on August 11, 2009
Mr Tart and myself spent 10 days in Banff for a skiing holiday. We looked around a fair few hotels before deciding on Brewster’s Mountain Lodge. We were looking for something reasonably priced that had some good reviews.LOCATION: Brewster’s is not, despite its name, located on the edge of a mountain. It is actually in the middle of Banff townsite, on Caribou Street (yes, nearly all the streets in Banff are named after wildlife!). Banff is the main town located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The nearest main airport is Calagary, which has direct flights to the UK, with a 2 hour bus ride from there to Banff itself. The hotel’s entrance is slightly hidden away as it is surrounded by shops but there is a sign indicating to it.CHECKING IN: Check in was a quick and painless process. The lobby area is in the style of the rest of the hotel, lots of exposed wood giving it a very country cabin feel. All the staff at the desk were very friendly and helpful throughout our stay. If you drive to the hotel there is a car park under the hotel (although you have to pay a daily fee which annoys me as you’re already paying for the hotel). There is also a ski room where you have to store any skis or snowboards and the keys for the racks are available through reception. There are also seats in the lobby, alongside an open fire which is always welcome! The front desk also has displays of tourist information, including the weather and snow reports for the local ski resorts.THE ROOM: Our room was on the 3rd floor (the top floor as Banff buildings cannot be high due to the National Park status). The room followed the same theme as the lobby, with a rustic, country feel. As you walked in there was a hanging area with hangers provided. This also had an iron and ironing board. There were 2 double beds in the room (although I’m not sure if they allow 4 people in the rooms). There was a large chest of drawers, TV, telephone, table with chairs and alarm clock. The tea and coffee making facilities were good, with a proper cafetiere being provided, although Mr Tart was unhappy that there was only powdered milk.The beds were very comfortable, although the pillows were not soft enough for my liking and I woke up with a sore neck some mornings. The room has its own heating system which was very effective but very drying. This made us constantly thirsty in the night but I’d rather have to drink than shiver! The bathroom was fairly standard. The shower was above the bath with constant hot water and it was powerful enough. There were lots of free toiletries, lotion, shampoo, conditioner and bath gel. The towels were a little too small as they only just got round me and I’m a size 8! They could definitely have done with a few bath sheet type towels. The maid who serviced our room was not the most efficient I’ve ever come across. We were constantly in need of body lotion as our skin was so dry due to the atmosphere in the mountains, but she constantly neglected to leave us any. She often didn’t replace our towels even when we left them on the floor and one day she left her cleaning cloth in the room. BREAKFAST:One of the reasons I chose this hotel was that it included breakfast. We were told it was going to be a light continental breakfast, but we weren’t expecting it to be quite so light! Firstly you have to find the breakfast room which is well hidden in the basement (which can only be accessed through the second floor). The room is quite small and can get full which means you may have to wait around for a table, which we did a couple of mornings. The selection on offer is very limited. There is tea and coffee and orange and apple juice. To eat, there were three types of cereal, fruit salad (which often looked as if it had been sitting out), natural yoghurt and breads. If you were lucky there were croissants or a bagel left. There were no meats and no cheeses, only jams and spreads. There was nothing wrong with the breakfast per se but there just wasn’t enough of it to do us for a day?s skiing and not enough variety. We ended up eating breakfast out for about half of the holiday which added to our costs a lot. The member of staff at breakfast was not a happy bunny either. One morning Mr Tart asked if there was a possibility of more coffee as the pot had run out, she looked as if he’d asked her to go to the moon to get it...if looks could kill!! OTHER POINTS:The hotel has a small gym area. There are a couple of gym machines which I would have definitely used if I had been there in the summer but considering we were skiing I didn’t feel the need to add in extra exercise! There was a running machine, bike and cross trainer. There was also a hot tub which was quite big and really relaxing. It wasn’t quite hot enough for me but Mr Tart said it was a perfect temperature for him. They also had a sauna which we didn’t use but we had a nose in and it looked quite nice. I would have preferred a hotel with a pool and if I was going again would book one with a pool but the hot tub did us fine. The hotel has a small lounge area on the second floor which has a computer, board games and books. The computer had Internet access but you had to pay for this at reception. The hotel didn’t have WiFi which I found quite surprising but I guess they’ll put this in at some point as everywhere seems to be at the moment. The hotel is very well located for getting the ski bus to any of the 3 ski resorts (Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay) which goes from the Banff Park Lodge just around the corner. Make sure you check the times carefully as they aren’t that regular. RECOMMENDED?Overall I would recommend this hotel. It was good value (for Banff) and was convenient for us. The room was really nice and had everything we needed. The bed was comfortable and apart from my slight issue with the pillows we slept really well. The staff were mainly friendly and very helpful (excepting the ‘delightful’ breakfast room lady!). The breakfast was disappointing but didn’t stop us enjoying our stay so wasn’t the biggest problem. The hotel is also in the perfect location, right in the middle of Banff so that all the shopping and restaurants are within easy walking distance.
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