Sawasdee Kha all Readme.me fans! This is my first travel blog on Readme.me after looking through the website all over for a certain time, I have made up my mind to have my own.
First of all, let me introduce myself, my name is Patty. I love to travel, I love to look for a good new restaurant, I love to stay in a beautiful hotel, and I love a journey. This passion has grown over me since I was a child when I was traveling with my family. Then I was sent to study abroad when I was still young. ^^ That is when I learn how to travel alone. I can't deny that I was scared at first but I had adjusted and adapted well after a while. From there, I started to travel to other countries alone and I have addicted to do that. I can't stay at home for long these days. I always find a trip and a place to travel to all the time.
One main reason I write this travel blog up is that I hardly find information about hotels on this trip. The second reason is that my friends and family would like me to share my travel experience to others so they could learn from me. Therefore, I hope that this travel blog will be useful for you one way or another. Even though photos might not be that professional and contents might not be very informative, please let this travel blog be a place where my experience is genuinely shared.
My Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/fovbypritshayada. Well, this trip gets started after my family trip in Alaska. There were 2 families with 9 family members in total. We were cruising in Alaska for 7 nights. After this trip, the whole group get divided into 3 groups, one go to LA, one go back to Thailand, and my group of four has come here to Canada. The oldest person in my group is 63 years old and the youngest is 24 years old (it is me actually...).
This trip will be 6 days and 5 nights (not enough actually). Our flight has arrived at Calgary International Airport in the late afternoon. We rent a car from Calgary International Airport and our plan is to stay in Calgary for one night. We drive from Calgary to Jasper the next day which takes about 5 hours. It turns out that our ride is through the rain, hailing, and snow but the road is well-developed so it is not difficult to drive on. I rent a car with Alamo Company. The rental fee is around 1,000 THB per day but the insurance fee is another 1,500 THB per day. I am not sure with my driving skill so I guess I better have the insurance covered. I also applied for an International Driving License before coming here but they actually asked for my real driving license only. This is the car that I will be used on this entire trip.
*I do apologize, I have no intention to tie in this product. My friend just wants me to review her product but I don't have any other photos, please don't band me for this.
You can see the mountains covered with snow along the way from Calgary to Banff National Park. All members of this trip start to scream with happiness. I guess there will be so much more to see inside the National Park. The scenery along the road also makes this ride very enjoyable. I even forget about the time that is passing by. Oh! I almost forget to tell you that there is an admission fee to the National Park. We will be staying here for 5 days and the admission fee is about 70 CAD for four persons. You will get a receipt after paying which you need to stick it in front of you car. Anyway, it seems like no one is checking for this so you can just pay for one day even you stay for ten days. No, no, no! I am kidding. Please pay for 5 days if you stay for 5 days!
We hardly get a phone signal along the way but luckily that we live in Bangkok. The roads and city plan of Bangkok are very complicated so if we can drive there, we can drive anywhere. And we have finally made it to the first destination, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Look at the location of the hotel! It is totally amazing. Fairmont Hotels in this area are built to be the landmark hotels (I have got this information from the video presentation of the hotel). Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is comparable as a small kingdom. You need to call for the pick up service to take you to wherever you want to go. The hotel also has a valet parking service. Today we are going to stay in one room together. We have reserved a room with twin bed. There will be 2 Queen-size beds inside the room. You can check in together with 4 people. You might be afraid whether the hotel will let you in or not like I do. I actually plan to just stay in the Lobby if they won't allow us but luckily that they are kind enough to not do so. They even upgrade us to the Suite room in front of the lake as you can see from the photo below.
They have some dogs at the Lobby. They also have a heated pool so you don't have to be afraid of the cold if you want to swim. They even have a hot tub. I like it so much dipping in warm water over looking beautiful view of the mountains covered with snow. I stay here for two nights and I use them for both nights. I didn't take a shower in the room at all (I didn't take a shower in the morning either, Oops!). There are steam and sauna rooms inside the Fitness Center and Spa area. They also have a changing room where you can take a shower. This is where all amenities are available including mouthwash, makeup remover, and even hair straightener.
