Living in Alberta, I am wholly aware of how lucky I am to be in such close proximity to the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains, and particularly Banff National Park, which is the most popular, most visited, and oldest national park in the country.
Banff National Park is home to the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs Luxury Resort Hotel, which is quite frankly a bucket list vacation destination, and one that attracts, I want to say at least thousands? if not more? visitors around the world each year (well, non-pandemic year).
Due to proximity, and nature of my work, I’ve been fortunate to stay at the Banff Springs three times in my lifetime, each time as memorable as the last. I’m incredibly grateful for this.
For this guide, and my most recent July 2021 visit to the Fairmont Banff Springs (which was hosted by the hotel), I wanted to make sure I captured and shared with you some ideas for Instagrammable photo spots to make for some lovely keepsakes to your unforgettable visit to the iconic Castle in the Rockies.
You also don’t actually have to stay at the hotel to visit it, dine at restaurants, take in the views, and experience some of its amazing amenities! If you get a chance to visit Banff, a jaunt to the 130+ year-old Castle should still be on your itinerary! (And if you do get a chance to stay—wow, like I said, bucket list!)
Bring some cute outfits and a fully charged phone / camera, plus an appetite.
Here is my Guide to:
10 Spots to Snap an Instagrammable Photo at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff National Park
1. Fairmont Banff Springs – The Lookout Patio
The Lookout Patio at the Fairmont Banff Springs is considered to be Banff’s best patio with panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies (the Fairholme Mountain Range). Take a walk around the patio grounds and snap some photos, then take a seat and enjoy margaritas, froses, and tacos with the Mexican-inspired menu.
2. Fairmont Banff Springs – Willow Stream Spa Pool
The Fairmont Banff Springs Willow Stream Spa Pool is SO lovely, with high vaulted ceilings, stunning archways, tons of light coming in and mountain views through the tall windows, I dare say the inside pool is prettier than the outside portion (though you get more mountain view outside, of course). We enjoyed doing some laps, splish splashin’, warming up in the cave-like hot tub, lounging poolside and of course, taking a ton of photos at this beautiful pool!
3. Fairmont Banff Springs – Mountain Window View from Room
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel features 757 guest rooms and suites, and while some of the views will vary depending on the room you’re in, you’ll still get some kind of sweeping mountain and valley view. Our room was tucked away in a slanty, quiet corner of the castle, and looked out over The Lookout Patio as well as the Fairholme Mountain Range and Bow River (we saw people paddle boarding on the river from our window! So fun). Make sure you take some photos from your room as it’s sure to be stunning. Order food or champagne which doubles as delicious fun and a photo pro.
4. Fairmont Banff Springs – Rundle Bar Speakeasy Bookcase / Staircase
I think the Rundle Bar was our favourite of the Fairmont Banff Springs’ dining spaces, from an awesome selection of cocktails perspective, as well as from an incredible space perspective.
From an Instagrammable standpoint, you have to take a photo at their “secret” speakeasy bookcase, which you’ll see as soon as you enter on Mezzanine 1. We would not have known it existed if the door hadn’t been slightly propped open when we came by—at a different time it was closed and just looked like an amazing floor to ceiling bookcase! While there, you obviously need to take some pictures on their beautiful staircase. I think the second floor of the bar would’ve afforded some lovely views as well so pop up there too while you’re at it.
5. Fairmont Banff Springs – Rundle Bar
Heading further into the Rundle Bar, you’ll need to stop for a photo at the actual bar (the bartender was very kind and moved to the side of the frame, and said I wasn’t the first one to take a photo there, lol I am not original). Then you get your pick of so many different Instagrammable tables, seats, and settings. There is no shortage of beautiful, natural light coming through all the windows at the Rundle Bar so it makes it pretty easy to snap a nice picture. If you keep scrolling to #10, I also make recommendations on some food and drink to order here!
6. Fairmont Banff Springs – Main Lobby Staircase
When you head into the main entrance of the Castle in the Rockies, you’ll come across their grand staircase taking you to the Mezzanine level on either side of the lobby. I don’t know, there’s just something about big grand staircases that beg for a photo right? My Instagrammable photo tip is to always capture yourself walking away from and towards the camera!
7. Fairmont Banff Springs – Castle in the Rockies Exterior
While there are many Instagrammable locations inside the Fairmont Banff Springs, it’s hard to forget the hotel is literally a castle! In the mountains! How many of those are you going to visit in your lifetime? So capturing some exterior photos of the castle is an obvious must. Any angle of the Fairmont Banff Springs is going to look great, but below is us looking at it from the Conference Centre and on The Lookout Patio again. You can also get a nice angle on the main road coming up to the Castle!
8. Fairmont Banff Springs – Afternoon Tea
The Fairmont Hotel family is well-known for their Afternoon / High Tea offering and the Fairmont Banff Springs’ Afternoon Tea is no exception. Put your pinkies up! This memorable dining experience gets you a tea pot with your choice of tea each (brews about four cups of tea per person), plus your pick of a Traditional or Canadian tea menu, which comes with a selection of finger sandwiches and desserts. Delicate, delicious, and with an unbelievable view through the Castle’s arched window.
The hall where tea takes place is also not far from where the famous Ghost Bride of the Fairmont Banff Springs is sometimes said to take the first dance she never got a chance to take. Eep, goosebumps! lol, you can’t have been around since 1888 and not have some ghost stories associated.
