Alright guys, who’s in for a spooky story? This past winter, I traveled to Banff Alberta on business and was fortunate enough to stay at the famous, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, also known as the Castle in the Rockies. After an exhausting 4 hour flight, I hopped on board for a 2 hour bus ride to get to the heart of Banff! Not only was the drive breathtaking, but my mouth dropped upon arriving at the hotel. By the way, I had no idea I was about to stay at a haunted hotel!
This majestic hotel was built in 1888 as a “stopover” for travelling businessmen as an “escape to paradise”. The Hotel had a very elegant yet historic feel to it. Right away you feel like you have come home, the staff made my stay were comforting and they were super accommodating. The main lobby was just simply gorgeous. High ceilings, warm lighting, thick plush carpets, and very clean.
I absolutely LOVED Stock Food and Drink the onsite café shop as soon as you enter the hotel on the left hand side. I would find myself there each morning for a little peace and relaxation time before starting the day. Their hot chocolate was delicious and not to mention the views of the mountains were breathtaking.
Day one when I got there, I put my luggage down and made my way to the back of the hotel where you have this impeccable view that cannot be topped. I was surrounded by these stunning mountains and enjoyed exploring the ground on my own. I had a moment where I just stopped, looked around, took in the ambiance and was extremely grateful to experience such beauty.
Okay, so here is where is gets pretty spooky. On night one, I was exploring the hotel and directly below the banquet area was this gorgeous rustic gold staircase. Completely unaware of this historic spot, I asked the hotel staff to take a picture of me. Moments later, I felt a chill that made me shudder…I thought nothing of it and kept exploring. Later that night, I was speaking to a friend and she had asked me if I had heard about the dead bride? I immediately said no and she began to tell me about how almost 100 years ago there was a bride who was getting married in the historic hotel and on her wedding night she was taking pictures on this exact staircase I was standing at. The story goes….she fell to her death after her veil caught on fire from lit candles that adorned the staircase for her special day.
Rumor has it that she dances in the ballroom every night and hotel staff have seen her. The next night, I was at a dinner and an industry colleague of mine shared some pretty interesting experiences in his hotel room of “things moving around” that were quite unexplained.
That night, I stayed up pretty much ALL night paranoid to fall asleep and read about a bunch of ghost stories. The next day I was talking to a local as I walked towards the Banff Gondola located just 5 minutes from the hotel. I wanted to know more about the rumors of the haunted hotel and he told me that Banff was called “Blood Valley” or the “Land of the undead” by first nations because they felt that Banff in general was haunted!
Okay- so I don’t want to take away from the actual beauty of Banff, because everyone needs to see that! On my last day, I had a few hours before my flight back home so I decided to go hiking up the mountains and took the Banff gondola to get there! The view was absolutely breathtaking. By the way, this is not cheap! The gondola ride up cost $70! But, I must say it was worth every penny. Check out this view, this is fit to be a photograph on a postcard.
Once you step off the Gondola, you walk directly into the 1st floor of the lookout point. The view that you see is actually indescribable. The air that I was breathing in was so fresh, and the mental clarity and peace this moment brought to me will never be forgotten. So in complete tourist fashion, I took a bunch of pictures and actually found a friend up there! She was willing to do the full hike with me on top of the mountain and back. I’m so glad I did it. The Hike took about 1 hour total (depending on how fast you walked). Caution- this is not a place to bring young children. Although it is fairly safe, accidents do happen and I went on a very slippery day!
After a nearly 2 hour hike, I was dehydrated and starving so I made my way back to the hotel for some pizza and had to sneak in some fries at the main restaurant!
On my way back to the hotel, I was talking to some fellow skiers who were staying at the Banff Springs Hotel and they couldn’t stop telling me about the noise that they experienced on their floor. They said they were staying on the 7th and were terrified their entire stay! Apparently, many years ago, a man checked into room 873 along with his wife and young daughter. The man ended up murdering his family just after committing suicide. Since then, hotel staff and unlucky guests of the hotel who have cleaned or stayed in that room have had the terrifying experience of seeing shadows, indescribable screaming in the middle of the night, bloody hand prints on the walls and some even mentioned their sheets being pulled off in the middle of the night. I told myself, although I’m a chicken, what are the chances of coming back to this hotel again? Slim to none. So I gathered the courage to go the 8th floor, snap a picture of the hallway and run back down!
My experience at The Banff Springs Hotel was purely magical yet terrifying if that even makes sense. This hotel was the perfect little getaway and I would highly recommend it if you love history, culture, nature and of course skiing, and an all around good scare! I took away such beautiful memories that will stay with me a lifetime.
Til ( hopefully) next time, Banff!