The Manager of our Colchester travel agents, Lisa Robinson, got the chance to travel across Canada for six nights. Here is what she got up to during her trip and what she would recommend anyone else travelling here does with their time…
Operator/Host: 1st Class Holidays
(Hotel names/Ship name): Fox Hotel & Suites Banff, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf, Hotel Five Forty Kamloops, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel Vancouver.
Airline: Air Canada
Duration: 6 nights
The flights were ok but it was very busy. The Air Canada aircraft seemed fairly new and was very clean with comfortable seats and reasonable leg room. The food and service on board was not great, though.
Banff National Park
Our first accommodation was the Fox Hotel & Suites in the great location of just a 10-minute walk outside the centre of Banff town. The hotel rooms and duplex suites offered a good choice of accommodation for couples and families and a continental breakfast is included in the rate. The hotel has a great restaurant and a lively bar and I would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone visiting the area.
Next, we stayed at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a 4* hotel set in an area of natural beauty just a 10-minute taxi ride to the town centre. The hotel rooms and suites are scattered in the grounds and our rooms overlooked the lake, with a balcony, a lounge with an open fire and a large bedroom. The hotel has a nice restaurant and bar and also offers a check-in facility for the Rocky Mountaineer, which was a very quick and easy process.
The Hotel 540 is one of the hotels owned by Rocky Mountaineer and used for the overnight stay as you make your way to Vancouver. It is a good 3*superior hotel with nice clean rooms and in a great central location. It’s just a few minutes’ walk to a good choice of eateries.
My favourite hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, was saved until last, though. It was situated on the quayside, opposite the cruise terminal, and was just a few minutes’ walk from the shops, bars and restaurants. Also in walking distance was Stanley Park and Gas Town. The rooms were very large and comfortable and some with great views of the harbour.
We also took a coach journey from Banff, via Lake Louise, to Jasper. It was the most amazing road trip through the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. Our time in Banff also allowed us to visit the Columbia Icefields. We travelled to the glacier on a specially designed Brewster Snowcoach and even got the chance to walk on the glacier.
Following our time in Banff, we journeyed from Jasper to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer. It was an amazing experience to travel in Gold Leaf service for two days. Our luggage was taken from us at the Jasper Park Lodge and transferred by road to the next hotel. We had a short wait at the station before we boarded the train, but the Gold Leaf carriage had very large comfortable seats and a glass dome roof that allows you to take in the most wonderful views.
The service on board was fantastic. The downstairs restaurant offers hot gourmet breakfast and lunch to the standard of a top restaurant and during the journey you are served complimentary snacks and drinks.
Once in Vancouver, we had our own bus to take us on a city tour. Starting at Stanley Park, we spent time at the Vancouver Aquarium, which was great fun, and then travelled through the city to explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which included the tree tops adventure and cliff walk.
The entire trip was amazing, but the standout thing was the fantastic scenery at Lake Louise and the trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.
I would recommend this trip to people of all ages and for many this would be the trip of a lifetime. The scenery was some of the best I have ever seen and travelling in the autumn would allow you to see the beautiful colours on the trees and you may even experience some snow . However, the most popular time of year to travel would be spring or early summer.
Must see? Lake Louise
Must do? Rocky Mountaineer – Gold leaf
Must try? Banff Gondola
If you would like to visit Canada yourself then Fred Olsen Travel can help you organise the trip of a lifetime. Whether you are looking to plan a city break to Vancouver or a mini tour similar to the one that Lisa went on, we can offer our expertise to help you get the most from your holiday. Visit one of our travel stores today or fill in an online enquiry form to see the packages we can offer.