Before our recent stay at the Post Hotel & Spa, I’d never stayed at a Relais & Château property. I’d never driven through Banff National Park. I’d never been to Lake Louise. So this was a stay of many firsts.
When The Post Hotel invited us for a visit, we had nothing else planned. It eventually morphed into a vacation filled with awesome food and a series of the best winter activities, but we could have lived in the hotel for the entire five days and quite happily never left. It’s truly that fantastic.
You want a five-star hotel? The Post Hotel & Spa is it. It’s not one of those places claiming to be a five star, and it isn’t a five-star by comparison to its neighbouring hotels. No, this is a bona fide five-star property — from the rooms to the service to the food to the spa. ALL of it.
We have stayed in some pretty nice hotels over the years, like Langham Place in NYC, The Somerset in Providenciales (Turks & Caicos), The Mira in Hong Kong and the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. The Post Hotel can compete with any and easily outdo some of them.
Without question, The Post Hotel’s restaurants are among the best we’ve tried anywhere, too. Not just in Canada, but around the world — including London, New York, Paris, Madrid, Toronto and San Diego (all of which have some of my fave all-time restaurants). So much so that it deserved its own post about all of the foodie delights we sampled while we were there, so please be sure to check that out.
The décor is old-world charming, the epitome of cozy and kitschy. It’s not edgy and modern, concerned with clean lines and white interiors. It’s like a luxe log cabin, alit with real wood-burning fireplaces and the sounds of a pianist in the lounge on the weekends. The Post Hotel & Spa is the personification of homemade hot cocoa. It is comfort food. It feels like home.
The service is unmatched anywhere. Like the world’s best hotels, you expect staff to remember you as you walk through the lobby or arrive for dinner. You’ll get that at The Post. But what you’ll also get are the finer details. The ones that might be overlooked if you weren’t reviewing a place and looking so carefully at everything. Every time we came back into our room — any time of day — our fire was ready to go, prepared with strips of newspaper, kindling and chopped wood in a pyramid worthy of a Scout’s badge. If Big B took an Epsom salt bath before dinner, the Epsom salt jar would be replenished and the bath rinsed out and ready to go for me when we got back to our room.
There’s also something so unique to me about the owners and general managers walking around to greet guests as they check in and while they dine. You just don’t see that at hotels in my experience. This happened every day of our stay. And it wasn’t special treatment for us — it was clearly the normal course of business. It’s owned by Swiss immigrants and the operation is European in every way, with a relaxed perfection quietly at work everywhere.
There are shuttles available to all guests, and it’s not just there to get you to and from Lake Louise Ski Resort (which, by the way, is only a five-minute drive from The Post). We used the shuttle one night to join friends for a drink at another hotel, about 10-15 minutes away. It was free and we simply tipped the driver, which is less than I expect a taxi would have cost. I even suspect that if we’d wanted to ski at Banff Sunshine and hadn’t rented a car that The Post’s shuttle would have taken us.
The ski shuttle has both a specific schedule and an on-demand option. You can get to Lake Louise Ski Resort every half hour from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and come back every half hour from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Want to come or go outside of these hours? No problem. Just take the driver’s card and text him. We did this and the shuttle arrived inside of 10 minutes to collect us.
There’s a handy ski locker just beyond the main doors to the hotel (doors which, by the way, will be opened for you by one if not two doormen every single time you arrive or leave). We safely stored our rental gear in here each day and just kept our ski boots in our room. In front of the fire…
The rooms are lovely. The Post Hotel’s signature colour is forest green, so expect to see it throughout the hotel — including your robes and on the walls in the bathroom. It lends to the hotel’s genuine earthiness, even if you’re not used to it following recent stays in ultra-modern rooms.
We were in the K Suite, and it was incredibly spacious with two bathrooms, a day bed, living room, balcony and separate bedroom with a HUGE walk-in closet. The working fireplace was probably my favourite part, and we loved having the space to comfortably have four friends join us for pre-dinner drinks one night.
And the view from our balcony didn’t disappoint either:
Picturesque does not begin to describe the setting in which The Post Hotel & Spa is built. Imagine eating breakfast with a perfect view of the Rocky Mountains:
Then imagine taking a short walk to a bridge overlooking a railroad that creates an old-timey backdrop of what it would have been like to arrive at the great hotels of yesteryear by train. Imagine looking out from your balcony to see what could easily pass for big gingerbread houses.
There is a calmness about this place. Maybe it comes from the mountains. Maybe it’s because as much a spa as it is a hotel. Maybe it’s because they just got the formula exactly right. But it’s there.
The Post Hotel is located right beside a little village plaza, accessed by that bridge I mentioned earlier. It has a liquor store (where we found local Glacier Rye!), coffee shop/bakery, some souvenir-type shops, Indigenous artisans and a really good ski-wear retail store.
The spa. Oh, the Temple Mountain Spa. How I heart you, let me count the ways… I am a spa connoisseur and have had some pretty remarkable spa days in my life. This was easily in my top three. I had the Temple Mountain Escape and added on a scalp massage (because that’s one of my most favourite spa treatments and I try to do it everywhere!); Big B had a hot stone athletic massage. We both agreed that everything was superb.
The spa itself is beautiful and zen. This is, without a doubt, an extra splurge on top of your luxury Lake Louise getaway but if you can find the time and budget for a Temple Mountain Escape ritual, BY GOD, do it. It starts with a full body scrub and is followed with a masque spread over nearly every inch of you before you’re wrapped up in a warm cocoon. While I marinated (because there is simply no better way to describe the heaven that is being wrapped up to soak in glorious oils that have been spread all over your skin), I had my scalp massage. Please do this. It is heaven. After a shower to rinse off the scrub and masque, which leaves your skin so supple and hydrated that you won’t need moisturizer, it was off to another room for my Thai Stem massage.
I’d never heard of a Thai Stem before. They’re packed with herbs and lemongrass and this is what they look like:
Having had not-so-pleasant experiences with hot stones in the past because I’m so ticklish, I was nervous that this massage was going to be too light to really enjoy. I also don’t know what prompted me to allow the masseuse to massage my legs and feet — both hyper-sensitive to touch and usually so ticklish it’s unbearable — but I said yes. Not only were the Thai Stems a bit “gritty” so provided a harder (and MUCH more welcome) sensation than hot stones, but my masseuse wasn’t shy when it came to pressure. The combination was just right. I even fell asleep while she was working on my feet, which is insane to me.
There’s no way I can close out this review without mentioning The Post’s wine cellar — which is more like a series of linked rooms, with a private dining area at its heart centre, housing a noteworthy 25,000 bottles of wine. Ask for a tour. I even asked to see the oldest bottle in there:
But better still, drink the wine! It might take you an hour or three to peruse the resident wine bible, but if you share my love for dry California reds, may I suggest a half-bottle or bottle (better value) of the Stuhlmuller Vineyards cabernet sauvignon? It was so divine, we had it two nights in a row.
I’m not putting the cost of a stay at The Post Hotel & Spa in the gaffes, because for those booking a luxury hotel stay, you’d expect to spend upwards of $450+ per night on a room. It could only be considered a gaffe if it wasn’t worth what you paid — and this hotel is worth every darn dollar.
One day after skiing — just one — we returned to our room before dinner to find it had been made up but the wine bottles and glassware from the night before had not been removed. Hardly an offense (certainly not even close to enough for me to decrease the overall rating) but it’s legitimately the only thing I can think to put in this section. So that should tell you something!
5/5 (yes…it’s basically perfect)