The Chateau Lake Louise is one of most spectacular hotels in Banff National Park, Canada. One of the famous CPR railway hotels built to encourage tourism to the Canadian Rockies, the Chateau Lake Louise has one of the most incredible locations for a hotel anywhere in the world. We have stayed at this 5-star Fairmont hotel many times, and we are happy to share our experiences with you in this Chateau Lake Louise review.
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A Brief History of the Chateau Lake Louise Hotel
I always love staying at a hotel with a fascinating history. The story of Chateau Lake Louise begins in the late 19th century when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was seeking to promote tourism in Western Canada. Recognizing the stunning scenery of the area, the CPR decided to construct a series of grand hotels along its rail route, including the Banff Springs Hotel and one near Lake Louise.
The original hotel, known as the Lake Louise Chalet, was built in 1890-91. A modest log structure, the Lake Louise Chalet burnt down in 1893. The replacement structure was slightly bigger and gradually expanded over the years as it very quickly outgrew its capacity.
In 1912, the Painter Wing was built in an Italian villa style, adding 320 guest rooms. In 1925, the Barrot Wing was added, bringing the capacity of the hotel to 400 rooms. The Chalet was now known as the Chateau Lake Louise, attracting wealthy tourists and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world.
With the creation of the Lake Louise Ski Resort across the Bow Valley, the Chateau was winterized and finally became a year-round resort in 1982. The Glacier Wing was added in 1987, in time for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in nearby Calgary and Canmore, Alberta.
Today, the 550-room Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is world-famous for its high-end accommodations, fine dining, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the turquoise waters of Lake Louise.
For a more detailed history of the Chateau Lake Louise CPR railway hotel, ask the concierge for a complimentary “Chalet to Chateau Heritage Guide“. If you like Canadian history, you can also view our collection of historic pictures of the Banff Springs Hotel.
Description of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel
The Canadian Pacific Railway hotels in the Canadian Rockies are known for their luxury, grandeur and spectacular settings. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise delivers on all three counts.
From the moment you walk into the elegant lobby of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, you know you are in for a special stay. The lobby features luxurious features such as a a grand staircase, a large chandelier and a centerpiece of flowers, yet these coexist in harmony with taxidermied animals on the walls. (I love this juxtaposition which commonly exists around Banff National Park).
My favorite part of the lobby are the three beautiful paintings behind the check-in counter which feature some of my favorite mountains around Banff National Park.
The public areas of the Chateau Lake Louise are a joy to explore, even if you are not a guest. There is high-end shopping, dining and drinking establishments to enjoy, many with exceptional elevated views of the lake and her surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel Location
Lake Louise can be found near the western border of Banff National Park. The beauty of Lake Louise, Banff must be seen to be believed. The color of the glacial-fed turquoise water is almost electric – there’s no color quite like it anywhere on earth. The lake is surrounded by towering mountain peaks, many with massive glaciers.
With very little lakeside development, the raw, rugged landscape is what makes this location so beautiful. In fact, the only lakeside hotel at Lake Louise is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
The Fairmont hotel rests on the north-eastern shore of Lake Louise, looking all the way across the length of the lake towards the beautiful Victoria Glacier. The Chateau also enjoys epic views of the mountains which closely hug the remaining three shores of Lake Louise. I have seen many incredible locations throughout Banff National Park and the world, but I have not seen many hotel locations which can rival that of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
If you are driving to the Chateau Lake Louise as a hotel guest, the directions to the hotel parking lot are simple. However, if you are visiting Lake Louise as a non-guest, then things become a little more complicated, due to the enormous popularity of this beautiful location. We recommend you read our posts on getting to Lake Louise and how to use the Lake Louise shuttles.
The simplicity of being able to park at the hotel is another great reason to stay at the Chateau Lake Louise and it’s the ideal place to stay for a two day Lake Louise itinerary.
The drive from the Calgary Airport to the Chateau Lake Louise is about 2 hours and 10 minutes. It’s a beautiful drive along the TransCanada Highway through Banff National Park. To learn more about Banff National Park, we recommend you pick up the entertaining GuideAlong audio tour of Banff National Park to play in your rental car.
