The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- Rate & Review
111 Lake Louise Drive
Lake Louise, Alberta
In 1892 a young employee of the Canadian Pacific Railroad named Thomas Wilson came upon a gem of a lake in the Canadian Rockies that sat beneath a towering glacier. He would write in his journal: "As God is my judge, I never in all my explorations saw such a matchless scene." Taking his recommendation, Canadian Pacific would build a one-story log cabin to serve as a hotel for guests who savored the outdoors. By 1912, word spread about this majestic spot in the mountains, enticing more than(+) More
In 1892 a young employee of the Canadian Pacific Railroad named Thomas Wilson came upon a gem of a lake in the Canadian Rockies that sat beneath a towering glacier. He would write in his journal: "As God is my judge, I never in all my explorations saw such a matchless scene." Taking his recommendation, Canadian Pacific would build a one-story log cabin to serve as a hotel for guests who savored the outdoors. By 1912, word spread about this majestic spot in the mountains, enticing more than 50,000 people to reach the shores of Lake Louise. It was time for Canadian Pacific to build a grand chateau with blue roofs and turrets, furnished with the finest craftsmanship of the Edwardian era. A place where royalty, heads of state, and celebrities could hobnob in comfort.
Today, the 513-room Chateau Lake Louise is run by luxe-oriented Fairmont Hotels and is still considered the premier address in the Canadian Rockies. It now has nine restaurants, including the upscale Edelweiss Room, along with a wine bar, a spa and health club with indoor heated pool, and deluxe lakeview rooms that are spacious enough to house a family of four. Yet, even if this lofty lodging was still a log cabin, you'd want to come here to experience the glorious vista of the emerald lake surrounded by towering snowcapped peaks.
The chateau sits on the opposite shore from 11,365-foot Mount Victoria, cradling the white spread of the glacier from which mineral deposits lend the lake its striking chalky-blue hue. Don't just admire the scenery from a distance. Grab a canoe from the hotel and cruise across this glacial cirque, a mere mile-and-a-half long. However, you might think twice about going for a dip. The water temperature never gets higher than 39 degrees Fahrenheit. A wonderful 4.5-mile hike (round-trip) leads from the shores of Lake Louise on a wide trail past a waterfall to Lake Agnes, a body of water the Stoney Indians once called "the lake in the clouds." Stop for a bowl of soup or fresh-baked scones at the teahouse before making the return trip.
Another highlight of any trip to Lake Louise is the 64-mile drive through the peaks and deep swaths of forest along the stunning Icefields Parkway, one of the world's most scenic stretches of roadway. Elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, maybe even a bear or cougar can be seen as you make your way to the largest icecap in the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia Icefield, on the boundary of Banff and Jasper national parks. Once you arrive, most people take an Ice Explorer Tour up onto the icy slopes of the Athabasca Glacier.
In winter, the chateau stays open so you can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride over the lake, cross-country ski in shaded forest below the peaks, carve ice sculptures and ice-skate by the lakeshore, or downhill ski at one of Canada's largest ski areas at Lake Louise (two other top-notch resorts, Sunshine Village and Banff at Norquay, are just down the road in Banff). Then return to the hotel's grand lobby where a roaring fireplace always awaits to warm chilled bones. Choose any season you want, from the crowds who congregate in summer to the relative quietude in winter, and we guarantee you'll have the same reaction as Thomas Wilson a century ago. For a North American location with a stunning backdrop, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is hard to top.(-) Close
Expert Review of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Family Review of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise celebrates Canada Day, July 1, with canoe races, face painting, a bouncy castle, and more.
- From December 23 to January 8, the Chateau complements its outdoor ice rink with hot chocolate, music, and a crackling fire, daily from 2 to 5 p.m.
Parks and Outdoors Review of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- The Ice Magic Festival, a three-day ice-carving competition attracting artists from across North America, takes place on the lake in front of the hotel annually in late January.
- For indoor indulgence with a view, try the fondue in the Walliser Stube wine bar.