Lake Louise or Banff

Jan 18th, 2006, 09:32 AM
  #1  
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Lake Louise or Banff

My wife and I and 2 children (6 and 8) are planning to spend 3 days in the lake louise or Banff area in March. I will probably ski one day and my wife and kids will want to hang around the pool or town. I have heard the town of Lake louise is very limited. Also heard the Fairmont Chateau sucks and the Post hotel is very nice. Anyone have any recommendations on hotels, or whether to stay in Banff or Lake Louise?
brollend is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #2  
 
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People have different opinions on this, but I would say, in your situation, stay in Banff and make a day trip to Lake Louise. If you are travelling with others who won't want to ski, and would like to "hang around" town, Banff has far more to offer than Lake Louise. Banff is a real town with schools, grocery stores and private residences. Lake Louise is really just a stop on the highway.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise most definitely doesn't suck. It probably has one one the most spectacular sitings for a hotel anywhere. But you do pay for a room with a view. And the view can be enjoyed without staying at the hotel.

I would stay in a mid range hotel in Banff where you can afford a large suite for you familiy. The Ptarmagin is good with an excellent location for exploring the town by foot. Then take a day to visit lake Louise and eat lunch at the hotel.

saltymuffin is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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I totally agree with what saltymuffin said.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 01:14 PM
  #4  
ltt
 
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banff - i the douglas fir resort for families. you can get a chalet with full kitchen, fireplace, separate bedrooms...there are also two pools - one with a water slide and one with just a plane pool and hottub. it is about a 5 minute drive uphill from the town. there is public transportation that stops right outside. small grocery store near by.
another one i know that families have stayed is the best western, sliding 29.
ltt is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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I;m going to differ with the previous posters.

Lake Louise has outdoor iceskating at the hotel, sleigh rides available, and a snow play area. These options are available whether or not you are a guest at the hotel.

Banff is full of shops. Nothing for kids to do, in my opinion. If your kids would be happy at an indoor pool for 3 days or shopping for three days.. then I think Banff would be your best bet. If your kids are more intested in outdoor activities, like mine were, then it might be better for you to stay in Lake Louise! (However, dining options are limited in Lake Louise... Banff definately has more options there.)

Good luck!
moneygirl is offline  
Jan 20th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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We stayed at the Post Hotel (in summer) and it's a very nice place,more of an "inn" than a hotel. I think the have a "very small" indoor pool. Great service, nice restaurant. Not far down the down the road from Fairmont Lake Louise. I don't know if I could compare Banff to Lake Louise because they are different. Lake Louise has gorgeous scenery, and lakes, where Banff is more touristy with shops and restaurants. But again, we went in summer so it could be different in March. Kids would probably get bored in Lake Louise so I would say stay in Banff, and visit Lake Louise for a day trip.
GailLK is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 12:18 PM
  #7  
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Thanks all for your recommendations. I think we are going to stay in Banff.
brollend is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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I was under the impression (mistaken?) that the Banff area also had plenty of hiking. Is that not correct? Would Canmore be better? Is the hiking (moderate) at Lake Louise much better than in/around Banff? Thanks!
poss is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 03:31 PM
  #9  
maj
 
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Poss

There are plenty of places to hike around Banff. Johnston Canyon is a short drive between Banff and Lake Louise. There is a trail up Tunnel Mountain that gives you great views of the Banff area in just about every direction as you wind around the mountain. If you want, you can walk up Sulfur Mountain (where the tram is). We walked on a trail at Lake Minnewanka and along Stewart Canyon. We went to Kootenay from there one day and there are places to hike there also. We found plenty to do using Banff as a base. You can walk along the Bow River -- it was fun watching people floating down the river.

We stayed in Banff 4 nights (we stayed at Buffalo Mountain Lodge which you asked about in another post)and liked it very much. We were there in
late September and although it was pretty full at the time, we found found it quiet and private. We also stayed 3 nights each in the Lake Louise and Jasper areas.