Fairmont Lake Louise Amenities
As you’d expect from a 5-star Fairmont hotel, the Chateau has plenty of amazing amenities for its guests to enjoy:
- The Fairmont Spa is available to registered guests only. The Fairmont Spa’s signature treatments are a face & scalp treatment for stress release and a 90-minute lavender full-body exfoliation and massage. Other treatments available at the spa include a variety of massages, body treatments, facials, nail services and even spa services for children.
- The Fairmont offers a wide variety of complimentary fitness classes for registered guests, including yoga classes, a morning run, boot camps, box fit, stretching, and much more. I noticed the daily activity schedule on my in-room TV, as well as posted in the lobby.
- An indoor pool, a steam room and a very large hot tub. Change rooms are available at the swimming pool, along with towels. There is an adults-only hour from 10-11 PM each night.
- The Fairmont offers a series of multi-day Wellness Retreats throughout the year designed to get you to destress and reconnect with yourself.
- Three Sages Wellness Access in-room programming.
- A modern and well-equipped fitness center. In addition to the fitness machines & weights, the fitness center features medicine balls, swiss balls, kettlebells and plenty of cardio machines which look down onto the pool area.
- Use of equipment for outdoor activities, such as hiking poles or ice cleats for winter hiking around Banff.
- Watch for a state-of-the-art Thermal Wellness Facility, slated to open in late 2024.
- A stretching room features yoga mats, foam rollers and balance balls.
General Hotel Amenities
- One of the most valuable amenities at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel is their Moraine Lake shuttle service for guests only. Parks Canada has closed the road to the public, making getting to Moraine Lake more challenging than ever before. Most Banff visitors need to arrange a Moraine Lake shuttle, but the Fairmont makes it easy with a Moraine Lake shuttle service exclusively for hotel guests.
- There’s a small, but capable business center in the lower level of the Mount Temple Wing.
- There are adirondack chairs scattered around grounds, allowing guests to relax and soak in the beauty of this iconic Canadian destination.
- Some of our favorite family photos are from hiring a professional photographer on our family vacations around the world. There is a photography shop in the lobby, where you can hire a photographer to capture the special memories from your trip.
- There’s even a Hertz rental car desk, for those spur-of-the-moment road trips up the Icefields Parkway.
- Guests enjoy discounts on Lake Louise canoe rentals from the boat house and on professionally guided tours.
In addition to the excellent amenities, the attentive service from the Fairmont staff is second-to-none. From the moment we arrived, we found every staff member very friendly and helpful, many going above and beyond to help us enjoy our stay.
Chateau Lake Louise Rooms
With over 500 guest rooms, there are a wide variety of rooms at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel.
The Guestrooms in the main hotel offer either lake views or mountain views, while the rooms in the Mount Temple Wing are much larger rooms, offering views of the property gardens (although some, including our room, have a lake view too!).
The Suites are primarily in the main hotel building, offering guests more space, an option for seperate bedrooms and excellent lake views.
The Fairmont Gold rooms occupy the 7th and 8th floors of the main hotel. Guests staying in a Fairmont Gold room enjoy a private reception desk, exclusive concierge services, a deluxe daily breakfast and more.
Our Room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel
On our most recent stay to the Chateau Lake Louise, we visited at the beginning of high season, when the peak season pricing was starting to kick in. We rented a Mount Temple room with two queen beds in the Mount Temple Wing. We booked the Mount Temple Room as it was one of the least expensive rooms at the Chateau Lake Louise (but it was still very expensive by our usual hotel standards).
We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise with our kids, so one of the reasons we stayed in a Mount Temple Room (aside from the lower price), was the fact that the rooms are nearly twice as big as the standard rooms in the main hotel. Our Mount Temple room was a very spacious 445 sq feet, with a huge bathroom (which was almost bigger than some of the rooms we’ve stayed in at the Banff Springs Hotel!).