The hotel is incredibly beautiful so we stay and eat here only. We have tried 4 restaurants and their foods and services are as follows.
Orso Restaurant: The foods are good but the service is slow. Whole Branzino fish with lemon is delicious.
Oka Sushi Restaurant: You have to reserve a table in advance because it is a small restaurant and they accept limited number of clients. Chef is from Japan and he has been living here for over 10 years. He prepares Sushi slowly and even slower if you talk to him. The quality of foods is comparable to those good Japanese restaurants in Thonglor, Bangkok and the price is reasonable.
The Emerald Lounge: The Lounge is only beautiful so please don't order any foods but drinks are all right.
Fitzhugh's to go: This is where you can get some sandwiches to take away. The taste is average.
To be honest with you, I have never thought of coming to Jasper. However, I have made it here after I saw a beautiful photo of Athabasca Falls on the Internet plus my sister said that we still have time after Alaska trip and we are around the area already, why not give it a shot? Well, after I have come here for a while, I have found that there are many beautiful lakes around Banff and Lake Louise. But if you search for beautiful mountain scenery, it must be Jasper only. I feel pity for those who didn't come here with us. In addition, there is a cable car called "Jasper Sky Tram" which will take you to see the view from high above. The station is very close to our hotel. We didn't prepare well for the weather up here and it is minus 12 degree Celsius when we reach the top. There is also a restaurant but I don't recommend because I have tried already. Only the view from the restaurant that is good.
Then we have arrived to the next destination after a 5-hour drive.
Athabasca Falls Fall Fall Fall (with an echo sound)
But wait! Why the color of the water on the Internet and the real one are different?
*Credit from Google
Anyway, thank to the photo I saw on the Internet earlier that has made me travel to Jasper. If not, I wouldn't have a chance to see the beautiful scenery along the way. Even though the water is not in turquoise color, the falls is still pretty. After the trip ends, I look through all the photos and have found that the falls is actually very beautiful. I didn't feel the same way at first because I expected to just see the water in turquoise color.
After spending enough time at Athabasca Falls, I have noticed that we still have sometimes left. I saw a sign of Pyramid Lake earlier so let's google and go there! Wow! There is a rock in pyramid shape in the middle of the lake. This is very interesting so no hesitation, let's drive there!
Where is the pyramid? We couldn't find it.
Then I start to think... do we come at the right time? Maybe now is the hide tide time. But wait! This is not the sea. Is the photo we saw 100 years ago and the pyramid has gone over time.
To make sure on this, let's google for more information!
Pyramid Lake in the photo we saw earlier is actually in Nevada!
Credit from Google
I couldn't imagine how I could think that this huge pyramid rock has gone over time. Eiei And if you wonder how the Pyramid Lake we are at look like, I am not going to show you. I feel ashamed. Anyway, it is just another ordinary lake....... Well, we actually have found a new tourist spot on the way to Pyramid Lake and it is truly beautiful. Yellow color trees contrast so well with the turquoise color lake. The lake is also very clear. You could even see the reflection of the mountains on the water surface. There is no information or photo of this lake available on the brochure. This lake is named Patricia Lake so if you want to go there, pin it down right away.
After that we still have sometime again, so I let others to decide where to go this time. hahaha They have come up with Maligne Lake and of course I agree to go there but I won't take any responsibilities if something goes wrong. Guess what! We fail again. Everything is closed at Maligne Lake. The paddleboats are not in operation either. It was almost 2-hour drive which is quite far actually. We stop for the restroom and take a few photos before driving back. I guess we are even now.
One thing you might not know, our group normally finds some lucks after bad lucks. We have found a bunch of rams on the way back. They are so cute with twisted horns which look just like in the cartoons. They are very tame, not scared of humans at all. We also see some moose. The scenery along the road is fantastic so I would give the full credit to those who vote for Maligne Lake earlier.
I feel bad with my photo shooting skill after looking through all the photos I have taken. I don't know how to convince you to believe that the scenery along the road in Jasper is truly beautiful with only a few photos I have taken. As you can see the photos below, the composition is very bad. There is too little sky in every photo ( speak sarcastically!).
