Women's Adventure Travels
Seven Iconic Luxury Lodges in Canada
Updated: Aug 3, 2021
Some of the best lodges in all of North America are located within a national park
If heading north of the border to get your adventure on, these luxe lodges located in or around a national or provincial park are top spots to call home while you roam.
Fairmont Banff Springs - Banff National Park
The Fairmont Banff Springs is located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Canada's oldest national park. The luxury 5-star alpine resort known as the "Castle in the Rockies" has played host to adventure enthusiasts and luminaries for more than 125 years. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988.
The hotel was opened in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as one of the earliest of Canada's grand railway hotels. Designed with a Scottish Baronial Castle in mind, the hotel's interior alpine design blends seamlessly with the castle-like exterior.
The Châteauesque style used for most of the grand railway hotels in Canada style also borrows elements from the Arts and Crafts movement.
Today, the year-round mountain resort boasts 764 rooms. It offers championship golf during the summer, unparalleled skiing in the winter, and Fairmont's signature European-styled Willow Stream all year round.
Fairmont Lake Louise - Banff National Park
A sister property to Fairmont's Banff Springs, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, is also located within Banff National Park, on the eastern shore of the iconic Lake Louise, a glacial lake within the park.
Lake Louise is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The lake alone is a massive draw to the park. The turquoise color of the water comes from rock flour carried into the lake by meltwater from the glaciers that overlook the lake. It is a selfie central surrounding the lake.
What once was constructed as a small cabin for alpine enthusiasts more than 100 years ago has grown into a 539-room luxury resort today and is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. The resort is a-buzz year-round with canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding in the warmer weather. In the winter months, world-class skiing on the 4,200 acres at Lake Louise Ski Resort draws many savvy skiers. The Willow Stream Spa and the iconic gondola ride are also options for those taking a more relaxed approach.
The iconic lodge was once known as "Hollywood North." Alfred Hitchcock, Douglas Fairbanks, Marilyn Monroe, and Queen Elizabeth were but a few famous faces in the house.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge - Jasper National Park
Situated just north of Banff National Park in Jasper National Park sits what is referred to as the “Great Canadian Lodge.” Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is surrounded by remarkable views of mountains and the emerald green water of Lac Beauvert.
The lodge’s history harkens back to 1915 when it was a mere10 ten large luxury tents. Today, it hosts 442 guest suites and luxurious cabins.
Set deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, golf enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find a better place to get their game one. In 1925, it took 50 teams of horses and 200 men to clear the land of boulders and debris to prepare for what would become one of Canada's premier golf courses.
This winter wonderland has it all on offer, from skating to dog sledding—tobogganing, snowshoeing, and helicopter tours. You can get your ski on in any number of ways, including cross country and heli-skiing. Summer swims in the pool overlooking the lake, hiking, and canoeing are favored by many, like kicking back, relaxing, and taking in the scenery. True to Fairmont form, The Spa on site is world-class, and the abundant restaurant and bar options are seasonal and inspired.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler - Garibaldi Provincial Park
Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler's landmark hotel, and British Columbia golf resort exudes mountain luxury.
The hotel boasts a ski-in/ski-out location with ski valet service and an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. With roughly 39 feet of annual snowfall, winter weather travelers can enjoy skating, skiing, and snowshoeing. The summer scene is as robust as the winter with the glacier-fed lake at Fairmont Chateau Whistler with golf, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding.
If looking to dial it down, there are five treatment rooms in the spa, and the pools come with underwater music. Reading and relaxing in the lodge with its 25-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the snow-capped mountains is hard to beat.
It's tough to leave the property as the sustainably sourced, locally-inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine in The Wildflower and The Grill Room. Whistler's only AAA/CAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant is top-notch.
Bugaboo Lodge - Bugaboo Provincial Park
The Bugaboo Mountains of British Columbia is the birthplace of heli-skiing, backcountry skiing that involves using a helicopter to access remote areas, especially those with virgin powder snow.
This Bugaboo area attracts the world's most intrepid skiers in winter and equally avid hikers come summer. Whether you are into heli-skiing, heli-hiking, or heli-gazing, the only way to access the Bugaboo Lodge is by helicopter.
The Bugaboos, originally named the "Nunataks" have several internationally known rock climbing routes. The South Howser Spire, Pigeon Spire, Bugaboo Spire, and Snowpatch Spire are among the spires that attract world-class climbers.
Whatever your pleasure, this is getting off the grid at its finest. The log-hewn lodge has 32 guest rooms, a four-story climbing wall, a steam room, a sauna, and an outdoor rooftop hot tub with a view that is hard to beat.
Dalvay by the Sea - Prince Edward Island National Park
The Dalvay by the Sea is a truly secluded oasis located on the north shore of Canada's smallest province, one of the country's three maritime provinces, Prince Edward's Island.
This island itself is remote by nature. It is located off the eastern coast of Canada, nestled between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Québec, and Newfoundland and Labrador in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The island is known for its rugged coastline, empty lighthouses, and rolling green hillside. It is where the book Anne of Green Gables is based.
The property has such a rich history. Built in1895, Alexander MacDonald named the house Dalvay By-The-Sea, after his boyhood home in Scotland. It is an elegant Queen Anne revival home. The family traveled worldwide and bought back beautiful articles of furniture, pottery and draperies from England, France, Egypt, and Italy for the home.
The hint of yesterday is that there are no televisions, phones, or radios in any Main Inn guest rooms. The elegance remains today as the dining couldn't be better than MacMillan Dining Room onsite. The full-service restaurant offers guests a fine dining experience at a Canadian National Heritage Site in a landmark Victorian home.
As a National Historic Site of Canada, this retreat was regal enough for Prince William and Kate the Duchess on a recent visit.
Emerald Lake Lodge - Yoho National Park
The Emerald Lake Lodge is situated on the British Columbia side of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This 85-room lodge sits almost directly on the turquoise-colored water of the Emerald Lake.
Set in the Yoho National Park and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the Emerald Lake Lodge features 85 rooms with wood-burning fireplaces, an outdoor hot tub, three restaurants, and a lounge.
The cuisine served is locally sourced and inspired in offerings and the name. You'll find free-range elk, bison, and seafood on their Rocky Mountain menus at The Kicking Horse Lounge and The Cilantro on the Lake. Beyond the plates and pours, guests indulge in dog sledding, snowboarding, canoeing, and white water rafting.
Written by Samantha Miller and Karen Loftus
Photo credit Bugaboo Lodge main image: CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures/Lyle Grisdale
Photo credit-Bugaboo Lodge small image: CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures/Jesse Tamayo