All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer!
The Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s luxury travel experience by train. Departing from Vancouver, this two day trip through the interior of British Columbia’s offers up stunning scenery while luxuriating in the GoldLeaf Service’s plush train-cars.
The carefully designed train-car, created for optimal viewing, features custom-designed glass-domed ceilings, granting guests a simple look up at the scenery. Peek up and you could see soaring birds of prey, cascading waterfalls, and spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies. Hosts of these exclusive train-cars share history and “tales from the rails,” an interesting approach to keep passengers engaged with the environment, while incorporating facts and knowledge about how Canadian train travel evolved.
Each of the Rocky Mountaineer’s train lines — Vancouver, Calgary, Whistler, as well as trips from the west coast of Canada to its east coast — boast award-winning chefs on-board, who utilize a tiny, but efficient kitchen to prepare gourmet meals for passengers.
The two-night experience on the Banff destination trip makes one stop in Kamloops, a quaint cowboy town, with a main street lined with shopping and restaurants. A good dining option is the eclectic restaurant and bar on Victoria Street called The Commandore, known for delicious fondues and Belgium Lagers, along with salads and live and local entertainment.
An early morning departure heads further east into the Canadian Rockies and closer to the city of Banff, Alberta. Scenes are different than the first day’s more arid areas, as the tracks lead guests past ranchlands and lakes and onto the Craigellachie pass, where the last spike was driven with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.
Snow capped mountains, thawing glacial lakes and a trip over the Continental Divide into Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, make for awe-struck moments. Step out onto the exterior platforms for fantastic photo ops before the train heads into the Spiral Tunnels of Yoho National Park.
Once in Banff, it’s time for an overnight at a luxury resort, The Fairmont Banff Springs. The hotel is one of the most photographed images in Banff, sitting auspiciously in the middle of Banff National Park, flanked by picturesque mountains. Also known as the Castle in the Rockies, styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, the hotel has been Canada’s top luxury destination for more than 100 years, seeing the likes of some U.S. Presidents and celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe.
A complimentary tour with hotel historian Dave Moberg runs year-round, Tuesday through Saturday at 3:00pm. The tour features images of significant events, old menus and well-preserved China.
There are also some great – and scary – stories to be told that aren’t part of the tour. Want to know about the ghostly haunting of the mischievous bellhop Sam and a lonely bride? Or maybe you’re interested to know why room 873 is walled up (there is a room 872 and 874). It’s alleged that a triple homicide took place in 873, with one of the victims being a child. Legend has it that the child’s finger prints appear on the mirror after staff cleaned them off. The “haunting” forced the hotel to close the room permanently. Ghost-seekers need only check online for this other worldly information.
The Rocky Mountaineer Train toll free: 877-460-3200 http://www.rockymountaineer.com
The Commodore Grand Café & Lounge 369 Victoria Street Kamloops 250-851-3100
The Fairmont Banff Springs 405 Spray Avenue Banff, Alberta 403- 762-2211Original post @ Exclusive Resorts