We couldn’t have been happier with our Mount Temple Room. In addition to the ample size, we were surprised that our 5th floor room had an incredible view of Lake Louise! We figured that the cheapest rooms at the Fairmont Lake Louise would face the parking lot or something, but no, we had an amazing view of the lake all the way across to the Victoria Glacier! Not all of the Mount Temple rooms will have a lake view, but it never hurts to ask nicely at check-in.
The room itself, was simple, yet elegant. I liked that it had some modern touches intermixed with the classic furniture.
Looking for the PERFECT Lake Louise Souvenir?
If you love Lake Louise as much as we do, you’ll want to bring a piece of it home with you. This Lake Louise in Summer illustration by Diana Boyle at Rooftop Illustrations is the PERFECT souvenir!
See more Banff Souvenirs by local artists here.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Restaurants
There are five restaurants within the Chateau Lake Louise hotel, with enough selection to make virtually every guest happy. The restaurants are prioritized for guests of the hotel, but day visitors can also inquire about availability.
Louiza – Dinner
The Louiza Restaurant at the Chateau Lake Louise is a Mediterranean themed restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel. Being on the ground floor, it doesn’t enjoy the same incredible views as the restaurants and bars on the second floor have, but to be fair, the views from the huge windows in the Louiza restaurant were pretty nice too.
The menu at Louiza has a nice variety, including large and small plates, with seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. It was hard to choose between some of the amazing menu offerings such as the New York Striploin or the Nova Scotia Lobster tail.
In the end, Celine ordered the butternut squash ravioli with whipped ricotta, while I had the strawberry pork belly off the monthly specials menu. The food was expertly prepared, beautifully plated and very delicious.
One of the reasons we chose the Louiza restaurant was that it had the most approachable kids menu for our kids. Our son devoured his plate of pepperoni and mozzarella empanadas, while our daughter enjoyed a huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs. The kids loved their meals, although to be honest, we all thought the meatballs could have been better.
Whenever I eat at a high-end restaurant, I usually leave hungry. This was not the case with our meal at Louiza. We enjoyed two large baskets of bread prior to our meal, and the kids meals came with an order of mini-churros and ice cream for dessert. Not to be left out, Celine and I ordered an adult sized order of churros and Pecan Caramel Eclairs to split. The desserts were much larger than we’d expected from a fancy restaurant, and they were delicious. We all love warm churros!
Louiza – Breakfast
We went sunrise stand-up paddleboarding at Moraine Lake, so by the time we returned to the hotel we were famished. We’ve enjoyed the amazing buffet breakfasts at the Banff Springs Hotel before, but this was our first buffet breakfast at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel.
One of the things we liked best about the breakfast at Louiza was the hybrid approach. Guests are able to order an à la carte breakfast item off of the menu, and then supplement freely with items from the buffet.
Our kids each ordered a stack of buttermilk pancakes off of the menu, Celine had banana-bread french toast, while I loved my brioche french toast.
The breakfast buffet was a treasure-trove of delicious breakfast items, with a wide variety of breads, pastries and waffles. There’s also a deli meat and cheese platter, fresh fruit, cereal and granola, a yogurt station and hot items (bacon, sausage, potatoes, etc).
We loved our breakfast at the Louiza restaurant. It fueled us up for another day of outdoor adventures around Lake Louise!
Note: Kids under 12 enjoy their breakfast buffet at half-price.
Fairview Bar and Restaurant
The views from the 2nd floor Fairview Restaurant are truly breathtaking. Guests lucky enough to enjoy the elegant fine dining at the Fairview Restaurant & Bar will be treated to inspired Rocky Mountain cuisine, including a chance to try elk & bison.
Alpine Social Restaurant
Guests dining at the Alpine Social Restaurant will discover that comfort food just tastes better in the rugged Canadian Rockies. A meal at the Alpine Social Restaurant is a fun opportunity to try an artisanal version of your favorite pub foods, such as nachos, hamburgers, ribs, steaks and more.
Given the Canadian Rockies and the European Alps have a kindred spirit, it goes that food from the German and Swiss Alps would be a natural fit here. Guests of Walliser Stube can enjoy Schnitzel, filet mignon, or a wide variety of creative fondues. Located next to the Fairview Bar, the views from the Walliser Stube restaurant are equally stunning.
