Spending the night in a national park usually means sleeping in a tent, or maybe the comforts of a cabin. But Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is home to the castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs resorts. Originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 1880s, the design was modeled after a Scottish baronial castle. The hotel is largely responsible for helping bring tourism to Western Canada.
Today, the hotel is a great summer or winter base for exploring Banff and nearby Lake Louise and Jasper. The town of Banff is just a ten-minute walk down from the hotel and skiing at Lake Louise or Sunshine Village is less than an hour away. It's easy not to leave the property. Most rooms have distractingly gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Guests should take advantage of the Willow Stream Spa, which is styled after the hot springs that travelers came to soak in years ago. After a day in the elements, soak in the spa's mineral pool or the outdoor heated pool. After a day of snowboarding, I nourished my skin with the Rockies Rehydration treatment, which included a dry-brush exfoliation and a massage that used mineral cream blended with organic essences of juniper and fennel.
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Legend Has It
Visiting the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs Resort is like walking through a history lesson. Kids will love all the pictures of the hotel’s old days, as well as the castle-like feeling of the stone halls and archways, built over 125 years ago. Designed by famed New York architect Bruce Price and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Banff Springs opened in the summer of 1888 and instantly became known as one of the finest hotels in North America. From the Queen of England to the Queen of Hollywood—Marilyn Monroe—a long list of luminaries have come here to stay.