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Highly praised luxury landmark hotel in Banff with indoor and outdoor pools and restaurants

Pros
  • Location was well liked for its proximity to downtown Banff and the area's many outdoor activities
  • The setting and vistas were spectacular said guests
  • Staff were outstanding, helpful and professional said guests
  • Spa treatments were well liked by guests
  • The hotel's architecture and public spaces were impressive to guests
Cons
  • Self-parking is $25 and valet parking is $39 per night
  • Resort fee of $15 plus tax per day for Wi-Fi, pools, fitness centre plus other services
  • Guests often said rooms were small and average
  • Guests found the hotel rooms overpriced
  • Dining on site was good but not amazing according to guests overall
  • Wi-Fi did not always work well in the rooms according to the reviewers
  • Some tower rooms are accessed by elevator plus stairs
Editor's Analysis
Updated Jul 30, 2016
Overview
This hotel is located a 25-minute walk or 5-minute drive from Banff's downtown. 

The smoke-free hotel offers 764 rooms over 9 floors. All rooms include a flat screen TV with cable and pay movies and video games, a coffeemaker, a desk and chair, an iron and ironing board and a hair dryer. Rooms are furnished with 2 twin beds, 1 or 2 double beds, 1 or 2 queen beds, or 1 king bed.

Room extras include a sofabed, 1 or 2 separate bedrooms, a loft bedroom, a living room, a safe, an ornamental or gas fireplace, a grand piano, a library, a Bose stereo system, a dining area, a jetted shower, a jetted tub, a double jacuzzi, 3 bathrooms, a powder room, bathrobes, slippers, a mountain view, air conditioning, windows that open, a reception foyer, a private entrance and a terrace. 

The hotel charges a resort fee of $15 per day, plus tax to include Wi-Fi, local and toll-free calls, press reader electronic newspapers, access to pools and fitness centre; ski, bike golf club valet and storage, heritage tours of the hotel, shuttle service to Banff and restaurant, family activities and bellman and doorman gratuity.

Self-parking is available for $25 while valet parking is $39 per night with unlimited access. Complimentary self-parking and charging is available to guests driving electric vehicles.

Pets (2) are welcome for $39 each, per night.

There are multiple on-site dining options including restaurants, a sushi bar, lounges, a German beer house, a wine bar and a pub. Children under 5 eat free and kids from 6 to 12 years eat at 50% off, for restaurant dining only. Afternoon tea and 24-hour room service is also available.

Hotel amenities include an indoor pool, a year-round outdoor hot pool, an indoor children's wading pool, an indoor hot tub, a 24-hour fitness centre, seasonal tennis courts, a day spa, an 18-hole championship golf course, a bowling and entertainment centre, ski/luggage storage, a business centre and meeting rooms. The hotel features many on-site shops and boutiques including a grocery store, clothing shops and a liquor store.  

Bow Falls is a 2-minute drive or 14-minute walk from the hotel. Banff Centre is a 6-minute drive away. Banff Gondola and Banff Upper Hot Springs are 7 minutes away by car. Mount Norquay is a 15-minute drive away. The Trans-Canada Highway is an 8-minute drive from the hotel and Calgary International Airport (YYC) can be reached in 1.5 hours by car. (All travel times: Google Maps)

Confirmed with the front desk on July 30, 2016: all rooms have windows, but not all windows open
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The Good
This hotel was very well liked by many guests.

The views and setting offered unparalleled beauty. Guests reported spectacular views of the valley, Bow River, the golf course and adjacent mountains from the rooms as well as from restaurants and outdoor decks. Guests advised that Bow River views were the best.

Guests loved the historical ambiance of the architecture which resembled a Scottish stone castle. It offered grand public spaces and stunningly-designed pools.

The grounds and gardens surrounding the hotel were beautiful, meticulously kept and relaxing. Guests admired the hanging flower baskets and took a nature walk that led to a waterfall (the Bow Falls) nearby. There were also stores nearby and guests enjoying browsing sometimes finding items of convenience that were well priced.

First-class service, typically offered by attentive and well-trained staff, was a huge part of the successful guest experience at this hotel. Guests told of how staff were warm and welcoming and seemed committed to ensuring a pleasant experience. They were often described as very helpful. They retrieved items forgotten, they assisted with luggage and parking, and they offered kind assistance to guests who were faced with rain on their departure or medical emergencies.

Spa treatments were well liked and the spa’s lounge had nice views. Guests found the warm outdoor saltwater pool relaxing and the treatments including facials, pedicures and massages well done.

Guests liked the location of the hotel. Some found beautiful trails near the hotel to explore and enjoyed walking to downtown Banff along the Bow River trail which took about 20-25 minutes.

There was a lot to do at the hotel. Guests spoke of various forms of entertainment, a games room and even planned children’s activities on offer.

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The Bad
Some guests were less impressed with the hotel.

The most common complaint was that the hotel was overpriced. This was mainly due to the quality and size of some of the rooms offered, still at luxury room rates for this country. Specifics touched on cramped rooms with poorly decorated/designed bathrooms, some maintenance issues, some housekeeping oversights, poor ‘parking lot views’ and dated décor.

Guests who were disappointed with their rooms sometimes compared the hotel to other cheaper hotels where they had enjoyed a more comfortable sleep and better quality room. And even worse, some of these guests had paid more at check in for an “upgraded room”. In the words of one recent reviewer, “After waiting 40 years to be able to stay here - it was a sad visit for us. Over 500.00 to have this quality was very disappointing.”

The dining on site also failed to impress guests on the whole. Although guests were often pleased with the dining on site, some felt the food and service were average and expensive. Others complained of very expensive in-room dining and claimed that the hotel charges 18% gratuity plus a delivery charge to room service orders.

Several guests complained of long waits at the front desk to check in. Others said their rooms were not ready at check-in time and they had to wait a long time to obtain their room when very tired and after having travelled a long distance.


Some said the basic Wi-Fi worked and some found it didn't work well in their rooms.
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Show Sources
Sources
TripAdvisor.com ranked this hotel #1 out of 32 hotels and rated it 4.5 out of 5, based on 5219 guest reviews.

Booking.com rated this hotel 8.5 out of 10 based on 317 guest reviews.

Expedia.ca rated this hotel 4.3 out of 5 based on 1360 guest reviews.
Editor's Analysis by Steph J.
Analyzed by Steph J.
Stephanie lives on Vancouver Island, BC, where she enjoys all things West Coast. She has daydreamed about travelling since childhood and has visited over a dozen countries since, but Canada is always at the top of her list.
Guest Reviews
8.7
Very Good
#
5 / out of 41
hotels in Banff

Rated 8.7/10 based on 3201 reviews

Ranked #5 out of 41 hotels in Banff

3201
Map Marker The Fairmont Banff Springs
405 Spray Avenue, Banff, AB