If you read my Banff To-Do List a couple weeks ago, you will know that taking afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs was at the top of my list! I’ve been waiting for this for weeks, and it was certainly worth the wait. If you ever happen to find yourself in Banff, you need to spend an hour or two enjoying some wonderful tea and delicious food. You will have some of the best views in the town, five star service, and a peaceful oasis away from the bustle of travel.
This is my third afternoon tea; the first was at the Orangery at Kensington Palace, the second was at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, and this at the Fairmont Banff Springs, nestled right in the Rockies. All three have been unique unto themselves, but equally wonderful. This was easy to book on the Fairmont website, and I had no problems with the reservation at all. The one negative to the experience is that parking is expensive- it’s either $10/hour or $32 for the day, and that’s self parking. To make sure I had enough time, I had to get two hours of parking, meaning that I paid 40% of the price of tea to park. I suppose if you are staying a hotel of this calibre, paying for parking isn’t really an issue!
It took a little bit of wandering through the hotel to find the Rundle Lounge, but I did find it on the third floor. The lounge isn’t huge but I would think could seat 80-100 between all of the tables. Lucky for me, I was by myself for most of my tea. This is the first tea that I’ve done by myself, so it really was just me! I’m glad that I chose to go on Thursday, as there weren’t many people around the hotel and area in general.
You have twelve different teas to choose from. I’m fairly traditional, so I went with a tea that I knew I would love- Organic Creamy Earl Grey! I love trying new teas but I wanted to really enjoy myself and I didn’t want to pick something that wasn’t my cup of tea (pun INTENDED). I had five cups , full cups, and there was still at least half of the pot left. I also loved that there was a pot warmer/tealight beneath to keep your team warm throughout.
I think that this tea timer is absolutely perfect! While I’m a weird enough person who times their tea steeping with their phone, this is an elegant and easy way for anyone to to steep their tea. My wonderful server recommended at least four minutes for anyone who isn’t familiar with tea, but of course I did five. (Almost six, if I’m being honest….)
I was very interested to see what their china would be- some historic hotels really lean into the historical side while others go entirely modern. While I don’t know that I would love to have this set myself, it is clean and crisp, and the cup is a good size.
So, this was my view during tea! If that isn’t enough to sell you on going, I don’t know what is. It’s such a stunning view when it is clear out, and it’s not really matched by anywhere else without a good deal of hiking. I didn’t get a chance to wander out to the lookout there but there was a steady stream of people wanting to get their own perfect shot!
I started with the sandwiches- the egg salad croissant and ham brioche bun were fantastic. You never think that something so tiny would be filling but I felt stuffed after only eating about 40% of the food! The croissant and him were so light and fresh, and the egg salad wasn’t overpowering. I took the salmon sandwich and cucumber and cream cheese back for my dad and brother- thumbs up there, too!
Oh, the clotted cream and scones. This is what dreams are made of. So moist and fresh with a light cream that was almost certainly made on site and not shipped in! There was a plain scone and a raisin, and although I usually don’t enjoy raisins it was as scrumptious as the original. (Yes, I said scrumptious.)
Dessert was also amazing (Although I would argue the scones were part of dessert)! The orange Cointreau cake was rich but perfect in its tiny size. The strawberry pistachio tart was balanced in a way that many tarts aren’t- just enough pistachio to bring out the sweet and tart of the strawberry! And the shortbread, oh, the shortbread. If I could only ear one dessert, it would be shortbread. The texture and flavour palate of ginger and anise set it apart from your typical shortbread. While the plain old-fashioned shortbread will always be my favourite, this update was a lovely change that I thoroughly enjoyed.
As you can see, I chose to wear my Lilly for Target Upstream Shift, and it was a good choice! I received several compliments on it, and it really got me in the mood for tea. It felt quite warm outside (23°C) and I wasn’t overheated at all in it. I was on the dressier side compared to the other guests BUT the info for the tea stated that dress code was Resort Casual (which is what Lilly is for the most part). I also just love being more formal!
Overall, this was a fantastic afternoon and experience! It is worth the $49 CAD I paid and more. It’s easy to book, quite flexible, the food is delicious, and the staff are so welcoming!
If you could treat yourself to one experience on your next trip, what would it be?