Lake Louise

All three beds were just right

WILL COLFORD

LAKE LOUISE, AB — Lake Louise is a premier winter destination offering over 20 outdoor activities; with all the wondrous adventures to be had, finding the right place to reside is integral to achieving your perfect holiday. Fortunately the Village of Lake Louise has three locations that will exceed expectations for each budget range.

Every great ride starts at the top and works its way down; Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, however, begins at the top and only goes up. Fairmont is synonymous with luxury accommodations, and the Lake Louise property is one of the company’s best. But, when you’re the best, the expectations can be unrealistic, making it hard to deliver what people believe they are entitled to. 

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta Canada

Nordic skis are lined up, waiting for cross-country fans from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (in background).
Photo by Will Colford

From good to great

When asked how the Chateau delivers on the impossibly high expectations its name carries, Fairmont West’s director of Public Relations, Lori Cote pauses before letting out a confident laugh. “Our motto is ‘to go from good to great.’ Everyone working here does so because they strive to exceed expectations.”

One way the Chateau has been exceeding expectations, is its green program. In culmination with its 20th anniversary of going green, the Chateau is installing a $7 million water treatment plant in order to conserve drinking water through advanced filtration techniques. Being green for 20 years dispels all claims that Fairmont is simply marketing itself as green.  

Or as Cote said, “We are green not because it’s the sheik thing, but because it’s the right thing to do.”  

If you need to make a great destination just a bit more special, then check out some of the great package options the Chateau has available and let the staff exceed already high expectations.

On the other end of the budget scale is a ski lodge trying to pass as a hostel. 

Unexpected welcome

After travelling for a year in the southern hemisphere, the word ‘hostel’ conjures memories of 30-person rooms, communal concrete toilets, and bed-bug bonanzas. My first steps into the Lake Louise Alpine Centre, part of Hostels International, were cautious; not because my travelling experiences have left me embittered and skeptical of the word ‘hostel’ (which by the way they have), but because after walking into a fairytale lit glade, where the general manager, Chelsea Turnbull was constructing a loving fire, I truly believed I was in the wrong place.  

“Hey there,” she said in the same way you greet a curious animal. “Welcome to the hostel, I’m Chelsea.”  

Bill Peyto's, Lake Louise Alpine Centre, Alberta Canada

Bill Peyto's, located in the Lake Louise Alpine Centre, serves up a delicious roast beef dinner, complete with mile-high Yorkshire pudding.
Photo by Will Colford

The peculiarities didn’t end there. After trekking across the expansive pine wood deck into the foyer, the desk clerk greeted me with a chipper smile and directed me to a seat beside the raging hearth in what is known by the locals, as the best food spot at the Lake: Bill Peyto’s. After eating the Sunday special roast beef dinner, complete with pan-roasted vegetables, thick gravy dolloped atop crushed potato, and flaky Yorkshire pudding, I knew I was in the wrong place.  

After checking out of a spotless room and taking a long hot shower, I received the only evidence confirming I was in fact staying at a hostel: the bill. With stay and ski packages starting at less than $100, the hostel offers affordability, while delivering a social and quality product.

The best of both worlds 

If, however, you’re searching for the best of both worlds, Castle Mountain Chalets, part of Decore Hotels, offers rustic luxury allowing some budget saving amenities, a direct connection to nature, with all the comforts of a higher end hotel. 

Located 22 minutes east of Lake Louise, the self-contained cabin-style accommodation is the best way to get away from the city, without leaving the comforts of home. A full kitchen and dinning area helps cut cost whilst allowing for home-style communal dinners with friends or family. After the meal, head to the hot-tub for some relaxation, the games room for entertainment, or just kick back in your living room and enjoy the 42” inch plasma.  

With 10 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, groomed daily by the lodge, Castle Mountain is the only place you can sit on your log cabin deck, and sip on your skim-milk mocha. Moreover, the Decore hotels are a family-style business, meaning instead of being treated like a client in a room, you’ll feel like a guest of their house.   

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