Monday, August 16, 2021

The Mountain Getaway that every Parent Needs (without the kids!)

"Not all who wander are lost... 

                    some are just trying to escape the kids for a night."

My husband and I recently had a rare opportunity to actually run away for a night, and I'd forgotten how incredible it was to travel without a 12 year old chaperone! 

While I love family getaways, those of you who've met my high-energy child will know that he likes to be included in every single aspect of our collective lives including every conversation, every hike, and every adventure. He does not like to be left behind! - but we did it. We left him with grandma for a night and we ran away (mostly guilt free.)

The mountain getaway that every parent needs (without the kids!)

Our Stay at the Bear & Bison Inn in Canmore 

We spent the night in Canmore at the Bear & Bison Inn, a cozy country-style bed & breakfast, and one of the incredible properties with the Charming Inns of Alberta

We were decadently treated to a stay in a honeymoon king deluxe room with jacuzzi and premium view.

Welcome to the Bear & Bison Inn, Canmore 

Make yourselves at home: Here are the keys to the house

I was impressed with our lodging from the second we walked in the door where we were warmly met by the innkeeper himself, working at the front desk to check in each couple who'd be spending the night in his cozy inn. We were given keys to the inn and there was the instant understanding that we were being trusted as house guests (not "nameless visitors" at a large hotel.)

The front desk would close at 6:00pm but we could come and go as we pleased with our own keys, make use of the common areas, and mingle with other friends or guests who might be staying there.

And lest you worry about any "incidents" that may happen in the evening, we were also given a cell phone number to reach our host at any time.

A charming stay at the Bear & Bison Inn in Canmore 

Not your average cookie cutter hotel

Every property with the Charming Inns of Alberta is unique. They stand out from the generic hotels you find when traveling that look as if they were cut out using a "hotel cookie cutter."

Our suite at the Bear & Bison Inn had lush carpeting, decorative tile, large triangle windows, original art work, and even a living house plant for an extra homey touch. The bedding was all hypoallergenic with silk filled pillows and duvets, we had a  jacuzzi soaker tub, and we had a fireplace in our room. Add a decadent king sized bed, a deck with mountain views, and breakfast served to our room the next day, and I really didn't want to leave after just one night.

I could have actually spent all day in our suite. It really had everything one could need to be comfortable, and it was gloriously sunny with the large windows. I suspect I could have curled up in the large bed for hours just reading.

Extra amenities included:

  • Free WiFi
  • A communal outdoor hot tub (open from 8am - 9pm daily with towels included)
  • Bath robes in each room
24 hours in Canmore, no kids invited this time! 

Breakfast in bed!

My husband and I hadn't stayed at a bed & breakfast by ourselves since perhaps our honeymoon! (shocking I know since we've been married for 20 years.)

My favourite thing about our stay was the in-room breakfast we were treated to during our stay at the Bear & Bison Inn. The 3 course crystal and china served breakfast was delivered to our room at 8:30am.

We were able to choose the time we wanted our breakfast delivered between 8:15 and 9:30am (with check out at 10:30.)

Our breakfast included:
  •  A fresh pot of in-house brewed coffee

  • Two glasses of orange juice 

  • Fruit salad with watermelon (I have to stress the watermelon because it was perfect for a summer breakfast dish) 

  • Yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit puree 

  • Hashbrowns, eggs, and bacon (which sounds simple, but it was put together with a layer of cheese and was far more decadent than how I cook my breakfast bacon and eggs.
Breakfast in our glorious suite at the Bear & Bison Inn 

Tips for your own visit to the Bear & Bison Inn

Our stay really couldn't have been much more perfect but below are a few suggestions to ensure your stay is just as wonderful.

  1. Bring your swimsuits for the hot tub. Somehow I missed that there was a hot tub so sadly, no soaking for us.

  2. Bring your own alcoholic bevies to enjoy in your room. You can purchase non-alcoholic beverages and water at the inn but you'll want to bring your own bottle of wine or other drinks.We also brought our own wine glasses with us. You can get an ice bucket and ice to chill your wine from the inn.

  3. Next time I'd bring a small bottle of sparkling wine to go with the breakfast orange juice. :)

  4. Don't forget a good book, a fun game (we brought crib,) or whatever other items you enjoy when you can just chill without the kids. Next time I'm bringing a crossword puzzle to enjoy in bed with my coffee - which is the absolute dream of decadence for me. 

