Banff – A Little Break from Everyday Life

Well it’s November, that time between school start up and Christmas. Halloween has gone and of course we have snow on the ground, time to take a break.

Often this time of year I try to take a break such as an extra long weeked or even a whole week away from the humdrum of work. This year the stars where aligned and Jenn had her annual user conference so I decided to tag along and was so glad I did, let’s just say, Banff Springs, Gold Upgrade, need I say more.

We also decided to add a couple of days on at the end of the conference so we could have some hiking, good eats and some us time. Sadly we only have the gold upgrade until the Friday and will have to move rooms for the Friday and Saturday nights, boohoo. Although I said to Jenn we should complain about the hairs in the bathroom and maybe they would have let us stay!! Haha.

I cannot remember ever coming to the Banff Springs Hotel before, I for sure have never stayed here, but I don’t think I have ever wandered up the road from Banff to take a look around, so all of it is new to me, so this is also a hotel review as well.

Out little trip did not start off well, we felt it was better to get a cab to the airport then take the car, so Jenn booked a cab for 2:30pm, well of course the cabs in Grande Prairie can never be relied on and sure enough Jenn had to call to ask were are can was, they blamed a shift change for not knowing about us and said the would send a cab right away.

Well by 2:50pm we decided we had better drive and not take the risk that we would be denied boarding, something that has happened in GP before now when you show up less than a hour before flight time, luckily we had a good drive to the airport and had no issues checking our bags.

In Calgary it was a different matter, after waiting for almost 30 minutes for our bags I wandered up to the Westjet baggage services desk and asked what the delay with our bags was, the agent called on her radio and said the bags would be out in 2 minutes!!! Jenn suggested that they had forgotten about them, which could have been correct.

So right away we where running later than expected, and we were meeting a colleague of Jenn’s for the drive out to Banff, he had arrived about 30 minutes earlier so now had been waiting around for over an hour after his flight from Toronto. We met him at the car rental place and picked up the car, well SUV which ended up being a brand new Pathfinder, bonus.

The drive out to Banff was a little wild, with pretty heavy snow at times and lots of blowing snow, but we made it to Canmore, our dinner stop.

Blakes, never heard of it before, but being hungry we stepped in to a place that resembled the old Earl’s in Grande Prairie, pretty open, concrete floors, high ceiling and tables just scattered around. Our server was from out east and was from Hamilton, just so happens Jenn’s colleague was also from there.

The menu was on a two sided colouring sheet, with colouring pencils on the table, the menu was a little odd, not in what was on it, just seemed a little “not knowing what I want to be”. There was dim sum, burgers, some crack fries, ribs. The oddest was most of the dishes where what they called “large plates” meaning they where designed for sharing, they also had a bunch of sides and appetizers, so if you did not want the same as who you where with then it would be a very limited menu, lucky for us we could agree and we ordered some crack fries, some kind of cauliflower parmesan and schezwan chicken. We also ordered some craft beer the name of escapes me but it was from Vancouver and was an amber ale.

The food was pretty good, little heavy on the sodium, which always frustrates me as there is not need for it, even if we had one in Grande Prairie I am not sure if I would eat there very often due to the limitations of the menu, would be a good place for a group of people to go to and would be better of they had large round tables, similar to what you sometimes see in Chinese and Japanese restaurants with the twirly thing to share food around…. Mmmm might suggest it to them!!!

We arrived at the hotel at an unknown time and found the parkade, we thought it would be covered but was so busy we ended up on the roof level, oh well. So we wandered all the way back to the hotel and reception through the snow, although one cannot complain as it looked beautiful.

Checkin was a breeze, even more so finding out about the gold upgrade which was a very nice surprise and gave us access to the lounge were there was breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres and a place to chill out, but non of that tonight as it was late and both tired, unfortunately I had to make a trip out to the car with the parking pass, although it was a beautiful evening for a quick trek in the snow, it was pretty chilly and I wished we had parked checked in and then moved the car to the parkade.

Our room was very nice, pretty nice size compared to other Fairmont Hotel rooms I have stayed in, with a king sized bed and an amazing view. Great amenities, although Jenn does like to travel with her own shampoo and conditioner, well aside from the hairs on the floor in the shower. Lots of storage room and a nice sized closet with lots of hangers, and of course in a place like this you would expect it to have proper hangers.

So day one done of my short start of winter break, more to follow as I explore Banff and a little more of the Banff Springs Hotel.

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