A Night in the Rockies with Deer Lodge
After perhaps the most amazing trip to Europe i’ve had in a while, it was difficult getting back to work again. The mounds of emails and job requests at my desk was somewhat depressing after walking through the streets of Venice and sampling cheese at Borough Market in London. Thankfully though, CRMR had asked me to come visit them at Deer Lodge sometime before the summer kicked off, so after a week of slogging away at my desk job again and absolutely hating how my holiday was over, I decided to take a personal day and drive two hours to one of the most iconic places in Canada, Lake Louise.
Deer Lodge is one of the oldest hotels in Banff National Park. Built in 1923 as a teahouse (I had no idea), the lodge officially opened as a hotel in 1925. The lodge retains much of its original hand hewn log structure and decor and while that may not be for some people, I find it charming and rustic. Deer Lodge was completely renovated, restored and winterized in 1985, and only a 6 minute walk from the stunning views at Lake Louise.
I took my mom with me for the weekend, and we pulled into the Lodge around 6pm, just in time for our dinner reservation at the Mount Fairview Dining room. We dropped our overnight bags in the room, which was one of the standard Heritage rooms on the main floor and freshened up a bit before dinner. CRMR generously provided us with a bottle of champagne and a lovely note to kick off the evening, so I was looking forward to getting back to that later.
The restaurant was one of the big reasons I wanted to stay at Deer Lodge. It’s gorgeous, and the food has been said to be phenomenal. We started off with a couple cocktails, I ordered the Charcuterie Platter and mum had the soup of the day. The platter was stunning, and could have easily shared between 2 or 3 people. The smoked air dried buffalo was absolutely amazing and overall it was a beautiful display of Canadian meats and cheeses. My moms appetizer was a curried coconut soup that was light and creamy (I had to steal a couple spoonfuls) and was beautifully plated as well.
For our main course, my mom had the Grilled Alberta Beef Striploin with a horseradish red wine reduction while I opted for the Bison Ribeye with mushroom sauce and Rosti. Both meals were prepared and plated to perfection and our server was attentive and knowledgable about the menu. For dessert we struggled to decide what to get, and in the end decided to share a trio of house made ice creams to end the evening.
After waddling back to the room we decided to take a dip in the hot tub before the sun set. I’d seen this hot tub featured on a lot of Instagram accounts and was prepared for it be packed with people. Surprisingly tho, there were few people on the roof and we got to enjoy a nice soak as light faded away. It was probably my favorite part of the weekend and a beautiful finish to a perfect evening. Once we got back to the room it was time for bed.
One of the drawbacks (if you can call it that) to this facility is that they don’t have TV in the rooms. But since I’ve stayed at Emerald Lodge (which is also run by CRMR and they also don’t have TV’s in the room), it didn’t come as much of a surprise. In all honesty, if you are going to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth, it strikes me as a good idea to disconnect from the world, and the constant stream of adverts and just enjoy your surroundings. So once my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.
But don’t worry all you panicked millennials, if you are desperate for online interaction, the Lodge DOES have wifi.
Since I hardly ever make it up to Lake Louise for sunrise, I forced myself out of bed at 5:30am and made the 2 minute drive up the hill to the Lake Louise Parking lot which was completely desolate… an odd sight for a place that is normally brimming with tourists and buses.
My favorite moments in the rockies are moments like these, where the area is quiet enough that you can hear the birds tweet and the trees sway in the wind. The Lake was in the middle of defrosting but there was an open patch of water reflecting the beautiful glacier next to the shore and I sat for a while and photographed the lake as the sun began to hit the clouds and reflect different shades of orange and pink. Definitely a morning I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Once I got back to the Lodge again, I was too awake to bother with going back to bed, so i walked around the hallways and looked at the vintage photographs that are featured along many of the hallways of Deer Lodge. It was amazing to see what this place looked like in the twenties and thirties, before the big wave of commercialism hit the national parks.
CRMR granted us a late check out along with a delicious buffet breakfast in the Fairview dining room, and the morning was spent chatting and sipping coffee as we watched the Friday tourists start to descend on the Lake. We pulled away from Deer Lodge feeling well rested and happy. It was definitely what was needed after a stressful week back at work. The rockies have always been a place to detox myself from the city, and find a good emotional balance again… and Deer Lodge certainly added to my relief and left me happier coming home.
What do you think of Deer Lodge? Sound off below!
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