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Orso Trattoria breakfast room view Jasper Park Lodge
The incomparable setting of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Maybe it’s the historic, log-cabin aesthetic that harkens back to a day when the great railway hotels of Canada were truly remote wilderness destinations. Or maybe it’s the neighbourly way that everyone at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge seems to support the small community of which they are a major part. Or maybe it’s something in the Rocky Mountain air and the absolutely stunning location of the property that speaks to your soul. Whatever it is, there’s something special about this particular Fairmont that makes it more than just a stay at a luxury hotel – time spent here is a bucket list experience like no other.

Century-Old Historic Roots

Jasper Park Lodge Sign side view

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has its roots planted deep in Jasper National Park. For more than a century this site has played host to adventurous travellers keen to explore the stunning beauty of this part of Alberta. So keen were these early visitors that the original lodgings offered on-site were just tents, and the site was known as Tent City. But when the Canadian National Railway took over the property in 1921, they began construction of a beautiful wilderness resort to take the place of those less-than-luxurious lodgings.

Jasper Park Lodge Lakeside Cabins
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s Lakeside Cabins

The original complex included 8 log cabin guest suites, followed two years later by the main lodge which at the time was the largest single-story log structure in the world. The log aesthetic used throughout was purposely meant to convey a ‘rustic’ ambiance, but rustic with upscale amenities that soon grew to include tennis courts, a dance hall, restaurants and an 18-hole golf course that to this day is consistently ranked as one of the best in Canada.

Jasper Park Lodge Totem
The Main Lodge maintains a rustic log-cabin aesthetic but with all the 4-star amenities of a Fairmont

Over these past hundred-plus years, Jasper Park Lodge has expanded its accommodations considerably to include their Signature cabins, some of which offer the most exclusive locations and amenities available on the property. The log cabin aesthetic is still part of the resort’s DNA, but these guest cabins are anything but ‘rustic’ and have pampered everyone from Hollywood’s elite to European royalty.

Jasper Park Lodge Welcome goodies
Pampering guests is what Jasper Park Lodge does best

Playing Host to the Rich and Famous

Jasper Park Lodge’s reputation as a luxurious wilderness retreat has attracted celebrities, dignitaries and authors from around the world, lured here by the remote beauty of the location and the chance to get away from the glare of the spotlight.

Point Cabin Jasper Park Lodge from website
The Point Cabin at Jasper Park Lodge *photo from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge website

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic Hollywood celebrities to stay at Jasper Park Lodge in 1953, when she was filming River of No Return with Robert Mitchum on locations nearby and in Banff National Park. The Point Cabin, part of the resort’s Signature collection was where Monroe stayed, offering privacy, lakefront access and views of Lac Beauvert that are second to none.

FUN FACT: apparently Marilyn was not exempt from the resort’s dress code at the time and was asked to leave because of repeatedly showing up for dinner in ‘inappropriate’ attire! Other accounts suggest it was more her behaviour than her wardrobe, but in either case, Norma Jean, what were you thinking?

Marilyn Monroe with Mounties photo Jasper Park Lodge
No, this is not Marilyn being escorted away by Mounties – but maybe the other way around?

Bing Crosby, another Hollywood star and an avid golfer, was a huge fan of Jasper Park Lodge’s golf course and even won a tournament here in 1947, earning him the honour of having a cabin named after him, the Crosby Cabin.

Bing Crosby with Bear photo Jasper Park Lodge
Bing Crosby seems to have an unusual caddie…

British Royals have often made Jasper Park Lodge their home away from home when touring Canada. During Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Alberta in 2005, she and Prince Philip stayed in the Outlook cabin which had hosted Elizabeth’s parents on previous visits, and is now referred to as the Royal Retreat in their honour.

Outlook Cabin Royal Retreat from website
The Outlook Cabin aka Royal Retreat *photo from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge website

Intrepid traveller and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited Jasper twice, staying at the Lodge in 1923. He was so enchanted by the beauty around him that he wrote about Lac Beauvert in his book Our Second American Adventure as “the most remarkable lake of any I know…whose colours are never the same from hour to hour – emerald-green, copper-green, lapis-lazuli blue, pure olive, and then suddenly a touch of pink which turns it all into one huge opal.” So impressed was he that he even quipped about Jasper’s beauty when he signed the Lodge’s guest book.

