Friday, January 11, 2019

The Perfect Adventure Basecamp in Banff (Canalta Lodge Review)

We recently spent a couple days in Banff and wanted to spend the night rather than driving back and forth from the city. We didn't need anything fancy, no two-bedroom condo or anything, but did want a basic kitchenette in our suite in case we decided to stay in for a meal or two. And an outdoor hot tub was imperative.

Courtyard at the Canalta Lodge in Banff (fire pit, hot tubs, cold plunge pool, and sauna)

The Canalta Lodge - Introduction and Location 


The Canalta Lodge is located on the main street in downtown Banff, on Banff Ave. (google maps link here.) From the lodge, it's a 15 minute walk to the heart of downtown at Cascade Plaza. You can easily walk to restaurants and tour around the town without having to jump in a car.

I also like that the lodge is located just far enough down Banff Avenue from the heart of the main action so it's a bit quieter and parking is easier to find. 

And for the purposes of this story, my family stayed in a single king with sofa and kitchen - loft room

Main living area in our loft room with fireplace, pull out sofa for the kids, and an HDTV.

Top 5 Basecamp "Must Have" Inclusions


This is my personal list of features I look for when booking a hotel room or planning an overnight stay:

Outdoor hot tubs to relax in at the end of a ski or hiking day

This one is imperative for me. And fortunately the Canalta Lodge has two outdoor hot tubs in a private courtyard protected from the street.


Facilities in our own suite or on the property for cooking meals

It gets too expensive to eat out the entire time we travel, so I want a kitchenette as a bare minimum. Even a fridge and a microwave is a big help with quick breakfasts before heading to the ski hill.

My husband also loves having a barbecue on the property if we're traveling in the summer. This makes dinner super easy to prepare.

At the Canalta Lodge, we had a suite with a kitchen so could have prepared our own meals if we'd have been staying longer than a night. There is also a barbecue in the courtyard which would be great for summer visits - and there's a common area both inside and outside with tables for eating if you choose to use the barbecue.

Outdoor courtyard with hot tubs

A separate bedroom or sleeping area for the kids!

My son goes to bed at 8pm which is a tad early for me. We book a regular hotel room, and guaranteed, we are either sitting in the hallway waiting for him to fall asleep or we're hanging out in the bathroom so as not to disturb the prince and his beauty sleep.

At the Canalta Lodge we had a loft suite with a king size bed. Our son slept on the pull out sofa on the main floor, so we had the option of retreating upstairs to hang out after he'd gone to bed. We chose to let him fall asleep in our bed upstairs though so we could enjoy the living room. We then transferred him downstairs when we went to bed.


A living area in our suite 

I like to have an actual living room aside from the basic two beds and television you get in most hotel rooms. Call me a princess but I like to be comfortable. The living area in our suite at the Canalta Lodge wasn't huge or anything fancy, but it had a fireplace and a comfortable sofa.


Free WiFi 

This is pretty common these days but I never take it for granted, and always appreciate it.

A bed for a princess at the Canalta Lodge upstairs in our loft

Bonus Inclusions that you get at the Canalta Lodge 


  • Heated underground parking (for an additional $7 per day) - or you can park on the street for free

  • A hot breakfast included with your stay - there is a breakfast buffet served each morning in the common area on the main floor

  • Happy Camper coffee shop in the lobby - this is a nice touch for those who want to grab a hot beverage at the end of their ski day to enjoy outside in the courtyard or in the common room while playing games with the kids

  • An outdoor courtyard that is unique from every other hotel or resort in Banff - Basically, you're getting a mini "Nordic Spa" when you stay at the Canalta Lodge. (2 hot tubs, a cold plunge pool, hanging hammock chairs, a fire pit, and a sauna.) Add the barbecue, tables for group eating, and the chairs around the fire pit, and you've got one sweet courtyard to enjoy!!

  • A common area on the main floor of the lodge - This big room has plenty of tables for playing games with the kids (board games can be signed out,) meeting up with other families traveling with you, or even sharing a meal if you brought in a take out pizza or you used the barbecue outside. This is also where you'll find the Happy Camper Coffee Shop.

