Banff: A Canadian Gem

In last week’s blog, I shared my experience about The Gathering business conference.  If you are interested to review that, click here.

The Gathering conference was held in Banff, Alberta!  Banff is a world class destination.  A nature lover’s paradise.  Breathtaking, snow-capped Rocky Mountains, and a quaint but charming, downtown core.

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Banff offers many levels of accommodations to choose from. From very chic and high end, to more modest and affordable. I was looking to stay somewhere unique and with character.  I wasn’t wanting to stay at just any regular chain hotel! I discovered Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Wow, did I make a great choice!  What a spectacular property and rich in history! The facilities, which are spread over 42 acres, are exceptional. Banff Centre offers three restaurants, a library, a recreational pool and full gym, multiple conference rooms, all while staring out at a view of the Canadian Rockies! Their staff were friendly and professional and it was only a 10 minute walk to downtown Banff.

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My room was situated at Lloyd Hall Hotel. It was newly renovated, contemporary with some wood detailing. The mountain view was stunning.  Just waking up to those mountains and sun rise every morning, made the day a bit better already. The bathroom was equipped with a delightful rain shower head and the bed was wonderfully comfortable and cozy. I slept like a rock every night!

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Let’s talk about their restaurants. As I was without a vehicle for this trip, it was extremely convenient that the Banff Centre had award winning restaurants on their property.  The three restaurants they have are Maclab Bistro, Vistas Dining Hall, and Three Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar. I dined at every single one of them.

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Maclab, I went to for breakfast one morning. Their eggs benny were scrumptious.  This place offers locally inspired comfort food, a great coffee bar and again, a picturesque view.

Vistas Dining Hall, served a diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet menu – I was obviously all over that! They presented some great vegan options like their tofu scramble and had plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options.

Three Ravens, a top 100 Best Canadian Restaurant, I went to twice. Once, to their famous Wine Bar, for a cocktail. The other time, I treated myself to a three-course dinner. I was seated right against the window, so again, that view!  Great service and staff and delicious fresh food: a memorable dining experience.

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I never go to a hotel without first checking out their pool, as I love to swim and spa! Banff Centre’s did not disappoint. Their pool is huuuge and they have a relaxing Jacuzzi hot tub and a host of other fitness and recreational amenities.

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Because the conference was so busy, I only had about half a day to explore Banff. I walked downtown Banff thoroughly:  it’s so cute, rich in heritage and has so much character.

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The one attraction that I was told by my followers, that was a must-see in Banff, was the Banff Gondola. It was one of the most incredible things I had ever done! First off, it wasn’t peak season, so I was able to take the 8 minute gondola ride up by myself. Once to the top, I spent some time just taking in the panoramic view of the mountains, the Bow Valley and the city of Banff below. What a perfect day to go.  The sky was the textbook shade of blue, the snow sparkled on the mountain tops, and the air was crisp. It was certainly cooler up at the top, but still tolerable. I was in awe.

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At the top, Banff Gondola has all the amenities you would need, including a full serving restaurant and coffee shop. I grabbed a coffee and did a loop on the Sulphur Mountain boardwalk. You could easily spend a couple hours up at the Banff Gondola.

Staying at the Banff Centre definitely made my experience in Banff, top-notch. I would not hesitate to stay there again.  Great accommodations, excellent dining, professional staff, natural beauty surroundings and a uniqueness that you won’t forget.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Banff, definitely check out the Banff Centre!

-Jenna xoxo

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