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When I was around 10 years old I went to Alberta, Canada and fell in love. My family went to Edmonton for the Track & Field World Championships (in the dead heat of summer), and I then spent the next few years trying to convince my parents to move there. While some of my reasons were silly (but mom, the largest mall EVER is there!), some of my reasons were valid, which I was reminded of this past trip (the nicest people and the prettiest scenery).

When Travel Alberta and Fairmont Hotels contacted me to go on a #WeLoveWinter trip with a small group of influencers and photographers, I was not only excited to re-visit one of my favorite places but also to explore a few destinations within the rest of Alberta that were on my bucket list. I traveled to Edmonton, Jasper, Lake Louise, and Banff, while the rest of the group also went on to Calgary to end their trip. We drove from each hotel on a private bus with SunDog Tours, which I highly recommend. You will want to stop every few minutes to take photos of the amazing scenery!

We had such an amazing time, and I cannot wait to share our itinerary with you… here it is!

EDMONTON

Where to stay:

We started our journey through Alberta with a stay at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton. You all already know my obsession with Edmonton, so naturally staying in this stunning hotel in one of the best locations was the best way to start the trip for me. The rooms were wonderful with great views, and the Confederation Lounge had even more stunning views that you can enjoy while cozying up by the fire with a good drink.

What to do:
  • Edmonton Ice Castles
  • West Edmonton Mall – the largest in North America, so you gotta see it!
  • Dinner at Rostizado – get the Harvest vegan queso and Mezcal Margarita!

JASPER

Where to stay:

Resembling a luxury lodge surrounded by an abundance of nature and wildlife, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is located in Canada’s largest mountain park. The property is composed of a variety of lodge suites and cozy individual cabins. We stayed in the Gardener’s Cottage which is a 4 bedroom stand-alone cabin that even features a small game room with a pool table. We had a chef come into our cabin and cook one night as we dined by the fire – mountain living at its finest!

Book your next stay with Passport To Friday and receive daily breakfast for two, $100 hotel credit, upgrades & more!
What to do:
  • Skiing at Marmot Basin
  • Ice skating on Lake Mildred (located on property!)
  • S’mores & stargazing / planetarium experience at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
  • Maligne Canyon Ice Walk with Sun Dog Tours – one of the most interesting and awe-striking places you will see
  • Spa treatment & jacuzzi in outside in the snow
  • Athabasca Falls – stop here on your drive to your next location, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

LAKE LOUISE

Where to stay:

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of those places you check-in to and never want to leave. Driving up to the 555 room “castle” felt like driving into a fairytale. The impressive facade and snowy white landscape invite you to both cuddle up by the fire yet also go out and explore. The food at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was one of my favorite aspects, with many options to choose from and the best veggie burger I have ever had (may have ordered it multiple times!) Reserve a Fairmont Gold room, and you will have access to one of the best Fairmont Gold lounges I have ever been in. During the day, enjoy relaxation time in the spa or one of the many winter activities that are offered. You will not run out of things to do here, that’s for sure!

Book your next stay with Passport To Friday and receive daily breakfast for two, professional portrait shoot, upgrades & more!
What to do:
  • Dog sledding with Kingmik Dogsled Tours
  • Ice skating on Lake Louise
  • Snowshoeing – the best way to explore the mountains surrounding the Fairmont
  • Traditional fondue experience at Walliser Stube at the Fairmont
  • Cocktails outside at the Ice Bar
  • Apres-ski at Alpine Social – so many shareable plates, and get the Smoked Tequila Old Fashioned, it is quite the show!

BANFF SPRINGS

Sad story – I had to fly back to the US early for work obligations and was only able to spend one night and a few hours of daylight in Banff. I am still basing my recommendations on what I would have experienced on the itinerary, as my fellow travelers spoke highly of these activities!

Where to stay:

Having the chance to stay at the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs has always been a dream of mine. The palatial property resembled everything I had imagined and more, and almost felt like you were stepping into a Harry Potter movie. Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies” has been open for over 125 years and boasts an impressive 768 rooms. With 12 seasonal restaurants and lounges, 17 shops and boutiques, and countless activities – you will never get bored here!

Book your next stay with Passport To Friday and receive daily breakfast for two, $50 per person spa credit, upgrades & more!
What to do:

 

Safe travels y’all!

Chelsea Rose Martin