Four Seasons Vs. Fairmont. Which Hotel Is Best?


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Which hotel brand is best, Four Seasons or Fairmont? The choice between these two hotel brands varies between individual hotels within each brand.

Four Seasons and Fairmont hotels usually have excellent facilities, extensive grounds, spas, and pools. Four Seasons tends to embrace the character of their respective destination, whereas our experience of Fairmont hotels is that they often offer a more modern, generic finish. We have outlined the best Four Seasons hotels and best Fairmont hotels in case you want to delve further into each hotel brand.

We have broken the comparison down into the different features of various hotels within each brand.

1. Loyalty

There’s no Four Seasons loyalty program although you can get free benefits from your very first Four Seasons or Fairmont stay by booking with our luxury travel concierge.

Fairmont is part of the Accor loyalty club. If you become a member of this loyalty program, you get a discount at their 3,000-plus hotels, plus you get loyalty points. When booking via concierge team, you will get the same loyalty points.

Our travel agency partnership with Fairmont Hotels means that you will also get brilliant free benefits, including breakfast for two, prioritized room upgrade (subject to availability), hotel credit, and more if you book with one of our team. Our deals are almost always better than booking directly on the hotel website for both of these brands.

2. Style

Four Seasons offers a variety of styles across their hotels according to the destination and the property itself. Their hotels are stunning, welcoming but also formal and palatial. Four Seasons Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat is a historic property, so it takes its style accents from its classic and historic French architecture. If there’s a more beautiful hotel than this, I’ve yet to find it.

Another example of a beautiful Four Seasons hotel that embraces traditional architecture and mixes this with classic modern furnishings is The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas, which has a colonial feel. Others, such as the best Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii offer a more modern architecture.

Fairmont hotels do not tend to embrace the local area quite so religiously. In Whistler, there are roaring fireplaces in the bar and foyer area of Fairmont Chateau Whistler but the overall hotel, including the rooms, don’t feel desperately charismatic. Once you pull your curtains and block out the mountain views, you could be anywhere.

Four Seasons Whistler, which is a short walk away from the Fairmont, feels like a log cabin with rustic rooms to match. Large balconies that you can sit out on help you absorb the forest atmosphere. All the rooms at the Four Seasons also have gas fireplaces, which adds to the mountain ambiance. The Fairmont rooms are nice, but they don’t have the same mountain feel. If you want to delve further, we have compared Four Seasons Whistler Vs. Fairmont in more detail.

Other Fairmonts we have visited include the Fairmont Geneva, which has the most glorious view over the lake but is located in a concrete 1980s monstrosity with no historic features. Similar is true for the Fairmont Monte-Carlo.

Again, you can’t argue with the fabulous views. You are right on the waterfront, so views are over and across the Mediterranean Sea, almost like you’re on a cruise ship. But the exterior and interiors of the 1970’s building housing Fairmont Monte-Carlo have no character. This is such a shame because the beautiful Casino Square, Hotel De Paris, and Hotel Hermitage, a few minutes walk away, ooze Belle Epoch charm.

3. Location

Four Seasons hotels are expanding rapidly with destinations across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. They are situated in tourist destinations and major cities.

Fairmont hotels are most prolific in Canada because the Fairmont company originated from two hotel businesses established in the late 19th century in Canada. Now, they have more than 70 properties worldwide. Much like the Four Seasons, Fairmont hotels are located in both city and beach destinations.

4. Size

Although this is not always the case, Fairmont hotels generally tend to be larger in size than Four Seasons hotels.

5. Rooms

Individual hotel rooms at Fairmont Hotels can be less predictable in decor and design than rooms in Four Seasons hotels. Standard Fairmont rooms tend to be smaller and less appealing than standard Four Seasons rooms, which are always spacious.

Four Seasons tends to invest a huge amount in refurbishment when launching a hotel and insist on minimum room and bathroom dimensions and a minimum level of decor, so their rooms are always spacious and are usually more recently refurbished than those at Fairmont hotels.

Bottom line, there are very few (if any?) bad rooms at Four Seasons hotels, but you need to take care at Fairmont hotels so you’re not lumped with a small room and a car park view. This differentiator is all taken into account in the price. Fairmont hotels tend to be cheaper than Four Seasons hotels, so you do tend to get what you pay for. See our review of the cheapest Four Seasons to bag a Four Seasons bargain.

6. Pool & Gym

Fairmont hotels have very good facilities. They usually have a decent pool and gym. In Geneva, the Fairmont pool is probably the best in the city as it’s large, with loads of lounging space around it. The Four Seasons in Geneva also has a stunning and immaculately kept pool, but it is not as large as the one at Fairmont Geneva.

The Four Seasons facilities are usually more beautifully designed, but Fairmont hotels are large, and with their large size comes big facilities with huge gyms and pools. I personally like the intimate nature of many Four Seasons hotels and their facilities, as their communal pools and gyms tend to be quieter than those at Fairmont hotels. Neither brand wins for facilities as this aspect is so property-dependent.

8. Ski

Some of the best ski hotels in the world are Four Seasons. Fairmont also has some great ski hotels, mainly in Canada, including Fairmont Whistler, Fairmont Banff, and Fairmont Lake Louise.

9. Club Lounge

Most Fairmont hotels offer a club lounge that you get access to by booking their Gold rooms. Very few Four Seasons hotels have a club lounge. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Gold floor accommodations offer jetted tubs and gas fireplaces in every room, along with upgraded hotel amenities and Bose sound systems.

The Fairmont Gold accommodations are located on the 9th to 12th floor, with some Fairmont Gold rooms on the 8th floor. Privileges include:

  • Private check-in and check-out
  • Exclusive Fairmont Gold Lounge for Fairmont Gold guests
  • Deluxe Continental Breakfast in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
  • All day coffee & tea service in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
  • Afternoon canapés & honour bar in the Fairmont Gold Lounge
  • Complimentary newspapers and personalized wake-up calls
  • Fairmont Gold privileges include exclusive access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge. Relax fireside while enjoying complimentary Deluxe Continental Breakfast, local newspapers, and magazines, catching up on email with our complimentary laptop computer, or simply unwinding after a day on Whistler Mountain

Four Seasons Whistler does not have a club lounge, and neither do most other Four Seasons hotels. We have reviewed the best Four Seasons with Club Lounges, but overall the Fairmont wins as it has loads of brilliant club lounges.

10. Family Facilities

Both brands are family-friendly, but Four Seasons has a particularly amazing kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. I would say Four Seasons is the best child-friendly hotel brand in the world.

10. Conclusion

Both of these hotel brands offer magnificent hotels. Fairmont hotels tend to be cheaper and have an excellent array of facilities. Four Seasons hotels tend to be more immaculately finished with larger rooms and swisher interior design. While we prefer Four Seasons hotels, it can be argued that Fairmont hotels often offer better value.

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Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.