Sometimes you just need to getaway from the big city, the traffic, the kids, life in general and just come to the mountains and remember how to breathe…
Q: I need to take my wife away for a quiet weekend to Banff or Jasper National Park, without the kids. We would like a nice room with a jacuzzi or fireplace and have a quiet dinner closeby. Where should we go?
A: I know the ladies in our office swoon over the oversized bathrooms at Buffalo Mountain Lodge, large claw footed soaker tubs, slate tile heated floors and plenty of counter space. You can enjoy a quiet bottle of red wine by the wood burning fireplace, while you wait to get ready for dinner. It’s only a short walk away through the wooded trails.
The modern styled Juniper also offers sunflower showerheads and Jacuzzi tubs, all with stunning views across the Bow Valley. Also excellent onsite dining at the funky Mukamuk.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge always brings out the romantic in me as I see couples walking hand in hand beside the laketrails to the main lodge for dinner. Edith Cavell is formal dining but with the best view in Jasper.
Q: I’m planning a getaway and I just want to relax. No cars, no people, just a cabin in the woods. Does anything like that exist?
A: These secluded getaway lodges do exist, mainly past Banff, heading towards Lake Louise or Yoho National Park. Emerald Lake Lodge is located exclusively on the lake, jutting out onto a peninsula, accessible only by a private bridge. Vehicles are left outside in an overnight parking lot. Luxury style cabins with private decks, fireplaces and no TV’s, but don’t worry, you will be busy enjoying the hottub, firepit, walks or skiing around the lake and the great games and reading room in the main lodge. You barely have time to turn up for dinner.
Moraine Lake Lodge also offers a similar experience, along with wilderness talks in the library of an evening and canoeing on the lake.
Fabulous onsite dining is available at both properties. Although both can be popular sightseeing spots in the peak summer months, you have the place to yourself in the evenings and first thing in the mornings. Fall and winter are ideal as there are usually only a few guests staying at the lodges.
Q: I hear Banff can be really busy and expensive in the summer months. Are there any quiet or cheaper times to come?
A:It’s all in the planning. Yes, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper hit their peak rates during July, August and early September, but you can still find deals or affordable places to stay, so don’t write off a visit during these months.
Best value months are October, November and December – after our ThanksGiving (2nd weekend in October), until just before Christmas. What a great way to relax after a busy summer and before the craziness of the holidays.
If winter doesn’t scare you, then January has tonnes of snow and there is always a hottub, fireplace or bar to warm you up.
Q: I’m coming to the mountains on a holiday weekend. Are there any special parties or events I should know about?
A: Apart from the usual, there are a few unique holidays listed below. We’re locals and some of us are still single, so we always know where the best parties, nightclubs and restaurants are for each holiday. Just ask us!
- New Year’s Eve
- Family Day (unique to Western Canada – usually third weekend in Feb – very busy)
- Valentine’s Day
- St Patrick’s Day
- May Long Weekend (first ‘summer’ weekend kickoff)
- Canada Day
- Melissa’s Road Race Weekend (marathon race throughout the townsite) 3rd weekend in September