A few members of the Ski Independence team were away on a fam trip to Alberta a few weeks ago and stayed in some pretty amazing places along the way. Aodhan has given us a rundown of some of the incredible places they stayed on their trip; read on to find out his top 5.
These spacious units occupy one of the best locations in downtown Banff, giving you uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains; Cascade, Rundle, Tunnel and Sulphur. Comprising two full bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a generously sized living room featuring a double sofa bed, these suites work perfectly for families or groups of friends up to 6. When you’re finished on the mountain, you can retire back to your home-from-home for the remainder of your day.
Being on the highest level means you’re a stone’s throw from the rooftop hot tubs and fire pit, which are a great place to gather, catch up and be humbled by the surrounding mountain range. If that’s not quite your thing then don’t forget that each suite features a gas fireplace, creating a wonderful atmosphere during the Alberta nights in which to re-charge before doing it all over again.
This property is situated on the perimeter of Banff but this only adds to the awe-inspiring views provided by the surrounding peaks, as the Rimrock Hotel is set right into the mountain. For their most exclusive category – a favourite for couples who require a bit more space and a superb level of North American luxury – look no further than the Grand View Suites. With hardwood flooring throughout, a spacious bedroom and of course an expansive living area, these units ooze quality. Whether or not you’re in the main bedroom or the living room, expect a full bathroom connected to each. My favourite thing about these suites, other than the modern feel to them, is the wraparound balconies; best enjoyed during the evenings with a glass of wine whilst taking in the skyline.
Where do I start? This room is quite possibly the most luxurious 1100 square feet of hotel space you may ever encounter in your life. Spread over two floors to accommodate its expansive luxury, this suite is completely self-contained and from its two private balconies enjoys the finest views of UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Victoria Glacier and the iconic Lake Louise. Towering above the stunning frozen lake below, you can enjoy a large living room with dining area for your room service, as well as a comfortable sofa from which to watch a film. When you’re finally ready to retire for the night, catch another glimpse of the icy paradise from your balcony or head up your spiral staircase to the secluded bedroom to enjoy it from your king size bed.
For those of you looking for something a bit different and off the beaten path, look no further than Jasper and the Jasper Park Lodge. These signature cabins really are the jewel in the crown of a property that encompasses both luxury and sense of place in a unique surrounding. This particular cabin is my favourite as it maintains its humble lodge exterior but with a beautifully contrasting modern interior. With three king bedrooms all featuring an en-suite, this luxurious cabin is also equipped with a large open plan kitchen ideal for mealtimes before enjoying a vintage vino in the living room. Heated by a fireplace in case a cold snap sweeps through Jasper, if there’s anything you require to perfect your stay here, you have both the Fairmont Butler service and vehicle at all times.
Back in Banff, nestled by the Bow Valley at the Fairmont Banff Springs, these refurbished rooms have been decorated to the highest standards, all with new bathrooms. With thoughtful use of space and all of the modern amenities you’d expect from a 5-star property, these rooms offer a perfect haven to relax in after a day on the slopes. If you’re not enjoying a coffee or Crown Royal in the exclusive Gold honour bar then I highly recommend taking in the view from the floor-to-ceiling, panoramic windows which look out onto the sprawling valley and river. Used as a golf course during the summer, once frozen over this is one of the most postcard-perfect sights in the resort.