If you’re thinking about having a winter wedding abroad, we’ve got the perfect location for you! Richard Jones gives you the lowdown…
The scenic drive from Calgary, Alberta, west to Lake Louise is considered on of the most spectacular in the world. The route past Canmore and Banff in the Canadian Rockies features exhilarating vistas of lush forests, gem-like lakes and great strapping peaks. You could easily spend weeks driving back and forth on Highway 1A soaking up the staggering views.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has a legendary reputation as one of the most picturesque hotels in the world. Even though once you exit the Highway – making the short journey up through steep subalpine forests from Lake Louise village across the river to the hotel, – you might start wondering what all the fuss is about… it then just hits you.
That first glimpse of the Chateau will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your jaw drop to the floor. Even if you’ve seen a picture of the hotel before you arrive, nothing can prepare you for the sensation when you first set eyes on it.
Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, the majestic Victoria Glacier and the glistening emerald lake, the iconic Chateau is located in Alberta’s Banff National Park.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Originally built to function only in summer, the hotel was winterised in 1982 and now offers all the usual ski resort fare during the winter months. But in addition to being a base for skiers and snowboarders, there are ice skating rinks marked out on the frozen lake itself – named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta – that is also teaming with wildlife. Of course in the winter, most of the grizzly bears are sleeping, but grazing deer and elk are still a common sight.
However, a group of animals which certainly aren’t shy are the excitable and adorable Alaskan Huskies at Kingmik Dogsled Tours, who run a service taking tourists on exhilarating sleigh rides through the snow-blanketed forests around the Chateau.
Lake Louise doesn’t have the nightlife of bustling city Calgary or nearby party town Banff, and the small village is home to just a few restaurants and shops. Although, what the area does have is plenty of pistes, and some very special guides to show visitors around.
The Lake Louise Ski Friends were formed back in 1978 initially by the wives of those working at the ski resort in the Banff National Park who wanted something to occupy their time during the winter months. So a group got together and volunteered their services to help show skiers and snowboarders of all ages or abilities around their resort. Nowadays they number over 100, and effectively act as tourists’ own personal tour guides around the mountains.
Follow them on Instagram for even more stunning shots!
Wedding parties can be led to the best runs on the front and back side of Saddleback Ridge, including the World Cup Downhill course, and a few hidden gems, without having to consult a map once.
Back to the Chateau! And for wedding parties who really want to splash out, Fairmont Gold – the hotel chain’s private concierge floor experience – features exclusive amenities and highly personalised service designed to exceed the expectations of the most discerning guest.
But whatever suite you are booked to stay in at the Chateau, you are guaranteed a room with not just a view, but THE view – the natural beauty of the majestic Victoria Glacier and frozen lake.
Any ceremony or reception here really is a winter-themed wedding with a difference, and the staff at Chateau Lake Louise are committed to making your marriage proposal or wedding celebration perfect in every way. The resort experts also provide information on obtaining an Alberta Marriage License, and can send sample menus from the talented chef over to Blighty beforehand.
If you believe that your special day deserves a winter wonderland setting to match, then the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise should be at the top of your list. The hotel is naturally graced with all the elements of a magical celebrations. Embraced by mountains frosted with white wedding cake snow, glittering glaciers and a sparkling lake, what other inspiration do you need on the biggest day of your life?
For more information on holidays in Alberta, Canada, check out www.crystalski.co.uk and www.travelalberta.co.uk. And to find out more about the wedding and honeymoon packages at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, visit www.fairmont.com/lakelouise.