Lofty snow-capped peaks, shimmering turquoise waters, and wooded pine forests – Lake Louise is a destination that’s conducive to fully unplugging and recharging. Canada’s first national park, Banff National Park spans over 6,000sqkm (2,316sqmi) of beautiful scenery. Hikers, alpinists, and holidaymakers should base themselves in one of these hotels to best experience the magic of Lake Louise, the park’s star attraction.
Those eager for a true mountain experience will find themselves at home at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. The 16 private log cabins and cozy suites are situated next to Baker Creek, between the towns of Banff and Lake Louise along the Bow Valley Parkway. Though all cabin types feature views of the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, splurge for the Heritage Trapper’s unit – where you’ll also be spoiled with a wood-burning fireplace, a whirlpool jacuzzi, and a deck with a propane barbecue for al fresco dinners.
Now an expansive property with 539 rooms and suites, the Fairmont Château Lake Louise began as a single-storey log cabin on the northeastern shores of Lake Louise in 1890. The rooms are elegantly decorated with dark-wood furniture, hues of grey and taupe, and the odd nod to the hotel’s alpine surroundings. Some rooms go further – offering stunning views of the lake and its sloping forests in all their glory. If you’re here to ski, there’s a free shuttle that will whisk you over to the ski mountain in less than 15 minutes.
Mountaineer Lodge sits in downtown Lake Louise in close proximity to gift shops, bakeries, and cafes that serve nourishing smoothie bowls for breakfast. The property’s 80 rooms range from standard rooms to King and Queen Explorer Suites that accommodate families of six. Kids will appreciate the bunk beds in the multi-room suites, while parents will likely be spending as much time as possible in the indoor hot tub and steam room.
A sprawling property with 247 rooms spread across five lodges, Lake Louise Inn offers travelers 10 different room types, from standard rooms with one double bed to one-bedroom condos with a loft that comfortably sleeps eight. There are three restaurants to choose from, each with a distinctive atmosphere and personality. Feast on quesadillas and fish and chips at Canadian-style Legends Restaurant, or head to Timberwolf Pizza & Pasta Cafe for Italian with the family. As a third option, Explorers Lounge is the perfect place to settle for a beer-and-wings-fuelled après-ski session.
24 cabin-style buildings dot the 5.25ha (13 acres) that make up Emerald Lake Lodge on the shores of its namesake lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. A stay here puts you a 15-minute drive north of the town of Field, and about a 40-minute drive west of Lake Louise itself. Guest rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces and private balconies with views over Emerald Lake, and there’s a roomy outdoor hot tub and deck with a couple of sunbeds as well.
Originally built in the 1930s, the individual cabins and lodge suites at Paradise Lodge & Bungalows enjoy a secluded forest setting just 1km east of Lake Louise. For 50-odd years, this property has been proudly family-owned and operated by the Pedersens. There are four cabin types at this property, each oozing rustic charm, and all named after different historical figures who left their indelible mark in the region. To revel in real mountain luxury, go for the Cooper and Peyto cabins, which are equipped with claw-foot soaker tubs.
HI-Castle Mountain Hostel occupies a remote location in Castle Junction, halfway between Banff and Lake Louise just off the Bow Valley Parkway. Wildlife sightings are common here – keep your eyes peeled for black bears wandering past the windows of the hostel’s shared kitchen. You can keep warm by the fire pits outside, or curl up by the wood-burning fireplace in the cozy lounge while staring out the picture windows into the woods. This hostel accommodates groups of up to 28 people at a time, with 14-bed mixed and women’s-only dorms.
20 private log chalets on the banks of the Kicking Horse River make up Chancellor Peak Chalets in BC, just a short drive away from the adventure town of Golden. Sleeping up to six, each chalet comes with a covered deck and a gas barbecue for enjoying in summer, as well as a large soaker tub and gas fireplace for when you want to cozy up indoors. The chalets are under an hour’s drive to the shores of Lake Louise – which, in this part of Canada, is relatively nearby.