Set 15 minutes’ walk from the irresistibly photogenic town of Banff within the pristine surrounds of Banff National Park, Buffalo Mountain Lodge lives up to every rustic Rocky Mountain vacation fantasy. Deer can even be spotted nibbling on the lawns just outside. Classic cabin style is the order of the day, with the spacious rooms decorated in a soothing range of earthy browns, greens, and mustard yellows. Each room boasts hefty river rock fireplaces and leather baskets piled high with logs. A full renovation in 2014 added flat screens to each room, but the views from the windows—of the Bow Valley, Mount Rundle, and Cascade Mountain—puts anything man-made to shame. In fact, don’t even pick up the remote. Throughout summer, the nine acres of grounds ringed by towering pines, fir, and spruce offer a showstopping display of flowering blossoms, which even the locals come to photograph.
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Rightly famous for its pristine, snow-topped mountain beauty and endless wilderness of evergreen forests, Banff offers adventure enthusiasts a smorgasbord of year-round outdoor activities, from skiing and hiking to downhill biking. Want to relax? Take a trip to the thermal hot springs and while there learn about the start of Parks Canada.
Need to Know
Rooms: 108 rooms. From $189. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The Sleeping Buffalo restaurant features seasonal, local Canadian cuisine with an Alberta feel. Expect game such as caribou, elk, and buffalo on the menu—all coming from the lodge’s own game farm. Spa and gym details: No spa. A compact gym offers 24-hour access. But it’s the hiking, biking, and skiing in the mountains surrounding the lodge that will send guests to the lodge’s 16-person stainless-steel hot tub, open from 10 a.m. till 11 p.m.
Who’s it for: Fans of mild to medium adventure. Lovers of fine cuisine and boutique wines (the lodge’s wine list was awarded a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence). Our favorite rooms: Ask for the Lodge room with the king-size bed, it’s a corner room and has more space. The premier king rooms look out over the back of the Lodge with unspoiled views of the valley and mountains. The combination of exposed-beam ceiling, oversized bathroom with claw-foot tub, and heated slate floor oozes luxury with a wilderness view. Local highlight: An easy hike with a major payoff, the Tunnel Mountain trail is right at the doorstep and takes only about half an hour but rewards with the best views of Banff.