Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Tour
I’ve never been to Lake Louise before year 2011. I heard the best season to go is during summer and autumn (July to October), but I decided to visit Lake Louise in early February, 2011. That year, Alberta had record snow fall everywhere, including Rocky Mountains resorts along Icefield Parkway in both Japser and Banff National Parks.
The view at Lake Louise was magnificent, even in winter. There weren’t many crowds walking around—almost empty I would say!—so it was a good time for enthusiastic photographers. Some parts of the lake weren’t frozen, so that made them good locations to capture the snow-capped Rocky Mountains with tranquil water reflection amid the frozen lake.
Stood at the east lakeshore of Lake Louise is the grand Fairmont Chateau, overlooking the majestic lake. The hotel itself is a tourist attraction with many antiques, paintings, sculptures, and wild life taxidermy intertwined with decorative interior designs. There are also free guided hotel tour if you would like to get to know more about its history. At the bottom two ground floors of the hotel are varieties of deli stores, restaurants and souvenir shops. The food was not pricey at all; it was pretty usual and reasonable. I heard the foods at teahouses at Plain of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes were super pricey, but they were closed in the winter anyway, so I don’t know for sure.
In the winter, the hiking trails by the lake were open, but very very few people do it. Thick layer of snow, poor visibility, snow-covered trail landmaks, and risks of avalanches make hiking a dangerous activity to do in the winter. Unless you’re well prepared for backcountry hiking and knowledgeable about the directions, you can get lost or trapped easily in the forest. For these reasons, hiking trails can be considered “closed” in the winter.
There are still other winter activities around the lake; eg, ice sculptures, ice skating, hockey rinks, hot tub, etc.
Review: Fairview Dining Room Restaurant
By the time I finished touring the lake and hotel, it was around 7pm. I was so hungry and looking for a nice restaurant for dinner. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada offers a broad range of dining options, from a gourmet sandwich at the 24hr Chateau Deli, to a fine dining experience at the four diamond Fairview Dining Room restaurant.
So, I decided to go to the Fairview Dining Room and see what it offered. :P Walked to the door, I waited for a few minutes because I couldn’t see any waiter. There was a sign “Please wait to be seated”, so I waited. :( A few minutes passed, and I started to wonder if the restaurant opened at all??? But…the dinner menu displayed at the restaurant door seemed so irresistable, so I continued to wait. Finally a waitress appeared. Thanks goodness. :P Afterward, everything went smoothly. I was very impressed with the customer service the waiter and waitress provided. It was interesting, because it was my first time getting asked if I had any allergy or health concerns before being offered a seat in a restaurant. It was pretty quiet in the restaurant, with only about 6 guests. Winter was definitely a low season in Lake Louise! I took advantage of few diners and got extra attention from the waiter and waitress. :)
With only $52, I ordered the following three-course dinner with a bonus ice wine dessert from chef. :P
Here is the complete menu for winter 2010-2011 Fairview Dining Room.
Appetizer: Crispy Cassava Jumbo Shrimp
garam masala & ver jus noisette butter, eggplant caviar, charred red peppers
Main Course: Grilled Alberta Beef Tenderloin & Bison Short Rib
braised red chicory, confit tomatoes, potato and goat cheese gratin, sherry beef glace
Dessert: “Peanut Butter and Jelly”
chocolate & peanut butter mousse sandwiched between dark chocolate crisps raspberry jelly and sorbet
The Fairview Dining Room, the Chateau’s Four Diamond Rated Dining Room, features the best in Canadian Cuisine, with a firm focus on innovative and creative flavours to entice the palate. Our Master Wine List showcases the best in both Old and New World wine regions. Hours Of Operation: Daily from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Dress code is resort casual: no shorts, t-shirts or athletic wear, and collared shirts are recommended for men.
I didn’t know there was a dress code at this restaurant. Good that I didn’t wear t-shirt in winter.
Interior Tour of Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel
Comparison: Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel vs Deer Lodge
Fairmont Chateau and Deer Lodge are the only two hotels nearby the lake shore of Lake Louise. All the others are located in Lake Louise Town Center, which is 10 minutes away by car. Deer Lodge is the “budget” alternative to the more expensive Fairmont Hotel. Click here to read more about Deer Lodge; you won’t be disappointed!
Before you go in winter…
1. Read info brochure for Banff National Park of Canada.
2. Check Icefields Parkway Travel Guide for nearby tourist attractions.
3. Check the current local weather (see below) – Lake Louise is next to Yoho National Park. Rather than checking the weather condition for Banff, use the weather report for Yoho National Park.
4. Check the current road / highway condition.
5. Winter tires are required by law during winter traveling.