Presented by Travel Alberta
Living in Calgary, one of the things that many Calgarians love to do is head off to the mountains. Sometimes it’s to go skiing, or hiking, or any number of adventurous things there are to do in the Rocky Mountains. But one of my favourite things to do is to pack an overnight back and enjoy a night in the mountains.
In terms of hotels, the Rocky Mountains have something for every budget. Whether you’re trying to save a few dollars or you’re ready to treat that special someone to an unforgettable hotel experience, there really are dozens and dozens of options.
Last week, we stayed at Storm Mountain Lodge, which is about a 25 minute drive from Banff. Cabins were around $229, but they likely go a little higher during the busy season. It’s on Highway 93 going west towards radium. Now if you’re like most people that I’ve told that I was staying there, you’ve heard of Storm Mountain Lodge, but you’ve never stayed there. So many people said they’ve driven by the hotel dozens of times, but never booked a room, but were super curious.
Well, let me tell you, there’s no need to be curious, it’s seriously fantastic. When you picture going to the mountains, you undoubtedly picture staying in something a little rustic. Now I don’t mean something with a hole in the roof. I mean the new kind of rustic, where it feels like you’re in the middle of the woods, but if you want fresh towels, someone helpful is just a phone call away.
In terms of comfort and rustic, Storm Mountain Lodge is a fantastic find and definitely worthy of booking and escaping the busy city life.
The lodge is actually a series of log cabins that date back to the 1920s. The cabins are wood-paneled and are simply furnished, but feature anything that you’d actually need, most important: stone fireplaces. The cabin’s are sturdily built, you’d never guess that some of them date back almost one hundred years. And the fireplaces just make the experience extra special. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of dry wood, making starting the fire pretty fool-proof.
And since you’re looking for a remote experience, you’ll like this: there’s no Wi-Fi access or TVs.
But what they lack in technology, Storm Mountain Lodge makes up for in seriously amazing food. The main lodge offers Canadian-style dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a cozy guest lounge. I’ll be honest, given how remote the cabin was, even though you could drive right up to, how delicious and elaborate the meals were something I definitely wasn’t expecting.
The breakfast the next morning was just as amazing. Quintessential mountain cuisine, but instead of mosquitos, you’re treated to a near constant show featuring beautiful hummingbirds.
After dinner, we wandered back to our cabin and enjoyed the peace and quite of the Storm Mountain area. As we sat by our fireplace, we were asleep within minutes. It was so relaxing, my body decided now was the time to catch up on some much-needed shut eye. But here’s the thing a few hours later, I woke up. It was the middle of the night and I swear the stars were so bright, they practically provided mood lighting for our room. So even though I was ready to go back to sleep, the city boy in me who never really gets to enjoy the stars couldn’t resist. I grabbed my jacket and spent the next hour sitting under the stars.
After being treated to a show of celestial proportions, I retreated to the cabin for what I’m officially calling “The best night of sleep I’ve ever had in my life.” I woke up refreshed, relaxed and ready to devour that aforementioned breakfast.
I’m always sad to leave hotels, but I know that realistically I won’t be back, at least not any time in the future. But I wasn’t sad to leave Storm Mountain Lodge because I know I’ll be back. Probably annually.