Luxury hotels are as much for locals as they are for travelers.
By including fashionable rooftop bars and renowned restaurants, luxury hotels have started to occupy a distinctive place in the fabric of cities. Often cherished landmarks in their own right, these hotels have become hotspots where locals go to dine, celebrate, and rejuvenate.
This isn’t exactly a new trend. Fairmont San Francisco—among the world’s most iconic hotels—opened in 1907 and quickly became one of the city’s most in-demand venues for opulent balls, presidential visits, and high-profile political gatherings. Growing into a brand that now stretches around the globe, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ properties have been at the center of their communities’ social calendars, from the legendary Stompin’ at The Savoy musical showcases in London to Sunday Afternoon Tea Dances at Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.
MUSIC IN MONTREUX
Among jazz lovers, Switzerland’s annual Montreux Jazz Festival (June 28–July 13) has afforded the opportunity to see world-class musicians in a gorgeous Alpine setting. And for many locals—as well as the visitors who return year after year—Fairmont Le Montreux Palace has been a part of the festival’s tradition since it began in 1967. Whether you choose to stay in one of the beautifully designed rooms or have dinner at the MP’S Bar & Grill, you’ll appreciate the hotel’s commanding presence on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Year-round, the property keeps the spirit of the event alive in the Montreux Jazz Café and Funky Claude’s Bar. Both pay tribute to the festival’s founder, the late Claude Nobs, who was responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in music to Montreux—from the Queen of Soul to English rock bands. Filled with Nobs’ memorabilia, the award-winning Montreux Jazz Café serves lunch and dinner to a soundtrack of jazz greats, while Funky Claude’s Bar has live music performances starting at 7 p.m. most nights.
Dubbed the “Castle in the Rockies” for its stately architecture, Fairmont Banff Springs is the epitome of luxury and exceptional dining in Banff National Park. In fact, the hotel is held in such high regard by culinary experts that it’s the focus of a two-and-half-hour food tour. This “Eat the Castle” tour, run by Alberta Food Tours, stops at STOCK Food & Drink for housemade sourdough bread and smoked meats, The Vermillion Room for French brasserie cuisine, Grapes Wine Bar for house-cured charcuterie, and The 1888 Chop House for prime cuts of Alberta steak and sustainably sourced seafood. Bring your appetite!
All that delicious food may have you craving some exercise; fortunately, Banff is a year-round destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers. Situated in the stunning wilderness of Canada’s first national park, this hotel—which first opened in 1888—is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also takes full advantage of its surroundings. From mid-November to mid-May, the hotel is a gateway to the champagne powder of the area’s big three ski resorts, as well as winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, and sledding. In spring and summer, the landscape transforms into a playground for hiking, rafting, horseback riding, and playing golf on the 27-hole championship course.
In recent years, Marrakech has seen an explosion of glittery luxury hotels, among which Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech stands out for its opulent spa as well as its sprawling 18-hole golf course and country club, which recently hosted a five-day pro-am golf tournament. For well-heeled locals looking to take a time out or have a quiet dinner, the property is a luxurious oasis tucked in an olive grove dotted with orange and palm trees. Plus, it’s located just 20 minutes from the bustling medina of the old city.
As a visitor to Morocco, you might wander through a whirling maze of busy streets in the center of town while shopping for colorful babouches (leather slippers) and intricately woven pillow covers, and then find respite from the delightful chaos in the hotel’s wellness offerings. Designed like a modern riad, Le Spa at Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech caters to hotel guests, as well as residents having a spa day or mini staycation. After a locally inspired treatment like a Berber Bath Ceremony, relax in the steamy hammam and out by the sparkling pool.