Our FAM group met in the hotel’s lobby at 7:30am to meet the sales manager for a site visit of the International Hotel and Suites. We went downstairs for breakfast and had a chat about the hotel and he answered any questions we had. Because the hotel was sold out the previous night, he couldn’t show us any rooms that were different than what we had already stayed in. After breakfast a couple of us headed to the pool and relaxed in the hot tub for a bit. A few more of us went shopping in the downtown core at the one mall located in Banker’s Hall. I bought myself a few things and took advantage of the lower taxes in Alberta.
Afterwards I checked out, said my last good byes to the others in our group and headed to the Calgary Airport. Once checked in, I relaxed in the Maple Leaf Lounge as I had Business Class tickets. The cost difference was really nothing, maybe $75. If you think about the cost of a checked bag, lunch and drinks, advance seat selection, better seats on the plane, meal and drinks on the plane, it’s totally worth it. I will fly business class whenever possible or at least pay the extra for premium lounge access.
I was so ready to go home, but sad at the same time.
It was an amazing trip and this experience is definitely going to help me explain this journey to clients. However there are some things I’ve noticed and I have a few big takeaways from this trip.
The food is heavy, vegetarian options are few. For my diet (ketogenic, no carbs or sugars), it would have been impossible to stick to and I basically had to cheat the entire time. The trip consists of extremely long days on the train. The last day into Banff on the train was essentially thirteen hours. You can’t really move around too much and you are exhausted when you get in. A recovery day after the train is a must. I feel that a hike or some kind of real activity was needed the day following the train ride, my internal system hands down is not happy with me that I sat and ate for five days straight pretty well. The rest day will also give you more time to enjoy the Rockies. I’m pretty fortunate to have this amazing mountain range somewhat in my backyard, that being said, for someone visiting, you need a couple extra days in Banff to really see what this area is about.
Pay to upgrade hotels. As much as the Brewsters Mountain Lodge was right in the heart of Banff, I would have upgraded to the Rimrock or the Banff Springs Hotel in a heartbeat. These are iconic hotels with incredible views, the amenities included with these hotels are also a step ahead and well worth it.
Take time and enjoy the ride. There are areas where you have no cell phone service on the train. Really take time and enjoy the scenery around you. It’s times like this that are meant for reflection, inside and out. Seeing the wildlife, the mountains and everything just makes you ponder how really we do need moments like this to sit back, relax and enjoy.
Would I do this trip again? Yes. I personally really enjoyed it. The hosts were wonderful, the food was great, the views were amazing!
As Rocky Mountaineer promotes, it truly was an unforgettable journey.