  5. Dinner is not included in your stay, but I recommend going next door to the Iron Goat Pub & Grill which has amazing food. I suggest making a reservation online ahead of time. They have a beautiful outdoor patio as well when the weather is nice.

  6. For lunch the next day there are many coffee shops in town where you can pick up sandwiches and snacks. I recommend either the Summit Cafe, located just down the road from the Bear & Bison, or my personal favourite, Beamers Coffee Bar, with two locations in town.

Plan for a decadent stay at the Bear & Bison Inn in Canmore 

Other Charming Stays across Alberta

The Charming Inns & Small Hotels of Alberta are a collection of 12 boutique independent inns and hotels found in locations across Alberta. The inn keepers of these properties work together to support each other and share resources.

A quick glance at their website introduces you to a wide range of experiences (because a stay at one of these properties is always more than just an overnight accommodation.) You'll find everything from honeymoon getaways to quick overnight escapes, mountain or wilderness retreats, private cabins, and spa vacations. Some of the properties are also pet friendly and many are very welcoming of children as well.

The common ground between each property is that you'll always find something distinctive, unique, and "local" in flavor. At the Bear & Bison Inn, the tile work around the bathtub was done to feature the Three Sisters Mountains in Canmore. The bison theme was pretty prominent as well in the art work and wall hangings. Everything about the property said "you are at a beautiful mountain getaway."

Unique and decorative Rocky Mountain touches in every corner of the Bear & Bison Inn

I also love that the innkeepers and managers are present at each property. Our innkeeper gave us suggestions for where to have dinner, what to order there, and gave us a tour around the inn when I asked about other rooms. He was keen to share the inn's history with me as well and I could tell that he was proud of what he was a part of with the Charming Inns.

We've only stayed at one other property with the Charming Inns, Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis, but now I know we definitely need to visit other lodges and inns around the Canadian Rockies. I've always loved the included meals that we get at Mount Engadine Lodge and the "all inclusive" experience where you don't have to worry about any other expenses after showing up at the lodge for the night. 

Now that I've experienced the bed & breakfast decadence at the Bear & Bison, I know that we need to visit other inns as well. I have my eyes on at least one other property, Baker Creek Mountain Resort in Banff, that I know has ski in/ski out access for cross-country skiing this winter, and I've located several other properties that would give us an amazing stay in locations across Alberta where we've always wanted to visit (never knowing where to rest our heads for the night.)

Finding a great place to spend the night is very important when traveling!

Our 24 hour Escape to Canmore

Our getaway was short, but we managed to sneak a quick trip in between family hiking on Saturday and work on Monday. My husband brought his laptop with him and took a couple of short work meetings monday morning before the drive home (couldn't quite take the entire day off) so we were happy for the WiFi at the inn.

Highlights from our trip included an adults only hike where I could chat with my husband (without my son wanting to jump into the conversation every other minute) and a "no kids invited" dinner out at the Iron Goat Pub & Grill. We got to choose the restaurant, we didn't have to go at 5:30, and we didn't have to worry about the menu (and whether it had hamburgers or spaghetti!) In fact, my husband and I treated it as a true adults pub experience and ordered purely appies to share for dinner - and it was heavenly (with dessert and drinks of course!)

Dinner out at the Iron Goat Pub & Grill 

I encourage you to plan a short getaway with your partner, spouse, or even a good friend. Take a break from the chores, the work, the errands, the cooking, and the relentless child care (no matter how old your kids are.) 

Give yourselves permission to eat out the entire time! Heck, go for a spa treatment, rent bikes or paddleboards, book a fun adventure tour, and enjoy a a night of uninterrupted sleep (getting up at whatever time you want!) - my son wakes up at 6am religiously every single day for reference.

We rested well, we slept well, and we ate well. And for tired parents, that's as close to heaven on earth as it gets! Add our quiet hike for two, an adults only dinner, breakfast in bed, and nobody waking me up at 6am! Paradise, right?

The mountain getaway that every parent needs (without the kids!)

Disclaimer: Our stay at the Bear & Bison Inn was hosted and I was compensated for this trip. As always, all words are my own and we would happily stay at this inn, and other properties with the Charming Inns of Alberta, in the future. 

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