  • Standard rooms are pet friendly

  • The lodge has ski lockers and a tuning bench

  • There is a full fitness facility on site

  • There are laundry facilities on site - Great if you're staying longer or you're traveling with young kids and have soiled clothes you need for the next day

  • Ski packages for tri-area resorts (Sunshine, Norquay, and Louise) - packages start at $329 per night based on dual occupancy for a Friday or Saturday night. (mid week packages also available and are cheaper)

  • Complimentary evening “s’more” service (coming soon)

Common Area on the Main  Floor with Coffee Shop

And, because I am no professional photographer, please visit the website to see more great facility photos

And so we're clear...


Kitchens: 

The website says that some of the rooms have "full size" kitchens. This is not a full size condo kitchen. It's basically a kitchenette with a fridge, a microwave, coffee maker, a sink, and a hot plate for basic cooking. (there is no oven so skip the frozen pizza unless it fits in the microwave.) Cooking supplies and dishes are also included along with dish soap and other basic supplies.

Also note that not all rooms have a kitchen. Make sure you ask for a room with kitchen if this is important to you. - and even if you don't get a kitchen, you'll still get free breakfast included with your stay, and you can use the barbecue in the courtyard. 

Also know that every room comes with at least a fridge and a microwave so this is pretty much all you need for a ski weekend (especially since breakfast is included and you'll be off playing over lunch time.) Grab a take out pizza for dinner and you're good! 

The kitchen in our loft suite at the Canalta Lodge


Lofts and Separate Sleeping Areas: 

Many of the rooms at the Canalta Lodge resemble your average "hotel room." If you want a loft so that you have a separate sleeping/living area, make sure you request one. 

And not all lofts have kitchens. So again, if that's important to you, request a loft with kitchen.

We had a single king with sofa and kitchen - loft room. This worked for our family of 3 because our son was content to sleep on the pull out sofa.

In the future however, I think we'd upgrade to a double queen suite - loft room so that our son could go to bed upstairs (and stay upstairs) rather than us putting him to sleep in our bed and then transferring him to the sofa downstairs. (these rooms also sleep 6 if you have a bigger family)

And if you have a big family, you have to check this one out! The double queen with bunk beds suite - loft room can sleep 6 people and nobody's sleeping on a sofa. Just know that you'll all be sleeping in one room (if that would be a problem.) Also, the sofa is in the same room as the beds so you lose some of your living area space once kids go to bed. The main floor has a larger dining area and kitchen though (along with a TV and fireplace.) - and there are two TVs in this suite, one up and one down.

Every suite is decorated with natural artwork showcasing local lakes and scenery

The Outdoor Courtyard: 

To save electricity, the sauna is not always turned on. If you plan to use it, give the front desk staff a head's up notice a couple hours in advance so they have time to get it going for you. 

Also, there was a lack of signage when we were at the lodge for how to turn on the hot tub jets. Again, ask for instructions at the front desk (maybe before changing into swimsuits.) Somebody will happily go outside and show you around.

Sauna and hanging hammock chairs in the courtyard 

Our Personal Experience Staying at the Canalta Lodge 


We were only at the lodge for one night, but we enjoyed staying in Banff after skiing at Sunshine for the day. We loved our soak in the hot tub and we had an amazing meal at a Mexican Restaurant downtown for dinner. 

We had brought groceries with us to cook breakfast the next day, so it was a pleasant surprise when we discovered that breakfast was included! Score!!

We didn't do much the next day but enjoyed a relaxed morning, stopping to skate on a frozen lake on our way back to the city.

Would we stay here again? Definitely! 

I'm already thinking the Canalta Lodge would be a fabulous spot for a girls' weekend away since the suites can sleep up to 6 people. 

The lodge would also be a great place to stay next summer with another family where we could enjoy the courtyard all evening, cooking dinner outside, and eating at the picnic tables by the hot tubs. 

Skiing at Sunshine Village before our stay at the Canalta Lodge 

Please visit the Canalta Lodge website for more information on rooms, rates, and ski packages


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Disclaimer: Our stay was provided for us at the lodge in exchange for this review. As always, all words and opinions are my own and I wasn't compensated beyond the stay. 

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