Rocky Mountain R ‘n’ R

It’s been years since I’ve been to Banff, and though Mack was there last summer, as it was for business and not pleasure, we seized my work conference in Calgary as an opportunity to escape.

Banff

As late October is considered the calm between the storms, we had no trouble finding accommodation at reasonable rates, but as we soon found out, there were downsides to visiting during low season as well.

Much has probably changed in Banff since I last visited (my only really clear memory is of the Hudson’s Bay Company), but I somehow expected it to be more commercial than it actually was. Perhaps the lack of tourists contributed to this, but walking the few main streets they had, I enjoyed the relative tranquility of being amidst the mountains.

On a bridge

Mack

Banff at nightfall

We embraced the tourist-y attractions, including visiting the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. One day, we’ll just bite the overpriced bullet and book a room there.

Approaching the hotel

Looking off one of the balconies

Me and Mack

We also probably should have done more walking, but being the unprepared travellers that we are (and still in denial that winter is rapidly approaching), we had neither proper footwear or jackets to set off on a hike. Still, we did enjoy what time we did spend outside.

Mountains

Mack at the Bow Falls

I love little streams

As I alluded to above, there are downsides to visiting during low season – such as the closure of major attractions for repairs.

The closest I would get to the Upper Hot Springs

We headed to the Banff Gondola with the hopes of appeasing some of our disappointment. After the sticker shock of nearly $60 for our round trip up Sulphur Mountain, I was able to enjoy the eight minute ride.

Maybe I was wrong about the commercialization part…

I’m not afraid!

Up they go!

We had to marvel at the efficiency of the one employee at the bottom of the gondola attraction – he alone was responsible for both loading and unloading the cars. He definitely earned his salary.

At the top

The view of the town below was spectacular

More than anything, it was a treat to be able to get away from the city for a few days to relax. Thanks Mack for a lovely weekend!

9 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain R ‘n’ R

  1. You didn’t think it was that commercial? That’s the one thing that makes me cringe when we go. But Bison (the restaurant) will always bring me back.

  2. Hiya Sharon! I want to hear abour your noshing adventures in Banff too (and I bet I’m not the only one!)

  3. Long time reader, first time commenter. Could be second. Maybe third? I can’t be certain. Anyway…have to relate an experience!

    My husband and I head to the Fairmont when we want a weekend away, but we found a nice way around the overpriced rooms. We signed up for their loyalty program (it’s free) and we get mails when they have specials. Every few months they have dates where you can get rooms for insanely low prices (a few years back they had this promo where they’d throw in a convertible rental from Calgary so you could drive there in style).

    One memorable weekend we snagged one of the tower rooms for just over a hundred bucks a night PLUS the card got us treated like royalty. When we drove up a guy directing traffic with a clipboard asked us our name and mentioned that they had been expecting us and jogged alongside our car to point us to use a different road than everyone else to check in. Totally not expecting that, we were like “Okay….thanks crazy guy”.

    The small road led around to the back, which is this super swank VIP private entrance! We were met by two bellhops* who wouldn’t let us touch our bags and a greeter who walked out to our car to welcome us and lead us into the hotel and explain the services (directions on how to use a superspecial number to contact them instead of the regular hotel staff) while a third bellhop drove the car off to parking.

    Seriously. We were like rockstars driving a Ford Focus and wearing sweats. And if we hadn’t signed up for their little club, we would have had to wait in the lines like the rest of the plebs.

    If I sound like I’m gushing, I totally am. It has ruined all other hotels for me. I should be getting paid for this.

    *One bellhop for each door. I was too much in awe of the whole presentation to notice that there was one guy walking up to my side of the car, so when he opened the door that I had been leaning against, I tumbled out and nearly ate gravel with my face (the bellhop caught me). That’s totally okay though. I figure that if this is where they meet royalty and rockstars, they are used to dealing with drunks.

  4. Cheryl – I’d always heard that Banff had “gone commercial” in all the years I hadn’t been, so I think I was expecting much more development. I’m sure if I compared it to Jasper (which I also haven’t been to in years), it would be worse. And yeah, I love Bison!

    Dajana – it’s coming!

    Angel – I’m so jealous! Sounds like you had an amazing experience. Thanks for the tip on their loyalty program!

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