From unforgettable hotels to breathtaking experiences, we’re here to show you just how much there is to explore in our own Canadian backyard. Let us inspire your next Stylish Staycation!
Sometimes the most well-known getaway destinations aren’t exactly how they look in the photos. Popular hotels, parks and activities are often teeming with tourists, especially in the summer. That can really hamper the kind of restful atmosphere you’re looking for in a getaway. Sometimes the best staycation spots are even closer to home than you think.
Calgary Staycation highlights
- Stay at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
- Go horseback riding, hiking and kayaking
- Unwind at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa
- 3-course dinner at Cedar Room
VIDEO: Calgary Staycation
Escape to Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and Nordic Spa, go horseback riding through the mountains and kayak on cerulean blue glacier lakes.
Where to Stay: Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
Nestled just below Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is a truly Canadian getaway just over an hour’s drive from downtown Calgary. The lodge is surrounded by pine trees with soaring views up into the mountains on one side of the property and down into the valley on the other.
Crackling campfires are everywhere you look, from the entrance to the lobby to the alfresco spa circuit. The atmosphere here strikes a well-honed balance between luxurious and casual, making you feel effortlessly comfortable everywhere you go.
Accommodations range from guest and deluxe rooms to luxury lofts (where I stayed) and suites. The luxury lofts spread out generously over two levels with a kitchenette and dining area, bathroom, living room and balcony on the first level. On the second is the mezzanine bedroom, second bathroom, and stunning sloped loft ceiling with gallery-style views of the mountains.
Order breakfast to the room — the poached eggs are a must — and sip your coffee on the balcony, soaking up the impossibly fresh air and the quiet rustle of the pines in a totally serene setting.
Where to relax: Kananaskis Nordic Spa
The lodge’s nordic spa features an outdoor hydrotherapy circuit where you can cycle through a series of pools and saunas at varying temperatures. Big, heavy plaid robes are ideal for cozying up on Muskoka chairs by the campfires dotted around the spa in the evenings. While cocoon-like winterized hammocks are a popular option for midday naps year-round.
Head to the special spa-only eatery Two Trees Bistro that overlooks the hydrotherapy circuit for a snack and a glass of wine in your spa robe, or even a full-on meal if your pool hopping has you really hungry.
The best part? You get a little tub of exfoliating salt to use post-circuit which will leave your skin completely soft and smooth. Needless to say I slept extremely well after this!
Where to eat: Cedar Room
Kananaskis Mountain Lodge has a solid range of dining options on site, but my favourite for an indulgent dinner is Cedar Room.
The seasonal menu is choc-full of local ingredients like Alberta grass-fed beef and lamb, and portions are generous. I recommend the scallops or the Alberta grass-fed beef tartare to start. I also loved the sautéed mushrooms, a hearty side that could have been a feature dish in my opinion.
The best way to finish the evening is with a Campfire Manhattan (obviously). It comes in a glass covered by a coaster. Remove the coaster to release the smoke, and pour over a nice big ice cube. You may just be convinced to order the same again the next night…
What to do: Horseback riding and kayaking on glacier lakes
With so much to offer in outdoor adventure, Kananaskis is a great place to come with kids, but it’s equally lovely for a romantic getaway for two.
Explore the different altitudes on horseback from nearby Boundary Ranch where all skill levels are welcome, even if you’ve never touched a horse before. Follow the trail through alpine forest and watch the landscape change from trees to shrubs to rock as you summit the ridge. Give your steed a well-deserved pat for bringing you on a journey that’s not easily navigable on foot. Pack your cowboy hat and boots to complete this quintessential Albertan adventure.
Back down in the valley you can rent your own kayak to explore one of the bluest glacier lakes the Rockies have to offer: Barrier Lake. The lake’s mineral-rich hue is just as brilliant as the famous Lake Louise waters, but far less crowded these days. Make sure to dress appropriately as even in the summer the water is icy cold!
Calgary staycation tip: the Canadian Rockies are closer than you think
When people think of the Rockies they often picture those familiar scenes of Banff National Park. But you don’t have to drive for hours outside Calgary to get the real thing. Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is much more accessible and just as magical as what you’ll find further north. Even better, it’s far less crowded in this lesser-known region, so you’ll get more of that quiet one-on-one time with nature. That’s exactly what I’m looking for in an ideal Canadian getaway.
Want more inspiration for a Stylish Staycation? Take a look inside the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel for a Toronto Staycation you’ll want to extend.
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