Tea has been a historic part of Lake Louise since 1904 when the famous Lake Agnes Tea House started serving tea to hikers. Shortly after, the nearby Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House followed the tradition in 1927. The Fairmont Lake Louise afternoon tea experience keeps this tradition alive.
If you’re searching for a luxury experience in Lake Louise, a visit to the Fairmont Chateau should be on your list.
The Fairmont afternoon tea in Lake Louise is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion like anniversaries, birthdays, or you know… Tuesday! (I never need an excuse to celebrate)
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History of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of the most iconic sites in Banff National Park and one of the best places to stay. The hotel is one of many built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in order to entice tourists to visit this spectacular area. Its origins started as a simple log cabin built in 1890, known as Chalet Lake Louise.
This log cabin hosted over 50,000 people in its lifetime and after two fires the Chateau Lake Louise was built in its place. As Lake Louise grew in popularity the hotel continued to stay open year-round instead of seasonally and even became the backdrop for many Hollywood Movies featuring stars such as Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Christopher Reeve.
Now more than 3.6 million people visit the beautiful Lake Louise every year, including the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
How to get to The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The Famous Chateau Lake Louise sits on the shores of Lake Louise and is approximately a 2 hour drive from Calgary. You can get there by driving West on the Highway 1 and following the signs to Banff. The town of Lake Louise sits just off the highway so it super easy to find.
What You Need To Know
- Do I need a reservation? Reservations are strongly recommended. Depending on the time of year you are visiting you may not be able to rely on a walk-up.
- What are the hours for afternoon tea? 12:00pm to 3:00pm 7 days a week.
- How early do I need to arrive? I would aim to arrive at least 30-minutes before your reservation. Not only will you need time to park and make your way to the restaurant, but you will no doubt want to wonder around the beautiful lobby.
- How much does afternoon tea at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise cost? $70 plus GST and Tip.
- Is there parking available? Yes. Parking is available inside the hotel and will cost $20 or you can find a spot at the Lake Louise parking lot which costs $7 a day. If you are visiting during the busy season you may find it hard to get a spot at the Lake Louise parking lot.
- Is there a dress code? There is no specific dress code for afternoon tea. You’ll find that in many Canadian mountain towns dress codes are fully enforced. We are laid back here! If coming for dinner, you may want to dress smart/casual.
- Is this suitable for kids? Yes, there is a kids menu which costs $35 + GST.
- Does the Fairmont Lake Louise cater for allergies? Yes. Let your server know beforehand or if you have made a reservation, ensure you have noted this to allow them to prepare ahead of time.
- Is there a Vegan Menu? Yes a vegan menu is available and from I have heard is just as good as the standard menu!
Fairmont Lake Louise Afternoon Tea Experience
Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Lake Louise is located in the timeless elegance of the Fairview Lounge which is one of several restaurants within the hotel.
On weekdays, afternoon tea is served in the Lakeview Lounge. Both are stunning dining rooms and feature tall rounded windows that showcase the breathtaking blue hues of Lake Louise.
On the day that we visited they were taking walk-ins for both the Lake View Lounge and the Fairview Lounge. However this was Summer 2021 when borders were closed and if you have your heart set on experiencing afternoon tea at the Chateau Lake Louise, I would recommend booking ahead of time. Especially if you want a table with a view.
To begin your afternoon tea you’ll start by choosing the type of tea you’d like. The tea menu features twelve teas, including three black teas, three green teas, one oolong tea, four herbal teas and one feature tea. The menu also explains the flavour profile of each tea as well as its country of origin.
As an English woman, I find it very hard not to choose any tea other than English Breakfast – so I stuck with what I know and ordered the Imperial Breakfast tea which is comparable.
It was as good as expected however I would recommend branching out and trying something new if you are like me and tend to stick to the same things. Matt chose the Darjeeling and it was SO GOOD.
The tea is served in traditional china, each person gets their own individual tea pot with a tea cup and saucer. You are provided with a timer to help steep your tea to your liking, whether you want a light or stronger brew.
Savouries & Finger Sandwiches
The finger sandwiches section of the menu consists of five different savoury bites. Some of these small offerings are sandwiches while others are pastries or Hors d’oeuvres style.
The savoury section of the menu consisted of the following:
- Country Ham & Cheese Choux Puff
- Prawn & Avocado with Rice Crackers Dip
- Chicken Curry Sandwich
- Blackened Tuna BLT on a Petit Croissant
- Honey Comb with Double Brie on Brioche Toast
Each of the five items was completely different to the other which I really loved and so delicately presented.
My favourites were the chicken curry sandwich and the Blackened Tuna BLT. Everything tasted great, each of the “finger sandwiches” went down way too well.
You get to choose which type of scones you’d like with your afternoon tea, you can choose from sweet or savoury.
The scones were positioned on the top tier but are traditionally served in the middle, and are the second course to be eaten. You can of course eat whatever you want, when you want, but the Brit in me just couldn’t.
In keeping with the traditional Canadian theme, the sweet scones are Saskatchewan berry and white chocolate. I loved the berry and white chocolate but the traditional scone was a bit bland for my liking. Traditional for me would be a scone with raisin and sultanas.
The scones are served with a variety of toppings and preserves including Devon cream, lemon curd, marmalade and lavender infused jam. These were all fantastic accompaniments to the scones, especially if you love sweets like I do.
The cream on the menu is stated as “Devon Cream” and not “Clotted cream” personally I wouldn’t say that this was clotted cream but regular whipped cream you might find in North America. It is hard to find real clotted cream in Canada but I think this would really enhance the scones.
The Sweet Bouquet
The Sweet Bouquet is the last section of the afternoon tea and includes 6 bite-sized treats. Usually this would be my favourite part of afternoon tea, but in my opinion the savouries take the cake at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise afternoon tea (pun intended)
This part of the menu consists of five sweet offerings:
- Passionfruit Truffle
- Vanilla Cream Berries
- Olive Oil & Berry Cake
- A Macaron
- Salted Caramel Pot de Créme
- Lemon Meringue Tartlet
The sweets were a great variety but some did disappoint. I wasn’t a huge fan of the macaron or passionfruit truffle. I’d have liked to see more cake – but then again I do love cake! My favourite was by far the Olive Oil & Berry cake.
I really enjoyed my afternoon tea experience at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, but I feel the price is steep for what you get. However this does seem to be on the cheaper side compared to their other properties such as the Empress in Victoria.
I didn’t feel the food lived up to my expectations. Everything is on the tiny side. Smaller than I am used to at afternoon tea and the scones were too dry for my liking.
There are very few places in the world where you can sip tea and stare in awe at these fantastic views. Like many things at the Fairmont, this experience comes with a high price tag. It isn’t just the food you are buying, but the experience as a whole.
If you are looking to dine at Lake Louise and sit by one of the iconic big bright windows, I would opt to have Lunch or cocktails in the Lakeview Lounge. The Lakeview Lounge is just as beautiful with even bigger windows and better views of Lake Louise.
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