This photo makes us feel like we are in the film "The Twilight Saga". Thank to my beautiful elder sister who takes this beautiful photo.
This photo below is taken in front of the Hotel called "Glacier View Inn". We have seen this on the way to Lake Louise.
I stop breathing for a second after taking this photo while saying "Yes, this is it. I have seen this picture on the postcard earlier at a gas station and it costs 1.50 CAD." to myself.
Peyto Lake on a clear sky day is totally beautiful. I would rate it 10 out of 10. It is also very convenient to get here, only a few steps from the parking location. If you want to have the best shot, you need to climb up to the rock. After taking photos for our mom, it is our turn to go and have some more photos while mom is looking after our belongings behind.
And yes, we need to show the world our photos. I don't hesitate to give the car key to my boyfriend so the girls could import photos to the mobile phone before uploading them on Instagram right away. Our photos on Instagram need to be real time only. hahaha We don't get any likes though because it is 4 AM back in Thailand and our friends are sleeping right now.
Let's turn back time to May when this trip was all begun! My boyfriend and I were talking about our dream destinations including a place to see the Northern Lights, Machu Picchu, and so on. Then my boyfriend came up with a photo in his hands. "This is my dream destination and I want to go here for a long time", my boyfriend handed over a photo he posted at the beginning of the year when saying. It is a place similar to a castle surrounded by mountains covered with white snow and there is a lake in turquoise color in the middle. This is exactly what I imagine of when we talk about the fairy tales castle when I was a child and "This is Lake Louise." I, who love to travel (especially travel for free) smiled right away. Our family is actually going for a cruise trip in Alaska in June. What a coincident! We could fly to Canada directly after this trip because it is pretty close to each other. We could make a road trip for 4 - 5 days there. Four months later today, a big Ford car just follow the sign of "Hotel Guest" and there are staff waiting to welcome us. They pronounce our last name correctly and yes, we are here. We are at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
The staff inform us that one of the two rooms we have reserved is a Fairmont Gold Experience Room and it is on 7th Floor. It is a private concierge floor and has a private check in. The staff said that they would take care of the car and our belongings. I am a bit confused because we have actually reserved two same types of rooms. Anyway, we just take the lift and go to 7th Floor now.
We have found out that the lounge on 7th Floor is very beautiful. What caught our eyes is that there are bakeries, drinks, expensive coffee machine, and quality wines available here. Then I go to talk to the Front Desk to figure out everything while others go for foods and drinks. I look back at them and they start to eat and drink already. After talking to one of the Front Desk associate, I learn that we are upgraded to Fairmont Gold Experience for complementary again. With this title, we are free to eat and drink here all day long. Moreover, the twin room we have reserved has two Queen-size beds which mean 4 people can stay together. However, it is a bit too late because our original booking has two rooms already.
I like this lounge a lot. Even though there are not that many foods here, they are all good quality and delicious. The foods are different according to the period of time of the day. We check in in the afternoon so what we have now are like those stuffs for Afternoon Tea. Then there will be salty food during the evening and breakfast in the morning. The variety of foods is still limited during breakfast but each menu that is available is superb. For example, the Smoke Salmon comes in a big thick piece compared to the one we had on the cruise, it is way too good. The strawberries are also premium, they are big and very sweet. Actually, we are being upgraded only one room for 2 persons but we all four come to use the lounge together and they didn't say a word. The tea is also so good. It smell super nice. I take some of the tea bags back home as well. Oops! What did I just say. Let's stop talking about my dark side and go to check out our rooms!
