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Old Jun 7, 11, 2:38 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Lake Louise or Banff Springs

Hey all,

Looking to spend 3 nights in Banff with my girlfriend after a weekend at stampede. Trying to decide between the 2. We're looking to do outdoors stuff and maybe an afternoon at the spa. We love to eat but there's lots of that happening at stampede already. I'm 32 she's 25, got no kids, not interested in shopping, not much sitting around. Nightlife isn't important after a weekend at stampede.

Both places are pricey and from what I've read both are overrun with tour bus groups. I'm leaning towards Lake Louise due to, duh, the lake. I looked into Lake Moraine Lodge which looks almost perfect but it's $607 / night. A Lakeview room at CLL is $450, and mountain view room at Banff Springs is similar. Size of the room isn't an issue, tho I'm willing to pay the extra for the great view and tho less dated and crusty rooms, which it seems can be an issue.

The banff springs buildings look more interesting, tho in the end we're there to be outdoors. Is Lake Louise an actual old historic hotel, or is it just designed to look like Banff Springs.

Ugh this is hard, both look great. Tell me what to do.

We will leave Calgary monday morning and have a flight back to New York Thursday at noon.

Last edited by nerdkiller; Jun 7, 11 at 2:45 pm.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 3:04 pm   #2
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Having stayed at both hotels I´d say both hotels are quite nice, but would consider the following aspects:

- the standard rooms at Lake Louse are tiny (abotu the size of a closet) and are nothing to get excited about, definitely not on par with the rest of the Fairmont hotels
- if you do stay at Lake Louise, definitely book a room with a Lake view, if it´s not too much more expensive book a Fairmont Gold Lake View room. The views from the 7th floor are great, the lounge is fantastic and there´s nothing like escaping from the thousands of tourists bussed to the hotel
- if you´re staying at Lake Louise, you´ll be pretty much forced to eat at the hotel (there are a few other restaurants at other hotels nearby, but there´s no real town center)
- Lake Louise is one of the historic Fairmont hotels, but it doesn´t have a huge amount of character IMO (except for the lobby which is nice), if you´re looking for character/history the Banff Springs is the place you´re looking for
- rooms at the Banff Springs are slightly larger/nicer, but again if you want a nice room, you´ll have to pay a (hefty) premium
-advantage of the Banff Springs is the nicer spa, small supermarket in the hotel, and tons of restaurants in Banff (there´s a reasonably large town)

I´d probably book 2 nights at the Banff Springs and 1 night at Lake Louise, but really both hotels are just 30min apart.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 4:39 pm   #3
 
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My vote is for the BSH. The hotel is waaay better IMHO and in a different league in terms of character and there is waaay more to do in Banff when you aren't hiking. Take the hotel tour or just walk to floors...At night walk down to the South(?) end of the hall on the 7th floor to the Vice Regal wing and see if you get the shivers!

The spa and regular pool facilities are orders of magnitude better at the BSH. The warm outdoor pool is brilliant! Whereas the LL pool facility feels like you are at a Super8.

If you really want to stay at both then 2 nights 1 night is a decent idea but I hate packing and unpacking, checking out/checking in, especially if summer crowds are swarming so I would be more inclined to stay the whole time in Banff and just drive to LL one of the days. You can day trip to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for lake viewing and any hikes you may wish to do in that area.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 4:44 pm   #4
 
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What about for outdoor activities. Is there more at one of the other?
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Old Jun 7, 11, 4:57 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdkiller View Post
What about for outdoor activities. Is there more at one of the other?
What kind of outdoor activities are you looking for?

Lake Louise has a hiking track up to a tea house which is a great hike if you´re into that.

Banff Springs has an exceptional golf course.

For most other activities you´ll have to get into a car anyway.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 1:08 pm   #6
 
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OK. We're gonna stay at Banff Springs. Is it worth the extra $$ for a gold room. Also is 1 view better than the other? Obviously at CLL the lake is the more desirable, Banff Springs advertises Valley View or Mountain view.

