Cozy charm and luxury at the Post Hotel Lake Louise.
By Charlie Huisking
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. During the height of the summer tourist season, nearly 10,000 visitors a day come to gaze at the turquoise waters of glacier-fed Lake Louise, nestled in the mountains about 40 minutes north of Banff.
Most overnight guests stay at Chateau Lake Louise, the massive, 400-room hotel run by the Fairmont company. It's an impressive place, with a huge lobby with picture windows offering a dazzling view of the scenery. A harp player in Victorian costume entertains.
But with busloads of tourists wandering through all day, the chateau is hardly an intimate place to stay.
That's why I choose the Post Hotel Lake Louise, about a mile away from the lake, but still surrounded by gorgeous snow-capped mountains. Owned by two Swiss brothers, the inn has the flavor of a cozy European hotel. The main lodge, built in traditional log-and-beam style, has a variety of accommodations. Our suite, warmly decorated in pine furniture and rich upholstery in brown, green and red hues, had two bathrooms, a single bed downstairs and a double in the loft. The best features were a working fireplace and a balcony overlooking the rushing stream that ran along some adjacent cabins.
The inn has a spacious fitness room, an indoor pool, and a spa where I had a wonderful hot stone massage after a hike to a waterfall.
Tea and cakes were served in the cozy lobby each afternoon. At cocktail time, we gathered by the fire in the lounge, where we stared at a moose head above the flickering flames. The charming German bartender, Axel, was one of many European-trained staff members at the inn.
We didn't eat dinner at the inn's highly praised restaurant, one of the few in western Canada admitted into the the French Relais & Chateaux society. But the pancakes we had there for breakfast were made to fluffy perfection.
The Post Inn is the kind of place you hate to leave in the morning, even though the wonders of the Rockies await you