Though Alberta’s landscape is stunning no matter the season, winter is arguably when its at its most iconic—think snow-capped mountains, frosted pines, and glacial valleys. With multiple national parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites only a few hours drive from Calgary and Edmonton, one need not travel far to escape the city. Here, we share five destinations to consider for a weekend away this winter.
Fairmont Banff Springs
Dreams really do come true when you wake up in a castle, overlooking the majestic mountain town of Banff. From Fairmont Banff Springs’ perch in the Rocky Mountains, warm yourself to the bone with a soak in the mineral pools and waterfalls of the hotel’s award-winning Willow Stream Spa, or take a short trip up the hill for a dip in the natural Banff Upper Hot Springs, one of the area’s main draws. But first, earn your soak with a trek into the snow: within close driving distance to the Fairmont are three major world-class ski resorts (Lake Louise among them), plenty of frozen lakes ready to be skated on, and snow-laden trails for prime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. People visit from the world over, but Albertans should also enjoy the beauty of their province—the Fairmont’s resident rate prods with friendly encouragement, leaving no excuse to pass up a weekend getaway.
Pyramid Lake Resort
With an enchanting lakeside boasting panoramic mountain experiences, Pyramid Lake Resort is a charming retreat that truly captures the aesthetic of alpine chalet chic. How better to enjoy Jasper National Park than holing up next to your guestroom’s fireplace in your guestroom while taking in views of the lake or mountains? Get a taste of Jasper with the seasonal menu of local provisions from chef Thomas Riding at the Pines Restaurant. (Tip: Book a sunset dinner for a truly spectacular evening.) For snow seekers, trek the trails by cross-country skis, snowshoes, or fat bike, while Pyramid Lake’s outdoor rink makes a picturesque scene for mountain-set skating. With all equipment rentable on-site, it’s an ideal spot for novices looking to try something new in an unforgettable setting.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
A crowning jewel of Kananaskis Country, the newly renovated 247-key Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, an Autograph Collection Hotel seamlessly blends modern luxuries with the rugged comforts of mountain living. A highlight of the stay is the evening campfire held daily and complete with marshmallow roasting—a nostalgic tradition, elevated with handcrafted cocktails and live entertainment. Only a few steps from the lodge is the Kananaskis Nordic Spa, which presents a Canadian take on the Scandinavian wellness tradition of hydrotherapy. Cycle through the various outdoor pools and give in to ultimate rejuvenation, set against a stunning Rocky Mountain backdrop.
A former private residence, the majestic Azuridge Hotel became a quintessential home-away-from-home when it opened in the hamlet of Priddis in 2012. Explore the peaceful area with the usual wintry activities—skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing—or by private sleigh ride, and once ready to settle in for some RnR, Azuridge’s personalized butler services will be there to welcome you home. Of course, “home” in this instance might include everything from in-room dining and hydrotherapy baths to indulgent nightcaps and soul-warming s’mores by a crackling fireplace. Come dinnertime, let chef Yoshi Chubachi create a personalized menu of Asian- and French-inspired dishes. With 13 suites and floor-to-ceiling windows boasting unparalleled views of the snow-covered foothills, this estate hotel is just the place to curl up and enjoy a cozy winter weekend.
Mount Engadine Lodge
Mount Engadine Lodge is set in the heart of Spray Lakes Provincial Park, amidst the Rocky Mountains. A mere two-hour drive from Calgary and outside of cellular service, this hidden gem offers a serene stay in a remote wilderness setting. The five newly added rustic-chic glamping tents are an ideal spot to unwind and unplug, each equipped with a full bathroom, king bed, fireplace, and private deck. Dining is all-inclusive, but far from your typical buffet offerings—the two-course breakfast and family-style dinner are seasonal and ever-changing. Those on an athletic pursuit can have a custom packed lunch prepared for a day of snowshoeing, dogsledding, or cross-country skiing. For the less intrepid, afternoon tea is served daily, featuring freshly baked treats and Canadian tea blends made to stimulate, refresh, and relax as you settle into a weekend immersed in nature.
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