I recently explored something closer to home and couldn’t wait to share. I was off to Banff for the long weekend because we found a last minute deal on Expedia for Tunnel Mountain Resort. Derek (my boyfriend) and I booked their Executive suite, as it was less expensive than all other regular suites in the area. Banff is notoriously expensive for lodging. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a deal the past couple months, and one finally came up. We booked on a Tuesday night, and we would be staying there that Thursday and Friday. This suite was even a better price than the hostel in Banff, which was $40 a night more.
The road in to Banff was less busy than usual, seeing as it was the off season, and only a Thursday. As an Edmontonian, I’m thankful for the Stoney Trail bypass in Calgary, but the route through Cochrane doesn’t take much longer depending on traffic and I believe it’s more scenic (plus you can stop for some really amazing ice cream at MacKay’s). The entry into the park costs $9.80 per adult per day and expires at four in the afternoon the last day. Seniors and youth do get a discount. For Canada’s 150th birthday, park passes will be free in 2017 for anyone looking to travel to this glorious country!
I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things about going to Banff and Jasper is driving up and seeing that first glimpse of the mountains. As we drive further west, listening to music, or just rolling down the window and breathing in that much needed mountain air, it feels like home to me. There’s an “I have arrived” feeling. Driving further into the mountain range, you can’t help but sit in awe of God’s wonderful creation.
We arrived in the park at 6:30 in the evening and check into the hotel. The front desk staff was friendly, but the parking on sight left something to be desired. It’s a good thing my little Volkswagen Beetle is so small. The larger trucks were parked across a couple stalls instead of straight in just one. On Saturday when we checked out, the parking lot was so full, trucks had to park normally and stuck far out into the lane, leaving very little room to back out or drive through.
We opened the door of our room, and it was a quaint little cabin. It looked clean and had fresh paint. There was a balcony overlooking the Tunnel Mountain road, which wasn’t all that busy, and the mountain could be seen behind it. The suite had a Jacuzzi tub and a steam shower in the bathroom, which were both nice surprises. My only complaint is that the mattress was old and the sheet wasn’t fitted and didn’t quite tuck under the mattress tight. The quilt was also older and had a few holes.
Near the living area was a gas fireplace, and apparently some suites have real wood burning ones. On property there are also condo style suites, for those who want a kitchen and are staying long-term. There was a pool and hot tub on site. The television set was hooked up to a DVD player (something I haven’t seen for a while in a hotel) and you can borrow movies from the front lobby for free. They had really great free Wi-Fi too and I was never wishing for a better connection.
The whole place was clean so that’s all I can ask for. I would definitely stay there again, especially for the price we paid. The only disadvantage was no breakfast, but we packed muffins and fruit so we were good to go. I personally prefer staying off Banff’s main street and don’t mind the walk, so I would rather stay on Tunnel Mountain. The hotel also offered free vouchers for the local bus, if you don’t mind waiting 40 minutes for the next one to come by.
So does anyone have a favourite route to Banff? A favourite place to stay? Let me know as I’m thinking of making more trips around this great province this summer.