Alberta – Banff, Lake Louise & Calgary

Visited by Nikki on Thursday, 27 April 2017

On arrival at Calgary airport we were greeted by Mounties for a White Hat Ceremony and received a certificate and cowboy hat. Travelling to Banff took around 1 hr 30 minutes and en route we stopped for a beer and visited the Boundary Ranch located in the Kananaskisi Valley. Here many activities can be arranged including a BBQ, Dog Sledging, Horse Riding, or even your own Wild West Rodeo private Show!

Why visit?

Banff is the gateway to the Canadian Rockies, with some of the finest mountain sceneries you’ll find on the planet and you will never tire of the most beautiful views.  Throw in outstanding chances to see wildlife (bears and elk in particular), and loads of activities to keep you busy during the day, followed by everything you could dream of for your next events; and you have a great reason to bring your clients here!

Lake Louise is a natural feature that is impossible to describe unless you have been there; the lake is vibrant and turquoise in colour and is surrounded by mountains as well as the Victoria Glacier. 

A variety of hiking trails exist around the lake. Some of these trails are open to mountain biking, horse riding and of course you can canoe and kayak on the lake during the summer months. The lake can be used for ice fishing and ice-skating in winter, while the surrounding area offers settings for snowmobilingdog sledgingsnowshoeing and ice climbing.

Nearby is Lake Louise Ski Area, which offers amenities for alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding as well as heli-skiing just outside the parks.

Calgary is a cosmopolitan Alberta city with numerous skyscrapers and has rapidly grown to become the centre of Canada’s oil industry. However, it’s still steeped in the western culture that earned it the nickname “Cowtown,” evident in the Calgary Stampede, its massive July rodeo and festival that grew out of the farming exhibitions, once presented there. Not forgetting the film Revenant was also filmed there.

Here’s our list of things that should definitely make it on to your itinerary:

Brewster Mount View Barbecue

Donut tent located 10 minutes from Banff. Great event space for groups and can hold 300 in one tent and 200 in the other. BBQs or buffets can be arranged and you can enjoy an exhilarating Gunfighter Show, Line Dance instruction or First Nations Ceremony Dance to name a few activities. Outside lawn games including Horse shoe throwing, Bocce Ball, giant Jenga, and checkers can also be arranged.

In winter months its total capacity is 500 pax & 1000 pax in the summer, as outside space can be utilised. 

Kananaski Helicopter Base

Experience a winter adventure! This incredible experience includes a 20 minute heli-tour of the white capped Rockies, a guided back country snowshoe, and a little warm up with Bailey's hot chocolate before hopping back on the heli to base.

Enjoy a helicopter adventure ‘off the beaten track’ and take in the sights & sounds of nature. We flew over Rocky Mountain peaks, enjoying the views of glaciers, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. After we landed on the top of a mountain we snow-shoed in the middle of the wild backcountry and stopped for a picnic & champagne in the snow  an experience I will never forget.

Banff Gondola

Journey to the top of the Banff Gondola to see a whole new side of Sulphur Mountain and the Canadian Rockies.  The mountaintop experience has been completely rebuilt, offering an inspiring ridgetop boardwalk 2900 ft. above Banff complete with new restaurant called Sky Bistro, as well as a 360-degree rooftop observation deck.

Segway Tour Calgary

I really enjoyed the Segway tour in Calgary taking in the sights along the City’s river.  The Segway instructor was excellent and the training session usually takes about 30 minutes. You’ll have the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the river valley. Smaller groups of 8 to 12 pax.

Johnston Canyon

The group enjoyed a fantastic hike through the beautiful Johnston Canyon which is only a short 25-minute scenic drive from the towns of Banff or Lake Louise, Alberta. The creek has cut through the limestone rock to form sheer canyon walls, as well as waterfalls, tunnels, and pools. We were taken on a tour with a great guide from Discover Banff.

We visited the lower falls which are 1.1 kilometres along the trail, taking around 30 minutes. Not to be missed is the short tunnel through the canyon rock to a viewing platform a couple of metres from the falls - just don’t be surprised if you get misted with water! After a photo opportunity we enjoyed hot chocolate and biscuits.

Skiing Resort Lake Louise  

This was one of my favourite days; we spent the afternoon here and we had so much fun.  A few of us had ski lessons and after we partied for a few hours in a true Apres Ski style with DJ and the place was buzzing! Unfortunately, we did have to leave although we could have carried on for hours.

Where to Stay?

Rimrock Resort Hotel

We stayed at the beautiful Rimrock Resort where it felt like you had just walked into a scene from Narnia with snow scattered across the tree’s but you cannot explain the feeling and beauty of the Rimrock unless you actually stay there.

