Go to These Alpine Lodges For a Seriously Magical Christmas Getaway
Carolling around an outdoor firepit, gourmet feasts, an ice rink on the front lawn — the dreamy, extra-special holiday escapes at these mountain properties book fast.
The lure of a snowy hideaway in the mountains at Christmas is irresistible; you can practically smell the wood crackling in the fireplace (tended by someone else) and taste the sweets (baked by other hands). These four alpine lodges offer extra-special holiday escapes (and do all the work), but you’re not alone in dreaming of them, so don’t waste a moment because they book up fast.
photograph by Erik McRitchie
Emerald Lake Lodge.
Nestled next to its namesake jewel of a lake near Field, B.C., during the holiday season Emerald Lake Lodge has all the hallmarks of a vintage Christmas card. Assisted by her merry band of elves, co-owner Connie O’Conner delights in decking the halls of the timbered lodge built in 1902, along with its massive stone fireplaces and the elegant-but-cozy common areas.
On Christmas Eve you can enjoy carolling around an outdoor firepit while sipping homemade eggnog and glühwein. The popular Christmas package for two includes one night’s accommodation and a festive gourmet dinner (plus, an appearance from Santa on the big day to hand out gifts), as well as a buffet breakfast on Boxing Day. Every room has a fireplace for those essential holiday naps. Then, be sure to burn off the Xmas excess with a walk or cross-country ski around frozen Emerald Lake.
photograph by Paul Zizka
Mount Engadine Lodge.
Located in Spray Valley Provincial Park, Mount Engadine Lodge offers the intimacy and charm of a backcountry resort, even though guests can drive right up to its door. No wonder Christmas is one of its busiest times of the year, with repeat guests often booking it up by the end of summer. Executive chef Mandy Leighton puts on a Christmas feast after which guests are known to gather around the piano and sing carols well into the night. You can curl up under a Hudson’s Bay blanket next to a garlanded stone fireplace and watch for wildlife in the vast meadows below. If you’re so inclined, wax up your Nordic skis and do the five-km loop from the lodge, or venture a bit further to the nearby Mount Shark trails.
To meet the huge appetite for this kind of immersive experience, Mount Engadine opened five glamping tents this past summer with heated hardwood floors, bathrooms, chandeliers, fireplaces, king-size beds and decks. Available year-round, they will alleviate some of the demand over the holidays.
photograph courtesy of the Post Hotel
Post Hotel & Spa.
A member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux hotel group, this outpost for gourmands in Lake Louise is legendary for pampering its guests, but it offers an especially divine experience at Christmas. The hotel and its grounds are festooned with twinkle lights, angels, tin soldiers and much more. The front lawn is transformed into an ice rink and the hotel’s cabins, suites and some of its standard rooms have wood-burning fireplaces. If you’re staying additional nights, the scent of your very own Christmas tree in your suite adds to the heady atmosphere.
The traditional turkey dinner is anything but — the 2017 Christmas meal began with carpaccio of Alberta Angus beef tenderloin and foie gras, and concluded with Callebaut dark-chocolate mousse and fudge cake topped with raspberry-pomegranate sorbet. There’s a special four-course dinner for Christmas Eve, too. Hotel manager Carol Schwarz recommends booking holiday accommodation and meals at least three months in advance, so if you want to spend your Christmas at the Post this year, there’s really no time to lose.
photograph by Mike Byrne
You’ll earn every calorie of the Christmas feast that awaits you at the end of your 11-km ski-tour or snowshoe over two breathtaking mountain passes into iconic Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park. Beloved by Albertans, the remote National Historic Site was catapulted onto the world stage when royals William and Kate honeymooned there in July 2011. These days, the 1930’s-era lodge and its three log cabins are exceedingly popular, though more so during the summer months, so if you’re dreaming of sharing a gourmet-rustic turkey dinner lit by lantern, and singing impromptu Christmas carols beside the roaring stone fireplace with other apple-cheeked outdoorsy types, you may still be able to snap up one of Skoki’s 25 beds during the Christmas holidays. In the event that it is all booked up, Dan Markham, director of brand and communications at Lake Louise Ski Resort, which operates Skoki, says you can always put your name on a wait list as cancellations are known to occur.