The Guide’s Pantry
The only restaurant at the Chateau Lake Louise without sit down dining, the Guide’s Pantry is a 24-hour grab-and-go establishment. At the Guide’s Pantry, you can grab a tasty sandwich, pastry, snacks or a hot beverage.
A fun option available at the Guide’s Pantry is a Grab and Go Picnic Box. Who wouldn’t enjoy a ready-to-go picnic in one of the most scenic locations in Banff National Park?!?
If you’d prefer to enjoy fine dining in the comfort of your room, the Fairmont Lake Louise offers room service from 7AM to 11PM.
Bars at the Chateau Lake Louise
We stayed at the Chateau with our kids, so we didn’t have a chance to enjoy any of the amazing bars at the Fairmont. Your options include:
We walked past the Lakeview Lounge several times during our stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and we were stunned at how incredible the lake and glacier views were from their massive wall of elegant windows.
Mentioned above in our restaurants section, Alpine Social is a fun, pub-style restaurant within the Chateau Lake Louise.
The Ice Bar
We’ve seen the beautiful Ice Bar while visiting the Ice Magic festival at Lake Louise in winter. It’s always a work of art and is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Shopping at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
I’ve always enjoyed exploring the retail shops at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Much of what is on offer is out of my price range, but it’s always fun to look.
Retail experiences at the Chateau Lake Louise include the Fairmont Store, jewelry, artwork, fun Canadian-themed flannel clothing, exotic clothing made from the Canadian Arctic Musk Ox, and much more.
One of the most popular shopping experiences at Lake Louise, for guests and visitors alike, is to treat yourself to an ice cream cone, then take it outside to enjoy while soaking in the views.
Activities at the Resort
Mountain Adventure Program
The Fairmont Lake Louise offers the Mountain Adventure Program for guests eight years and older. There are year-round outdoor activities for guests to enjoy including scenic walks, an easy hike to Fairview Lookout, a more challenging hike to one of the Lake Louise tea houses (the Plain of Six Glacier tea house hike or the Lake Agnes tea house hike), a winter hike in Johnston Canyon, and much more.
One of the highlights of the Mountain Adventure Program is the Voyageur Canoe Experience. Join a guide for an amazing canoe ride across this incredible glacial lake.
Renting a Canoe
We’ve always wanted to rent a canoe on the incredible turquoise glacial waters of Lake Louise. We decided that we’d finally do it during our stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. There are two distinct advantages to renting a canoe at Lake Louise if you are a guest at the hotel:
- There is often a massive line up at the boat house for Lake Louise canoe rentals. There is a separate “priority” line for guests of the Chateau Lake Louise. We loved being able to bypass the long line-up and be first in line.
- Guests of the Chateau get a $60 per hour discount on Lake Louise canoe rentals.
Learn more about renting a canoe on Lake Louise in our full post.
Activities Included in the Resort Fee
While there is an additional daily resort fee added to the nightly cost of a hotel room at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, you can get plenty of benefit from it. Activities included in the resort fee includes:
- A nightly lakeside campfire (you can buy s’mores kits from the Guide’s Pantry.
- Movie nights.
- Board games, books and card games.
- Scavenger hunts.
- Hotel history presentations.
- Paint kits.
- Select kids camp activities,
- and more!
As an example, our kids had a fun bocce ball game on the lakeside lawn against a nice couple from Dallas, TX. The couple had borrowed the bocce ball set from the concierge desk and asked our kids if they wanted to play.
Fairmont Lake Louise With Kids
Despite being a luxury 5-star resort, the Chateau Lake Louise is actually a very a kid-friendly hotel, and a decent amount of guests staying here were families with kids.
The fun for the kids begins immediately upon arrival with a “Kids Check-In Counter” near the Bell Captain’s desk.
After our kids checked in, they were then taken to a treasure chest where they were each allowed to pick one toy. Our son was excited to get a Hot Wheels car, while our daughter picked a Barbie doll. Pretty decent toys for the kids!
