Nestled in the middle of the wild natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies, stands the Fairmont Banff Springs, a fairytale castle hotel that caters to luxury travelers from across the globe.
As you step into the grand lobby at the Fairmont, you can feel the echoes of the past in the stunning architecture and elegant decor. The hotel was built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a way to attract tourists to the area and it was designed to evoke the grandeur of a European castle. The Scottish Baronial style architecture, complete with turrets and towers, makes it a true fairytale castle.
Just a few minutes from the quaint but lively town of Banff, and a few hours drive from Calgary, the Fairmont stands tall only towered by the dramatic scenery that surrounds it. The hotel, boasting 700 rooms, can also brag about top amenities like shopping, an indoor-outdoor pool, a huge conference center, bowling alley and much more.
As you walk the halls, you can imagine the countless guests who have stayed here over the years, from kings and queens to movie stars and politicians. The hotel has played host to many memorable moments throughout its history, and it is said to be haunted by some of its past guests.
The hotel is nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Whether you’re enjoying a meal in one of the hotel’s restaurants or relaxing in one of the guest rooms, the natural beauty of the area is always on display.
The Fairmont Banff Springs continues to be a luxurious and iconic hotel, known for its stunning views, high-end amenities, and rich history. It’s a personal experience, one that will stay with you long after you’ve checked out.
VIDEO: FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS
For Honest Cooking, obviously, the food is what we’re always most interested in, and the Fairmont Banff Springs does not disappoint.
Check out the Rundle Bar, the beating heart of the hotel, and a huge space that has little private nooks and crannies where you can cozy up next to the fireplace and enjoy drinks and delicious small plates of food. Try the eclectic wagyu beef carpaccio, served with hickory sticks and morel mushrooms, or indulge in the spicy chili pork dumplings served with crispy garlic and fried leek. On the cocktail side, Rundle Bar impresses with local twists on many classics. Try the Saskatoon Manhattan, made with mead and an IPA reduction, or the Wild Flower, a concoction featuring the bar’s own Rundle Bar Gin, St Germain, Lillet and plum bitters. A great martini variation!
The main restaurant at the Fairmont Banff Springs, is the Vermillion Room. A bustling French brasserie on in the middle of the Rockies, a pulsating restaurant with incredibly fresh seafood, oysters, mussels and of course – fantastic meats. It’s pretty much the perfect food for long days of exploring the gorgeous surroundings or perhaps hitting the slopes for a few hours of world class skiing.
Some of our favorites from the menu – and we pretty much tried every single dish – are;
– The classic French onion soup, sure to warm you up on a cold winter day.
– The PEI oysters, which are plump, juicy and with just the right combination of brine and sweetness. They are served with a homemade hot-sauce that elevates the experience quite significantly.
– Mussels and Fries are another French bistro classic that Vermillion Room executes on the highest level. Choose between the classic mariniére, or a coconut red curry version that’s equally exciting,
– The Vermillion Burger, served as a double beef patty with aged cheddar, maple glazed thick-cut bacon, arugula, pickled red onion, VR sauce, sea salt fries and parmesan aïoli is probably one of the top burgers in the region.
– The steak frites, well you see, we love our bistro classics at Honest Cooking, is also fantastic. A perfectly grilled 12oz New York strip steak, garlic and herb butter, sea salt fries and parmesan aïoli. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that!
The Vermillion Room also serves an amazing breakfast buffet every day that you should definitely try to get included in your room rate. It’s an impressive spread with everything your heart (and stomach) can desire for a perfect start to the day.
And by the way, speaking of perfect, The Vermillion Room also offers a private dining experience, in a 360 degree dome just outside the restaurant. Reserve it for breakfast, and experience the sun rising over the mountains as you indulge in a multi-course breakfast menu – it’s a memory that will last you a lifetime.
At the hotel, you can also find the dedicated 1888 Chop House – specializing in premium cuts of Alberta beef and sustainably sourced wild game, the Waldhaus Restaurant which serves up authentic Swiss fondue, and Grapes, an ambitious Spanish tapas and wine bar. At Grapes you’ll be able to try some of the most incredible Spanish iberico jamon that you’ll ever experience, all paired with excellent local cheese and wines from across the globe. There’s also an Italian dining experience on the property, Castello Italiana focuses on traditional Italian classics, prepared the way “Nonna” would do it, and served in a warm and friendly environment.
Speaking of warm and friendly, there’s no getting around the service at the Fairmont Banff Springs. And while the “Canadians are so nice” adage is absolutely true, the Fairmont has taken “welcoming” to just another level. From the valet and the front of house, to the servers and housekeeping – and everyone in between – friendly is really truly and understatement. Rarely have we at Honest Cooking felt so absolutely welcomed and at home as we did during our stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs, and we have stayed at some of the absolute most highly regarded hotels in the world.
Whatever adventure (gastronomic or not) you are looking for, the Fairmont Banff Springs will definitely take you where you want to go. And when the sun sets over the Rockies, the magic just becomes even more evident. Honest Cooking will be back for more.
Fairmont Banff Springs
405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada
Kalle Bergman is a food writer and media entrepreneur who is the founder of Honest Cooking and PAIR Magazine. As a food writer, his writing has been regularly featured in publications like Gourmet, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and Serious Eats. He is obsessed with simple food, more often than not from his native Scandinavia.