The Rimrock Resort Hotel is an AAA/CAA Four Diamond and has 343 guest rooms, plus Convention Facilities over 18,000 square feet. The Wildrose Ballroom can accommodate groups of up to 600 and separately into three salons. 

Sunshine Mountain Lodge

An amazing Ski resort 7000 feet above the heart of the Canadian Rockies, if you are looking to hold your event in a Ski Resort. The Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Banff National Park. It offers casual and fine dining, the area’s largest hot tub and they now have new West Wing rooms with in-floor heating, jetted tubs, large-screen HD TVs, all in a rustic mountain theme. They have 84 rooms in total & 24 Waterfall rooms.

The Moose Hotel

Located one minute from downtown Banff is the brand new 4 star hotel property which was finally completed in 2016, the Moose Hotel & Suites. The design of the hotel is Mountain elegance with warm, rich, natural materials. The Hotel features 174 guestrooms, with a combination of one and two Bedroom Suites and hotel rooms. Amenities include the Meadow Spa & pools with 10 treatment rooms and private outdoor hot pool, indoor swimming pool and exercise room on the 3rd floor, and 2 spectacular rooftop hot pools with views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The largest meeting room is (approx 2,000 sq ft) & Darch Suite (approx. 750 sq ft). After our hotel inspection we enjoyed canapés & drinks in the corner house  one of Banff’s original mining dwellings, dating back to the early 1900’s.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Located in the heart of Banff National Park, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs hotel has 764 guestrooms and is a landmark in the picturesque alpine town of Banff, Alberta. Canada's "Castle in the Rockies", has been providing legendary hospitality for more than 125 years. Fairmont Banff Springs is a year-round luxury mountain resort that offers a championship golf course during the summer, unparalleled skiing in the winter and the award winning European-style Willow Stream Spa. The hotel has more than 76,000 square feet of meeting space for groups between 20 and 900 for meetings. We enjoyed dinner at the hotel’s 1888 Chophouse restaurant and after dinner we had fun in the hotel’s bowling alley which was is a great way of bringing people together.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise features breathtaking views of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier and the surrounding Rocky Mountains and is located in Alberta's Banff National Park.  It is recognised globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism and has a total of 552 rooms and 50 suites, as well as 36,000 sq feet of meeting space.

Many  outdoor activities can be arranged, including hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking and river rafting in the summer; downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and horse drawn sleigh rides in the winter.

Hotel Arts

Hotel Art is the ultimate urban escape. Experience a blend of modern luxury in Calgary's boutique-style hotel. Located in downtown Calgary, the heart of the city's emerging arts and entertainment district and just steps from Calgary's business centre, Hotel Arts gives you access to fabulous shopping, theatre, spas, dining, convention facilities and the world-famous Calgary Stampede. Hotel Arts features 185 rooms and suites, each appointed with its own chic contemporary decor.

On each floor the Hotel Arts has original art, from spectacular sculpture to paintings and hand-blown art glass light fixtures.

Hotel Arts recently opened its new 9,500 sq ft ballroom as part of the Arts Complex expansion which will include new retail boutiques.

We enjoyed lunch at the hotel’s Yellow Door Bistro restaurant specialising in bistro-style dishes with modern and seasonal twists.

Where to entertain your clients or top sales personnel? Look no further. Here’s our list of the best places to eat....

Chucks Steak house

Banff’s newest steakhouse promises an “Alberta Beef Experience”. Named after the owner’s dad, Chuck’s sources its wide range of beef (including top grade Canada Prime and wagyu cuts) directly from Alberta farms. Flavour and tenderness is enhanced by the only on-site dry aging room in Banff, grilling over a hardwood and mesquite fire, finishing in an 1800°F broiler and basting in butter. This stylish ranch-inspired saloon and dining room is surrounded with mountain and the Bow River vistas and an open-to-view beef aging room, dark wood panels, a fireplace and large tables for groups.

Park Distillery Restaurant

The only restaurant in Banff with its own distillery in a Canadian National Park (free tours run daily at 3:30 pm) they serve campfire-inspired meals and house-made spirits. Main courses from the wood-fired grill and rotisserie are served on tin platters and patterned crockery; while spirit-infused sauces come in metal camping mugs.

Park Distillery’s contemporary ‘alpine hut’ décor features tree trunk accents, antler lighting fixtures and other outdoorsy touches. Grab a bite to eat at the bar or people watch from windows that (on nice days) completely open onto Banff Avenue. Two patios offer mountain views, and there is a liquor and gift store on-site.

This visit was brought to you by our DMC, CTI Destination Management