Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise


Sep 1st, 2013, 01:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise

- Booked a regional jet from SFO to Calgary through United, which is run by SkyWest.
What we liked: carry on bags were collected at the departure gate, loaded on the plane, and were waiting for us at the gate when we disembarked. Our seats were definitely more roomy than our last economy Air France flight.
- Hertz car rental at YYC.
What we liked: Rental office and car conveniently located near the terminal. Very quick process!

Hotel on arrival: the Westin, Downtown
What we liked: excellent bed, great comfort and outstanding hospitality, value rate last-minute. Perfect for exploring downtown, a walking and bicycling city. Locals were friendly and helpful, often going out of their way to give directions or chat.
Not so much: fee for wi-fi. However, access was free in the lobby. Fee for parking in the underground garage. Breakfast Buffet is very expensive, so a better option is Cora's which is 2 blocks away.

Hotel the night before departure: Kensington Riverside Inn, Kensington District, Calgary
What we liked: beautiful, comfortable quiet room with luxury feel, excellent personal service, lovely cooked-to-order breakfast included. The Kensington District is charming with lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, lounges, and a quaint movie theater around the corner.

Restaurants: Home Tasting Room, Stephens Ave Pedestrian Mall.
What we liked: outside seating on a warm night, outstanding food including a
light gazpacho, roasted vegetable salad, lamb shanks, seared scallops with lentils, and an incredible mousse made out of something not available in the US ( name escapes me).

The Brasserie Kensington - A French style brasserie
What we liked: I had an amazing crispy chicken breast dish with gnocchi and vegetables. The windows from this second floor restaurant provided a view of the charming neighborhood and activities of its residents. Truly not a tourist area.
Not so much: my husband was disappointed with his fish and chips - perhaps because it was gluten-free or perhaps because they use duck fat. Our waiter was so sour that it made us laugh repeatedly. He was almost a caricature of the classic rude French waiter, except he fawned over the table next to us. Later, another waiter arrived and was quite charming. There was nothing wrong with the service itself, but don't expect a chatty friendship. I would eat there again, however, The Wine Bar downstairs had a much friendlier vibe and would be perfect if you were in the mood to share tapas. ( Same owner, same kitchen).
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Sep 1st, 2013, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I was just in Glacier (MT), Banff & Jasper. My trip report is posted in Montana as most of the trip was there.

My 2 1/2 days in Banff & Jasper were partly to scope out a future more concentrated trip.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your report and hopefully see photos.
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 01:39 PM
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The fabulous dessert we had at Home Tasting Room in Calgary was a Tonka Bean Chocolate Mousse. The tonka bean is illegal in the US. Such a minute amount was used in the flavoring of this dessert, but it was a fabulous treat. We thought the food in this restaurant could compete with any of the fine restaurants in Napa Valley.

We drove to Canmore in less than an hour, parked on the street easily, and had a delicious lunch at Good Earth Coffee Shop, chosen because it was the least crowded of any restaurant. Canmore was swarming with tourists, uncomfortably so. The town is quite small and charming in a stunningly beautiful setting. But it was just too crowded and overly busy for me. And this was on a Wednesday! I was glad we were heading to Banff to spend the next 3 nights.
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