Lac Beauvert with Jane at shoreline Jasper Park Lodge
Lac Beauvert lives up to its ‘beautiful green’ name

More recently, fans of The Bachelor may be interested to know that Jasper Park Lodge was host to the 2024 bachelor Joey Graziadei and his romantic contenders (which might explain the bevy of beauties spotted in elegant attire one morning during our visit).

TIP: For guests who want to learn more about the property, Jasper Park Lodge has an audio heritage tour available on YouTube. You can listen with your phone while walking, viewing historic photos and listening to tidbits about the Lodge’s history.

A “Luxuriously Rustic” Bucket-List Experience

Fairmont Hotels pride themselves on the moments that they create for their guests, and for visitors to Jasper Park Lodge, the experience of being here is inextricably tied to the wilderness that surrounds the property. The Resort’s location on the shores of Lac Beauvert is absolutely stunning with mountains framing the views in all directions. In fact, when you first pass under the wooden arch at the property entrance, you can see Mount Edith Cavell, a nearby peak, perfectly framed under the log beam.

Wildlife encounters are common here, too, so keep your eyes open and you are likely to spot elk grazing on the grounds, and even the occasional bear or two (who seem to like the golf course almost as much as Bing did).

Bull Elk Jasper National Park Maligne Lake Road
Elk are a common sight near Jasper Park Lodge

Being situated right in the heart of Jasper National Park means that guests at Jasper Park Lodge have the luxury of being immersed in beautiful surroundings that are protected from intrusive overdevelopment. Even the town of Jasper itself cannot expand beyond its current size because it falls under the management of Parks Canada. And as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, everything in the Park including the resort property is carefully managed to preserve the natural attractions that make this National Park so special.

Downtown Jasper
The town of Jasper is kept small by strict regulation

What this also means is that Jasper’s hiking trails, lakes, rivers and mountains are quite literally on the doorstep of the Lodge. Quoting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle yet again: “You need not walk a hundred yards to see wild Nature, for wild Nature comes to you in Jasper.”

Generations of Repeat Guests

Jasper Park Lodge’s unique appeal is evident, judging by its fiercely loyal guests, some of whom clearly consider this their home away from home. One woman has been a regular guest here at Christmas for 34 years; another actually brings her own Christmas accessories to decorate her room; and there are multi-generational families who have made get togethers at the Lodge an annual tradition.

The staff, too, add to this warmth and sense of family. Decades later, even those who may have only worked here for a summer or a winter season as a student look back fondly on their experiences and the time spent at the Lodge.

Simply put, people love it here and it shows.

A Sense of Community

The sense of community also extends to other initiatives on and off the Jasper Park Lodge property. The resort makes every effort to be sustainable, including in their restaurants which strive to source their products locally as much as possible. The resort has its own greenhouse as well, which provides both the decorative plants on the property as well as vegetables and greens used in the hotel kitchen. There’s also a staff garden where employees are encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables as part of an even more localized food system, adding to an even greater sense of community. And all the water used in the resort is sourced from Lac Beauvert and filtered in their own on-site water treatment plant, reducing plastic water bottles completely in guest-facing operations.

Downtown Jasper Mural
The small town of Jasper has a big sense of community

Beyond just on-site sustainability, Jasper Park Lodge supports initiatives that benefit the greater community of Jasper as well. When the town of Jasper decided to establish the Dark Sky Festival to attract visitors in the autumn shoulder season, and provide events and activites for their own residents, the Lodge was all in. They created a signature experience, Symphony Under the Stars, that features an evening concert presented by members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, performed on the front lawn of the resort right next to the shimmering waters of the lake. Today people from across the country and beyond come to Jasper just to experience this unforgettable evening.

Aisle Symphony Under the Stars Jasper Park Lodge
The Symphony Under the Stars is one of Jasper Park Lodge’s signature events

What to do at Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper Park Lodge pool at dusk
The heated pool is open year-round at Jasper Park Lodge

The Symphony Under the Stars is definitely a bucket-list experience that happens here in October, but there are plenty of other activities right on the property for guests to enjoy anytime depending on the season, from canoeing the waters of Lac Beauvert during the summer to skating on it in the winter. The heated pool is open year-round as well, and its hard to find a sauna with a more spectacular view!

