After COVID derailed another international holiday recently, my wife and I pieced together a backup domestic trip. We decided to pack up the car and drive from our home on Vancouver Island to Alberta to visit family and friends whom we hadn’t seen in far too long.
On the way, we thoroughly enjoyed a two-night stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, located in Jasper National Park in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. We had long wanted to stay here and were looking forward to immersing ourselves in the property and the gorgeous surroundings.
In fact, we used to live in the area, and often stopped by the property for a hike, a drink, or a quick bite to eat. This was our first time staying here, and our experience is outlined in detail below.
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Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Booking
As we were booking last-minute, the cash rates for a basic room would have cost us a staggering $671 per night.
Luckily, I had two Fairmont free-night certificates to use from my work at a travel agency, which brought the cost per night down to a satisfying $0.
We opted to pay to upgrade to a room with a view and a large balcony for $120/night. Since we had our dog Blaze with us, there was an additional $50/night pet fee. The hotel didn’t provide any extra amenities (e.g., bowls, treats, towels), but in general, the property is very pet friendly.
We also availed ourselves of an Amex Offer for Fairmont properties and got a $70 statement credit after spending at least $350 on the property. As I’ll outline in detail below, it was money well spent.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Location
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is situated on the banks of the Athabasca River and Lake Beauvert. The property itself is a few kilometres outside of the town of Jasper, nestled in the stunning Rocky Mountains.
The property is around three hours from Edmonton. If you are driving from Banff via the Icefields Parkway, it will take you around 3.5 hours (but likely much longer, as there are so many beautiful sights to see along the way).
This property is markedly different than most other Fairmont properties in Canada. Rather than a single, grandiose building, the Jasper Park Lodge consists of a main lodge and a number of smaller cabins and buildings that sprawl out across the massive 700-acre property.
During our stay, we ventured to explore as much of the area as we could, but still had a lot of ground left to cover. We appreciated that the layout of the property made it feel more like an actual mountain lodge and less like a castle.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Deluxe King Main Building Room
We were assigned Room 678, which is adjoined to the main lodge on the second level. The rooms on the first level don’t have balconies, so I’m happy we opted for a room with a balcony.
One feature on the Fairmont website that I find interesting is the listing of the square footage of each room. The Fairmont Room that we originally booked was 275 square feet with no balcony, and our Deluxe King Main Building Room was somewhere between 325 and 375 square feet. This measure didn’t include our gigantic patio.
There was a small table and seats for two. Waiting for us upon arrival were some pastries and a small bottle of Fairmont-branded wine. The pastries were delicious, but the wine was sweeter than I prefer.
Our balcony door opened to a spacious patio complete with two tanning chairs and two seats with a table in between. The patio overlooked Lake Beauvert, the mountains, the swimming pool, and the patio from one of the main lodge’s restaurants.
We spent a lot of time on the patio throughout our stay. We were treated with beautiful weather for both days, and it was equally as pleasant to sip coffee on the balcony as it was to relax with a beer watching the sunset.
There is a slatted fence that separates each patio. While it offered a bit of privacy from our friendly neighbours, everyone could hear each other’s conversations. The couple next to us also had a dog, and it was fun to watch two dogs try to figure each other out through the fence.
The newly-renovated bathroom was stocked with Rose 32 amenities. I appreciated the rain shower and the more modern look of the bathroom, as the rest of the room had some old-timey charm.
In the closet, there were bathrobes, a safe, and ironing equipment.
At the foot of the bed, there was a cabinet with a television on top. In the drawers were an amply-sized mini-fridge, a tea kettle, a Keurig coffee machine, and glasses/cups.
The room was quiet and cozy. I felt that the only thing missing was a wood-burning fireplace.
My only gripe with the room was that it was hot at night. And by hot, I mean that it felt like I was sleeping in a sauna. I’m usually one who flocks to saunas, but not when I’m trying to sleep.
Our thermostat was set to 15˚C, but that didn’t seem to do anything at all. We wound up sleeping with the windows and door wide open. The crisp mountain air regulated the temperature inside, and there was no noise pollution that distracted from our slumber.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Amenities
With over 700 acres, you’d imagine that there are lots of things to do on the property. This is certainly the case.
Attached to the main lodge is the gym, outdoor swimming pool, and hot-tub. The indoor entrance to the pool has heat lamps, which I imagine make going for a winter dip all the more enjoyable.
If you’d like to get out on Lake Beauvert instead of just gawking at how beautiful it is, there are a number of activities for you to try. Included in the cost of your stay is a one-hour paddleboat rental. Otherwise, renting any of the canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards will add an additional $75/hour to your bill.
There is a roughly 3km trail that wraps around the lake. It’s great for an easygoing hike, a morning run, or a casual evening sunset stroll. During our stay, we saw an elk, loons, and gaggles of geese when we were walking our dog on the trail.
If golfing is your thing, then you’ll be pleased to find a stunning 18-hole golf course onsite.
There is also an equestrian stable, if going on a horseback ride in the mountains is something you’ll enjoy on your holiday.
Two amenities that I found to be particularly valuable were the network of trails on the property and the abundance of scenic places to sit and relax.
There are a host of trails that lead from the property to adjacent areas. As the Jasper Park Lodge is in the middle of the mountains, there are nice views to be found in any direction. During my stay, I availed myself of the trails on my daily runs.
Scattered throughout the property are Muskoka chairs, lake-front patios, and benches to relax on. It’s not hard to find some space to yourself, and we found ourselves stopping to soak in the views and the solitude on many occasions throughout the stay.
As a dark-sky preserve, stargazing on clear nights will afford you outstanding views of the night sky. On the property is the Jasper Planetarium, which offers guided experiences at an additional cost. We didn’t opt to take part, but I think it would be a unique experience for anyone who wishes to do so.
