I recently decided to relax with a weekend sojourn, opting to stay within my home province of Alberta. With winter here only ending sometime in April, I thought that a refreshing visit to the spa was just what I needed.
When it came to fulfilling my need for hydrotherapy, scenic views, and a relaxed atmosphere, the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge Spa & Resort from Marriott’s Autograph Collection about an hour west of Calgary fit the bill perfectly.
In This Post
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Booking
I’ll confess that I didn’t make this trip alone. For me, part of the fun of a getaway to the mountains is having a boys’ trip. And that’s exactly what I did with two of my very good friends from Edmonton who are also into Miles & Points.
I mention this fact because it affected my decision to pay cash, instead of points, for my stay at this hotel, all while taking advantage of Marriott’s current Double Elite Nights promotion.
As a Category 6 hotel in the Marriott Bonvoy program, my stay would have cost me anywhere between 40,000–60,000 Bonvoy points a night. For the weekend I chose to stay, it would have been 100,000 in points total for two nights.
This is a little rich for a two-night stay, especially when one considers that this property also includes a mandatory resort fee of $25 per night.
My stay was booked on a promotional Alberta Motor Association (what the CAA is called here in Alberta) rate, so I did pay a bit less than the rack rate. Ultimately, I was on the hook for exactly $351 per night, inclusive of all taxes plus the resort fee.
This means I would have gotten a lousy value of 0.65 cents per point if I had used my Bonvoy points to book, as we currently value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point.
Furthermore, with two friends helping to split the bill, paying cash was a no-brainer. (I may or may not have forgotten to tell the hotel a third person would be in the room but, alas, my memory is not what it used to be.)
While Suite Night Awards can be notoriously hit-or-miss, mine pleasantly cleared about a week before check-in.
With two queen beds plus a sofa, I knew we would be set for the weekend. I was also pleased to receive a courtesy email from the front desk staff thanking me for my loyalty and offering to make restaurant or activity reservations for me – the sort of little service touch I greatly appreciate.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Location
Kananaskis is relatively easy to get to, as Highway 40 (the Kananaskis Trail) off of the Trans-Canada Highway leads right to it. I found the drive to be straightforward, although in heavy winter conditions I expect it may have required longer than the four hours from Edmonton it took us in my old Acura.
But as for location – what a scenic view! Let me share the glory of the Canadian Rockies, as taken from purpose-built observation points located onsite.
It’s also important to note that the Kananaskis region is now subject to a provincial tax levy, known as the Kananaskis Conservation Pass. This is a $90 annual fee on license plates entering the park. It’s designed to help maintain the upkeep of the area and, I would imagine, keep the congestion on Kananaskis’s famous ski hills in check.
Woe betide those who enter without a Conservation Pass, as I saw at least two RCMP patrol cars in the vicinity ready to hand out bylaw tickets!
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Check-in
Check-in was a tad annoying by the time my entourage and I arrived at 8pm. There was one gentleman in front of us whose issues needed to be rectified for a solid 10 minutes, and yet another counter wasn’t opened to expedite checking in.
Once I was able to get to the front of the line, though, the service improved. As a Marriott Titanium Elite, I was immediately granted vouchers for two meals at the breakfast buffet, as well as a map of the property so that we might orient ourselves.
I was also informed that, as a resort, most staff lived on-site, and so felt a higher level of customer commitment, which was very evident over the duration of the stay.
The lobby was absolutely packed with vacationing children and families taking advantage of Alberta’s recently-lifted restrictions, which was quite nice to see.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – One Bedroom Bi-Level Loft
Entering the room, there was a large cabinet to store all my stuff.
I saw Nespresso pods on the housekeeping trolleys, but I wonder if that was only for certain other types of rooms. My room came with a Keurig coffee machine instead, which I’d rank as a step below.
There was also a spacious bathroom on the main floor with a walk-in shower.
There was a large living area with plenty more desk space and amenities to place things on, facing a television.
Outside the living area was a balcony overlooking the mountains with deck chairs, which would be perfect to lounge in had it been a tad warmer.
The stairs to the second level had an older carpet on them, but by no means did it look too dated.
At the top of the stairs waited two queen beds and another TV, which had a Chromecast that inexplicably doesn’t work with YouTube.
I was also really happy to find that the second level had an extra bathroom with detached sink in the living area, so no need to stumble all the way down the stairs in the middle of the night to use the facilities.
