Travel & Culture

3 Canadian Rockies Resorts That Should Be On Your Bucket List

May 7, 2024

Have you dreamed of staying in an unforgettable resort/hotel—one that treats you like royalty?  If you’re looking for a memorable stay, explore these three iconic Canadian Rockies resorts in Alberta. —Michelle Hopkins

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Nestled within the heart of Banff National Park is the Grande dame herself: the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hotel is of one of Canada’s last surviving grand railway hotels.

With more than 700 guest rooms and suites and featuring amenities such as an award-winning spa, golf course, aquatic centre, tennis courts, and a bowling alley, you are in for a extravagant sojourn. The brainchild of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it was said that on his first visit to Banff he was so taken by the scenery he proclaimed: Since we can’t export the scenery, we’ll have to import the tourists.” In 1886, construction began on the 764-room hotel and resort, but two years later in 1888, the baronial wooden hotel burned down. In 1926, it was restored by CPR engineer John W. Orrock establishing its current facade.

My Gold level room on the fifth floor overlooked the Canadian Rocky Mountain range and provided a perfect bird’s eye view of just how extraordinary the hotel looked like from the outside. This hotel within a hotel also came with breakfast and happy hour delectables.

Food enthusiasts will be delighted by the diverse culinary experiences available, including The Vermillion Room, a chic French Brasserie where I treated myself to a refreshing chicken and pear salad; while Grapes Charcuterie | Bar | Cellar is a stately room to enjoy shared plates … of course, with a glass of fine red.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper National Park is home to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a beloved eponymous lodge that’s tucked into more than 700 acres of pristine wilderness on the shores of Lac Beauvert.

This UNESCO heritage site also has a colourful railway background, with its 1915 origins hankering back to a series of tents known  as “Tent City.” Developed by the now-defunct Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1915, the tents provided temporary housing for guests interested in exploring the newly created Jasper National Park.

Ever since its grand debut in 1921, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has hosted all kinds of international luminaries in its most famous cabin, the Outlook Cabin, which comes complete with a private butler team. Celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart and Bing Crosby. In 2018, newlyweds Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stayed in this ultra-luxurious cabin.

Many of the cabins are undergoing interior makeovers. I was fortunate to get a glimpse of what it soon to come … you will not be disappointed! If you are a fan of the Bachelor,  On Season 28 of “The Bachelor,” Joey Graziadei and his final six women stayed in the Point Cabin. Read about their stay here.

Additionally, the resort boasts several dining options, including the Great Hall, known for its pan seared Artic Char and succulent steaks, chic fireside ambiance and stunning mountain and lake views. I eked out a little more time in my cozy cabin by ordering room service for breakfast. Pouring a cup of java before treating myself to a perfectly cooked omelette was a wonderful ritual during my two-night stay.

Post Hotel & Spa Lake Louise

On the banks of the pictorial Bow River Valley, in another prime swath of Banff National Park, the Relais Chateau designated Post Hotel & Spa Lake Louise is a true luxurious mountain retreat. I was there more than a decade ago when the Schwarz brothers, George and Andre, former ski instructors from Zurich, owned it. After 43 years, they sold it to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) in 2021.

Built by noted guide and packer, Jim Boyce, the  hotel was constructed with logs brought in from Revelstoke. It opened its doors in 1942, however, because of the war it closed after only one season. It reopened in 1948. Today, The Post draws people from around the globe by preserving its illustrious heritage with its classic white glove service and many country glamour touches.

My stunning two-bedroom timbered suite was just as elegant as I remembered, with open-beamed ceilings and a deep soaker tub.

Awarded a prestigious Best Foods in America by Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, The Dining Room delivers exceptional gourmet dining. Its carte du jour was filled with flawlessly executed dishes. Tucked away within the Dining Room is Fondue Stübli, a cozy chalet-inspired setting. Here, you’ll be served a three-course menu with an appetizer, your choice of fondue, dessert, with an option for a charcuterie board. (The fondue is only a winter/spring offering). The Outpost is an English-style pub that exudes loads of charm with its crackling fireplace, warm cozy seating and a lunch menu consisting of elevated pub fare.

The award-winning Temple Mountain Spa is a sanctuary of health and wellness. I luxuriated in a 90-minute collagen-infused facial massage, tailored specifically for my 60-something skin. A spa treatment gets you into the pool, hot tub and sauna, so don’t forget your bathing suit.

Outdoor Fun that Deserves Fanfare

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site’s history dates back to 1883, when three CPR employees stumbled on the hot springs and were soon lounging in the warm soothing water. In 1887 a bathhouse was built and for decades people enjoyed its natural health benefits, until the pool was permanently closed in 1994. Today, you can visit the caves to the hot springs and the museum filled with historic photos. P.S.Behind the complex are two great walking trails: the Marsh Loop Trail across the park’s only natural river marsh, and the Sundance Canyon Trail, leading along the Bow River to a beautiful side canyon.

Backed by Mount Rundle’s snow-capped peaks, the spectacular teal-blue water of Two Jack Lake is one of the most photographed in the Canadian Rockies. After sitting in the “famous” Adirondack chairs, take the time for a picturesque walk along a shoreline trail that will reward you with more amazing landscapes.

A fun fact: Parks Canada has placed more than 400 red Adirondack chairs in some of Canada’s most exclusive places.

The Jasper SkyTram, said to be the tallest and highest aerial tramway in Canada, is a seven minutes ride up to an elevation of 2,263 metres. The hike up to the summit of Whistlers Mountain, which was a 1.4 km. hike rewards you with vistas of B.C.’s Mount Robson and mountain ranges as far as the eye can see.


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