Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies is one of those must-see destinations, a strikingly turquoise glacier-fed lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and evergreen forests. Located within Banff National Park, it’s one of Canada’s most-touristed spots, drawing more than three million visitors every year.
In such a popular area, bargains are hard to come by, particularly in the busy summer season. So what if you want to sleep nearby without spending $1,000 a night for a room overlooking the lake?
Head a short drive from the lake, and prices begin to drop. This summer, I had a chance to stay at the Mountaineer Lodge, a simple, comfortable motel less than 15 minutes by car from the famous body of water.
The Mountaineer Lodge has 78 rooms and suites in two buildings. In the newer main lodge (above), staff set out complimentary coffee for guests, and you can soak in the indoor hot tub. Guest rooms in this building come with one king or two queen beds; some are larger family-friendly units.
The second original structure is a two-story drive-up motel block, where most of the rooms have one or two queen beds. A few family-sized suites are located in this building as well.
Rooms in both buildings are similarly outfitted, with solid blond wood furnishings. All have coffeemakers, microwaves, and mini-fridges, which are convenient if you’re planning to picnic or simply want to keep snacks for the kids.
Wi-fi is free, although during my stay, I found the speed varied from adequate to impossibly slow.
A complimentary breakfast buffet is served in the motel building, where there’s also a handy guest laundry.
The Mountaineer Lodge doesn’t have views of the lake, or views of much besides the parking lot, but with scenery like this just a short drive away, you won’t spend much time in your room anyway. And think of the money you’re saving.
TIP: For visitors from many countries, the low Canadian dollar makes Canada travel a great value right now. At current exchange rates, these Mountaineer Lodge rates start at just US$118/night.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario (now available in a brand new 2nd edition) and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Travel Alberta and Banff Lake Louise Tourism hosted my stay at the Mountaineer Lodge for review purposes.