Staying in this loft was an amazing time, and the front desk staff took great pains to inform us of our dinner reservations, hydrotherapy sessions at the spa, and so on.
The only minor hiccup came when we requested housekeeping, who weren’t able to clean the room during our spa session, and also didn’t make the beds. A small inconvenience, but the only stain on what was otherwise top-notch service.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Breakfast
As a Marriott Titanium member, I’m always glad to receive a complimentary breakfast. I’m even happier when those breakfasts are of good quality.
The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge’s breakfast blows most of the hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had right out of the water – it was that delectable.
We started off with the hot foods buffet, which had all the classics: bacon, scrambled eggs, French toast, and so on. I felt this section was old-school breakfast done well, but not superlatively.
Instead, I was much more impressed with the cold food options. These included sliced fruits, all-you-can-eat smoked salmon (a personal weakness), charcuterie boards with premium cheeses, and a variety of fresh-baked patisserie items such as croissants and banana bread.
This is the sort of pre-COVID service that makes the resort breakfast dining experience feel truly special.
Better yet, food was fully self-serve, so my friends and I partook of multiple plates of deliciousness. Much munching was heard with very few complaints, which is a good sign.
I’d rate this breakfast as the standard that many full-service high-end hotels should strive toward. Along with having the standard $32 price tag waived, we also got to enjoy a complimentary round of lattes as elite members, too.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Dining
As a resort, the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge has multiple dining options. I opted to take most of my meals at the Blacktail Bar in the lobby or the Forte Italian restaurant, which is the same facility that the breakfast buffet is served at.
I found both to be serviceable, offering upscale takes on pub and classical Italian food (though perhaps not haute cuisine).
On the first day of my stay, I was also advised that reservations would usually be needed for dinner as the restaurants were often fully booked, and room service is subject to a 25% service charge (on top of already-high menu prices). Thankfully, the staff could secure us reservations without too many issues.
I didn’t try the Market Cafe, which sells snacks and coffee, nor the high-end steakhouse known as the Cedar Room, which looked very posh and had a maître d’ out front wearing a full three-piece suit.
The prices here scared me away, but if I return to celebrate a formal occasion or with a special someone, I’d definitely give it a try.
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge – Other Facilities
Of course, the main reason I came to the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge was their famous Nordic Spa. For obvious privacy reasons, it is a no-photography zone, but I hope that this picture of the exterior can show off its elegance.
The spa offers two types of services: classical massages with registered massage therapists, and their signature hydrotherapy sessions. Because of the expense of the first, my party opted to enjoy the latter.
The hydrotherapy sessions imitate how traditional spas in Scandinavia operate. There are separate pools with hot, warm, and cold (and I do mean cold!) water, in which you immerse yourself in sequential order.
This opens up the pores, and even the cold water is invigorating after the initial shock. Once you’re done soaking, you can go to the multiple saunas or steam rooms available to further warm up and get all the grime of daily life out of your skin.
Partaking in the Nordic Spa experience costs $129 per person, which certainly isn’t cheap. Oftentimes the spa also needs to be booked in advance on its own website, so keep that in mind if you book a trip. I’d say that the service and restorative qualities made it worthwhile.
Fortunately, there is a water slide that my colleague Amy had gotten to use with her family, along with a regular hot tub available, free of charge to hotel guests. It’s located next to a rather tiny fitness centre, which was undergoing repairs during my visit.
I also had the pleasure of enjoying complimentary s’mores cooked on the campfire just outside the main reception area. This is a program run every Friday and Saturday night during the winter, and was a welcome extra addition to our stay against the backdrop of the amazing landscapes.
Should you wish to leave the property, there are a variety of ski hills and hiking trails, though be advised the former often close just as it begins to get a little dark.
If you’re looking for a low-key and relaxing getaway around the Calgary region, I would absolutely recommend the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Spa.
While it isn’t the most luxurious property in Marriott’s portfolio, and although it did have a few slight service hiccups at check-in and again when requesting housekeeping, the property made up for them with caring staff, great dining, and a superb hard product.
When paying full price for a resort experience, it can be easy to get a little disappointed when the hotel feels like its cutting corners or taking shortcuts, but thankfully none of that was present here.
My friends and I had a very relaxing time, and I’ll be returning again during the peak Christmas season to see just how much the staff can keep up.
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