Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Dorothy Motel is Banff, Alberta's first boutique motel



Roadside motels are a staple in North America. Often rundown, dingy, merely a place to catch some sleep before getting back on the road. But they are the affordable counterpart to hotels and hence why Super 8 Motels and such fill my own childhood memories of family road trips across Canada! The Dorothy Motel on the other hand is no ordinary motel. As Banff's very first boutique motel, The Dorothy Motel blends Banffs beautiful national forests with a retro 50s vibe, completely redefining what a motel is. The motel is beautiful and is a must stay when in Banff. 

The Dorothy Motel's wooden sign sets the tone for your stay with its asymmetrical shape, rounded corners and curvy bold text. A lovely rich teal blue paint exterior is accented by beautiful crisscrossing large wooden beams, a nod to traditional ski chalets that are sprinkled on the mountains. Nestled in the middle of the motel is a wonderful stone-paved courtyard with cute bistro tables, chairs and lush plants. An excellent place to sit back and sip on some drinks underneath the starry Banff night sky! 

Originally my room was on the main floor, but the thought of an exterior facing door to the forest made me nervous, so I was glad that I was able to switch to the top floor. Room 201 featured 2 queen beds, impressively high ceilings and a spacious bathroom. There was also a table with two chairs and a breakfast nook outfitted with a coffee maker, kettle, microwave and mini-fridge. Another nook-like space was the open closet with cubbies for quick and easy organization. This closet area is perfect for storing outdoor gear like skis, boots, snowboards etc!  

Every detail in the room had been thoughtfully curated to give off a 1950s vibe that meets Banff National Forest exploration. The floor is a smooth linoleum with a forest floor print. Banff is a ski town meaning lots of soggy gear from the slopes, so going with linoleum is genius as it is impermeable to moisture and will not get gross like tiles and carpet would. The forest floor is serious camouflage, so get ready to be on your hands and knees if you drop something. 

As I mentioned earlier, the bathroom is large! It was clean with cute penny tiling, a generously sized walk-in shower and plenty of counter space around the sink. I am so glad The Dorothy Motel went with the glass door walk-in shower because I find tubs to be tiny and I absolutely hate whenever the shower curtain touches my skin. The bathroom was stocked with the Lemongrass Everything line from the Rocky Mountain Soup Co. To reduce waste, the Dorothy Motel no longer provides tiny travel-size bath products but instead refills the large bottles. A little card politely informs guests that if they do take home the bottle, the full retail price will be charged. Sort of sucks, but there is no one stopping you from filling up your own bottle. 

Amenities at The Dorothy Motel
  • Free wi-fi
  • Outdoor courtyard with chairs, tables and plants
  • Two sheltered bike racks in the courtyard
  • Bike repair station with tools and a tire pump in the courtyard
  • Ice-Machine for in-room ice buckets
  • In-room safe for valuables
  • Smartphone check-in and check-out
  • Room access via smartphones 
  • Option for in-person check-in complete with physical room keys at the sister property less than 5 minutes away, Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa. 
  • Dial *44 on the in-room phone to hear an Elk Bugle! 
  • Access to Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa's concierge via in-room phone 
A few favourite details from my stay at the Dorothy Motel include the Black + Decker Heritage Dome Kettle in cream. I swear that kettle was basically the only "1950's" element in the room, but it alone gave the room an amazing 50's charm! I guess it goes to show how one perfectly selected detail can completely alter the aesthetic of a space. 

The only improvement that I can think of would be the linens, mattress and pillows. I will admit that I have been spoiled by my stays at the Four Seasons and other luxury hotels. The Dorothy Motel's beds were not comfortable. The mattress and pillows felt stiff, but worse was the linens. The sheets were scratchy, stiff, itchy and there was an oil stain on one duvet. 

Since this is a motel, you are missing amenities like room service, turn down service and doormen. That being said, at $160 a night, The Dorothy Motel is an affordable stay in one of Canada's most expensive tourist cities. I am keeping The Dorothy Motel in mind for my future stays in Banff. 

BYES









Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Golden Skybridge including an Exhilarating Treetop Experience


Golden BC's newest attraction, the Golden Skybridge, was completed and opened for guests to visit just this past May of 2021. Still fresh from opening day, some of the attractions at Golden Skybridge are still under construction like the Giant Swing, but others are open for guests to enjoy. The moment I learned about Golden Skybridge, I was fixated on visiting and I was able to in the final week of September, just ahead of Golden Skybridge closure for the 2021 season. 

The two Skybridges officially boast the honour of Canada's highest suspension bridges and cross the Columbia Valley with phenomenal views of the Rocky and Purcell mountains. A 61-meter tall Hospital Creek Fall rushes into the river that flows beneath the bridges and into the mountainous forests. 

Flying Domestically in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic



Last week, I flew domestically to and from Calgary, Alberta. The flight barely exceeds an hour of flight time from Vancouver, British Columbia, so I could hardly take advantage of inflight entertainment. Not that there have been many movies released since the onset of the pandemic. Since returning, I have been fielding questions about what it was like to fly during the pandemic? 

Normal travel has resumed for domestic flights in Canada. I am a Canadian citizen and did not face any hurdles as one. I booked my tickets normally through the airline carrier's website. There is a small blurb on the website advising guests that are experiencing any flu-like symptoms to refrain from flying. Flying domestically within Canada does not require a negative COVID-19 test. I checked in remotely 24 hours in advance. Since I was not checking any luggage in, so after arriving at YVR airport, I proceeded directly to security. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Did the normal security screening process at YVR airport after which strolled around the terminal until it was time to report to the gate for boarding. 

THREE COVID-19 related changes implemented by both Air Canada (YVR Airport) and WestJet (YYC Airport):