- 7:45 am. Arrive at the hotel. Kurt, the outdoor attendant warmly greeted us. He smiled wide when he learned our hopes of checking in early to maximize our one night stay. Then, Kurt immediately began spilling all the important information, such as where to park our car and where check-in was. This warm, sentimental feeling took over as Kurt gave us the introduction. And the air there- it was cool yet inviting. It was reminiscent of running into Grandma’s house where she would grab your winter coat as you dashed inside to do your favorite things. I just knew I wanted to bottle this feeling. At any rate, who doesn’t eagerly want to check in well before they’re supposed to? I had a hunch they were hospitable enough to at least store our luggage, but never in my mind did I imagine us being able to check in at SEVEN in the morning?! SCORE. Faye at the front desk not only checked us in but upgraded us to a lake view room. She asked the most genuine questions about our stay. It felt different than most hotel check-in experiences. Faye actually seemed to care about us as humans & ensure we had a pleasurable stay. I was hooked from the start. We walked our luggage to the elevator, and it only took about a one minute walk through the hotel lobby to get our first glimpse of the iconic lake. I’ve only had my breath taken away a few times in life, one of them being my first glance of the Eiffel Tower. Consider this one of those moments. I dropped my luggage and sprinted to the window to take in a quick peek of the daring views.
- 8:00am. Check out the lake view room. Our room included a queen bed, view of the iconic Lake Louise, Nespresso coffee maker, bathtub & most other usual hotel amenities. My favorite room amenity? The bath robe. In spite of the perfect vibes thus far, just one thing was missing though: bath amenities. We requested bath salts to be delivered to our room & headed on to the rest of our itinerary.
Magical Winter Hikes Overlooking Lake Louise
- 8:30am. Our first hike. After learning that the majority of the hiking we wanted to do was not encouraged due to the winter season, we took the “toughest” one we could safely do, which was the first segment of the Lake Agnes Trail. First, starting at Lake Louise, we trekked about 1K in elevation one way. Then, we stopped at Mirror Lake, and turned around (4 miles round trip). The entire hike took about two hours. Additionally, note that we wore crampons & were glad we did. This trail segment was well-maintained, but it simply felt easier to navigate with those crampons on. Out of the three hikes we did, this was my favorite. Beautiful scenery the entire way, and it was cool to get a high up glimpse of the Chateau AND see another lake.
- 10:30am. Break overlooking the lake. We grabbed our leftover Tim Horton mini donuts & headed to the second floor for refuge. God bless that birthday cake flavor. I felt a little tacky in the nice setting but nothing felt better than taking our shoes off and warming our feet up by the heater. Not to worry, the rest didn’t last long with Hiking King Eugene, as we were off to our next hike shortly thereafter. If you know, you know– Eugene is an adamant hiker & loves exploring. He doesn’t settle for easy hikes and wants to go high, far and wide. 😉
- 11:30am. Hike #2. Now, this time we headed up to the Faiview Lookout, a 1.5 mile out & back trail. Would not recommend this trail with little ones in the winter as it’s straight up or straight down each way. We wore our crampons for this trail as well & needed them much more here. Once you make it to the top, enjoy breathtaking views of the Chateau & surrounding forestry. If we would have continued on, we would have been in avalanche warning area, something I didn’t take into consideration before traveling. In our entire trip, we never came across an active avalanche, despite constant warnings of where they could occur. Nonetheless, at this point I’m so thankful we hadn’t seen any avalanches… or even wildlife on our hikes. We bought bear spray in another town for about $30 USD just in case. The nice thing about the Fairmont, though, is that we could have rented crampons, bear spray & hiking poles free of charge! Just ask concierge for these.
Fairmont Festivities: Secret Library & More
- 1:00pm. Nespresso time. We took a quick break & fueled up with the complimentary Nespresso in our room while we waited for our lunch reservation. I felt right at home with the Nespresso maker since we have one at our own house.
- 2:15pm. Lunch is served at the Fairview Bar. We normally don’t eat this late, but I was dead set on a window table. And we waited for it. Eugene enjoyed the squid & I remained the easy date with a lemonade and french fries. Honestly, I just wanted something to scarf down quickly because we hadn’t eaten in a while. The ambiance felt like what we want our future dining room to look like: modern with a touch of cozy. The server anticipated our needs & checked up on us the appropriate amount of times. This experience just flowed so well. *BUCKET LIST IDEA: If you’re willing to shell out $60+/person, join the Fairmont for afternoon tea service. I really wanted to do this but had a hard time justifying the cost. Someone please do this & tell me how it is!*
- 3:30pm. Pool time. The Fairmont’s indoor pool and hot tub were ready for us as we were the only ones there. The hot tub was humongous, which made us feel like royalty. I cozied up with a magazine while Eugene hit the steam room. I can’t remember the last time we actually enjoyed a hotel pool. This was a first in a while.
- 4:30pm. Night time Lake views. The sun was slowly setting, and we were hoping for an epic sunset. However with the mountains and dreary sort of day, the sunset didn’t exactly feel as magical as we were hoping. However, it was adorable to have the lake to ourselves for some photos!
- 5:00pm. Checkers & tea at the library. A hidden stairwell from the lobby transports you to the library area, where guests can lounge, play games and drink coffee or tea. We found our new love for checkers as we drank several cups of Lot 35 teas.
Divine Dinner & Drinks
- 6:15pm. Dinner at Walliser Stube. This in-house dining option felt like a piece of Switzerland! We chose to celebrate my upcoming December birthday a little early at this dinner. I could have died of happiness from the evening here. The host matched our upbeat, happy tone from the start and brought us to our window facing table in the wine room. We started with cocktails, made our way to the traditional cheese fondue and finished with the Toblerone chocolate fondue featuring homemade marshmallows, strawberries, choux puffs and spiced financier. Our sever made the most lovely conversation with us every step of the way. Oh, and above all, the bartender is one of the best in the world, so I requested he make me a custom cocktail featuring light liquor & fruity flavors. And boy, did he deliver. He even came over to our table to explain how he met my “challenge.” Five diamond hospitality from start to finish. It’s really hard to find places where I would ever consider that rating myself. This took the cake. And speaking of cake, we packaged up the remaining dessert that we didn’t finish to enjoy the next day. Note to self: fondue leftovers are THE BEST.
- 9:00pm. Post-dinner drinks. Grandpa Eugene & Grandma Anna (we call ourselves that because we don’t stay out too late anymore…) were so enthralled with our stay so far that we made it to drinks at Alpine Social! Namely, it was the first time in a long time the both of us felt extremely disconnected from everything at home and could truly focus on each other. Phones to the side, we dreamed up future plans & reminisced about all the things that made us happy lately, like this stay.
Lake Louise Rim Hike & Departure
- 8:00am. Sunrise hike. Per the concierge recommendation, we ended our stay with the 2.8 mile loop Lakefront Trail. The trail had little elevation gain and hugged the rim of the lake the entire way. On the other hand, in summer months, we could have continued to other trails, but due to avalanche warnings, we turned around back to complete our adventure.
- 9:30am. Check out & begin the journey to Jasper National Park.
This was one of the most incredible, intimate and enjoyable 24 hours I’ve had in such a long time. Thank you, Fairmont Lake Louise for providing the most quintessential winter escape.
[This hotel had zero indication that I would be writing about my stay before or during my trip. All views are my own.]
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