Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel wears the years well

Banff Springs Hotel is quite imposing
We didn’t stay at the Banff Springs Hotel, but that didn’t keep us from focusing our cameras on one of the grandest and most opulent hotels in the world. Whether looking across the Bow River at the hotel or strolling on the grounds, we found it to be a striking symbol of the elite gentry that first discovered this stunning mountain resort. To absorb the flavor even better, we spent an evening there, enjoying drinks on the outdoor terrace overlooking an oft-photographed scene of the river and its mountainous backdrop.

 William Van Horne was the entrepreneur who brought visitors to the Canadian Rockies.
After a day packed with activity, we put on “nice” clothes and drove to this 20th century castle on Spray Avenue for a closer look at where today’s well-heeled tourists stay. And it’s mighty impressive, starting with the central statue of William Van Horne, vice president of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), who aimed to encourage train customers to visit the Canadian Rockies by building a series of luxurious hotels in mountain destinations of Canada. 
Banff Springs Hotel, the largest of these accommodations opened in 1888. It was built close to the city’s newly discovered hot springs, and Banff soon became a destination resort. Its 250 rooms often filled to capacity with people seeking the health-giving steaming waters and fresh mountain air. Additions and renovations, most recently in 1999, have improved and enlarged the facility, which became part of the Fairmont chain in 2000.

Larry enjoys his drink.
With all this in mind, we wandered through the lobby, admiring ample furniture, paintings, and heavenly oak beams in the public areas. We hopped on the elevator to search for the best place among four lounges and 12 restaurants where we could sit and enjoy the scenery—people and nature.
We found that at the outdoor terrace, a peaceful setting with views among the best in Banff. Not onlydid we look out over river, mountains, and valley—a scene that’s hard to beat by itself—but the profusion of red, purple, pink, yellow, and white blooming flowers provided a colorful canvas of blossoms. Of course, the place was so large that we didn’t see it all, yet the ambience from staff was friendly and welcoming. The wine and complimentary snacks weren’t bad either.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
What a view!



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