Gregor Resch is general manager of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and The Fairmont Banff Springs are located in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What are the benefits of meeting at a luxury property in a national park?
National park lodges have a stigma of being ordinary and no match for the scenery. Welcome to a world of iconic Fairmont hotels, where the architecture, service and guest experience align with the stunning vistas. The combination of beauty and luxury make a very compelling argument for high-level incentive clients to book. The majesty of the scenery cannot be replicated anywhere else in Canada. Banff National Park is a highly sought after bucket-list destination. As a result, attendance for any type of meeting tends to be high and guests often arrive early and stay longer to combine a meeting with a vacation.
How do the Fairmont properties work with their communities to help their destinations thrive?
Fairmont has a very strong community presence. We participate at many levels. We actively take part on the Lake Louise Advisory Board with Parks Canada, which deals with municipal topics for the destination of Lake Louise. We help raise funds for local organizations such as the Banff Community Foundation, and help with special projects for Parks Canada such as the protection of the westslope cutthroat trout. Given that the majority of our colleagues also live within the national park, many participate in various volunteer functions.
What is the ideal group size at each hotel?
The most desired meeting groups combine their business needs and goals with the pristine national park experience. The Fairmont Banff Springs can comfortably accommodate groups with up to 600 rooms. In Lake Louise, the ideal group size is up to 450 rooms.
What are the top amenities that groups can enjoy at The Fairmont Banff Springs?
The Forbes Four Star Willow Stream Spa and the 18-hole Stanley Thompson Course are two spectacular amenities that help drive decision-making in a very competitive field and position Banff Springs as a true destination resort. The most popular venues for groups are our beautifully ornate 1920s-designed ballroom, with commanding views of the Bow Valley, and Mount Stephen Hall, which captures a true sense and feel of our castle.
Do you ever have to pinch yourself that you have a view of Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier every day you come to work?
It is difficult to describe what it feels like to work in a destination that so many people seek to see once in their lifetime. In addition to seeing one of the most amazing views every day, I also travel back and forth between Canmore and Lake Louise, and therefore I claim to have the most picturesque commute in all of Canada.
What are the most popular activities for groups at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise?
One of the key strengths of Lake Louise is the easy access to an array of activities available in Banff National Park. In the winter, the most popular group activities include snowshoeing with our Heritage Mountain Guides, sleigh rides, dog sledding along the Great Divide and, of course, ice activities on the lake itself. In 10 minutes, hotel ski buses whisk guests from our lobby to the Lake Louise Ski Area. More often than not, the ice bar becomes the starting and ending point for the groups.
In the summer, guests can enjoy a guided canoe experience or simply paddle on their own. The trail rides on horseback to Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glacier teahouses are very popular. Both teahouse destinations are also accessible via hikes. Given our location at the beginning of the famous Icefield Parkway, a half-day trip to Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier is always an option, as is rafting the world-famous Kicking Horse River and Canyon.
What are the culinary influences and popular F&B choices at both Fairmont properties?
Banff Springs is undergoing a culinary renaissance and is becoming a focal point for unique and meaningful cuisine. There’s a five-year strategic repositioning for all restaurants and bars designed to ensure we remain very relevant to the trends in the food industry and the needs of the guests. The kitchens have 30 apprentices learning the trade and being exposed to very high standards of culinary excellence.
In Lake Louise, the food and beverage offering is designed to provide many different options, similar to a cruise ship. Sometimes we refer to our hotel as a “cruise ship permanently docked at Lake Louise.”
Hometown: Canmore, Alberta, Canada; born in Vienna, Austria
Education: Hotel Management School Modul, Vienna, Austria
Family: Wife, Katherine; three children
Career: Before serving in his current role, Resch worked as hotel manager at The Fairmont Banff Springs. He has been with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts since 1994, including at properties in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Both of Resch’s parents worked in the hotel industry and he once lived in a hotel managed by his father.