Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alberta Travel Notes

Some places we stayed or ate at on our last trip.


Matrix Hotel - Not cheap, but not bad for the big city. I picked it because I was avoiding big chains, it was in a reasonable location, and there was a coffee shop and a good restaurant on the same block. The lobby and the rooms were nice but nothing outstanding. They have free wine and cheese in the evenings in a nice lounge with an outdoor patio, which is a bonus. I avoid most free/included hotel breakfasts because the food and coffee are usually crappy and they tend to be an orgy of disposable cups, plates, napkins, etc. I almost didn't bother with the Matrix's breakfast, but I was glad I did. They had real plates, cutlery, and even cloth napkins. And the food was actually pretty good - even a frittata. I also had an excellent supper at the Wildflower restaurant next door.


Syrahs - We've been meaning to try out this restaurant since we often walk by it on the way to Coco's Cafe where we go for coffee. It's a small, fairly classy restaurant beside a wine shop. They didn't have a lot of vegetarian options, but what I had was good. It
didn't seem as touristy as most of the places in Jasper.

Bow Lake

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge - We had stayed here once before and enjoyed it, and we had a lovely stay this time as well. It's not cheap, but the off-season rates aren't bad by Banff / Jasper standards, and it's a beautiful spot with a good restaurant.


Brewster's Mountain Lodge - Most of our time in Banff we camped at Tunnel Mountain, but mid-week we decided to have a break. Brewster's is right downtown in Banff, within half a block of some of our favorite places to eat (Wild Flour Bakery, Bear Street Tavern, Bison Restaurant, Nourish Bistro). Our room was nice and it was great to be able to leave the car in the underground parking and walk everywhere. I wondered about the noise level in downtown Banff, but our room was quiet. We made the mistake of going for the breakfast here, sadly it was the usual disposable assortment.


Fairmont Palliser - I was searching for a smaller, non-chain hotel, but the Fairmont actually had the cheapest special rate ($129 for an upgraded room) and a good location so we figured we'd give it a try. Our room was certainly luxurious and the hotel is a great old heritage building. It was Saturday night and all the good nearby restaurants were booked up so we ended up eating in the hotel restaurant but that turned out to be a good choice. The menu had a whole page of vegetarian / vegan / gluten free options and they use healthy local ingredients. If you can get a good room rate like we did, I'd definitely recommend it.

See also: blog posts from this trip and photos from this trip

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