When I last left you, we were assessing how our 3 months of vanlife went. At the time, I thought this would be my last travel article of the year. That’s because we are moving to Mexico at the end of November because Bobby got a job there ! Yaayyy 🎉🎉 – but I guess I was wrong.
As a matter of fact, we got super lucky and were able to sneak in one last weekend away in the mountains before we take a plane with our dog towards Puerto Vallarta. However, the temperatures are already extremely low in Calgary and around. Sleeping in the van was simply out of the question. Hence, our booking a lovely hotel right in the center of Banff.
So, let’s hit the road together !
OUR HOTEL : CANALTA LODGE
I most highly recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a pet-friendly, clean and beautiful lodge in the heart of Banff. Our dog Nola was the most welcome as they had a little tub of treats and poop bags available at the entrance. Breakfast is free and you can book a thirty minute slot in their incredible hot tub with mountain views. From the hotel, you’ll be able to walk most places – which we really appreciated.
💰: $ 139 CAD per night + $25 fee for the dog
❤️️ : the views and the hot tub, their COVID-19 safety measures
👎 : free breakfast, not amazing but also it’s in the middle of a pandemic so I understand they’re not offering the same type of service as they would in normal times
OUR SCHEDULE FOR 48 HOURS :
DAY 1 :
Arrive in Banff in the afternoon and take a short hike to get the feel of the place. We personally would suggest you take the Surprise Corner Viewpoint trail. Starting right at the Banff Trading Post, walk down the bridge over the bow River and then head up to the Surprise Corner for some amazing views over the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Check in at your hotel and go out for dinner at Farm & Fire. Loved their cocktails and their short & fresh menu.
DAY 2 :
First, take a lap around Banff. A perfect occasion to tire your pup for the rest of the day, if like us, you plan on going somewhere they’re not welcome. . You’ll probably see deer or elk because the area is full of the little cuties.
Head to the Banff Gondola and grab lunch at the Sky Bistro. I advise you take their lunch package because the food is delightful and the price is really worth it. The fee for the gondola is $61 CAD but if you pick the lunch package (which costs $72 CAD), you’ll be able to go up the gondola and eat a starter + an entree at the Sky bistro. This amazing price includes gratuities too. Extras include the most stunning views you’ll ever see !
Once you arrive at the top, take the boardwalk and explore the surroundings. The 360 degrees view, the fresh snow and the numerous peaks make for a breathtaking experience.
Go back to your hotel and relax in the hot tub ! For the most adventurous, we also had access to a cold pool, to get your blood flowing inbetween sessions in the hot tub.
Grab a drink & a bite at the Fairmont Hotel – since we couldn’t afford a room there, we decided we would check out their cocktail bar (Rundle Lounge). Delicious cocktails, tasty small plates and the ability to see the Fairmont from within. We really loved it.
End the night at Banff Ave Brewing Co. Great craft beers & cocktails (including my favourite Calgary Savage Love Earl Grey Martini) and buttery pretzels made for a excellent night cap.
If you get as lucky as us, you’ll have amazing sun during your time at the Gondola and then witness some snowfalls during your drive back home. One last lap around town under the snow was so pleasing.
The last thing we wanted to do was check out Minnewanka lake. Unfortunately it was snowing too much for us to go there that day, but if weather permits, I’ve heard it’s beautiful.
The snow covered road back to Calgary is also a sight to see.
Hope you enjoyed this little getaway with us. We didn’t go back to Lake Louise etc, because we’ve already done it 3 times and it was time to see something a bit different and remain safe while driving the van around (ie. not take snow covered forest roads).
Fanny, Bobby, Nola & Vanito!
COPYRIGHT: All pictures belong to Fanny Cohen Sanchez, @fannychn on Instagram, Three Times Nine 2020.