Today is your day! Your Mountain is waiting. So...get on your way.
So long as there have been impossibly beautiful vistas, the rich have been there, claiming them for their own.
Chateau Lake Louise is no different, though there is a place where the plebeians are able to come out and take a good look and hike around the lake without paying an arm and a leg to do so.
Barry had stayed at Chateau Lake Louise a few years ago for meetings (let me rewrite the first sentence, the rich - and people spending others' money - claim it for their own!) :-)
I had never been and since we were spending little on accommodations, we decided that a one-time, one-night splurge at the Chateau would be the perfect 29th wedding anniversary present. And to add even more expense, we wanted a lakefront room. Go big or stay home is sometimes the order of the day!
We were not disappointed.
The thing about Lake Louise is that it doesn't look real. It seems simply too fabulous, too pristine, too perfectly arranged to have occurred naturally.
It is that aberration of nature: the perfect location. You wouldn't change anything. And you take a lot of pictures and none of them do it justice.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the spectator of it all, the expensive bleachers positioned 'just so' to heighten the experience.
The interior is quintessential Old Fairmont and the hotel reminded me very much of my beloved Algonquin, which though it lacks a mountain view, has a pretty nice ocean view for a fraction of what we paid at Lake Louise.
The view out the room was breathtaking.
I am not going to lie: I am not a cheap hotel person. But the cost of one night gave me pause. I am very mindful of the abject poverty and struggle of many in my own country and around the world and I do not really delight in reading about people staying in very expensive, exotic spots, although I do admire the decor! Plus, I am on a fixed income.
But I rationalized this in my head and it is true that you can rationalize anything expensive if you want to, which explains how I can buy some of the boots I have in my closet....I know - there is a whole school in Vienna waiting to examine the inner workings of this noggin....
Caveat aside, this is a beautiful hotel. Nothing cheap here. The grounds are beautiful, the trails are divine - you can hike all the way to the glacier - though I would say that the hiking here is not hard core hiking and it is VERY crowded. I much preferred where my brother took us for the sense of being out in nature.
What I would say about Lake Louise is this: it is amazing. But it feels more like you are walking around in a very good painting than in the wilderness. It is so perfect that it is almost daunting in its perfection. You get the feeling that someone said once "Let's show the folks what things might look like Heaven" and so they made Lake Louise.
|Painting by Paul Rupert|
The service at the hotel is top-notch and we were treated exceptionally. When they discovered that it was our anniversary, our dinner table was lakeside. We could not have asked for more.
There are many lovely small shops as well. In one we found two lovely prints - one that reminded us of our hotel room, and one of the Algonquin, both of which were once Canadian Pacific Hotels, then Fairmont. The Algonquin is no longer owned by Fairmont, but has been lovingly and expensively restored - and brought them home.
I also bought a lovely blown-glass Christmas ornament of a bellhop - apparently Fairmont will have a series of ornaments and I do love a Christmas keepsake.
The food was excellent and not as pricey as one would think. We had the table d'hote at the Fairview and it was a great deal.
We didn't leave until exactly checkout time the next morning - we wanted to wring every last cent out of that hotel bill and out of the amazing vista so we went for a long walk to work off some of the amazing food we had.
Of course I would recommend the Chateau - who wouldn't? However, you can get the same experience - walking the lake, eating at the restaurant - staying at one of the other two hotels in the area which are a bit cheaper.
And it is crowded, all those people from every part of the world, all converging on this one place so they can be part of the painting as well.
Lake Louise has no downtown, unlike Banff or Jasper, both of which have their own Fairmont properties. They of course, have spectacular views as well. They just don't have THE VIEW.
I should mention that we did stop in Banff and I had been there before. I didn't really take much in the way of pictures. It is a lovely town but it is VERY touristy. If you want more wildlife, as many mountains, equally good restaurants and a lot fewer people, Jasper is your place. It is less expensive and lacks the Disney-esque-ness of Banff. Not that I'm knocking Disney - you know I love my Disney!
We were sad to leave Alberta, especially to leave my brother and his family, but plan, now that we are mostly just travelling à deux, to go there every two or three years to keep our connections strong.
Plus, there is so much more to see....
Now it is back to the real world of writing and complaining about politics and getting the house ready for winter!
I hope you enjoyed these photos - I know there were lots, but I truly feel that Alberta, like my own New Brunswick, is worth a wonderful, extended visit!
Have a great day and stay safe out there! xoxo wendy