There is also a spa on site, which we didn’t frequent as we were busy enjoying the rest of the expansive property.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Dining
Due to the very low price that we paid for the room, we decided to treat ourselves to food onsite for one of the days of our stay. There are several restaurants to choose from on the property.
Orso Trattoria & Terrace offers modern Italian food with views of Lake Beauvert. Had we been without the dog, we were likely to enjoy a three-course meal here.
Oka Sushi is an upscale sushi restaurant with only 12 seats. It’s named after the chef, Mr. Tatsuhiko Okazaki. I’ve heard from locals that it has a solid reputation, but have yet to try it myself.
Aside from the restaurants on the golf course and the upscale grocery store Fitzhugh’s Fine Foods, the remainder of the restaurants are clustered in the Great Hall: the Emerald Lounge, the Great Hall Gastropub & Patio, and Em to Go for grab-and-go items.
Without elite status with the Accor group of hotels, we swallowed our pride and paid full price for breakfast. This was offset by a $50 dining credit that we received by forfeiting housekeeping services for a day. So, for all intents and purposes, I’ll consider this a mostly free breakfast.
Since we had our dog with us, we decided to order takeout from the Great Hall Gastropub. It was a gorgeous morning, so we took it down to the lakeside and enjoyed it on one of the patios.
I ordered the Chorizo Bowl ($25) and my wife Ashley ordered the Land and Sea Bowl ($24). Both were delicious and filling, especially after my morning run. We sipped on cappuccinos that we ordered from Em to Go ($6) as we watched loons swim around the lake.
After an afternoon hike at Maligne Lake, we decided to order dinner from the Great Hall Gastropub again, and ate on our balcony.
We split an order of chicken wings ($17) to start, which were neither unremarkable nor outstanding. I appreciated that they provided us with two sauces on the side, which satisfied both my inkling for some hot sauce and my wife’s desire for the whiskey honey barbecue sauce.
Ashley ordered the Beet Poke Bowl ($24) and I ordered the Mountain Burger ($23) with added double-smoked bacon ($4).
We each enjoyed our meals, and Blaze earned a bite of bacon and a French fry by being extra handsome.
Again, had we been without our dog, we would have enjoyed some of the other culinary options on site, as we liked what they had to offer. Having run 17km that morning, though, I was looking for calories, and calories are what I got.
After dinner, we washed down our meals with some delicious craft beer that we brought with us from British Columbia. The spacious balcony was a perfect place to unwind, unplug, and soak in the natural beauty that surrounded us.
Prior to checking out the next day, we sat at a table outside of the Great Hall and enjoyed a 2 oz. Mountain Caesar ($17), complete with jerky, pickled vegetables, and a healthy amount of horseradish. In this area, we could both sit with Blaze and enjoy a beverage with the ambience of the bustling building.
While it was delicious, I wouldn’t say that it was completely worth the $17 that we each paid. There is, however, something to be said about having a drink with my dog in the lobby of an epic building, and I’d likely do it again.
For those who are interested, the craft beer list at the Jasper Park Lodge is okay, offering choices from Jasper Brewing Company, Folding Mountain Brewery, and Brewster’s. Of the three, Folding Mountain is by far the best choice.
Keep an eye out for Odd Company Brewing from Edmonton on tap in the near future, which will be an excellent choice.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Overall Impressions
Upon reflection, our experience at the Jasper Park Lodge was very pleasant. We were looking to unwind after a hectic summer, and I can’t think of many better places to do so than in the middle of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
All of my interactions with the staff were pleasant and had an air of old-school hospitality. I appreciated their ability to carry on some casual banter that made me feel at ease and brought a smile to my face.
The valet driver fussed over our dog, the pool attendant gave me a quick but thorough overview of the area, the bartender cracked a few tasteful jokes as he mixed up my Caesar, and the front-desk staff were polite, efficient, and helpful with any requests.
One aspect of the property that I appreciated were the homages to the animals and surrounding natural beauty. From the railings and walls in the hallways to the epic chandelier in the main hall, there were paintings of mountains and silhouettes of bears, moose, and elk. These touches were a nice reminder of what lies outside when we were inside.
As I was waiting for a cappuccino one morning, I heard a couple complaining about how their air conditioner was louder than a 747 engine (unlikely) and about how the rest of their group was taking too much time to get ready before their full day of activities.
If we were in the area to spend most of the time away from the property, we would have likely stayed in a different hotel. As we were looking to relax and unwind, we spent most of the time enjoying the many amenities that the property has to offer. For two days, we didn’t feel the need to leave the Jasper Park Lodge, and likely could have stayed there longer without feeling stir crazy.
Our friends who stay here once or twice per year agreed that it is a great place to go to relax. If you’re looking do many hikes and outdoor activities, it may be wise to save some dollars by staying elsewhere and then reward yourself with some downtime by staying at the Jasper Park Lodge.
Otherwise, our experience suggests that this is a great place to spend some time (and money) and simply unplug.
Our two-day stay at the Jasper Park Lodge this summer was exactly what we were looking for. We were treated to outstanding views, an abundance of nature to explore, solid food, and an overall very pleasant experience. If Blaze could chime in, I’m sure he’d say that he thoroughly enjoyed the many trails, animals, and scenic places to get a belly rub.
Even if I didn’t have free nights to use, I would definitely consider returning to the property on a paid stay. There are a number of promotions throughout the year, too, which I’d certainly take advantage of as I can’t see myself spending $671 per night on a room alone.
I’m sure many of our Edmonton- and Calgary-based readers have stayed at this property. What was your experience like? Have you rented one of the massive stand-alone cabins? Feel free to leave a comment below, on the Prince of Travel Elites Facebook group, or in the Prince of Travel Club Lounge on Discord.