Starting to research Canada, please help

Old Apr 6th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Starting to research Canada, please help


My Husband and I are starting to reasearch Canada for a vacation. I don't even know where to start. We are looking for a vacation in July/August. We would like to stay in a resort 4-5 stars, not in a city, prefer to be in the mountains and a variety things to do/see?

Is this possible? We were looking at the Fairmount Hot Springs Resort (not too sure about the hotel-looks run down)and the Fairmount Chateau.

Please give us your opinions on places to go and resorts.

We would like to spend $2000 US for about 5-7 nights.

Thank you
luvthebeach is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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I've just returned yesterday from a 4 day weekend during which I stayed at both the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise, both nestled in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and about a 45 minute drive apart. (I'm not sure if these are the 2 you are referring to but I've given you the proper names). Both hotels were wonderful, the food and services excellent and the customer service outstanding. They are not new properties, but the old parts are well maintained and both have new wings. There are several Fairmount hotels all over Canada and I don't think that you can go wrong with any of them as you make your way around the country. Good Luck.
Mathieu is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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You should know that Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is not at all connected with the Fairmont hotels. It was in existence long before CP Hotels changed its name to Fairmont.

That said, while Fairmont Hot Springs is a pleasant place, and the Kootenays where it is located are quite pretty, they cannot compare with the three Fairmont Rocky Montain hotels--Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. They are all classic hotels located in some of the most beautiful mountain settings in the world.

Others on this board will certainly give you suggestions on which of the three you might choose.
laverendrye is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Day 1 - Fly into Edmonton, and drive 3.5 hours to Jasper. Although I have not stayed there myself, there are many who consider the Jasper Park Lodge to be the best hotel in town. There also are other accomoodations in Jasper, if you want to keep looking. A word search here at Fodors will bring up many previous discussion threads.

Day 2 - In Jasper area. Choose 2 or 3 activities from the following: Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavell, Maligne Canyon, boat ride on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island, gondola ride up Whistler Mountain. Alternatively, I've never done it, but I've heard it's very pleasant to drive an hour or so west of Jasper townsite and hike in the Mount Robson area.

Day 3 - Drive the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise. Stop on the way to see Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, and Peyto Lake. Also stop at the Columbia Icefields, near the border of Jasper and Banff National Parks, and ride a Snocoach on the Athabasca Glacier. Overnight at Post Hotel in Lake Louise village.

Day 4 - See Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Do a hike in the area. Each lake is the starting point of some beautiful trails. You also should be able to drive westwards and fit in a visit to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. Overnight in Lake Louise again.

Day 5 - Drive from Lake Louise to Banff townsite on the Bow Valley Parkway (Route #1A). Stop half way and walk into Johnston Canyon until the Lower Falls or, better yet, the Upper Falls. Overnight in Banff at the Rimrock Resort Hotel or at Buffalo Mountain Lodge.

Day 6 - Visit Lake Minnewanka, ride the Sulphur Mountain gondola, walk around the town of Banff. Overnight in Banff again.

Day 7 - Fly home from Calgary. Suggest you book a flight that leaves sufficiently late to allow you to spend your last night in Banff. The drive from Banff to Calgary is 1.5 hours, and you need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight. Ideally your flight will leave after noon. This will give you time to get up at a reasonable hour, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, return your rented car at the airport, etc. All these processes may go perfectly smoothly, but I personally like to allow some extra time for unforeseen hitches.

If you can spend one more day on this trip, I would devote it to Jasper.

Note that the Calgary Stampede (annual rodeo festival) will take place from July 9th through July 18th. It attracts tourists to the area, has a spillover effect, and creates more demand for accommodations in the Canadian Rockies.

By "Fairmont Chateau," I assume you mean Chateau Lake Louise. It is situated in a drop dead gorgeous location, overlooking Lake Louise. Many guests have found it to be a wonderful hotel, and have enjoyed their stays there. But experiences are uneven. Some rooms are better than others. A Christmas 2003 / New Year 2004 review here at Fodors stated that the staff were friendly and the hotel was clean, but the food was just okay and the furnishings were tired (a broken chair leg here, a fallen sign there, etc.). We stayed there between Christmas and New Year several years ago, and the snow along with the lights and decorations turned it into a magical place, but I've heard mixed reports from other people.

The Post Hotel consistently gets excellent reviews, both for food and accommodation. Suggest you dine at the Post Hotel on one of your evenings at Lake Louise and at Deer Lodge (a smallish, quaint hotel near Chateau Lake Louise) on your other evening.

I stayed at the Rimrock in Banff some years ago, and found it to be very good. It has been renovated since then, and I understand it's still very good. It is a big hotel, though.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge, at which I have not stayed but which has been reviewed here at Fodors, would provide you with a somewhat more intimate atmosphere than the Rimrock. Buffalo Mountain Lodge would be somewhat similar to Lake Louise's Post Hotel, in the sense that both properties have an upscale log cabin look to them.

Aside from the sight seeing and hiking that I've already mentioned, the Rockies also offer white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and horse back riding.

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Hi Luvthebeach,

Obviously Mathieu and Laverendrye were typing at the same time as I was, and I didn't see their messages before I clicked on the Post icon.

Mathieu evidently is one of the people who has had positive experiences at the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise, and I'm really glad to hear he was happy with his accommodations.

I've heard the same thing about the Banff Springs as I've heard about Chateau Lake Louise, namely, some guests have been delighted, and some haven't.

I guess you'll have to read as many reviews as you can, and judge for yourself.

A hotel that belongs to the Fairmont chain that I've heard only good things about is the Palliser Hotel in Calgary. But it's not worth coming to Calgary just for the sake of staying at the Palliser.
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