No Need to “Rough it” in the Rockies

Finding Luxury in the Canadian Rockies pin
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The Canadian Rocky Mountains should be on any travel bucket list. Blue glacial lakes, snow-capped mountains, and an abundance of wildlife stretch across five national parks. The Rockies truly are that beautiful, and you’ll find Instagram-worthy vistas around every corner!

While visiting the area you can experience a whole range of activities, during all four seasons, and for all ages and skill levels. But the best part of visiting the Rockies is getting to enjoy true luxury and relaxation in such a breath-taking natural setting. 

Banff

One of the most popular parks, Banff is about a two-hour drive from Calgary and makes an excellent home-base for a week in the Rockies.

Enjoy the view of huge snow-capped mountains and lush evergreen forest when you hikethe Canadian Rockies

Banff offers some of the best hiking trails (leading to awe-inspiring views), beautiful forests, and waterfalls.

[Photo Credit: Chris Rees via Unsplash]

You can paddle on the Bow River or Lake Minnewanka in your kayak, canoe, or stand-up-paddle board. Go stargazing, take a boat cruise, or a gondola ride up to a spectacular panoramic observation deck, cafe, and restaurant.

after climbing up the rock face you can sit back an enjoy the stunning view of the Canadian Rockies

Whether you enjoy an easy stroll, a round of golf with a mountainous backdrop or scaling the side of a cliff, Banff has adventures for all levels.

[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]

And when you return from your outdoor adventures each evening? Kick off your boots, enjoy a hot soak and a gourmet meal in the “Castle of the Rockies”: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.  Built in 1888 and modeled after a Scottish Castle, the Banff Springs Hotel is a destination in itself that combines luxury and history!

the Banff Springs Hotel of the Canadian Rockies in summer
[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]
a bed with a view at the Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rockies

Under the eaves of this impressive building, you’ll have picture-perfect views when you wake up in your luxurious bed.  Head out for an easy morning hike to the roaring waterfalls. Return to Banff for your choice from dozens of restaurants, each with delicious, locally inspired menus.

[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]

Take the rest of the day to relax in their spa, or head to the concierge to look through their 26-page activities book! End your day chilling out on their front terrace, with the light cutting across the crevices of the huge mountains and dancing across the tops of the trees as you breathe the wonderfully fresh, crisp mountain air. 

Lake Louise

an areal view of Chateau Lake Louise Hotel and it's stunningly blue lake in the Canadian Rockies
[Photo Credit: Wenhao Ji via Unsplash]

If a lake view is more your idea of bliss, we recommend heading a bit further north to Lake Louise. And what better way to enjoy the lake than with a view from your balcony? The luxurious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a grand hotel situated right on the lake. It has been a luxury vacation destination since its opening in the 1890’s. Paddle on the stunning blue waters surrounded by mountain peaks or go ice skating in the winter!

a horse-drawn sliegh ride set in the white fluffy snow, towering mountains and evergreen forest of the Canadian Rockies

In winter, you can also enjoy dog sled tours, sleigh rides, and skiing in the quintessential winter wonderland. Soft fluffy snow, evergreen trees, and hot chocolate by the fire waiting for you when you return.

[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]

horseback riding along the lake with a beautiful mountainous backdrop in the Canadian Rockies

Summer and Fall at Lake Louise are equally enticing. You can enjoy a variety of hiking and biking trails, horseback riding alongside the lake, and white water rafting.

[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]

Wherever you look, amazing views and pampering service await your stay at Lake Louise. Staying here at the Fairmont saves you the hassle of trying to find lake-side parking, or even worse, having to park a few miles away!

a dining room table with a view of the stunning blue waters and huge snow-capped mountains at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies

Their many restaurants offer table-side views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The interior is elegant and polished, calm and inviting. Picnic on the dock, or enjoy a glass of wine on the expansive verandas that the Fairmont offers.

This is taking your classic lake vacation to the next level of scenery and luxury.

[Photo Credit: Fairmont Hotels]

Getting There

While flying into Victoria or Calgary and renting a car to drive yourself up to the Rockies is always an option, one of the best ways to get to the Canadian Rockies is to take the train! Any of the two or three-day routes from Victoria into the mountains are the perfect way to fully enjoy the views and learn about the local wildlife without having to worry about car rentals or traffic.

the Rocky Mountaineer train winding its way next to a blue lake in the Canadian Rockies
[Photo Credit: Rocky Mountaineer]

The Rocky Mountaineer offers 360-degree views on your journey through lush forests, over deep river gorges, through mountain tunnels, and alongside blue lakes. You can travel from Victoria to Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper (with a stop or two along the way), then stay a few days in the destination before flying home. Or, consider making it a round-trip train extravaganza!

the interior of the Rocky Mountaineer train with domed glass giving passengers a 360 degree view of the Canadian Rockies

Any seat on the Rocky Mountaineer has stunning views, overhead windows, and access to an outdoor viewing platform. Splurging a little extra for their Goldleaf seats will give you complete 360-degree rounded domes so you don’t miss a thing. Both levels (silver and gold) have hosts to answers questions, tell you stories about the landscape, and point out the wildlife. 