Gonna do some hiking, rafting and maybe rent bikes.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 1:25 pm   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdkiller View Post
OK. We're gonna stay at Banff Springs. Is it worth the extra $$ for a gold room. Also is 1 view better than the other? Obviously at CLL the lake is the more desirable, Banff Springs advertises Valley View or Mountain view.

Gonna do some hiking, rafting and maybe rent bikes.
Sounds great!

Regarding view: I wouldn´t be too concerned either way, the valley view is nicer IMO, but not worth spending a fortune.

The main advantages of staying on the Gold floor are:

- free breakfast buffet in the Gold lounge
- evening canapes
- better/personaized service
- possibly nicer room amenities, slightly larger rooms, better views etc. (don´t know for sure as I haven´t stayed on the Gold floor at BSH, but at several other hotels)

I´d probably pay an extra $100-$150/night to stay on the Gold floor, but not more than that.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 1:45 pm   #8
 
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cool thanks. Gold rooms are same price as larger "premier rooms" and a "Gold level King bed on the exclusive floor" is the same price as a "Queen bed gold deluxe on any other floor". Deluxe meaning its bigger, gonna go with that Queen bed is fine.

Place is very expensive, the AAA makes a big difference tho. My cousin works for Fairmont and they dont even have a FF rate for my dates, that may change tho.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 2:07 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by nerdkiller View Post
Place is very expensive, the AAA makes a big difference tho. My cousin works for Fairmont and they dont even have a FF rate for my dates, that may change tho.
Indeed. Keep checking closer in...

Especially if you have settled on a certain rate, you might find the same rate using F&F nets you a junior or 1-bed suite! Or stay in the same room cat and spend the diff on a nice meal at the Banffshire!

You can also consider the "paid standby upgrade" at checkin thing Fairmont has been doing. It might cut the Gold floor cost delta in half or more.

I will add one more thing. If you don't have status and it is super busy at checkin, then the lobby can be filled with the hoards. In situations like this, the Gold floor provides a pile of value as you just cruise on up the Gold floor desk and checkin within minutes instead of waiting in line for an hour. But only you can weight the cost benefit of the upcharge as it is not trivial!
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Old Jun 10, 11, 4:55 pm   #10
 
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Thumbs up Bravo

Splendid choice NK, you won't regret it ;o)

We absolutely preferred the BSH over CLL.

May I make a few friendly suggestions?? If you go to the spa, go really early or really late. It's a completely different world when it's not jammed packed.

Same advice for Lake Louise, you could do an early morning lakeside hike and split before the hoards arrive, or go at sunset. More wildlife viewing opportunites then also. The Johnson Canyon hike was a blast - again, on the tour circuit, so go early or late (definately no guide required, it's a no brainer).

The toblerone fondue at CLL and the Sushi Chef at the BSH are both outstanding. Picked up some really great Canadian boutique wines at the shop just outside the BSH, they are super knowledgeble and have a killer selection ;o)

Have a great time at Stampede and enjoy the rockies (I'm sure you will).
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Old Jun 10, 11, 10:48 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Penner View Post
Splendid choice NK, you won't regret it ;o)

We absolutely preferred the BSH over CLL.

May I make a few friendly suggestions?? If you go to the spa, go really early or really late. It's a completely different world when it's not jammed packed.

Same advice for Lake Louise, you could do an early morning lakeside hike and split before the hoards arrive, or go at sunset. More wildlife viewing opportunites then also. The Johnson Canyon hike was a blast - again, on the tour circuit, so go early or late (definately no guide required, it's a no brainer).

The toblerone fondue at CLL and the Sushi Chef at the BSH are both outstanding. Picked up some really great Canadian boutique wines at the shop just outside the BSH, they are super knowledgeble and have a killer selection ;o)

Have a great time at Stampede and enjoy the rockies (I'm sure you will).
Agreed..

Johnson Canyon is very nice.. for the first part its all paved, and you can see some spectacular water falls.

Samurai Japanese restaurant at BSH is excellent..

If you can catch either Saturday or Sunday Brunch at BSH as well.. best brunch in western canada imo..
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