Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This "Castle in the Rockies" was our home for 2 nights while in Banff, Alberta.
It is a huge old hotel designed in the Late Victorian style by architect Bruce Price of NY in 1887. It was the dream of William Van Horne, the manager of Canadian Pacific Railway. His philosophy was, "Since we can't export the scenery, we'll have to import the tourists." It was completed in 1888. It burnt down in 1926 and was rebuilt in 1928 and it has been extended and refurbished many times since. It had its heyday before the war attracting royalty and celebrities. It closed during the war and when it reopened in 1945 it struggled to keep the usual guests. However, it now thrives on tourist groups arriving by coach or train.

The reception area and a cafe/deli at the end.

Our room was big and comfortable but it had a tiny window, with part of the building blocking the view over the Bow River and golf course.

That didn't matter because there were so many public areas to enjoy. This was our favourite place to "hang out." It was a bar and lounge and if you walked outside there was .........

...a terrace restaurant (one of many). It was too cold for us to eat out there but others were and in fact the waitress was waiting to sit people at this table which we had borrowed to take a photo.

We joined a free tour of the "castle" and were told the history and shown some fantastic rooms and spaces.  Every window was a picture.

One of the ballrooms.

Our tour guide suggested we should get lost in the hotel as you discover surprising places, well we did that too but not intentionally. It is so huge. We were on the ninth floor but in the wrong wing. Hee hee it was fun. The next day we had a Free Choice Activity....rubber rafting down the Bow River.


  1. Looks a lovely place - but how do they heat it?

  2. Old and grand, just the way I like it.

  3. That must have been a fun experience to go back in time in such an old fashioned hotel.

  4. Goodness! Magnificent! Where were your evening clothes? No Champagne!
    I would have waltzed, done the polka or "shimmy shook" around that Grand Ballroom with thee Diane - what was Bill doing?
    White tie and tails of course!
    Now, as I have got in before Betsy, - Betsy, when you and George get there, I expect to see the "white tie and tails and the prettiest of Viennaise ballgowns on your good self!
    Ah the spendour, next I hope to see the cuisine?????
    I go to bed VERY GREEN! Where are those damn tablets?
    Colin (HB)

  5. What a nice hotel ! Beautiful architecutre. The inside reminds me of the hotels at the Red Sea in Egypt, and also in Morocco, they are all palaces. Our Conrad Hotel which is the most expensive 200 € cheapest room, looks like a shed against these hotels.

  6. margaret: I'm not sure how they heat it but I think this one had air conditioning. Some did and some didn't I can't exactly remember which did.

  7. Wow! I want to see all of the photos. What a gorgeous place and setting.

  8. Gorgeous! I have been to Banff more than once, but never inside the hotel. We used to wander around the gardens though. Would love to go back and stay in style just once.

  9. Beautiful photos. What a wonderful adventure you are having! I wish I could slip in your suitcase and tag along.

  10. Ha----not sure I want to see Colin doing the 'shimmy shook'..... Think the building would 'rock'????? ha

    AND to Colin---NO to the fancy clothes and dancing and NO to the champagne. Sorry!!!!

    Loved that photo of you two sitting outside... I'd probably be crazy enough to eat out there... ha

    LOVE the hotel... Wow---what an incredible place... Would love to see it during the snowy season.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. A lovely tour - I've always wanted to visit this hotel. Maybe one day...

    In the meantime, I am enjoying your pics.

  12. I have read your last several posts and am astounded at the exquisite beauty of these pictures. You must have thought wow, are my eyes really seeing this?

  13. Wow...a place like this, and the scenery from the portals...well, I must 'fess up---------I wouldn't want to leave!!!!

    Thanks for visiting my Witch Doll in the making today!! Much appreciated.

  14. Diane, it is a Grand hotel and I loved your photos. I hope to see it for myself someday. The views are awesome especially the shot sof you and your hubby outside. The rafting sounds like fun, I hope you stayed dry.

  15. WHOA! I am stunned and pleased. I wonder if I could work there?


  16. I found myself holding my breath while looking at your photos, so I have to say your posts are breathtaking!

  17. Oh dear! All my hours of practicing the waltz, the polka and the "shimmy shake" down the drain and I was getting SO good. Betsy, where is the Scarlett O'Hara in thee?
    At least the neighbours will get some sleep - I think they just might be a bit sick of "Shall We Dance"!!!!
    Any other takers for a dance around that magnificent ballroom?
    A very dejected Rhett Butler.
    Colin "Rhett" (HB)

  18. Thank You for the tour of the Castle, Diane. Absolutely gorgeous there. Colin, where are your pills-I'm turning green!! I am so glad you got to see all of this D & B.


  19. Oh those views! And what an awesome place to stay..you both look wonderful sitting out there

  20. Only two nights here? It looks like it might take two days to find your room!

  21. What a spectacular hotel! I think it is the grandest one I've ever seen. Can you imagine how much it would cost to build it now? I want to take this same trip one day Diane...everything you've shown is magnificent.

  22. Oh I have always wanted to stay at that hotel! It looks like a great place to get lost!

  23. Diane, I'm time traveling here and see you've been to our beautiful country. Banff isn't all that far from Edmonton, it's stunningly beautiful there as it is in Jasper. Over this past year I've been to Jasper twice, I think that I'll go a few more times before this year comes to a close.

    For heat we use gas, natural gas heat and we need it without a doubt. I noticed you came here in September, this is when it starts to cool down here, July and August are our two warmest months out of the year.

    I've never stayed at this elegant hotel, after seeing it now I want to! :-)