For the longest time lodging in the Canadian Rockies was a tale of two solitudes: you either shelled out to stay in one of the iconic railway hotels (The Banff Springs, The Chateau Lake Louise, The Jasper Park Lodge) or you took the more functional approach of one of the many ubiquitous "Motor Hotels" that populated Banff and Jasper.
But the Post Hotel in Lake Louise chartered a new course—a spot that was just as luxe as as anything but chartered a more cosy course than the Springs or the Chateau — it was by all accounts a boutique hotel before the name had even gained traction.
And its past was, if anything, more illustrious than its august competitors. Built by Banff resident Jim Boyce in 1942 (the timbers used floated from Revelstoke down the Bow River), the hotel was sold to Sir Norman Watson, a British nobleman with a taste for adventure in 1947.
Sir Norman ran and expanded the place for three decades before selling to George, Barb and Andre Schwarz a trio of Swiss expatriates who likewise had fallen in love with the Rockies, and it was under their stewardship that the place blossomed into the world-class spot it is today. European trained chefs were brought in, the wine cellar was expanded to be one of the best in the country (Vancouver magazine's Sommelier of the Year alum Samantha Rahn oversaw the list a while) and the hotel became part of the ultra-prestigious Relais & Chateau portfolio.
A few kms west on the TransCanada highway, another family was likewise trying to build a resort that blended the natural beauty of the area with luxurious accommodations. The O'Connors ultimately turned Emerald Lake Lodge into its own world-class destination and over the years have added others boutique spots—Deer Lodge in Lake Louise and Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff—on their way to creating the hospitality powerhouse CRMR.
So the news today—that the O'Connor family have purchased The Post from the Schwarz family—makes perfect sense.
The Schwarzs and O'Connors
And it looks to be a smooth transition according to the press release:
In order to maintain consistency and uphold our commitment to the Schwarz legacy, the CRMR team will be retaining the current management team (Michael and Carol Schwarz) as well as all the staff at The Post Hotel & Spa and will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition.
“Given the nature of this transaction, the major benefit is that we are able to retain all the staff in order to preserve the legacy, culture and atmosphere created by the Schwarz brothers,” says O’Connor. “The staff are what makes this property what it is, and we look forward to working, learning and growing with them.”
We look forward to reporting further on this new chapter.