Known locally as "the castle", the Fairmont Banff Springs was built in 1888 around the resort's hot springs.
The grandest of Canada's railway hotels, it was designed to provide luxury lodgings for rich tourists crossing Canada aboard the Canadian Pacific Railway at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Visible from several mountains away, it is a huge edifice with turrets and towers, and a sprawling interior spruced to the max by the up-scale Canadian chain Fairmont, owners of London's Savoy.
Rooms are large, traditional and comfortable, and as well as the therapeutic hot springs, there are outdoor pools, horse-riding, tennis, and a sumptuous spa offering sublimely relaxing treatments.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the vast Bow Valley Grill, with breakfast the international buffet of hot and cold dishes, cereals, fresh fruit and all kinds of baked goods. Dinner is a delicious affair, with friendly, proficient service and lots of excellent options, including plenty for diners who wish to avoid meat and shell-fish. There's also a huge bar and casual dining area which, on warm summer evenings, spills on to a large terrace.