[Photo Credit: Rocky Mountaineer]

The Rocky Mountaineer doesn’t travel at night so you won’t miss a single moment of the beautiful scenery. Instead, included in your trip, are stays in lovely hotels along the way. Taking the train ensures luxury throughout the journey — not just at the final destination. 


You shouldn’t have to choose between incredible outdoorsy experiences and luxurious relaxation. The Rocky Mountains offer the best of all worlds, bringing luxury into your journey, your stay, and your surroundings. While we can’t yet travel to Canada from the US (due to current COVID restrictions) advance planning for a bucket list trip like this is always recommended!

Let us know if you were inspired by this post when you plan with us and we can offer special perks at both of the Fairmont properties — such as extended check in/out hours, a room upgrade if available; $100 CAD food and beverage credit (Banff) OR a professional portrait taken during stay with souvenir photo frame (Lake Louise)! We’re excited to help plan your ‘escape’ to the Canadian Rockies!

Camping Re-imagined: Glamping

Even before COVID, travelers were wrestling with how to reconcile their desire for an outdoorsy experience with a need for luxury amenities. That’s even more of an issue now, as we are all looking for ways to reconnect with nature and keep a safe distance from others, without giving up on the relaxation that we crave from our vacations. Trekking through the woods with all your gear on your back, pitching a tent, and then sleeping on the cold, hard ground is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, there is a perfect solution: Glamping. The perfect compromise between nature and luxury, glamping combines resort-like amenities and activities, with gorgeous locations and views, in places that make it easy to stay socially distanced.

two luxury tents silouhetted against a night sky full of stars in Moab Utah
Glamping with Undercanvas [photo credit: Adam Skalecki via Unsplash]

What is Glamping?

“Glamping” (a combination of “glamourous” and “camping”) is basically upscale sleeping under the stars.

Traditionally, glamping involves a canvas structure on a permanent or semi-permanent platform with power and running water. Instead of pitching a small tent, you’ll arrive at the campground to find widely spaced semi-permanent “tents” ready for you to enjoy. Inside these large rooms, you’ll find all the comforts of modern life: air conditioning, a comfy bed with luxury linens, stylish décor, wood stoves, and (very often) a private bathroom.  

The interior of a luxury camping yurt in norway
[Photo credit: Espen Bierud via Unsplash]

Suitable for romantic couples, families, or even those who like to travel with their pets, glamping offers all the benefits of camping with all the luxuries of a hotel room. Glamping allows vacationers to enjoy popular national parks away from the crowds and without enduring the toll that camping can take on the body. Due to the low energy usage of the tents, it’s also a great way to travel green and care for the planet. Not only are you immersed in nature but the pull-chain showers, low-flow toilets, and solar power minimize your environmental impact.

a luxury camping or glamping tree house in the winter with a dog

These days glamping can refer to a traditional canvas structure, a treehouse hotel, a rustic cabin, an airstream trailer, or even a stargazing dome. No matter your glamping style, it will have direct access to the outdoors, campfires, and nature’s peaceful soundtrack.

[Photo credit: Roberto Nickson via Unsplash]

The History

Glamping isn’t as new as people may think. While huge canvas yurts and tents have been used since ancient times, the idea of luxury outdoor vacations for the aristocracy started in 16th and 17th century Scotland, France, and Turkey.

Luxury camping gathered steam around the early 1900s when wealthy Europeans and Americans wanted a taste of wild safari adventures in Africa but weren’t willing to sacrifice their home luxuries. Safari tents for the upper classes were supplied with a full set of furniture, beds, rugs, and luxury bedding. Turning their safari experience into more of a hotel-like luxury rather than “roughing it”. These elegant safari camps are still very popular today.

Flash forward to 2007 when the term glamping started gaining popularity. It began to get mainstream traction when festival-goers ( who enjoyed their outdoor events but didn’t enjoy living in a tent for weeks) saw an opportunity to improve their festival experience.

a small glamping or luxury camping tent in the middle of the forest

Since then, glamping has steadily become a global phenomenon with luxury campgrounds in almost every U.S. State and countries around the world. Companies like Under Canvas provide luxury facilities to those who are taking their cue from the turn-of-the-century upper classes – enjoy the great outdoors without losing the comforts of home.

[Photo credit: Andrea Davis via Unsplash]

Why Should You Try Glamping?

Wake up in your comfy king-size bed, looking straight up at the first rays of sunrise. Even from your bed, you can smell the pine needles and fresh air waiting just outside your door. No need to shimmy out of your sleeping bag or crawl on your hands and knees out the tent flap, you simply start a fresh pot of coffee on your wood stove and step out onto your patio. Enjoy the sunrise over the trees and soak up the sense of well-being. During the day, you can do morning yoga, planned activities, or hike through the beautiful national park. In the evening, make smores around the campfire, sip a chilled glass of wine, tell stories, and gaze up at the stars. Best of all, before getting into your luxurious bed, you can have a nice warm shower.

a geodesic luxury camping dome in a seattle forest
Photo credit: Kyle Glenn via Unsplash]

There’s a reason luxury camping has been around for over a century. If this post has inspired you to discover it for yourself, let us know! Whether you want to enjoy the crisp cool air and stunning fall colors or catch the last breath of summer in the Southwestern desert, we’ll be happy to help find the perfect location, style, and climate for your luxury outdoor adventure.

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