{A girls weekend at the beautiful Banff Springs}

For today’s post, I wanted to do a recap of our mom & daughter getaway for Easter last weekend. As an early Mother’s Day present, I treated my mom to an overnight stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel and massages at the hotel’s Willow Stream spa.

My day started off with a lovely early Sunday morning run in the sunshine. Post run breakie included a crispy and buttery croissant warmed in the oven (these were from Cobs bakery).

And these super sweet strawberries and wedges of juicy pineapple while sipping on flutes of bubbly Prosecco. A perfect way to prepare our appetite for the famous Easter Sunday brunch at the hotel.

We arrived in Banff shortly after 1pm (about an hour drive). The ride up there was absolutely breathtaking. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. Blue skies as far as the eye can see 🙂

Even the river was showing the signs of Spring..nearly half melted!

I can’t wait to start hiking in the mountains again 🙂

The warm temperatures made it ideal conditions to browse around the shops in town. I think a lot of other people had the same idea in mind, the sidewalks were bustling.

The main street is lined with lots of lovely restaurants and cafes, luxury shopping (including a Louis Vuitton), galleries and cute little jewelry shops..

One of the most eye catching items we saw were jewelry pieces that incorporate Alberta Ammolite, created from a 70 million old fossil of a hard-shelled squid. These rare stones are found in the Bearspaw Shale near the Lethbridge area.

Fact: 90% of the world’s ammolite is found in Alberta.

After a couple of hours of window shopping, we made the trek back to the hotel. The pathway is the same one I ran in the Melissa’s 22km race last September…so picturesque.

We even encountered some wild life along the way.

Eventually we arrived at the majestic hotel, a former railway hotel styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle. The construction of the building in 1888, marked the birthplace of tourism in the Canadian Rockies.

It’s located just above the Bow falls and close to the popular Upper Hot Springs (a great place to ease achy muscles after a full day of hiking).

We checked into our room upon arrival. Here are the stunning mountain views from our window.

Then headed downstairs for a cocktail in the Rundle lounge while waiting for our table in the dining room. I ordered a pomegranate lime mocktail. Bright, tangy and refreshing.

Note to self: must recreate this one at home.

Kinda of like a grown up version of the Shirley Temple, minus the icky sweet grenadine.

I apologize for not taking any pics of the amazing brunch. I left my camera upstairs in our room and was too hungry to run up there and fetch it. But I assure you it was the largest and most impressive brunch I’ve ever had. White linen covered tables topped with large platters and silver buffet trays filled the large ballroom from end to end. Next time you’re in Banff on a Sunday, be sure to check it out..and bring your appetite.

A few of the favourites items included:

  • housemade gravlax and smoked salmon
  • eggs benedict with Canadian maple ham
  • chocolate french toast and fresh strawberry crepes
  • made to order omelettes
  • mushroom cream filled puff pastries
  • lamb and beef roasts w/ demi glace
  • one bite desserts (the lemon meringue and mini chocolate eclairs were spectacular)

The chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and their enormous multi-tiered cupcake display was tempting, but I was too stuffed to indulge 😦

After our feast, we explored the hotel a bit to help us walk off our food stuffed coma.

The interior of the hotel was just as stunning as the outside.

Eventually we wandered back to our room to relax. This hallway kind of reminded me of that scene with the twins from The Shining..

After a long and peaceful nap, we were still full from our afternoon feast, so instead of heading downstairs for dinner, we unpacked some goodies we brought in our suitcase for a late night snack.

  • Fresh baguette
  • Dried mission figs from my mom’s trip to Victoria
  • Walnuts
  • Fauchon deer terrine (from my trip to Paris)
  • Big and juicy blackberries
  • Swiss cheese – no brie or anything fancy at the local Safeway in Banff 😦
  • Smoked oysters
  • A crisp caramel apple from my favourite sweet shop in town
All enjoyed while sipping on glasses of red winePure bliss..Gah..I wish I could do this everyday.

After dessert, we watched a movie with our mugs of tea in hand. My mom went with the Willowstream spa black tea (caramel notes) and I had the Japanese green tea.

The next morning, we awoke to the suns ray peeking from behind the mountains and got ourselves ready for round two of breakfast. We were pleasantly surprised that their regular weekday buffet still offered a lot of really delicious options. My plate included:

  • mango french toast with berry compote
  • buttermilk pancake w/ maple syrup
  • salmon gravlax with capers
  • baked apple with spices
  • bison sausage
  • corned beef hash
  • fresh fruit
  • bowl of steel cut oatmeal topped with brown sugar, dried fruit and cream (unpictured)

We spent the rest of the morning strolling around the perimeter of the hotel, then headed over to the spa for our much-anticipated massages.

The staff was friendly and welcoming and showed us around the facilities since it was our first visit here. Before our treatments we enjoyed their steam roomseucalyptus inhalation saunas, 3 waterfall pools (varying temperatures from hot to cold).

My favourite part was their large mineral pool in center of the room. It was such an incredibly relaxing experience floating on your back watching the clouds in the sky go by while listening to the underwater music emitting from the bottom of the pool.

*pics of the spa from their website*

After our 60 minute deep tissue massage, we hung out in their lounge for some refreshments and went for round two in the pools and saunas.

Including their hot pool located outside to enjoy the mountain views.

3 and a half hours later in the spa, we washed up and ended our trip with one last visit to the hotel lounge before heading back home. I went with the pomegranate lime cocktail again while my mom sipped on a citrusy and refreshing Lime Margherita.

We decided to do some sharezies for dinner which included this giant Caesar saladtopped with parmesan shavings and two crispy wedges of garlicy foccacia toasts.

And their Four Seasons Pizza which included four different kinds in one pie (2 pieces each). This was the PERFECT sharing entree, I wish more restaurants would offer this kind of option. The flavours included:

  • Tomato basil mozzarella
  • BBQ chicken and caramelized onion
  • Proscuitto and asparagus
  • Portobello mushroom and roasted red pepper

Our guest ordered a platter of their famous slidersjuicy and meaty BBQ pulled pork and beef burgers sandwiched between fresh dinner rolls. 

To satisfy our sweet tooth, we all shared their house made classic cheesecake with fresh berries. I am not usually a fan of cheesecake, but this one was really creamy and silky without being overly heavy.

The perfect ending to our mini vacation in the mountains 🙂

Comments
4 Responses to “{A girls weekend at the beautiful Banff Springs}”
  1. This post has me definitely wanting to head out for breakfast this weekend! I’m new to town and live near the Kensington Safeway…any suggestions? Also, J and I often like to share meals as you described. It lets us sample more of the menu and not get too stuffed. Your weekend looks like it was amazing. Thank you.

    • Hi, oh wow, just checked out your blog! Loved looking at your pics from your trip around the world! So envious 🙂

      Oh goodness, recommendations? I guess it depends what kind of food you’re looking for.

      If you’re looking in the area, Kensington has The Brasserie (casual french bistro fare) and Muse is lovely for a fancy night out.

  2. Next time you are in Banff and want a fabulous dining experience, try Eden Restaurant at the Rimrock Hotel. It is the only restaurant in Western Canada to receive the AAA 5 Diamond award. I went there and had their foie gras tasting menu – to die for! Definitely pricey but well worth it!

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