Over the last two or so years, my husband, Eugene, and I have become obsessed with the Scandinavian way of living. Hygge and fika are buzz words in this household (literally, the words are framed in our living room). We are on a mission to find the coziest experiences in what we call the snuggly months: November through March. And did we find it in a hidden gem location in Alberta, Canada named Kananaskis.
In the pursuit of all things hygge last fall, we nailed our November trip. We headed to Canada for a second time! Cute fact: Canada was our first international trip together years ago.
Our most recent Canada itinerary went like this:
Kananaskis > Banff > Lake Louise > Jasper > Calgary
We’ll focus on the first destination in this post. We fell in absolute love with our accommodations in Kananaskis. The Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection won our hearts for the two nights we stayed.
Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
We arrived to this Marriott property after a very long day of travel. We endured three flight legs and long layovers, followed by a drive from Calgary to this place that took an hour and a half. Kananaskis is nestled in the beautiful Canadian forests amongst thousands of trees & many major mountains. Note that I don’t think we ever would have stumbled upon this place if it weren’t for my Marriott app. We stumbled upon it while looking for a hotel between Calgary and Lake Louise.
The property truly felt like the mountain escapes you only see in magazines. Upon arrival, it was late & dark so we didn’t get to see much of the outside. However, in the morning, when we opened our curtains, it was like Christmas morning. Immense mountains stood before us dusted in snow. If you’re looking for a place to feel one with nature yet enjoy luxury amenities at the same time, this is it.
The front desk was extremely welcoming and excited to have us stay with them. I used my Marriott suite night upgrade in order to secure a two story suite. The bottom level included a wood fired fireplace, a balcony, mini kitchen situation and bathroom, and the second floor had the master bed and a secondary bathroom. It is one of my top two Marriott rooms of all time (tied for first with a Marriott property on the Argentinian side of Patagonia).
Then, we finally mustered the courage to leave the room to explore the resort. We quickly realized that the complimentary s’mores event was about to end. It was the most adorable s’more situation I’ve ever seen. An attendant greeted us and showed us the fix-ins to create our own s’mores. The chocolate was divine. I still think about it, ha. We were the only ones which made it feels super intimate. It was about 10°F outside, which made it feel all the more cozy squeezing in tightly towards the fire.
We heard some laughter coming across the main outside area and decided to check it out. This resort has a whole darn mini waterpark?! Had to enjoy that for a bit. Indoor water slides for the kiddos (and Eugene…), outdoor pool, kiddie pool and more. Was not expecting that.
After running around the resort, we settled in for a snuggly night watching “Red Notice” on Netflix while enjoying the fireplace. I was in complete shock that the fireplace was real wood. You had to pay maybe six bucks in order to use it, but we felt it was worth it. The entire suite filled up quickly with that sweet, sweet smell of wood burning fire. Heaven. We passed out immediately from being so relaxed.
The next morning we enjoyed the most incredible all you can eat buffet. The breakfast was situated right in the resort. Every single server was excited to see and tend to us. I honestly could’ve ate their every meal and would have been completely content. They had just about every sort of cozy food you could think of. Best part: it was free for us given my Marriott Titanium status. After filling up from breakfast, we completed a small, 30-minute hike on the property and then took our rental vehicle out into the wilderness for a few more hikes. For those who have hiked in Canada before, you will know that bear spray is necessary. We ended up grabbing some at a shop in town. It’s worth noting that some of my favorite hiking in the entire trip was done in Kananaskis.
Kananaskis Nordic Spa
Now onto my favorite part of the entire stay. The Kananaskis Nordic Spa. It is technically a completely different facility and brand but is connected to this resort. We booked our reservations well in advance, I think a few months before. They fill up fairly quickly. For our visit, we opted for the hydrotherapy package. That means we received access to the grounds but did not partake in any massages. For about $150 USD per person, it was worth every penny. Like I mentioned before, we are super into the Nordic way of life and finding new ways to relax. This is everything we could’ve ever dreamed of. It’s a little more than a normal spa day price tag for access only, but I’m glad we did it, especially since part of it was my birthday gift.
The coolest part is that the entire hydrotherapy experience was outdoors. The locker room, the restaurant and a few other things were indoors. But it was almost like an outdoor mall, with every experience being in a small space outside. The Kananaskis Nordic Spa hydrotherapy experience includes using your choice of saunas, steam rooms (my fave was the eucalyptus steam room!), exfoliation cabin, outdoor fires, pools at different temperatures, relaxing zones and a cold plunge. The prescription for visiting is to enjoy a space in each of these categories and repeat until you feel done: hot, cold & rest. Totally one of the best spa experiences I’ve ever had. We stayed for over four hours and easily could have stayed longer if we weren’t so excited to get back to our comfortable suite.
Before heading back to our room, we grabbed an intimate dinner at the restaurant connected to the spa. The cutest part is that you could wear your spa robes. We split a croque madam and each enjoyed a warm cup of tea. Cue instant zen.
You’ll have to let me know if you end up going. It was truly one of the most relaxing getaways of all time. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be HYGGE. The most cozy of all places.
Want to get 1+ free nights at a Marriott of your choice? (Maybe even in Kananaskis?) Through the Marriott credit card, I earned enough points to get the entire stay for free PLUS upgrade to their two-story suite. This also included a free, delightful breakfast every morning.
Neither Kananaskis property was aware I would be writing this post. All views on my own.
Looking for more travel content? Check out Hi, Im Anna Marie’s travel posts.