Just under two hours from Calgary sits the ski town of Banff, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, in Canada. Every winter, visitors flock here for the white stuff. Come summer, challenge yourself to a mountain hike or visit the glittering Lake Louise, 40 minutes’ drive away. Each of these resorts is close to Banff National Park.
Just a short drive from the town of Banff, Hidden Ridge Resort sits on a hillside, surrounded by towering pines. Families love the log cabin-style condos, fully equipped kitchenettes, wood-burning fireplaces and large hot tubs overlooking a valley. You can enjoy the nearby hiking trails, but always be on the lookout for bears and other wildlife.
The Rimrock Resort’s latest incarnation took place in 1993. Through a marvelous application of engineering, the resort clings to the side of Sulphur Mountain, offering unparalleled and private views of the surrounding mountainside. It was awarded CAA/AAA four diamond status that year and has held it ever since, through a combination of outstanding service and fine dining. The Banff Upper Hot Springs and main gondola are mere steps from the lobby.
Set on the shore of one of the most photographed lakes in the world, the Chateau has been a magnet for visitors since it was founded in 1890. One of the original Canadian Pacific Railway Castles in the Mountains, it is the site for international ski competitions, and offers outdoor activities from night snowshoeing, skating, sleigh rides in winter to canoeing, nature walks and horseback riding in the summer. The spa helps bridal parties prepare for lavish weddings and pampers guests all year round.
This secluded resort offers a range of condos and suites in classic mountain style with a wolf theme throughout. Enjoy the indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, tennis and squash courts, then curl up by the wood-burning fireplace. Visit the Alpha Bistro for informal dining or whip up a meal in the kitchenette. A perfect getaway for lone wolves.
Just outside Canmore, the Grande Rockies is a unique combination of condominium and traditional hotel. Families will enjoy the spacious penthouse suites with private hot tubs and stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The pool has a three-story slide and kid-friendly water features. Take the short drive to Canmore for fine dining options or you can visit the casual on-site restaurant.
Mountain cabins on the forest fringe are the most popular accommodations in this large resort. The newly renovated rooms range from standard suites to condos with two bedrooms and a kid-sized loft, most with wood-burning fireplaces. You will love the views of Tunnel Mountain from the pool. Families appreciate the children’s play area near the barbecue pits. Although it’s larger than most resorts in the area, it’s still quiet enough for deer to make an appearance on the grounds.
No trip to Banff would be complete without checking out the Fairmont Banff Springs. Known by locals as “the castle”, this exceptional property has been delighting visitors for over a century. Constantly updated with the latest tech, the resort’s defining feature has always been superior attentive service. A daily menu of activities provided by the concierge seems almost endless, as are the dining options. Enjoy the selection of treatments at the newly renovated, award-winning Willow Stream Spa, including massage and hydrotherapy.
Families and friends have room to roam at the Douglas Fir with condos, suites and chalets that sleep up to 10. Kids will love the four-story playhouse, the largest in Western Canada, and the waterpark. It has two waterslides, plus a wading pool and a nearby 24-person hot tub. Handily, Douglas Fir is also within walking distance of downtown Banff, but there’s also an on-site grocery store for late night snacks.