Apparently, when I was MUCH younger, my family went up to Banff, Alberta for some camping. During that trip, we stopped over to Lake Louise and my mother fell in love with the area. I honestly do not remember it at all! My mother on the other hand never stopped thinking about it. For the longest time, she has said that visiting Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was high on her bucket list.
When I was at the very beginning of my teenage years my parents divorced. Money and priorities changed after that, but my mom never stopped thinking about that beautiful place. So last year she found a mindfulness retreat that was taking place there and we went! I’ve never been into yoga, and it’s VERY difficult for me to sit still for meditation, but I knew it would be worth it!
Getting to Lake Louise
We flew into Calgary, Alberta, rented a car and drove up into the mountains. One little thing I would note is to make sure that your car rental place is at the airport. Apparently, many of them are not and that was rather inconvenient (and honestly a little creepy). We were a little nervous about driving into the mountains in November, but the weather was great. From someone who has driven from Denver up into the mountains many times, this route was nothing like that! The roads were better, wider, and we were never driving along a cliff or anything!
We made a quick stop in Banff on our way and loved the cute little town! My brothers and their wives are going up there in a couple of weeks for a friends wedding. I know they’ll love it! I love little adorable mountain towns/villages like this!
We continued on our trek and suddenly we seemed to enter into a little valley, and it started snowing! It hadn’t been the entire drive, but suddenly, there it was! And it snowed pretty much the entire time we were up there. When we left it was the same, once we left this little area, there was no more snow! To me, the greatest things about the drive up were the sign saying “Attention Elk Crossing” and the fact that the odometer was km so every time I looked at it I was like, damn I’m going fast, and then I remembered it was km.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louse
Pulling up to the Chateau was an amazing feeling. The building alone is breathtaking, let alone the scenery around it! There were some low clouds that were blocking the views of the tops of the mountains, but you could tell it was gorgeous! Our room was lake-facing so it was wonderful, even with clouds, to just open the curtains and look out!
Our first night there we ate at the Alpine Social. We had eaten when we stopped in Banff, but we had to go to one of the amazing restaurants at the hotel! We got an order of the Social Nachos. They had Gouda, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, scallions, tomatoes, sour cream, queso and guacamole (it came with jalapenos and salsa too, but I’m not a huge fan of that so we ordered without). It was SO good!
The next morning we had room service because you can’t go to a place like this and NOT get room service once! It just adds to the luxury of it! Our retreat didn’t start until later that evening, so we had all day to explore. We walked around inside the hotel, but I can tell you there was so much of it that we never saw, strolled around the lake and had tea!
I honestly can’t remember which tea we had, but I feel like it might have been the IceWine. The finger food with it was awesome! There were fresh berries, mini lobster croissants, smoked salmon roulade, lemon thyme and cucumber sandwiches, scones, and desserts! The chocolate one was my favorite (of course!). This was definitely a moment that made my mother very happy!
The hotel is situated right on the lustrous emerald lake facing the Victoria Glacier. With it being at the beginning of winter, the lake wasn’t frozen yet. It would have a thin layer occasionally attempting to cover it, but it didn’t fully succeed while we were there. The lake is so clear and the reflections in it are astounding! There is a path that goes around the lake. Looking back to the hotel over the lake was amazing!
Mindfulness, Meditation & Yoga
Later that night we met with the mindfulness retreat for a welcome reception. The next morning we started with yoga and meditation, then had some discussion and a nature walk. Again, I’m not big into yoga and meditation, but I actually really enjoyed the sessions. In our free time in the afternoon we simply explored some more! During our stay we never left the hotel grounds, and yet there is still so much to see there that we never got to.
After the free time, we had another discussion on mindfulness self-care, a meditation & deep relaxation class, and then a group dinner. The last day we ended up leaving early and I can’t exactly remember what we ended up doing, but the retreat had another yoga and meditation session, discussion and a nature walk. Overall, I enjoyed the retreat and it was a nice addition to a beautiful trip!
The time we were there was too short, and I definitely wouldn’t mind going back again! However, I am very happy my mother got to make the visit and check it off her bucket list. It’s always a great joy when you see how happy someone is, and this trip made her very happy (same with me). There were adorable shops in the hotel, more restaurants than we visited, and there are more trails and other things off the property, that would be a great joy to experience I’m sure! I mean, we didn’t even make it to the spa!