Brand new as of February 27, 2022, you can enjoy Royal Tea — an ultra-luxury afternoon tea service — at Fairmont Banff Springs, the castle hotel where royalty like King George VI and Queen Elizabeth have stayed.
Fairmont Banff Springs and its Rundle Bar
First opened in 1888, the Fairmont Banff Springs is now a 757-room luxury hotel in Canada’s first and most famous national park, Banff National Park. Called the “Castle in the Rockies”, the landmark hotel sits at the base of Rundle Mountain and towers over Bow Falls and the hotel’s golf course (keep your eye out for elk on the fairway). The Fairmont Banff Springs had six royal visits during the 20th century, including the extensive royal tour by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939, the first for a reigning Canadian monarch.
The hotel’s main bar (though there are several bars and restaurants to choose from) is the recently renovated Rundle Bar.
The two-level space features immense windows looking out at Cascade Mountain and the evergreens that surround the hotel. Within, you can sip expertly-made cocktails near massive bookcases and chandeliers or perhaps even go into the secret speakeasy private room (hint: one of the bookcases conceals a secret door). The Rundle Bar also offers a cocktail class where you can learn to make the purple Wildflower Fairmont Banff Springs cocktail, created and named for the hotel (it’s available bottled too, so you can take it home).
The Rundle Bar is also where you can enjoy Fairmont’s new Royal Tea experience.
Royal Tea afternoon tea
Fairmont hotels across Canada serve an impressive afternoon tea complete with a tier of scones, finger sandwiches and sweets (don’t miss the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise version while gazing at the famous turquoise lake named for Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta). At Fairmont Banff Springs, the Royal Tea goes above and beyond.
Executive Chef Robert Ash created the Royal Tea menu, which includes dishes made with foie gras torchon, caviar and Japanese A5 wagyu beef. In a press release, Chef Ash said “the new Royal Tea menu was designed to deliver the most luxurious tea service in Canada,” adding that it’s an “unforgettable experience at the ‘Castle in the Rockies’ that is fit for a royal.” The exclusive experience is $400 per person (Canadian, about $315 U.S.) and needs a reservation 72 hours in advance.
Your sweets and savories will be paired with small batch teas from the Metropolitan Tea Company as well as with champagne. For example, current pairings include Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Rosé champagne with Arctic char gravlax and Murray River salt-baked fingerling potatoes. The wagyu and foie gras, accompanied by a deviled quail’s egg with black truffle mousse, are served with Madame Butterfly green jasmine tea. Plus you’ll have Golden Yunnan Hills black tea with a panna cotta made from Tahitian vanilla beans, plus a raspberry tartelette and caramelized chocolate choux.
Your Royal Tea experience begins with baked-to-order Victorian scones served with clotted cream and preserves of strawberry and Alberta wild rose paired with Dream Dove Silver Needles white tea. Assuming you’re able, your Royal Tea concludes with estate-grown HC Valentine coffee and Fairmont Banff Springs’ opera cake complete with 24-karat gold leaf. The current menu is available online.