Fairmont Banff Springs unveils restorations

BANFF, Alberta -- The 770-room Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel completed a $32.5 million restoration of its historical facilities, including the creation of a museum. Guests will find a new lobby, restaurants, public areas and shops. Room renovations will continue through 2002.

About $21,450 will be spent on each guest room, including custom furniture, historical artwork, vanities of granite and marble and new bathroom fixtures. The hotel, which opened in 1888, was designated a National Historic Site in 1992. The new museum, called Heritage Hall, offers changing exhibitions, all celebrating the nature, culture and history of western Canada.

A view of Heritage Hall, the new museum on the mezzanine level of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. "Morant's Mountains," the opening exhibition, is devoted to the works of Nicholas Morant, a Canadian Pacific Railway photographer. The next exhibit, "Maps, Myths and Mountains," opening in mid-March, consists of 24 original maps dating to 1762, some used by early explorers to the area; six historical illustrations, and other documents.

The refurbishment also included the Grand Lobby stairway to the mezzanine level, leading to Heritage Hall and the new Rundle Room, a guest parlor with vaulted ceilings, antique furnishings and a grand piano. Beverages are served in the Rundle Room on request.

Completely redesigned were the hotel's two restaurants -- the 56-seat Banffshire Club and the 250-seat Bow Valley Grill. The Banffshire Club has a Scottish decor and serves Canadian cuisine. The Bow Valley Grill features design elements provided by local Alberta artists. The revamped retail shopping area has 19 specialty stores, including a golf shop.

More than $114 million has been invested in the property over the past decade, including improvements to the Conference Centre, the addition of a full-service spa and the restoration of the 1928 Stanley Thompson Golf Course.

For information, call (800) 441-1414 or check the Web site at www.fairmont.com.

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