I cannot add much more to all the positive reviews of this brilliant lodge. I travelled the Rockies before and have stayed in places like the Rim Rock Resort in Banff, the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise, and the Lake Emerald Lake Lodge, so I know what to compare.
For the luxury minded travel, this is my advice :
- skip the larger communities of Banff and Lake Louise. They will not give you the intimate, unforgetable experience that you are looking for in the Rockies. The fact that you are reading this review and as such are interested in Lake Moraine Lodge is already a good sign. Opt for either the Lake Moraine Lodge or the Emerald Lake Lodge.
- The Lake Moraine Lodge is located at the shore of the most beautiful lake in the Rockies (much more stunning than every other easily accessible lake out there), so you cannot go wrong with the location. The lodge is about a 15 min drive from Lake Louise. The best photography of the lake is done in the morning
- The lodge itself is beautifully maintained, both the common areas as the rooms. If you can afford it, go for a cabin as these will give you the most luxurious accommodations in the Rockies. The bed is heavenly, the open fire brilliant (wood is provided everyday), the decoration very nicely done and cozy. Nothing is better than sitting at the open fire after a day of hiking. Moreover, rooms were very silent and sound-proof (which was not the case at the Emerald Lake Lodge were you could hear every step of your upper neighboors if you stay a groundfloor room).
- Not only is the lodge located near the most beautiful lake, it is also located in grizzly bear habitat. While driving to the lodge from Lake Louise, we saw an enormous grizzly bear close to the road. Near Lake Moraine, you will have your best chance of seeing one in the Rockies (especially when you take on of the nearby trails).
However, there are some things that I did not like that much about the lodge or that one has to keep in mind :
- the lake is open to the general public. This means it will get very busy there in summer between about 10 am and 5 pm. People will walk on the paths through the lodge and pass in front of your window. However, this should be a non-issue as you should be out of your cabin during the day to explore the area, and you will have the lake for yourself during morning and evening.
- Rooms have no open view on the lake. The view is obscured by trees.
- although the dinner served in the restaurant is very nice, I think their prices are too high (even taken into account that the lodge is pretty isolated from town). In comparison, the food at the Emerald Lake Lodge - which is also isolated - is of the same quality, but they charge about 10 CAN $ less per entree. Also, the ambiance and decor of the restaurant felt more like an average dinner place, not in line with the rest of the lodge.
- breakfast (continental) is mediocre and not compatible with a lodge that aims to be luxurious. For example, they should serve freshly squeezed juices instead of bottled juices, and offer more choices.
- Although we are used to paying sometimes more than 1000 US $ per night for a hotel, we feel that the rates at the lodge - 400 CAN $ a night excluding taxes - are somehow overpriced (but nevertheless worth the experience). In comparison, rates at the Lake Emerald Lodge are about 60% of those at the Lake Moraine Lodge.
- What would make this lodge trully exceptional is the addition of a hottube (as hottubes can be found in quite a lot of the hotels in the Rockies these days). The hottube at the Lake Emerald Lodge was just brilliant.
So, to the owners of the Lake Moraine lodge, it would like it to give you the following advice : keep your lodge the way it is, as it is one of the nicest lodges - if not thé nicest lodge - in the Rockies. However, try to upgrade your breakfast, drop your rates by 20%, and consider the addition of a hottube and spa, and who knows ... you may end up on the Conde Nast Gold List.