Taking passengers across six of Canada's provinces is the Canadian Pacific Railway. This rail line dates back to the 1880s and was a true engineering feat, as it gave passengers a way to travel between the east and west coasts of Canada. The president of the railway at the time of its opening did not just envision a network of train tracks, though; according to Canadian Pacific, he sought to make the railway a true travel experience for tourists. With this, the railway added a series of luxury hotels throughout its rail lines - both in major cities and out in the countryside - where passengers could soak in the beauty of Canada. His goal was accomplished with the opening of the Banff Springs Hotel in 1888, and with its success, the company continued to build hotels all throughout the country. Luckily for modern travelers, the railway is just as popular today as it was over 100 years ago, and many of these hotels and inns are still standing. But not only are they still standing, they are thriving, as they now all fall under the Fairmont brand of hotels and offer luxury overnight accommodations and amenities to their guests. Here is a glimpse at 10 of the most iconic Canadian Pacific Railway hotels:
Banff Springs Hotel
This "Castle in the Rockies" is tucked in the heart of Banff National Park and is surrounded by soaring pine trees and awe-inspiring mountain views. The construction of this hotel set the standard for the rest of the facilities to be built along the Canadian Pacific Railway and is a shining example of luxury. Though they have all been updated to suit 21st-century tastes, the 764 rooms of this hotel retain an old-world charm. There is an onsite spa for guests to enjoy, as well as a luxury golf course, a bowling alley and indoor and outdoor heated pools.
Perhaps the most photographed hotel in the world, this hotel is located within the walls of Old Quebec, perched up above the St. Lawrence River. Guests have access to 611 spacious rooms and luxury suites, all of which have undergone a recent renovation for a fresh take on historical elegance. The hotel offers an onsite hair salon and four eateries - Champlain Restaurant, 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar, Bistro Le Sam and Place Dufferin. For guests hoping for an even more exciting experience, guided tours offering a glimpse at the history of this Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel are available.
The largest log cabin in the world, this secluded inn dates back to 1930 and offers rustic luxury. This hotel is located in a scenic area of Quebec called Montebello Village and is absolutely surrounded by the beauty of nature. Patrons of this hotel have access to 211 rooms, six of which offer Jacuzzis. Lodging is not the only goal here; rather, the hotel's staff strives to provide a resort-style experience, with tons of activities to choose from year-round. From snowshoeing and dog-sledding in the winter to swimming and golf in the summer, there is no shortage of things to experience at this lodge.
Royal York Hotel
Located in the heart of Downtown Toronto is this circa 1927 hotel, which was built to accommodate passengers of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel is set within walking distance of many of Toronto's biggest attractions and was once the tallest building in the British Commonwealth, rising 28 stories above the street line. In all, there are a total of 1,363 guest rooms within this hotel, including 898 Luxury and Signature Rooms. Modern amenities - a health spa, an indoor pool, flat-screen TVs in each room and high-speed Internet - meet original details, such as hand-painted ceilings in some of the common areas, to make for a wonderful lodging experience.
A premier lodging choice for over 100 years, this Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel was constructed in Downtown Calgary in 1914. Many of the city's most visited sites are within easy reach of the facility, which is a major perk for guests. At the hotel, there are a total of 407 newly renovated guest rooms, all which offer plush bedding, flat-screen TVs and the amenities of home. For those that prefer an upgrade, there are a number of suites to choose from, as well. All guests enjoy access to an onsite health club and a restaurant.
Château Lake Louise
Located along the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage Site Banff National Park is this immaculate lodging choice. The hotel was originally built as a one-story log cabin in 1890; however, over the course of the next 20 years, two fires and the hard work of several architects transformed the quaint lodge into the elegant resort that it is today. Guests have access to 552 rooms at this hotel, including those looking over the beautiful waters (or ice) of Lake Louise. The hotel offers a full experience, with onsite activities ranging from ice skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter to hiking and canoeing in the supper. There is also a renowned spa onsite for guests to enjoy.
The Empress Hotel
Opening its doors at the turn of the 20th century, this hotel was built to serve passengers of the Canadian Pacific Railway traveling to Victoria. The hotel is located right along the Inner Harbor in Victoria and was recently renovated to bring modern luxury to the 1908 building. There is a total of 464 guest rooms within the hotel, and patrons also have access to the onsite Willow Stream Spa, a health club and two eateries - the Q at the Empress and Q Bar. During the summer months, this hotel is famed for its Afternoon Tea, which features 21 loose leaf teas to choose from.
The third hotel of its name, this property opened its doors to travelers of the Canadian Pacific Railway and travelers to the great city of Vancouver in 1939. There are a total of 557 luxurious rooms and suites within the hotel, all of which include the comforts of home. This "Castle in the City" boasts freshly renovated common spaces - the lobby, bar and restaurant - as well as a health club with a pool, a yoga and pilates studio and an onsite spa. Afternoon tea is served daily at the hotel. Should guests want to get out and explore Vancouver, many of the most notable attractions are located within walking distance of the hotel.
Jasper Park Lodge
An acquisition of the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel system from the Canadian National Railway, this lodge is located in UNESCO World Heritage Site Jasper National Park. This facility had humble beginnings in the early 1920s, with just eight log cabins for guests to choose from. Over the years, the lodge has been expanded and renovated numerous times to include 440 guest rooms and suites and 10 private Signature Cabins. There are over 700 acres of wild Canadian terrain surrounding this inn, and as such, patrons have access to any number of activities throughout the year: golf at the onsite golf club, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating and more. There is also an onsite spa and restaurant.
Situated over the spectacular North Saskatchewan River Valley in Edmonton, this four-diamond luxury hotel is another acquisition to the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel chain from the Canadian National Railway. The hotel originally opened its doors in 1911; however, tough times caused the hotel to be shut down briefly between 1983 and 1991. Upon reopening its doors, fully restored to its former glory, this hotel now shines as a prime example of luxury hospitality. There are a total of 198 guest rooms and suites within the hotel, as well as a fitness center, hot tub, steam room, pool and beautiful onsite gardens.
Vacations By Rail offers a variety of tour options along the storied route of the Canadian Pacific Railway and packages that feature stays in some of these iconic hotels. Make your travel dreams a reality by contacting a rail specialist today.