By Chere Di Boscio
When the Victorian English began their Grand Tours of Europe, they became well known for demanding a ‘room with a view’ so they could escape the dreariness of grey old ‘Blighty’ and enjoy the sight of families sharing time in public squares in Italy, canopies of grape vines in Portugal, or the sunkissed rose trellises in France. Had they ventured out as far as Alberta, Canada, their minds would have been blown – visions of eagles gliding over imposing mountains and a lake with the opaque brilliance of a blue opals surrounded by rich, green forest are nothing less than poetic. No wonder the legendary Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is called Canada’s “Diamond in the Wilderness.”
Named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter Louise, Lake Louise, or as the First Nations Canadians called it, “the lake of little fishes,” this became a travel destination in 1890, when the Canadian Pacific Railway built its first log chalet along the lake. Later, a split-level structure was built, followed by two timber wings—in Tudor and Victorian style—in 1900. The 94-room Painter Wing was created in 1913 but a catastrophic fire in 1924 destroyed it. Concrete was used to structure a replacement wing a year after the fire, but the current Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s architecture dates back to 1913 when architect Walter Painter was inspired by the Palladian villa designs of the Italian Renaissance period.
This Chateau is delight no matter what time of year, and came into its own as an all-season resort in the early 1980s. Reward yourself after some vigorous winter activities with some of Canada’s finest ice wines, which the concierge here will be more than happy to pack for you in a picnic basket, along with other warming treats.
Springtime is when the resort focuses on mindfulness, meditation and yoga retreats with experts such as Tracy Delfs, a passionate yoga & mindfulness instructor and long-time student of world-renowned Zen and mindfulness master Thich Nhat Hanh, Dr. Eva Selhub, internationally known medical doctor, author, stress management and resiliency coach, or Shannon Kaiser, author and life coach, named “Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness” and “Top 25 most influential wellness writers” by MindBodyGreen.
These women can help you overcome your fears, live more mindfully, relax, and generally fall in love with life again. This is the perfect setting in which to tune out all noise, in order to better hear your inner voice – and channel it creatively. Yoga, meditation & creative writing retreats are held here by Sean Murphy, author, Zen meditation practitioner, teacher for creative writing and Kim Roberts, yoga instructor, psychotherapist and author, whilst creativity retreats are led by Cynthia Morris, acclaimed creativity coach writer, artist, who has mastered the art of staying inspired, productive and access instant creativity.
With the sun shining here in springtime, you’ll want to be outdoors exploring the dense surrounding forests and lake. But indoors, it’s pretty wonderful, too. Rooms are plush, with bathtubs to help you warm up and unwind, and all the amenities you’d expect from a five star hotel, including tea and coffee stations in the room, nightly turndown service and chocolates and bottled water left daily for each guest.
The Chateau has eight dining options that offer something for everyone, including vegan and vegetarian options. Choose from the elegant Fairview Dining Room, the Walliser, or the Chateau Deli. But whatever you select, don’t miss the spectacular Lakeview Lounge, boasting immense views of the lake and Victoria Peak with its celebrated hanging glaciers. Sitting here in the evening, watching the twilight veil the mountains in shades of jewelled pink gold and orange, you’ll understand why the Chateau is praised for having “the best hotel view in the world.” The Victorians would have been jealous.
Guests looking for centering, holistic wellness experiences that complement their stay in a truly breathtaking and spectacular setting do well to inquire about availability in time. Space is limited and retreats book out quickly. For more information or to book your wellness getaway contact Davina Bernard at [email protected] or call directly at +1 403 522 1638.