Michelle contacted me back in 2020 to discuss a potential dream trip to experience Canada’s great outdoors with lifelong friends, Denise and Jeanette.
Originally planned for the following year, the pandemic delayed their trip until summer 2022, but it certainly turned out to be worth the wait...
A packed, two-week Canadian adventure with my best friends, encompassing a variety of experiences and seeing some essential places was the brief - and Susan totally nailed it.
It was my first time booking with her and she was so helpful from beginning to end, from advice about Covid-related regulations to her extensive destination knowledge, including providing us with all the information needed to make decisions and ensure we got the most from our time.
This was a holiday filled with “wow” moments and too many highlights than I can possibly recall. I’ll do my best though.
It was the first time in this magnificent country for any of us and apart from a bit more rain than we would have liked, everything came together, with excellent accommodation, wonderful meals and restaurants - and driving between locations gave us the flexibility to enjoy seeing some incredible wildlife at our own pace.
We stayed in six places in total, beginning in Vancouver where we collected our hire car and stayed at the Rosedale on Robson, with a basic but spacious apartment and a mighty fine breakfast. Its location was perfect for wandering around the city’s tourist landmarks.
The drive up to the famous ski town of Whistler provided our first experiences of the wildlife and scenery that we had eagerly anticipated, and it was every bit as inspiring as we had hoped. The mountains, waterfalls, birds and bears only whetted our appetite for the delights to follow.
The Delta Hotel by Marriot Whistler Village Suites was in a great location, and we loved our stay here. The apartment was gorgeous, very spacious with two separate large bedrooms, a kitchen/ diner, lounge and a balcony with a great view.
It only got better. Clearwater was totally stunning. The secluded and tranquil Alpine Meadow Resort is reached by a winding road out of town and took our breath away.
Our log cabin overlooked the clear freshwater Hallamore Lake, surrounded by scenery of astonishing natural beauty - a more peaceful setting would be hard to imagine.
The lodge itself was very nice with a beautiful outdoor terrace and an excellent restaurant by the lake. There were lovely walks and hiking trails and a variety of outdoor activities available.
Although the girls enjoyed water rafting, the relentless heavy rain took some of the fun away for me - but the horse riding more than made up for that. Our two-hour ride took us through spectacular terrain, and we even saw a coyote running free. We also boated around the lake and went on a bear trip.
We crossed from British Columbia into Alberta en route to Jasper, where we stayed downtown at The Crimson Hotel. Our room was ok, a little on the small side but the location more than made up for it, being surrounded by shops and so many fabulous restaurants, where we enjoyed some great meals.
Seeing the famous tourist attractions of Lake Louise and Maligne Canyon was exhilarating, and yes, the lake is really that colour!
Onwards from Jasper to Banff and a magical highlight by the side of the highway...
It was incredible to randomly come across a family of bears rolling around playing. Other wildlife highlights of the trip, in addition to both the grizzly and brown bears, included big horn goats, elks, common squirrels (cuter than ours!), loads of fish in the lakes and an array of beautiful species of birds.
The Brewster Mountain Lodge in Banff is a quirky and bespoke homely boutique hotel and was a fabulous base, excellent for shopping, restaurants and exploring. They also included a fantastic breakfast.
We crammed a lot into our time here. Highlights included hiking up Lake Agnes in the Banff National Park, the Banff Upper Hot Springs, the Banff Trail Riders, the beautiful Cascades of Time Gardens, the Grizzly House restaurant and some sensational cakes and sweet goodies.
Our final stop was Calgary, a lovely city to walk around and explore, including yet more excellent restaurants. We spent our final night fittingly at the stunning Fairmont Pallister Hotel, where the staff were very welcoming and the service first-class.
Our return trip to the UK went without a hitch with our journey spent reflecting on what a fantastic couple of weeks we had spent together and how much we would love to return.
Susan was instrumental in making our holiday go as smoothly as possible. She suggested all our hotels and we weren’t disappointed with any - some were exceptional. She happily answered any questions and did a fantastic job to ensure we had the best time.
Thank you, Susan!