Banff is one of our favourite places in Canada to visit. Living in Calgary, it’s a quick trip that we can make for the day or for a weekend away. Something that I love about Banff is that you can have a relaxing, secluded weekend away, a couple days of adventure and outdoor fun, a family weekend, a girls trip/boys trip…it can really anything you want it to be.
There is something special about a trip to Banff whether it’s your first or hundredth visit. When I travel to other parts of the world and locals learn that I’m from Western Canada, they always ask if I’ve been to Banff and if it’s as magical as it sounds! The answer is yes. I could write countless posts about my wonderful experiences in Banff National Park but in this post, I’m highlighting one of my favourite places to stay.
I want to say that I have a favourite time to visit Banff, but there’s something special about every season. I personally enjoy the mountains in the winter – they just feel a little more magical covered in snow. I also find places like Banff to be less busy in the day as many visitors are at the ski hill (sometimes I am one of those visitors). No matter when you visit, though, the views are like nothing else. Our most recent trip to Banff was taken this winter and I’m excited to share the details of our stay.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge
One of my favourite places to stay in Banff is Buffalo Mountain Lodge. I love that this hotel is located up the hill from the town centre making it a quieter getaway from the hustle and bustle. It’s close enough to enjoy the fun, shopping and restaurants, but just far enough away to provide the mountain tranquility that so many of us are looking for.
You might remember my post about Emerald Lake Lodge and how much we enjoy our time there every time we visit. Well, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is owned by the same family company and offers many of the same wonderful amenities at this property.
The location offers access to some amazing hikes and nature walks, spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies and the Bow River Valley and access to mountain adventures!
Our visit to the property was one of our first weekends away with our new baby and I’m thankful that we took the opportunity to get away. Buffalo Mountain Lodge offers rooms that are perfect for a stay with little ones. Our room featured a bedroom separate from a small kitchen, dining and living rooms, complete with wood burning fireplace. The little kitchen was perfect for our bottle sterilizer and formula maker!
There are a number of room options, each within a cabin setting, which is really lovely. I always feel like if I’m going to visit the mountains, I want the experience to feel as authentic and as “mountain-y” as possible. This property surely offers this authentic experience.
Outdoor Hot Tub & Fire Pit
Buffalo Mountain Lodge offers an outdoor hot tub and fire pit area which are amazing at any time of day. The area is sheltered from any excess of wind and is the perfect way to start or end your day!
I love how the hot tub area is located under the massive Douglas Fir trees that are found throughout the property, adding to the magic of the mountain getaway experience.
Where to Eat
Banff offers a number of amazing restaurants. I could write a novel of a post of all of my favourite places to eat in Banff, but it’s worth noting that if you’re looking for great food, you don’t need to leave the hotel property. The Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room offers award-winning cuisine with a wine list to boast about!
During our most recent stay, we enjoyed a buffet breakfast in the Dining Room one morning, and ordered room service for breakfast from the restaurant on the second morning. Both were fantastic! In the evening, rather than venture into the town centre, we opted for a quiet dinner in the Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room and we were not disappointed. Being able to walk back to our room right after is always nice, too!
As I mentioned above, we were visiting with a little one, and the staff was so accommodating to help us fit our stroller or baby car seat at the table with us so that my husband and I could enjoy a mini date night.
There is also a small cafe on site where you can grab coffee, pastries or lunch on the go! This spot is open from 7am to 3pm, so perfect for pre- or post-adventure snacks!
Things to Do
There are countless things to do in Banff. Whether you’re looking for a spa weekend, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining or mountain sightseeing, there’s something for you. I love to do a few things every time I head out to Banff, so take this as a quick mini guide of things to do for a weekend away!
Friday night, I like to settle in to the hotel room and then have a nice dinner, followed by a relaxing evening by the fire. Saturday, I like to wake up and enjoy breakfast at the hotel before heading into town where I’ll grab a coffee and stroll the main street, popping in and out of the shops.
In the afternoon I like to head up the Banff Gondola for a small hike and unbeatable views of the valley. (Substitute any of this with skiing, hiking, golfing, spa, biking, snowshoeing, etc.).
After the Gondola, it’s time for a quick dip in the hot tub before a lovely dinner of local cuisine. Another relaxing evening by the fire, perhaps with dessert and a nightcap and it’s time to turn in. Another lovely breakfast before checkout and it’s time to head home!
What to Pack
Packing for a weekend in Banff really depends on the time of year that you visit. I’ve mentioned this in many of my mountain weekend away posts because it remains to be true: What I love about the Canadian Rockies is that really anything goes when it comes to what to wear. You can of course get dressed up for dinner and be as fancy as you like, or you can wear your hiking clothes and multi-layered outfits in and around the lodge.
What you’ll see: In the winter you’ll see a variety of ski jackets, parkas and outerwear. You’ll also see jeans, leggings, wool socks, sweaters, layers and vests, scarves, boots and sneakers and toques. I always pack a pair of comfy pjs or loungewear to wear in front of the in-room fireplace! I also suggest a swimsuit and a pair of flip flops for the hot tub.
I do have a few suggestions of seasonal specifics to pack, right here! Layers are always a must for mountain travel as well as the appropriate clothing for whatever outdoor activities you have planned.
Tips for Visiting Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a wonderful place to stay. Here are a few tips for making your stay as seamless as possible!
National Park: Buffalo Mountain Lodge is located in Banff National Park which means you’ll need a National Park Pass displayed in your vehicle window for parking. Passes are available at the Park Gates.
Town Shuttle: There’s no need to drive to the town centre with shuttle services available at the hotel. Be sure to inquire with the desk about these services.
Everything You Need is On-Site: Everything you need is on-site and within walking distance. It only takes a minute or two to get from your room to the restaurant/lounge, the hot tub, or fitness facility.
Meals: There is no need to make a reservation for breakfast or for dining in the lounge, however, if you do plan on eating in the main dining room, I recommend making a reservation with the front desk staff as space does fill up quickly. The Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room takes online reservations, too!
Ask The Staff: Looking for a recommendation for things to do in Banff? Don’t be shy about asking the staff. They are all knowledgable and happy to help!