Lodging in Alberta’s Rockies
Visitors come to Alberta's Rockies for many reasons: a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a luxury holiday. Some want the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and horseback riding, while others want an extreme sporting experience climbing peaks at elevations over 2,000 m (6,000 ft). And finally, some explorers just want to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the most beautiful mountainscapes in the world. Whatever the reason for visiting Alberta’s Rockies, there are accommodations suited to every need.
MAKE TRAVELLING EASY WITH TRADITIONAL ACCOMMODATIONS
Bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels and inns are sprinkled throughout the Rockies and concentrated in the towns of Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. This makes it easy to have a spontaneous or loosely planned vacation because visitors can travel around the national parks and simply find a room by dropping by, though booking in advance can be more economical. Hotel staff at the front desk can give guests information about activities and attractions in the area and bed and breakfast hosts are always willing to share their knowledge about favourite spots off the beaten track.
In Canmore, the Georgetown Inn, built in the English Tudor style and complete with beautiful gardens, is located just off the main road into town, while in Banff, the Banff Inn is conveniently located on Banff Avenue, close to shops, restaurants and cafes. The Astoria Hotel, in the centre of Jasper’s townsite, is a historic and charming hotel with a lively pub, the De'd Dog Bar and Grill, and a restaurant, Papa George's, which serves a variety of contemporary fare.
ENJOY THE HIGH LIFE AT ALPINE SPAS & RESORTS
Luxury vacationers have been enjoying the majestic Banff Springs Hotel since it opened its doors over a century ago. This architectural wonder rises like a castle out of the pines of the Bow Valley. Guests enjoy the championship golf course, indulgent spa, gourmet restaurants and exclusive shops.
The more modern Rimrock Hotel, perched on a mountainside, offers stunning views of the valley, surrounding peaks and Banff townsite. Amenities include a spa, shops, cafes and restaurants; the Rimrock is especially well known for its award-winning pastry creations.
Farther along the Bow Valley Parkway, the iconic Chateau Lake Louise is set on a luminescent turquoise lake. Lake Louise is famous for skiing but during summer the location is ideally suited to canoeing, horseback riding, hiking and walking. The Chateau boasts a spa, shops and eight exceptional dining options with views of the pristine water in summer and Victoria Glacier pouring into the lake in winter.
Continuing north to Jasper, find Jasper Park Lodge, a beautiful resort that has grown from a humble eight-bungalow construction in 1921 to a five-star alpine resort. It has played host to the rich and famous, including Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Rita Hayworth and Queen Elizabeth II. This world-class resort has an 18-hole golf course, hiking and cross-country ski trails and gourmet cuisine.
All of these luxury resorts offer full amenities and conference facilities. Even if not staying at one of these beautiful hotels, they are worth visiting for their astonishing views of the Rocky Mountains.
ACCOMMODATIONS FOR GROUPS & LONG VISITS
Families, groups and those staying for longer visits will find many options in the Rockies, including vacation rental properties, cabins, chalets and extended-stay accommodators.
Canadian Rockies Chalets is conveniently located in Canmore, just 5 km (3 mi) from Banff National Park. These chalets have a variety of suites with full kitchens and living rooms with gas fireplaces. Castle Mountain Chalets, located at the base of Castle Mountain, offers a wide array of amenities, including a licensed grocery store, gas bar, laundry facilities, an exercise centre and steam room. Some chalets even have Jacuzzi tubs, wood-burning fireplaces and decks with barbecues.
Families may also consider the opportunity to stay with home accommodators, which can be more flexible and so are especially well suited to travellers with special needs, such as dietary requirements or small children. This is an especially popular option in Jasper, which has over 60 home accommodators.
ENJOY THE ROCKIES ON A BUDGET
Campgrounds are an affordable way to enjoy the Rockies in summer while hostels are a more agreeable option in winter. If approaching the Rockies from the east side of the Trans Canada Highway, the first logical stop may be Spring Creek RV Campground in Canmore, at the end of Third Avenue, or one of the many other campgrounds in the Canmore and Banff area. Along the Icefields Parkway, the David Thompson Resort is a great place to spend the night. This full-service resort offers a variety of accommodations, including a campground, cabins and a hotel.
The Banff Y Mountain Lodge is a well-situated and affordable hostel offering 44 guest rooms and 86 dorm beds. Hostelling International has over a dozen locations throughout the Rockies, including Banff and Jasper.
RECONNECT WITH NATURE
There are plenty of accommodations that let visitors explore the everlasting beauty of the mountains. First Nations people have inhabited the foothills and mountains for thousands of years and now visitors can relive that experience by staying in teepees at Sundance Lodges. Knowledgeable guides tell guests about the history and unique ecology of the area.
Backcountry lodges and eco accommodations are good options for those wanting to reconnect with nature in a more comfortable setting. Brewster's Shadow Lake Lodge provides seasonal accommodation, accessed on foot or by cross-country skiing, in log cabins 20 km (12.5 mi) west of Banff. Guided tours are available of the surrounding mountain peaks and high alpine meadows. Sunwapta Falls Resort offers guided tours of the wonders in Jasper National Park, from the dramatic summit of Mt. Edith Cavell to the pristine waters of Maligne Lake, as well as a variety of activities such as fishing, river rafting and wildlife viewing.