Jasper Park Lodge sauna with a view
Jasper Park Lodge’s sauna with a view

Wellness and spa-seekers have a wide range of activities, from yoga and fitness classes to a full suite of treatments at the Fairmont Spa. And golfers can tee off on the renowned course designed by Stanley Thompson, Canada’s master golf architect.

Dining is of course a highlight at Jasper Park Lodge, and the options run the gamut from buffet breakfasts to fine dining experiences, including private al fresco dinners on one of the property’s lakeside decks that can be arranged on request.

Dining at Jasper Park Lodge
Beef is a must when visiting Alberta! *Photo from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge website

Every season and calendar celebration also brings special events at the Lodge, one of the most popular one being Christmas in November, an early celebration of the Holiday Season when the whole Lodge is transformed into the North Pole.

For foodies and film lovers, there’s also Jasper Park Lodge’s Cabin Crawl, where guests get to tour some of the beautiful cabins as part of a themed ‘moveable feast’ hosted by the resort’s chefs who prepare different dishes at each stop on the Crawl. It’s all part of Devour!, the Canadian Rockies Food Film Fest in April that combines food, film and fun (and the perfect opportunity for curious guests to check out some of the Signature Cabins!)

What to do in Jasper National Park

Guests at the Lodge will of course want to see more of Jasper National Park, whether they head off on their own, or with the help of the hotel concierge who can arrange activities ranging from low-key tours to adrenaline-pumping adventures.

Athabasca River Jasper
The Athabasca River in Jasper National Park


Hiking is a must in the Park, and there is no end to the trails here, whether you are a casual hiker or a die-hard adrenaline junkie. The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is a relatively easy hike that takes you to a series of five stunning glacier lakes whose colours need to be seen to be believed.

Jewel-toned lake at Valley of the 5 Lakes Trail Jasper

Maligne Canyon is another very popular trail in any season and offers great hiking in, around and across the deepest gorge in the Park, known for its dramatic waterfalls and scenic bridges. Come in the autumn and there are less people, making it an even better time to explore. And if you want to get the most out of your hike, consider booking a tour with an experienced guide who will explain some of the geologic mysteries of the canyon, as well as its flora and fauna.

Maligne Canyon little waterfall
Maligne Canyon is one of Jasper’s most popular hiking trails

TIP: Jasper Hikes and Tours runs all kinds of tours in the Park year-round, including winter hikes like the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk.


For a really fun way to “get your motor runnin'” how about a motorcycle sidecar tour on a Harley Davidson? Jasper Motorcycle Tours operates 1-3 hour long summer tours, including an Icefields Parkway Tour that has been named a Signature Experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Jasper Motorcycle sidecar tour jane and driver
Jasper Motocycle Sidecar Tours is a fun way to tour around Jasper and leave the driving to someone else

Doing one of these sidecar rides is a great way to experience the thrill of the open road while leaving the driving to an experienced motorcyclist. If you are travelling as a pair, you can switch out who rides in the sidecar, and who rides behind the driver, so everyone gets the full experience.

TIP: Jasper Motorcycle Tours will also kit you out in full motorcycle gear, so you don’t have to worry if you didn’t pack your leathers!

What Makes a Stay at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge a Bucket List Experience?

A stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is about so much more than the sum of the parts. Yes, the luxurious amenities and welcoming staff mean you will find everything here you’d expect in a 4-star resort property. But there is something about this particular Fairmont that resonates more with both guests and staff – a feeling of connection to this place that stays with them long after they’ve come and gone.

Matricia Brown, a local Cree woman and founder of the company Warrior Women, hosts fireside chats and plant walks in Jasper, and speaks often to guests about the connection to the land that is so important to her People: she tells how she likes to acknowledge this relationship by feeling the earth, touching the plants, even wetting her hair with water from the lakes or rivers. It’s a way to deepen the physical and spiritual bond we have with the earth, something that can’t be achieved just by taking a photo or admiring a view.

Lac Beauvert in morning light colours
Morning light bathes the mountains behind Lac Beauvert in pink

If ever there was a place to connect with the land, that place is Jasper Park Lodge. So while you are enjoying the food, the drink, the stars and the stunning colours of Lac Beauvert, don’t forget to dip your toes or run your hand through the icy waters of that lake – because a stay here is truly a bucket list experience and a connection to place that you won’t find anywhere else.

Special thanks to Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Tourism Jasper who hosted Henk and I on our visit to Jasper National Park.

PINTEREST_Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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