This is my room. Oh! I thought it would be huge but actually it is not. It is in a normal size and pretty similar size to the room that is not upgraded. The difference is that the Fairmont Gold Experience Room has been renovated, and the design and decoration are more luxury. The highlight of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is not the room but the location, and facilities. In addition, my room is overlooking Lake Louise but the thing is that the window can't be opened.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise goes truly well with the concept of the landmark hotel because it is a hotel and tourist attraction at the same time. What you need to keep in mind is that, you, as a hotel guest, you will be taken care as the first priority so always keep the hotel key card with you. You own a private parking spot, you can skip the line for kayaking, your table reservation in a restaurant is first priority, and there is one more highlight but I will tell you later. Let's take a walk to Lake Louise first! Well, the sunlight in the late afternoon reflecting on the turquoise color water surface has made the lake look sparkling. It might be true that you can search for this kind of picture on the Internet. That picture might be even more beautiful than the real one. But you know what? You can't be this happy just looking at it on the Internet. A chance for you to take this kind of photo on your own is incomparable. It would also be the best if you are actually inside the photo for real, don't you think so? ^^ Wait! Where we can get a photo of the whole hotel and the lake, the one I have seen before? I show the photo to an Auntie at the Reception and she is so kind to give me instructive information. She said that I need to go to the gondola station which is not far from the hotel and take the gondola. Then I would get the photo I want.
We make it to the gondola station which is similar to the ski station. That's why I am not sure if I will get the view I want. I have decided to go and ask the ticket officer in order to be sure. "This is exactly the photo I want to take for ages", I told him. The ticket officer bangs his fist on the table then raises his hand and says, "You need to go back and get the camera lens as long as my arm then you will get exactly what you want". I feel sad and look at two camera lens that I have. One of them is a wide lens and another one is fix lens at eye-level. The Auntie at the reception didn't lie but she just didn't mention about the camera lens. We are sad but there is nothing we can do but go back to the hotel. Anyway, we won't give up. I guess we can go kayaking to the middle of the lake and then take a photo of the whole hotel with beautiful water color. With the hotel key card, I take the special lane of the hotel to rent a kayak and we get it right away. On the other hand, there is a long line full with tourist on another side.
Tada! From the picture of the hotel surrounded by mountains, how come it turns out to be like this? The mountains are all far away and it is totally behind the hotel from this angle. Anyway, no matter how many photos you get, the beauty of this place can't be compared from what you see with your own eyes.
We have dinner reservation today at 7.45 PM at the restaurant of the hotel, the one that has been ranked as one of the best restaurants on TripAdvisor. We arrive in front of the restaurant around 7.30 PM and we are very hungry but we are not allowed to enter the restaurant yet. I can't even get in to take some photos first. Guess what! We are escorted to be seated at the table that has been available since 7.30 PM. We wait for quite long before the waiter comes to our table and greet us as well. I don't know where is this waiter from but he looks like Asian but he looks pretty moody. After a while when we think we are ready to order, we call him to come and take the order right away. It turns out that we discuss a few more things before ordering but he doesn't wait at all. He said "Please finalize the order before calling me again" then he left. We have finalized that we will order 6 dishes in total then we call him. When I start to tell him the order he said, "This is the main course. Don't you want to order the starter?" After telling him all 6 dishes, he said once again "Are you sure these are all you want to have?" My sister and I accidentally look at each other with big eyes opened. We have found that the waiter is not very attentive. We have ordered sparkling water of Badoit but we have got the San Pellegrino one. I have asked twice for the lemon because I want to put it inside the water but it seems like it will never come. Suddenly, there is an old couple walking into the restaurant. You know what, our waiter run to take a very good care of them and the way he treat them is totally different to what he does to us. So, I guess he offers different service standards to different people. Moreover, wine and bread are served to them in the wink of an eye. That is when I realize that we haven't even got some bread yet. My sister and I accidentally look at each other once again with the expression of disappointment this time. If we talk about the foods, I would say that the food decorations are amazing but the taste of the foods in general is average. Truffled Mashed Potatoes is pretty good though. What is good about this restaurant is mainly the view.
The next morning has come and it turns out to be another highlight of this trip. I woke up to use the toilet around 6 AM so I look outside through the window as well. I scream out loud because what I am seeing is incredibly beautiful. The morning sunlight has turned the color of the snow mountains to orange. The lake in turquoise color yesterday is now like a mirror reflecting the picture of the mountains but up side down. I have decided to stay awake and sit on the day bed next to the window spotting Lake Louise while its color is changing.
We just go kayaking for the whole morning today before checking out at noon. Yes, the check out process is also done privately. We are also getting something to drinks. While doing that, I accidentally see a ticket on the counter and surprisingly it is the ticket that we need to fill in what and how many glasses of alcoholic drinks we have consumed because this is the Honor Bar!! (sorry that I lost the photo of this ticket). Then we all start to talk to each other.
