SET AGAINST A HEART-STOPPING BACKDROP BY BEAUTIFUL LAKE LOUISE, THE POST HOTEL ATTRACTS VETERAN SKIERS… AND SERIOUS WINE-LOVERS.
BY SUZANNE DUQUETTE WITH MANON LEMIRE
A RECOMMENDATION OF NATHALIE GUILBERT FROM GROUPE VOYAGES VP
In 1942, when Jim Boyce got a few men together to build the Lake Louise Ski Lodge, little did he imagine how famous his establishment would become. But when English nobleman Norman Watson bought what was essentially a log-construction motel in 1947, he already understood its value and potential. In fact, Watson renamed it the Post Hotel in order to better draw the crowds of tourists who poured in, winter and summer, to experience the magnificent Rockies for themselves.
The real transformation, however, came in 1978, when two Swiss ski instructors on a trip to Canada fell in love with the place, and bought it. André and George Schwarz were more comfortable skiing down the slopes than managing a hotel, but their fresh, good-natured approach brought them luck. First, they called in a European crew to turn the hotel into a fine dining establishment, with a strong focus on wine. As the reputation of the restaurant, its wine list, and the warm hospitality of the Schwarz brothers grew, people began flocking to the hotel, leading to the decision to undergo major renovations. It seemed like a risky gamble, but in 1990, the new Post Hotel was invited to join the elite group known as Relais & Châteaux. The former chalet, now a luxury hotel, had managed to pull off a difficult feat, modernizing its facilities without affecting any of the rustic charm, courteous service, a laid-back atmosphere and fine dining for which it was known. As the years went by, new luxury suites were added, along with a library and a private dining room. An endless stream of visitors continues to check in for the hotel’s fine services, cozy intimacy, and the magnificent natural surroundings of Banff National Park.
LURING THEM WITH WINE
Raised by an epicurean father, George Schwarz had spent much of his youth criss-crossing France on gastronomic tours that led to such legendary centres as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In 1978, wine fever had not yet gripped Canada, but George knew it would, and he was eager to share his knowledge and passion with friends and patrons. Carefully and patiently, he began collecting all the right wines, and soon the reputation of his cellar was attracting amateurs and connoisseurs from around the world. Wine Spectator, the trend-setting American magazine, singled out the Post Hotel for high praise in 2002, and has continued to award it the highest honours every year since then. Today, the cellar holds 25,000 bottles, including more than 2,300 vintages from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Tuscany, Piedmont, California and Australia.
By putting their money on fine cuisine, fabulous wines and relaxed, attentive service, George and André Schwarz have created a little corner of paradise unlike any other!