We found plenty to do in each area at the time of year we were there (can't speak for the winter -- sounds like different things are available). We aren't shoppers, but liked the great variety of restaurants in Banff.





maj is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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maj: thanks so much for your post. I'm planning a trip along the same lines as the one you did. (Still trying to decide between Buffalo Mountain and Rimrock. If I could be assured of an upper level room at Buffalo, I'd do that-- but I don't think I'd be hapy on ground floor. Also a little concerned abt hearing neighbors-- less likely I think at Rimrock, tho maybe not...) Question: I was thinking of including Emerald Lake Lodge in our itinerary-- doing 3 nights at Banff (now that you've clarified there's plenty of hiking/exploring-- we're not shoppers) and 2 nights each at Lake Louise, Japer and back down to Emerald Lake for 2 nights. Did you consider Emerald Lake and then decide against it? Did you visit it from Lake Louise? Can't make up my mind about whether to include it....
poss is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 05:35 PM
  #11  
maj
 
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We went in the fall of 2003. It was the first time I had used Fodors for a trip. The information was priceless, but it was still confusing because there is so much to see and so many places to stay. (I was totally confused about where to stay also) That tourist season was exceptionally slow up there, and we were going at the beginning of the off season. I found out through watching hotel room availability and reading other posts that if we didn't want to stay in a specific hotel, we could get accommodations after we got up there. It worked for us then, but I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it that way -- especially if you are going during the summer. Even then, it was hard to decide where to stay -- there are so many good choices. I really enjoyed seeing the accommodations (like Emerald Lodge and Post Hotel) even if we didn't stay there -- I had heard so much about them that it was fun to see what they actually looked like.

We visited Yoho while staying at Lake Louise. Emerald Lake was beautiful -- partly because it was a beautiful day when we were there (it was one of my favorite lakes). We saw Moraine Lake while it was overcast, so didn't really get to see it in all its glory.

Emerald Lake was very peaceful -- we walked around the lake and the lodge. There were people canoeing on the lake. I'm not sure what is available there for hiking, etc., but it might be a nice, different way to enjoy the area for a couple of nights.

The best advice I had was from the visitor center in Jasper. She said to have tentative plans on what you want to see, and then be ready to adjust them according to the weather. In other words, if it is cloudy, don't go up Whistler's Mountain tramway -- visit Maligne Canyon or the falls along the Jasper end of the Icefields Parkway and hope the next day will be sunny so you can get the good views from the top of the mountain. Not always possible, but good advice anyway. I also got a couple of those hiking books that Bob Brown and Judy recommend and was very glad that I did. Even those though can be very confusing at times since there are so many hikes -- and you can't possibly do most of them in one trip.

It is a fantastic area, and all the people we ran into there were very helpful and friendly (it is a tourist area and their livelihood after all). I think you will have a great trip, whatever you decide.

maj is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:52 AM
  #12  
 
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We have visited the area in March and Sept. We loved staying in the Lake Louise/Yoho area but when we skiied, we enjoyed staying in Banff.

It was nice after skiing all day, to have a little happy hour, hit the hot tub, clean up and then just walk to dinner.

I also think Banff offers more non-ki options for your family--it is not as crowded as when you visit in the summer.

We enjoyed skiing Sunshine--I had never skiied a bowl--but our favorite skiing was at Lake Louise--take a camera, the views are spectacular. If I was only going to ski one day, I would probably choose Lake Louise.
LindainOhio is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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poss:

You asked about Emerald Lake Lodge. It is one of our favorite all time places to stay.

We visited in Sept. 2004 and stayed in their least expensive room. The room was small but had a woodburning fireplace fronted by 2 chairs, the fireplace was stoked everyday and ready to light. It had a lovely bathroom, a balcony, and had been recently refurbished. We had a bit of a view of the lake.

The grounds are beautiful, we enjoyed eating there (we ate at both restaurants--loved the bumbleberry pie)and can't wait to return. They have a wonderful trail around the lake. They have some spectacular rooms/cabins on the lake.

On our week long trip, we stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge 2 nts, Beckers(Jasper)2 nights, Baker Creek(Lk. Louise) 2 nts. Too short a visit. We would love to return.
LindainOhio is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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Thanks again maj-- great info!
Linda: I'd looked into Baker's and Becker's as a way of saving $$ (instead of the Fairmonts in those 2 areas)-- but I kept reading (TripAdvisor?) abt train noise or road noise or river noise. We are poor sleepers, even at home, and worse when traveling. Quiet is SO impt to us. But those places look very nice. I'd sure rather not have to pay the big bucks.
poss is offline  
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