Anyway, ghost or no ghost, it’s a very Instagrammable experience lol.
9. Fairmont Banff Springs – At A Distance (Surprise Corner)
There are lots of different angles of the Castle at a distance, which in some ways I think can look even more impressive than up close, and one of those spots you may be interested in visiting for a photo is a spot called Surprise Corner.
It’s named for its surprisingly stunning views, and is very easy to access, including a parking lot. Surprise Corner is located at the corner of Buffalo Street and Tunnel Mountain Road. The area is connected to other trails that may be of interest including Hoodoo trail and Tunnel Mountain Road.
Below are some signature Castle in the Rockies photos featuring my mountain adventure friend (and cat lol) Great Grams of Gary. I can’t decide what looks better, winter or summer view!
10. Fairmont Banff Springs – All the Instagrammable Food
The 10th ‘Instagrammable Spot’ to snap a photo at the Fairmont Banff Springs is well, a lot of places in one, because it’s simply all the food and dining options offered at the hotel!
- Throw your frose / drink up against the mountain view at The Lookout Patio
- Get close-up to the delicious and colourful tuna poke bowl and dig into dumplings, crispy housemade chips and baos from the Rundle Bar
- Sip and snap the Rundle Bar’s fun selection of drinks, including their:
- Wild Flower (Wild Life Rundle Bar Gin + Lillet Blanc + St. Germain + plum bitters—a a gorgeous purple negroni inspired cocktail that’s floral, smooth and spirited)
- Mai Tai (Appleton Reserve Rum + pineapple + lime + orgeat)
- Zero Proof (non-alcoholic and SUPER cute presentation) Monkey Gone to Heaven (coconut milk + housemade pineapple cordial + blueberry puree + orange juice + lime juice)
- Bruschetta, calamari and caprese salad at Castello Italiana
- Eggs Benedict from The Vermilion Room
- A delicious 1888 Salad (with smoked blue cheese and quail eggs) and Gold Standard Wagyu Filet Mignon and New York Striploins from 1888 Chop House
- The schnitzel, fondue, and beer boot at the alpine, German-inspired Waldhaus Restaurant
… AND MORE!
This doesn’t capture everything we ate, or everything you CAN eat at the Castle. But you really can’t go wrong, whatever you end up choosing.
And if there’s one thing the Fairmont does incredibly, it’s impeccable service, and we can’t rave enough about how warm and welcome we felt at each of the restaurants we visited. That’s of course in addition to the beautifully presented, mouth watering dishes we tried.
Not only Instagrammable but oh so tasty too, and when you add that incredible hospitality, you really can’t beat the experience.
Bonus: Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise
And although this isn’t AT the Fairmont Banff Springs, I wanted to mention the other Instagrammable adventure Mike and I did during our stay, which was e-scooter and e-skateboard a portion of the super scenic The Bow Valley Parkway, between Banff and Lake Louise!
The Bow Valley Parkway was the main road used to link Banff and Lake Louise in the early 1990s, and today runs alongside the main Highway, but offers a more scenic path for those wanting to drive between the two destinations.
It’s a far prettier, and quieter alternative to the Trans-Canada Highway and is 48 kilometers of paved road with different pull-offs, surrounded by forest, flower-filled meadows, and Castle Mountain.
For the summer of 2021, they closed a portion of The Bow Valley Parkway to vehicles so that cyclists, hikers, and other non-vehicle traffic could experience the parkway safely. My understanding is the closure is not permanent, but there may be different closures year-round so be sure to check to see when you plan to visit! You can still hike, bike, skateboard, whatever you want, along the Parkway when it is open to vehicles but it just won’t feel *as* safe, especially when stopping for photos in the middle of the parkway, like we did.
Mike and I own our own e-scooter and e-skateboard but you can rent e-bikes from Banff, either at Chateau Mountain Sports located at the Fairmont Banff Springs or in town at Banff Cycle.
Along the parkway you’ll find Baker Creek Mountain Resort, which I won’t get into too much detail about because this IS a blog post about the Fairmont Banff Springs, but I have stayed at Baker Creek as well and it was also a wonderful experience (though just very different than the Castle experience—different types of wonderful!)
Watch my video e-scooter and e-skateboarding The Bow Valley Parkway!
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Another Banff adventure I absolutely recommend is biking the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore!
I blogged about this Legacy Trail e-bike adventure in 2020 and have raved about it to anyone heading down to the area, if you haven’t tried it, I guarantee you will LOVE it—and I highly recommend you rent e-bikes for it to make the ride even smoother.
Watch my video e-biking The Legacy Trail between Canmore and Banff!
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Thank you to the Fairmont Banff Springs for hosting Mike and I for an unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re planning a special stay or checking out the Castle in the Rockies as part of your general Banff activities, I know you will be so amazed at the views, the hospitality, the food, and you will have no issues finding truly Instagrammable photo op spots to capture memories from your vacation. Hopefully this Guide gives you some ideas for where to go and things to do at the hotel!
If you’re looking for more ideas to Explore Alberta, see my curated list of Alberta travel guides:
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Disclaimer: my visit to the Fairmont Banff Springs in July 2021 was hosted by the hotel. I was not obligated to publish anything during my stay, I just absolutely wanted to! Being hosted has no impact on opinions stated in this post. I love Fairmont Hotels, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel experience, and know you will have a truly memorable stay or visit too.