Banff and the Canadian Rockies

Crossing another one off the bucket list!
To celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday, we took a trip to Canada to stay in Banff. 
We flew into Calgary and drove about an hour and a half to Banff.
The mountains were gorgeous as we got closer and closer to Banff.
Driving from Calgary to Banff
Entering Banff National Park
As we came around the corner, we were amazed by the beauty of our hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs.
The Fairmont was absolutely gorgeous and every staff member we encountered was professional, helpful, and kind.
We stayed in the Stanley Thompson wing in a mountain view suite. It was clean and spacious.
Fairmont Banff Springs
We checked in and got a bite to eat at STOCK in the main area. The food there was fabulous! We had sandwiches that were made to order. I had an incredible squash sandwich with goat cheese.
Having a cup of tea at STOCK
We headed to the Willow Stream Spa for a 60 minute Couples Massage. It was wonderful! The changing area is very clean and includes a small area with a selection of coffees, teas, and infused waters.
Changing room in women’s area of spa
Lounge with coffee, fruit, tea, and infused water
After our massage, we headed into the mineral pool to soak, then also headed outside to the heated pool that was 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It was incredible to soak in the pool while looking at the snow capped mountains surrounding us.
Mineral Pool
Mineral Pool (indoor)
Outdoor hot tub
Outdoor Hot tub
For dinner, we headed into town on a short walk about 1 mile to downtown Banff. We spotted some elk right off the road on our way downtown.
Walking from Fairmont Banff Springs to downtown Banff-about 1 mile
Saw some friends on our walk!
We went to dinner at the Maple Leaf Grille. We sat at a table by the window, and we were able to watch people walking around town. The food was very good and the staff was friendly.

Walking through downtown

 

We went to PARK after dinner for drinks and dessert and to watch some playoff hockey. We had a piece of Pecan Pie, and it was delicious!
I was excited to see the assorted selections of cider in all of the restaurants and bars. I love cider, but we don’t have as many option in the United States.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the Bow Valley Grill inside the Fairmont. It was a wonderful breakfast buffet with an omlette bar. We were seated at a table by the window, and we got to see the beautiful mountains and Bow Falls below.

Breakfast buffet overlooking Bow River

 

We loved the hotel’s new resident dog, Bear. He is an 18 month old lab who was not able to finish service dog school. He was so sweet and so well behaved!

 

 

After breakfast, we headed to the Banff Gondola. This 8 minute trip up Sulpher Mountain offered beautiful views.

 

 

 

There are many walkways and decks for looking out the whole way to the peak of Sulpher Mountain.

 

 

 

After exploring and walking to the peak and back, we grabbed some lunch at the cafe in the building.  It was such an amazing experience!

After lunch, we drove out to Lake Louise, which was still frozen, and the road for Moraine Lake was still closed.

Lake Louise-April 18, 2017

 

We took a walk down to Bow Falls and the Bow River when we returned to the Fairmont. This runs right behind the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

For dinner we ate at the 1888 chophouse in our hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs. It was very good. I had a seafood combination with lobster and scallops. My husband had a steak.

Our final full day (which was my husband’s 40th birthday), we went skiing at Sunshine Village. What an amazing experience compared to skiing in Pennsylvania where our elevation at the largest ski resort near us is about 2,000 feet.

 

Riding the gondola 20 minutes to the ski lifts!

 

At Sunshine Village, we had to get our skis and lift passes then take a 20 minute gondola ride up to the actual ski resort, which is almost 8,000 feet high at the lodge. There are hundreds of trails and many ski lifts for all abilities. It was fabulous skiing, and we had a great day of skiing!

 

 

 

 

 

After skiing, we went to the Banff Upper Springs to warm up and relax our legs and feet. It felt wonderful!

 

 

For dinner, we stayed at our hotel and ate at the Waldhaus restaurant. This restaurant was originally built in 1911 as the clubhouse for the golf course. It was changed in 1989 to a German restaurant.  It is a short walk right behind the Fairmont. We walked to the restaurant since it was daylight, but they have a shuttle to and from the hotel. We took a shuttle back to our hotel since it was pretty dark, and there is a lot of wildlife around!

 

 

This was our best meal in Banff!
We shared the Traditional Swiss Cheese fondue as our appetizer. Our server, Ellen, was so helpful and attentive. I had the Chicken Schnitzel with the jager schnitzel sauce, which was a creamy mushroom and bacon sauce. It was served with spaetzel, which was also great! My husband had the Veal Schnitzel served the same as my meal. We had no room for dessert!
Banff should be on everyone’s bucket list! It is just an amazing area with lots to do. I am already hoping for a trip back in a few years in the summer to see the turquoise lakes!

Below are some other photos taken on our trip:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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