Winter isn’t for everyone. As American comic Carl Reiner once said: “A lot of people like snow. I find it an unnecessary freezing of water.”
But just because you don’t like frozen water – or any activities associated with it – doesn’t mean you should miss out on experiencing one of the many gorgeous getaways in Calgary’s extended backyard. The best hotels, in fact, are designed so that you can enjoy the stunning, snowy views all around without ever stepping foot outside.
Closest to home is Azuridge Estate Hotel, a 13-suite getaway with rolling hills, a lovely dining room called Opal and in-room spa treatments at the ready. The Priddis hotel, only a 45-minute drive from Calgary’s core, was once a private home and is perfect for a cozy, quiet escape from the city.
178057 272 St. W., Priddis, 403-931-0100, azuridgehotel.com
If you’re looking for a bit more action (indoors, obviously) book a cooking class at Canmore’s Paintbox Lodge. The hotel offers a variety of demonstration-style classes all year long and, until Dec. 17 and then starting again on Jan. 3, will knock 25 per cent off a cooking class if you also book a mid-week stay in one of its five rooms. Best of all, your culinary adventure won’t end with dinner. The hotel gets rave reviews for its complementary, hearty breakfast.
629 10 St., Canmore, 403-609-0482, paintboxlodge.com
For luxurious settings on a grander scale, the Fairmont Banff Springs has plenty to keep winter-haters happy. With its many restaurants, Grapes Wine Bar, award-winning Willow Stream Spa, famous weekend brunch and a fitness centre to work off said brunch, there’s no reason to leave the hotel. The hotel’s mountain views are glorious and look even better when you have a coffee and Baileys keeping you warm.
405 Spray Ave., Banff, 403-762-2211, fairmont.com/banff-springs/
Similar indoor delights await at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Yogis take note: the majestic hotel is holding a yoga and ski winter retreat Feb. 19 to 21 (from $549 per night). The two-night getaway includes your room, a welcome cocktail reception and meals, as well as yoga sessions suitable for all ability levels and a session on mindfulness. As for the “ski” part of the equation? Don’t worry. Though the retreat has dedicated free time for outdoor activities, you can book an appointment at the hotel spa instead. Or just grab one of the many window-side seats to gaze at one of the world’s most beautiful mountain lakes.
111 Lake Louise Dr., Lake Louise, 403-522-3511, fairmont.com/lake-louise/
Another option in Lake Louise is the divine Post Hotel & Spa, which was voted the No. 1 resort in Canada in 2013 by Travel + Leisure. The lodge-style hotel is famous for its fine-dining restaurant and wine cellar – home to more than 25,000 bottles – and the most intimate spa around. The best place to get cozy is in the Sir Norman Lounge, especially if you snag one of the leather chairs next to the fireplace. The hotel’s pub, the Outpost, is also worth visiting, but be warned: you will have to brave the outdoors to reach the pub’s entrance.
200 Pipestone Rd., Lake Louise, 403-522-3989, posthotel.com
Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler is another amazing place to be in the mountains without, you know, being on the mountain. The lakeside hotel has an in-house yoga studio and gym, but the spa just may coax you outside thanks to its outdoor hot tubs. Throw in three restaurants, live music on Wednesday and Friday nights and fireplaces in every room, and you’re set for the ultimate indoor getaway.
For a similar experience south of the border, check out The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in Whitefish, Mont. Lakeside restaurants with a view: check. Spa treatments: look good. In-room soaking tubs: yes, please.
So, what are you waiting for? Get away! Get cozy! Because, living in Calgary, there’s no way to escape Game of Thrones‘ truth: “Winter is coming.”
Thank goodness frozen water is so pretty.