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Moraine Lake Lodge
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Reviewed June 25, 2010

We arrived at Moraine Lake Lodge on a sunny and warm Sunday, the 13th of June, the third day of our 12-day Canadian Rockies trip. The temperature was 21 degrees (70 degrees F) and we were in shorts after a brisk hike around Lake Louise. That was the last sunshine we saw for our 6-day stay at Moraine Lake.

My wife and I had booked a King Lake Cabin. Michael, the General Manager, offered us a substantial discount--beyond the 10% AAA discount advertised--for a stay of five nights or more. The room was grand...fireplace and a view of the lake. The room was spacious and offered very nice amenities and furnishings. Someone complained earlier about having to move the coffeepot into the bathroom in order to use it. And that took how long? The massive picture window offers a panoramic view of the valley cut by glacial action and the terminal moraine that dams the lake we see today.

Given a very cold spring--to which we can attest--the lake is low but rising and the peaks around the valley still hold the promise of bountiful water, once the sun shines enough to melt the snow. We used the lodge as a base for seeing Jasper, Banff, and parts of Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. It worked very well...but they didn't provide enough sunshine! On at least 4 days, we had snow. All kidding aside, we made the best of it and having a fireplace to warm up in front of afterward made our forays all that much more enjoyable. Be advised, this is bear country! We had a good sized male grizzly amble down the path in front of our room just minutes after we had taken it to walk back from dinner. Given the northern location, you don't have to worry about stumbling along in the dark since it is still light at 11PM.

The lodge has a dining room, small "cafe", gift shop(discounts for guests), and free use of canoes for guests. There are many hikes to be had and the staff are eager to give you tips. Larch Valley and Consolation Lake are two of the more popular hikes and each has its own unique list of attributes. Pay attention to the bear warnings; in July and August, grizzlies are in the high country and an encounter can be very dangerous. The requirement to travel in groups of 4 are for your safety and should not be ignored. Buy a bear bell, strap it on your significant other's pack and then hope the bear follows the bell (just kidding).

See our comments about food and wine under Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, B.C. Food is expensive and beverages border on, well, too pricey? Sure, you are in a remote and unique locale, but the wine prices, especially, seem over the top, though not as bad as what we found at Emerald Lake.

The dining room enjoys stunning views of the lake and the glaciers perched above but it is by no means fancy. For a stay of more than three nights, the menu selections can become a bit repetitive but we tried almost all of the entrees and found them to be well prepared. Again, I will say that "presentation" seems to be the vogue these days in food preparation so prepare yourself for the odd geometry plates and the little flourishes that chefs seem to feel make them artisans more than food preparers.

The staff at the lodge is mostly young college-age people, many from Australia, and seems very friendly and genuinely interested in making your stay an enjoyable one. I give the lodges in the Canadian Rockies credit for retaining the charm of exuberant young people for staff as opposed to cheap immigrant labor that too often cannot even communicate with their guests due to language barriers.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the lodge, although we were disappointed when they pulled out a sunny day as we checked out!

Michael: good staff and a great time!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank OGoneAgain2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2010

We spent one night at the Moraine Lake Lodge at the end of May 2010. They opened a few nights early this year, and the rooms were half price so we had to take advantage and check it out.

We had never been to Moraine Lake before, and were not entirely sure what to expect. What an amazing place it is. I can certainly see why they can charge so much during the summer. It would certainly be worth the price. I have heard this place can get pretty busy during the summer tourist season, but it was not busy at all during our stay.

The staff were very helpful and friendly. We checked in and they gave us a full tour of the lodge, and helped us make reservations for dinner there as well.

We stayed in a queen room of the main lodge. The room was simple and cozy. Just a bed, chair, gas fireplace, bathroom, and balcony. The bed was comfy, but firm. Probably the most romantic room we have stayed in. The view from the balcony is spectacular.

Another thing I liked was that there was no phone or TV, although we knew that before we got there. It was very relaxing. They do have a computer and phone near the lobby if you absolutely have to get in touch with the outside world while you are there. But it was nice to take a break from things and just enjoy the mountain air.

We stayed in the room closest to the lake, but that was also closest to the kitchen. There was some sort of noise (we figured it was the kitchen exhaust system) that we could hear as we layed down to go to bed. But it stopped at 1030pm and we didn't hear it again. It was very quiet after that, as could be expected when staying in the mountains.

Speaking of the restaurant, the food was very good. The menu was not big, but everything looked good. . It was definitely pricey. We tried the chicken breast ($35) and the flavors were awesome. The steak and salmon were $45-$48 so it is certainly not a place to eat if you are on a tight budget. They had a very nice dining room though, and the service was excellent. It was snowing while we ate, so we did not take advantage of the outside patio tables, but they must be very popular in the summer.

I would definitely recommend staying here, and we will certainly go back again. There are so many hiking trails in the area. We only had time for the rockpile trail, but will definitely go back to check out some of the others.

Since this review is for the lodge, I am only going to add photos of the lodge. If you would like to see the photos of Moraine Lake and the surrounding mountains, you can check out my photostream on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44964056@N04/sets/72157623303142745/

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PGDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2009

My husband and I spent 1 night in a deluxe king cabin overlooking Lake Moraine. The ultimate rustic experience. The bed was so comfortable, the room was huge, the windows overlooking the lake were from ceiling to floor. The wood stove was great. It was a very romantic setting. We went for a free canoe ride around the lake. The staff was so nice helping me into the canoe, and paddling was no problem, even with my arthritis. It was a real calming experience on the lake, the water is turquoise. We went for fine dining, at the hotel and it was the best meal I've ever had. After dinner we went to the Library and enjoyed a very entertaining talk by a Naturalist about the local wildlife. All the staff were very helpful and friendly. Can't wait to go back. We drove to Banff Hot Springs and then up to Columbia Ice Fields. Views are fantastic.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank beatswatchingtv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2009

We stayed one night here in a Deluxe King Cabin - which cost a little more cash but worth it for the view and wood buring fire which gave a real homely atmosphere. The location is simply awesome being right on Lake Moraine - in our opinion by far the most stunning lake we saw in or travels through Banff, Yoho and Jasper Parks.

The restaurant is fairly expensive with limited choice - but what we actually had was good. All the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LP69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2009

Stayed for 1 night as part of our Rockies fly drive holiday. The hotel has a unique position on the edge of a very picturesque lake with free canoes for the use of guests and a gentle path walk to the head of the lake.

The bedroom was clean and comfortable but very small and felt cramped, it was nice to have the big balcony deck to sit out on for a bit of space but being mid September it was getting quite cool in the evening. The evening meal and the breakfast were both excellent.

Not a cheap place to stay and the area gets over-run with buses full of camera toting tourists during the day which swamps the place but it returns to peace and tranquility by late afternoon when the hordes have left.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank YorkshireTraveller12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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