Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
by the kilted traveller
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
February 21, 2008
October 25, 2000
This was supposed to be a camping vacation, but as soon as we got here we headed for the Athabasca Hotel. It’s 1920’s vintage, originally designed to cater to hunters, businessmen, and tourists. It’s been recently renovated, and while they’ve added plenty of modern comforts, they’ve managed to keep the original flavor. Even without a reservation, they found a spot for us. The rooms here are cozy and attractive. The furniture is cherry wood with a mildly Victorian feel that’s reinforced by the rose-colored comforters on the beds. There’s not a bad view in the place.
If the rooms are cozy, the lobby makes you feel as though you’ve landed in the Explorer’s Club. The large space is broken into small conversational areas with groupings of big, comfortable chairs -- the kind that invite you to sink in with your newspaper and cup of coffee. There’s a working fireplace at one end of the room. Everywhere you look there are stuffed trophies. Elk, sheep, deer, mountain goats -- all were probably bagged by those big game hunters who stayed here in the Twenties.
There's a bottomless cup of coffee available in a coffee bar off the lobby, and the people who live in town keep their personal mugs here. If you’re immune to the mountains outside, you can sit in the coffee bar for as long as you like, reading the newspaper, chatting, or looking out of the windows.
The bar and restaurant here are called O'Shea's. The food is delicious, plentiful, and not too expensive. For breakfast, I can't resist the hotcakes with Canadian maple syrup and one of those bottomless cups of coffee. It's a good thing the pasta is homemade, cooked al dente, and creatively sauced -- otherwise, I'd just eat the roast prime rib of Alberta beef every night. The bar itself is an enormous three-sided structure that’s separate from the dining room. You can either sit quietly in one area or head for another area to watch television. There’s also a free-standing fireplace with some comfortable chairs and couches for sprawling.
The greatest asset here is the staff. They're warmly welcoming, friendly, and full of information about Jasper. They'll do whatever they can to be certain you have an enjoyable stay. They’ve conjured up rooms for us on short notice, helped us arrange many expeditions, nursed us through ailments, and answered all of our dumb questions cheerfully.
The Athabasca is like Jasper -- comfortable and attractive without a shred of pretension. Even after I win the lottery and can stay anywhere in the Rockies that I choose, I'll probably still head straight for the Atha'B.
Jasper: September 9, 2000
From journal The Canadian Rockies by Car