We drank 4 glasses of wine.
1 glass of wine.......
The staff that checks us out verify the incidental charge which is only foods. She didn't ask if we have something from the Honor Bar. I tell her right away that we had one glass of wine and I wrote that down on the ticket already. Then she looks at me and says "That's all right, forget it!". Well, I talk to myself that she should charge us for that because we actually had like four of them. My boyfriend doesn't know what to do so he puts 20 USD in the box at the Honor Bar instead. Everything is settled now so off we go! Before I am going to take you to the last hotel of our trip in Banff, let us take you to one more highlight in the area. This place is beautiful enough for Canada to put it on their banknote. It is Moraine Lake.
It is very easy to get here and not far from the hotel. It is also only a few steps from the parking location.
It is too normal to look at it from the ground level, I recommend you who are still fit enough to climb up to the rock on the opposite site of the lake. You need to have a pair of good shoes for this as well. There are many people doing this too. Well, one thing you need to be careful is your camera, be careful not to have it crashed with the rock especially those who have the camera strap around your neck. I have experienced this myself. Once you get up there, your tiredness will fade away because it is totally amazing.
Once I arrive up here, I am a bit worried after noticing that if I take a photo right here and right now, my photos will be silhouetted against the sunlight. I don't know whether I can get a good photo or not. Anyway, I just give it a shot. Well, it turns out to be quite good with a rim light and I am very happy with it. So, I guess we are here at the right time actually. I also look good in the photo (view is the second most important thing after me in the photo). Eiei
Then we go to Banff. It takes us not even 1 hour to get to Banff from Lake Louise. I am totally in love with this town after seeing all cute little houses and they are all well-aligned. The town also has a huge mountains with their peaks covered with the snow in the background. It offers similar feeling to Europe actually. We walk for not long and it is getting dark already. All the shops start to light up their places and they look very nice. It is like we are in Christmas time. It is a pity that we stay here for only one night. If I knew that this town is this nice, I would have reserved a guesthouse in downtown for one more night.
The souvenir of this town is not bad either. I haven't spent any money on the souvenir on the whole trip but here. I have got some stuff from this souvenir shop. It is a Christmas theme souvenir shop selling all Christmas decorations. Once you step in into this place, you will feel as if you were in a fairly tales kingdom. They are all so cute. If I have a lot of space left in my luggage, I would buy a lot of things from here.
It was 2 - 3 months ago when my boyfriend and I talked about traveling (again). "I want to stay in a Chateau because I often drove pass one of them when I was studying in England and that one has turned to be a very beautiful hotel", I told my boyfriend while imagine that I was a princess in a Disney cartoon living in a Chateau and there was a bird singing by the window. I guess he remembers that, that's why he chose to book Fairmont Banff Spring. Well, Fairmont Banff Spring is not bad at all. It is pretty similar to what I have dreamed of. Once I step in into the hotel, there I found a girl playing the harp. She has make the ambiance even more like a fairly tales. Tonight is the last night of this trip and it is actually my most impressive night. I don't want the morning to come at all.
There is nothing special with the room at Fairmont Banff Spring and we didn't get upgraded this time. We didn't stay in the room that much either apart from sleeping. We spend most of the time exploring the hotel and we have found that everything in the hotel is up to 5-star hotel standard. I also have got a chance to go to swim at night. They have indoor pool, outdoor pool, and a hot tub. I choose to stay at the hot tub mostly while looking at those children jumping into the pool outside and I feel cold for them. I have also found that people here are very friendly.
There is also a lounge for Fairmont Gold Experience Room which is located on 5th Floor. The ambiance is quite nice from what I can see.
One said that "Happiness time always pass by so fast" and I couldn't agree more. Look at my trip this time! It feels just like yesterday that we start the trip but it is already time to go back home. Lastly, I would like to end this trip with this photo taken at Surprise Corner. I already miss Canada and I don't know when I would have a chance to come back here but I promise to myself that I will make it or sure. Thank you very much for your generous time and kind support, Sawasdee Kha.