I'm planning to travel to the Canadian Rockies this summer. I called the hotels, but their answers were too officialese and diplomatic.

  1. Courtney Brown writes that they're apart by just "a forty minute drive Northwest from Banff". Why did Fairmont build two hotels so close? I know that Lake Louise ("LL") overlooks the eponymous lake.

  2. What are their differences?

Enjoy Banff says that for Banff Springs

Cons: While the guest rooms can be quite small, the property is HUGE.

and for LL

Cons: The location is slightly remote, and there is not a lot of “town” in Lake Louise compared to Banff. Once you are there, there isn’t too much besides the amazing outdoors nearby.

joan1 says

I would choose the Banff Springs ,, service is better

Jasper2009 says

  • the standard rooms at Lake Louse are tiny (abotu the size of a closet) and are nothing to get excited about, definitely not on par with the rest of the Fairmont hotels

anti_ice says

My vote is for the BSH. The hotel is waaay better IMHO and in a different league in terms of character and there is waaay more to do in Banff when you aren't hiking.

  • "Why did Fairmont build two hotels so close?" Obviously, they felt it would be profitable. How would we know anything more than that? – David Richerby Jun 19 '19 at 10:03
  • What is the actual question? – RedBaron Jun 19 '19 at 11:09

Qualifier: lived in Calgary for years, been to the Banff / Lake Louise area many, many times.

Both places are former railway hotels with lengthy histories. The hotel experience 100 years ago was much different than today, but those places have tried to retain many of the older traditions. No room is "the size of a closet" but they are definitely different than what you find in downtown Calgary.

What you get at each one is the location. The Banff Springs is in Banff, with plenty of restaurants, shopping, activities and other tourist amenities (far too much in my opinion). The Chateau Lake Louise has the lake, and not much else, and that's the whole point.

Con: there isn’t too much besides the amazing outdoors nearby

I would not call that a minus point. The scenery at Lake Louise is quite spectacular, and it is nature, not a shopping mall. Hike up to the glacier, take a horseback trip, go canoeing on the calm emerald-green water. If you do want the shopping mall, this isn't the hotel for you.

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  1. Fairmont built neither of those hotels. Both Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise were both originally built over a hundred years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway company. Each of these hotels is notable enough to have their own Wikipedia article, and it would be worthwhile for you to read about the history of each one. They will both be very different from a modern newly-built Fairmont hotel.

  2. The major difference is, clearly, the location. What sights or attractions would you like to be close to? It's up to you. Since both hotels are historic, each one will have their own ambience, quirks, and charms. Both are currently managed by Fairmont, which means you can expect a similar level of service between them.

The hotels will not be identical of course, and the level of service experienced by individual people who write reviews on the Internet will vary as much as for any other two things. Choose what you want to be close to. Since this is the 21st century (instead of the 19th, when travel was more difficult), it's quick enough to drive from one place to the other if you want to go do something else.

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