There are dozens of hotels in Banff, but you can probably count the number that we haven’t stayed at yet on one hand. Buffalo Mountain Lodge was on that list, so when the opportunity for a bit of a ‘Banff staycation‘ came up last weekend, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
If you’ve been to Banff before but haven’t heard of Buffalo Mountain Lodge, it’s forgivable. Probably the biggest reason for that is that it’s not in the town per se, but hidden away up Tunnel Mountain (2 mins out of Banff). If you didn’t know it was there, I guarantee you’d never find it. To be honest, I spent 3 months living at the HI hostel (literally opposite) and didn’t even know it was there until about 3 years later..
But not having heard of it speaks nothing of its reputation with those that know about it. In fact, over the past few years I’ve come to learn that Buffalo Mountain Lodge has a quiet reputation for having some of the best food in Banff, not to mention its reputation for being the perfect peaceful retreat.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge is one of 3 incredible hotels owned by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, and if you haven’t heard of Buffalo, you will almost definitely have heard of Deer Lodge or Emerald Lake Lodge. Here’s our post on Deer Lodge and its incredible rooftop hot tub if you need a refresher!
Here are 5 reasons you’re going to love staying at Buffalo Mountain Lodge:
Yes, we’ve already mentioned how great the food is, but seriously, the Sleeping Buffalo restaurant is one you don’t want to miss if you’re a foodie. The menu is about as Canadian as you can get, with unique meats like Caribou and Bison as well as some of the most incredible gelato I’ve ever had. The chef is obviously a bit of a mad scientist because the menu is always changing and there are some seriously unique and unexpected treats.
Here are just two of the creations you might come across:
Bison Pho – Having become quite a connoisseur in pho in Calgary, we were a little surprised to see this as a starter, but actually the portion was perfect and the flavours were delicious. Definitely recommend it!
Potato crisp gelato – yes.. you read that correctly.. potato crisp ice cream. Yup, you get two scoops of chocolate ice cream and one scoop of cold mashed potato. Ok just kidding, it’s not that at all and it’s actually quite delicious. Any Canadian that’s dipped their fries in their chocolate milkshake will get it, and if you’re from elsewhere you’ll just have to trust me!
Mustard Melons – as part of their incredible charcuterie board you’ll get to try one of the best inventions by the chef. It sounds crazy, but it actually works really well with their speciality meats and cheeses.
Buffalo Mountain has also just opened a new cafe called Buffalo Mountain cafe. A great place to stop for a quick snack at lunchtime and if that hasn’t convinced you yet, let me just say one thing; truffle bacon grilled cheese. Ok, you get it… enough said. We could go on and on about how great the food is and we seriously recommend going for dinner even if you’re staying elsewhere.
Check out the dinner menu and more here:
Here’s one for you to wow your friends (sigh)..Buffalo mountain is really a reference to Tunnel Mountain, and Sleeping Buffalo even more so. If you’re driving to Banff from Calgary or Canmore, or you’re up the gondola, make sure you look for the giant sleeping buffalo at the foot of Cascade Mountain.
For a lot of visitors, Banff is one giant party. They come here for the clubs, the bachelor parties and the party scene (here’s our guide to partying like a local if that’s what you’re actually coming for) and yes, if you’re coming for that you’re going to have an incredible time. But what if that’s not what you’re coming for?
What if you want to visit Banff and experience a little bit of peace and quiet? If you’ve ever wanted to experience the solitude of a log cabin, but don’t really want to be alone in the wilderness, Buffalo Mountain lodge is the perfect halfway point between the two. Our two days were so relaxing that we almost forgot we were in Banff.
Just like at Deer Lodge, Buffalo Mountain Lodge went all out on their hot tub. The views of the mountains aren’t quite as picturesque as at Deer Lodge, but they’re not half bad either. And in any case, what it lacks in views, it sure makes up for in size. You can comfortably fit about 20 of your closest mates in there. In case you’re getting a little chilly outside, there’s also a sauna downstairs; perfect for soothing those aching muscles after a long day of skiing.
What says a Banff holiday more than a cozy night in front of a roaring fire? Each room has its own fireplace replete with a big pile of firewood and most importantly, kindling, matches and newspaper for getting it going. If you’re planning to have the fire going for most of your stay, the staff even drop by twice a day to restock your wood.
My favourite part of the hotel by far is the main fireplace at the entrance to the hotel. You can just plonk yourself down with a good book while the staff quietly keep your glass of wine topped up. Considering we’re always go, go, go, it was such a rare treat to be able to put our technology away and just enjoy each others’ company in front of the fire.
FYI there are only a few seats in front of the fire, so be prepared to pounce if you see an empty chair!
Ok well maybe you don’t have to be a Victoria to bathe like this, but the clawfoot bathtub in the room was something very unusual to come across. I half expected someone to keep running in with jugs of hot water but fortunately it’s all very modern!
If you’re thinking you might like to have a unique/budget outdoor wedding in Banff, theres the perfect spot just across the street from Buffalo Mountain Lodge. Your guests can pretty much roll out of bed and walk straight into the wedding if you stay there!
If you’d like to book a stay at Buffalo Mountain Lodge, click here for a list of available rooms. There are even pet friendly rooms if you can’t bear to leave them behind!
Overall, if you’re looking for a quiet, and rustic yet luxurious stay, I can think of few better suited places. You’ll certainly be hard pressed to find a more relaxing retreat in Banff. And if you still want some excitement, there’s a bus across the street to reach town, not to mention a liquor store next door!
If you’re looking for other things to do during your stay, make sure you check out our post on 100 things to do in Banff, and if you’re coming in Winter, our post on our top 20 things to do in Winter in Banff!
Disclosure: Our stay at Buffalo Mountain Lodge was complementary, but any opinions expressed on this blog are entirely our own.