As I was at the check-in counter for grown-ups, the friendly staff member then offered each of our kids a small, but very cute teddy bear wearing a “Chateau Lake Louise” t-shirt. What an exciting start to our stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise with kids!
Cribs and cots are available upon request.
Activities for Kids
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers a wide variety of daily programs for kids, many of them in a super-fun playroom just for kids. A friendly staff member gave us a quick tour – it had a climbing wall overtop a huge bed with tons of pillows, tons of toys, a Wii, and probably the nicest view of any playroom anywhere in the world.
Examples of kids activities at the Chateau include making arts & crafts, building Lego, and good old parent-free supervised play time.
One super-fun activity at the Chateau Lake Louise for kids is the parent free campfire with s’mores. We wanted to let our kids try this so bad, but we had reservations for a sunrise shuttle to Moraine Lake the next morning. We’ll be sure to let them try the s’mores campfire on our next family stay at the Fairmont Lake Louise.
Misc Things to Know Staying at the Fairmont Lake Louise
- There is both valet parking and self parking available. The self parking costs $30 per night, while valet parking costs $45/night.
- If you are staying at the Chateau Lake Louise with your family pet, there is a pet fee of $85/night to a maximum of $450. For those who are allergic to pets, there are pet-free rooms available on request. A portion of this fee will be donated to the Bow Valley SPCA.
Excursions from the Chateau Lake Louise
There are so many incredible things to do around Lake Louise. As already discussed, there are a wide variety of fun and exciting activities to enjoy at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, but you can also explore these excursions as well:
- Open-Top Shuttle to Moraine and Lake Louise: Ride on an open-top double-decker to discover the beauty of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
- Scenic Helicopter Tour: The most exciting way to enjoy the majesty of the Canadian Rockies is on a helicopter tour. Enjoy a 20-minute ride over Abraham Lake, a 30-minute journey over the Wilson Icefield or a 55-minute tour to the Columbia Icefields. I’ll never forget getting a helicopter tour to the Wilson Icefield for my birthday – it was incredible!
- The Lake Louise Summer Gondola: Located just across the Bow Valley from the Fairmont Lake Louise, the Lake Louise ski resort offers a summer sightseeing gondola. In addition to the outstanding mountain scenery, this is one of the best chances to see a grizzly bear in Banff National Park.
Other Fairmont Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
The Fairmont hotel chain is known around the world for its opulent luxury and incredible locations. In addition to the Chateau Lake Louise, the Fairmont hotel chain has two additional locations in the Canadian Rockies:
- Jasper Park Lodge: Many visitors to Banff National Park will also drive north to visit Jasper National Park as well. The Icefields Parkway drive between Lake Louise and Jasper is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. While in Jasper, you can enjoy a stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
- Banff Springs Hotel: The world-renowned Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the Castle in the Rockies. If you are looking for a luxury holiday in Banff National Park, splitting your time between the Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Lake Louise is the perfect combination! You can read our Banff Springs Hotel review.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Review Summary
Our family loved our stay at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel – it is without question one of the best hotels in Lake Louise. The mountainous lakefront setting is stunning and the hotel itself is remarkable. We enjoyed many of the amazing hotel amenities during our stay, while also getting out to enjoy the rugged outdoor landscapes around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Our meals at the Chateau Lake Louise were excellent, and our kids were made to feel very special and welcome at the hotel.
We would highly recommend a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise looking for a 5-star luxury hotel in an iconic location within Banff National Park.
Why You Can Trust This Chateau Lake Louise Review
We traveled incognito and paid for our own stay, so you can trust that this Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise review was written with your interests in mind.
Banff National Park Luxury Vacations
Dan Brewer, a life-long Alberta resident, calls Canmore home along with his wife and two kids. He is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada, where he gets to share his passion for the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dan, along with his family, love being outdoors doing one of the many activities they enjoy in the mountains: hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
When he's not in Canmore enjoying one of his favourite local hikes, you can find him hoping on a plane to explore a new country with his family or working on one of their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.