Where to Stay in Alberta
Urban boutique hotels, mountain lodges or funky retro-inspired motel makeovers, Alberta has the right kind of accommodation to complement whatever experience you are seeking in the province. Here are our recommendations.
ALT HOTEL in the East Village
The Le Germain properties are always well-situated, modern urban hotels (like this one in Montreal), and their Alt Hotel in Calgary’s new East Village neighbourhood is no different. The hotel’s rooms aren’t the biggest but they have some funky touches and are super-functional (think charging stations right where you need them and more than one or two), plus the bathrooms are always top-notch.
The neighbourhood where the Alt is located caters to local urbanites with new restaurants mixed in with condos, and downtown is conveniently within walking distance. Plus the walk towards the centre offers the opportunity to see some interesting architecture along the way.
THE HOTEL CLIQUE, Calgary Airport
If you have an early morning flight out of Calgary, definitely look into the Clique Hotel. The rooms are definitely not what you would expect at an airport hotel (we’re talking funky-coloured lighting under the bed platform, super modern decor and really positive online reviews!) There’s even a TV in the bathroom, but you might need to be a bit of a techie to take full advantage of their state-of-the-art shower.
On-site there’s also a lounge and restaurant that offers typical pub fare if you’re hungry in the evening, as well as breakfast if you have time for a bite before catching your flight. The added bonus is that the hotel has a shuttle to take you that last leg of your journey right to Departures.
THE DOROTHY MOTEL, Banff Avenue
Nothing in Banff is cheap, so be prepared to spend money on any place you stay. But if you want to spend a little less, this madeover motor hotel is the way to go. The Dorothy has adopted the new trend of turning older vintage properties into funky, retro-chic accommodations by modernizing the rooms, redoing the decor and keeping frills in check.
Speaking of checking in, you’ll need to do that at the Dorothy’s sister property, Banff Caribou Lodge (about 100 metres south on Banff Ave.) Guests of both properties have use all of the Lodge’s facilities (pool, laundry, exercise room, etc) and you also receive a complimentary pass for the Banff ROAM transit service (stop located very close to the Lodge).
At the Dorothy, your room includes a small fridge and microwave. A nice personal touch is that all guests are welcome to keep the ceramic mugs provided in the room.
Another bonus is that there’s a gas station right next door with a convenience store, and an A&W (handy if you need a quick breakfast sandwich to go if you are planning an early morning departure to go hiking).
Cyclists will love this place, too, as there is a full bike repair station in the central courtyard (entrance around the back) which also doubles as a great place to hang. Nice, eh?
OVERLANDER MOUNTAIN LODGE, Jasper (east of the Park entrance)
The town of Jasper is similar to Banff in that the lodgings in the Park are pretty pricey. But if you’d like to get more bang for your buck and incredible mountain views right from your room, check out (or into) the Overlander Mountain Lodge.
The Lodge is located a mere kilometer east of the entrance to Jasper National Park (en route to Hinton), and about 25 minutes from the ‘city’ centre. But that distance translates into some savings, you get a nicer room for the money you do spend, and there’s an added bonus: you’re likely to see wildlife on the drive to and from your hotel. (We saw elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep on pretty much every trip!)
The real treat, however, is the restaurant at the Lodge, Stone Peak Restaurant. Chef Shane Rutledge serves up locally-sourced creations that are elevated, creative and delicious! His duck prosciutto amuse-bouche was melt-in-your mouth, and the stinging nettle soup (say, what?!) was amazing.
TIP: Definitely book a mountain-view room, if only for the sunsets. Otherwise, the huge deck is a great alternative for evening drinks
Indulge yourself for dinner one night at the Lodge, and then hit up their nearby sister business, Folding Mountain Craft Brewery, for more casual fare and great craft beers. It’s a favourite with the locals and there’s a terrific outdoor patio, too.
WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK
WATERTON LAKES LODGE & RESORT, Waterton
Accommodations in Waterton Lakes National Park all tend towards the rustic and comfortable, which is part of the charm of this tiny hamlet nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Waterton Lakes Lodge & Resort offers 5 different types of rooms, in a several separate buildings clustered around its main reception facility. (Here you’ll also find Vimy’s Lounge & Grill which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in their large resto-bar.)
Depending on what you are doing (cooking for yourself, travelling with kids, or getting away for a romantic escape), you will find suites that include everything from mini-fridge and microwave to full kitchen with range, dishwasher, microwave and more.
We stayed in their Deluxe King Suite which had both a fireplace and a jacuzzi tub, comfy bed and a small loveseat in the sitting area.
Want to read more about our experiences in Alberta? Click here.