For over a century, visitors from around the country and around the world have been the pulse of Banff National Park. After the ‘discovery’ of the natural hot springs at what is now known as the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the national park was established in 1885 – the first in Canada. Seeing an opportunity to help fund the building of the railway across the country, the Canadian Pacific Railway built two hotels within the national park, in Banff and Lake Louise, to entice tourists to the mountains via train.
Today, these hotels and many others from the earliest years of Banff National Park’s first tourism boom remain. For a unique experience and glimpse into the rich history of Banff and Lake Louise, consider staying at these historic hotels on your next winter ski vacation to Banff National Park.
1. Fairmont Banff Springs
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs.
Photo: National Parks Branch / Library and Archives Canada / PA-057239
This iconic castle in the Canadian Rockies goes way way back to 1888, just a few years after the national park was established. Cornelius Van Horne with the Canadian Pacific Railway envisioned a string of luxury hotels lining the rail route through the Rockies, and the Banff Springs was the very first. While the hotel has gone through changes throughout the years, the architecture and ambience remains true to its roots. A stay here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
New this season to SkiBig3’s services is the Fairmont Castle Hop, for split stays between Fairmont Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise. While you head out to enjoy a day on the slopes, the hotels will conveniently transfer your luggage from one location to the next.
2. Mt. Royal Hotel
Located right at the heart of Banff Avenue, the Mt. Royal hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1908. Since then, it has undergone a transformation or two through expansions, redecorations, and renovations. Today, you can see these various phases reflected in the new architecture, a nod to the hotel’s unique styles from four different decades.
But it’s not without its modern luxuries – the rooftop hot tub is one of the best in Banff, offering stunning Rocky Mountain views day and night.
3. King Edward Hotel
Directly across the street is King Edward Hotel. Founded by Norman Luxton in 1903, it was the first all-season hotel in Banff, accommodating increasing numbers of tourists year round. Today, it’s the second oldest hotel in Banff, and offers affordable accommodation options with a location that can’t be beat!
4. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Another luxury hotel born from the inspiration of Cornelius Van Horne, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise began as a one-storey log cabin in 1890 to accommodate alpinists and adventurers of the time. After the infamous death of Philip Abbot on nearby Mount Lefroy, CP Rail began hiring Swiss guides to lead mountaineering objectives for visitors, many of whom stayed at the Chateau.
Today, it is easily one of the most picturesque locations you can stay in Banff National Park. Perched on the shores of Lake Louise’s turquoise or frozen waters with Victoria Glacier overseeing above, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a luxury home base for your adventures at Lake Louise Ski Resort, just a 10-minute journey away.
5. Deer Lodge
Just down the mountain from Lake Louise is Deer Lodge, a century old property that retains the charm of a bygone era. The lodge originally served as a teahouse when built in 1923, but by 1925 it became a hotel. Retaining the original style and architecture with its historic structure and decor, a stay here will be like stepping back in time.
Enjoy the shores of Lake Louise or the slopes of Lake Louise Ski Resort at this year round historic location.
6. The Post Hotel
With beginnings in 1942, the Post Hotel began as Lake Louise Ski Lodge. Sir Norman Watson, an avid sportsman with ties to Lake Louise Ski Resort, largely pioneered the lodge and made it his own, with influences from ski resorts in the Swiss Alps. Watson built two famous nearby lodges as well – Temple Chalet at Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Skoki Lodge.
From stunning suites to creekside cabins, an award-winning wine cellar, and one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the world, the Post hotel blends modern-day luxuries with rich history.
Let us help you create your perfect ski & stay package with at these historic Canadian Rockies hotels here in Banff National Park. To book your next ski vacation with SkiBig3, check out our featured ski and stay vacation packages or call us at 1-844-754-2443.