Open seasonally from June 1 through September 30, Moraine Lake Lodge is, as its name suggests, set right on the stunning turquoise waters of the glacier-fed Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. The lake is one of the most photographed locations in Canada, and the view once appeared on the back of Canadian $20 bills. The original lodge sprang from a teahouse that offered overnight camping at the turn of the 20th century, with the first lodge house dating back to the 1930s. A full redevelopment began in the late '80s, with a new building designed by acclaimed Canadian architect Arthur Erickson opened in 1991. The cabins and rooms all feature custom-built log furniture, and many rooms have wood-burning river rock fireplaces. The room design reflects the soaring Rocky Mountains outside, with warm earth tones alongside cozy blankets and deep soaker tubs. All rooms are free of TVs and telephones, allowing guests to unplug from modern-day distractions, although there is Wi-Fi. It’s likely that cell phones will not work here either.
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Moraine Lake Lodge, Banff, is surrounded by the mountains and glaciers of Banff National Park, with nothing but nature as far as the eye can see. Its only neighbors are grizzly bears, porcupines, golden mantle ground squirrels, and ravens. It’s all about the great outdoors here, thanks to the park’s protected status and jaw-dropping scenery. Guests can hike the trails with a guide and learn more about the flora and fauna of the mountains, gallop through alpine meadows and glacier streams on horseback, or take it all in from above on a helicopter tour over the Rockies and Icefields. The photographic highlight of any trip to the area is, of course, a hike around Lake Louise, whose waters glitter turquoise in the summer sunshine.
Need to Know
Rooms: 33 rooms; from $440. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The Walter Wilcox dining room is open for breakfast and dinner and serves local and seasonal cuisine; there is also an impressive wine cellar. Reservations are recommended. The Snowshoe Cafe is open from 8 a.m. till 7 p.m. and has a range of deli food and fresh-baked goods; the muffins are particularly good. Spa and gym details: There is no gym or spa, but hardy individuals can swim in the ice-cold lake or work up a sweat paddling on the water in the complimentary canoes.
Who's it for: Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers; couples celebrating special anniversaries. Our favorite rooms: The Deluxe King Cabin 18 sits a little way from the main lodge and has its own fireplace and direct views of the lake and mountains. In the main lodge building, the best views are from the rooms on the second floor, which have their own lake-facing balconies. Time for tea: After a full day hiking or kayaking, the complimentary afternoon tea in the library at the lodge is a great restorative. It's served between 3 and 5 p.m. and yes, there is coffee too.