I love subtle change.
Not the big, bold, brash look-at-me, look-how-trendy-I-am, change only for the sake of change.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (JPL as it's known to the locals), located just outside the Jasper townsite in Canada's Jasper National Park, is among the most classic and iconic hotel architecture in North America.
The main lodge dates back to 1923, then was rebuilt after a major fire in 1953. Around it, on a huge manicured 700-acre wilderness campus, are guest cabins of all sizes and shapes - 446 units in all.
But absolutely central to JPL's wilderness beauty is the keeping of all its cabins to the same classic visual exterior and interior themes - verandahs, browns and greens, cottage-like. To photograph any cabin in isolation is to know immediately that it is a Jasper Park Lodge cabin.
Over the last five to seven years, 90% of Jasper Park Lodge has been updated, renovated and refurbished. But it hasn't been made a big deal. While attending the annual JPL-produced Christmas in November culinary festival, management was happy to meet my journalistic request to tour some of the renovations. But certainly they weren't looking for publicity.
You hardly realize the rooms and cabins have been completely re-done from top to bottom. Even the most recent renovations blend inconspicuously to the surroundings. Door keys, for instance, have not been replaced by electronic magnetic-card latches. Bathroom fixtures remain classical. Carpets have been replaced, wallpaper redone, but all carefully designed to blend with the old.
Most of the infrastructure - Jasper Park Lodge essentially is its own municipality, with its own waterworks, has been overhauled and updated.
Only on the lower level of the main lodge is change noticeable. A new hot tub has been installed alongside the heated pool. The spa has been modernized and enlarged. The only project that guests may be gently aware of in the coming years is a re-landscaping of the Lac Beauvert side of the main lodge, to make the site the most picturesque wedding location in the Rocky Mountains.
Truly it has been a magnificent, behind-the-scenes, quiet rejuvenation and restoration of this Canadian Rockies icon. So quiet that the Fairmont chain and the hotel have chosen not to make a big deal out of the "new" JPL.
Just another reason to love The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge!