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“High-touch service in a truly spectacular setting”
Review of Lake O'Hara Lodge

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Lake O'Hara Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, ON
Level Contributor
120 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“High-touch service in a truly spectacular setting”
Reviewed 1 July 2008

My wife and I spent two nights in a lakeside cabin (#6, which had the best view of any lakeside cabin except #1). The cabin itself was perfectly functional...nice shower, warm blankets, second bed, etc. You don't go to O'Hara to stay in your cabin, though; you go there to hike and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Just sitting on your front porch and staring at the lake as the sun goes down is worth the price of admission. The staff are all very friendly and will call you by name from the time you show up.

The only downside I found, being an introvert, was how "high-touch" everything was. Breakfast and dinner were communal, with all ~30 people at the lodge eating at once, and there's kind of a sense of forced community. It's kind of what I imagine a cruise to be like, except everyone escapes between 9:30 and 6:30 to hike in the mountains. However, this was a pretty minor complaint; I'm more introverted than most people and it was still never off-putting, just a bit awkward at times. Also: the average age skewed fairly high; the only people there younger than us seemed to be college-aged people with their parents.

I don't want to sound down on it...it's an absolutely spectacular place to visit. If you just want to hike for one or two days up there without paying for the lodge you can book the bus, but you're limited by its schedule. If you want (practically) unrestricted access to the best day-hiking in the Rockies, this is the place to stay. Be warned, though; once you've enjoyed O'Hara, other settings in the Rockies, no matter how beautiful, will pale by comparison.

A note on the weather: we've been to O'Hara in early October and, this time, in late June. In October it was getting pretty chilly, but there were few people around. This time, in June, there were a lot more people hiking but there were still many trails, especially on the alpine circuit, that were not recommended (or even impassable) because of snow. Clearly somewhere in the middle of these months is the sweet spot.

  • Liked — The surroundings, the staff
  • Disliked — Communal dining
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank LtDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • English first
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English first
Canterbury, NH
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2007

We have stayed in many fine hotels/lodges around the world and this is the finest combination of elegance and wilderness we have ever found. We have visited this area in the summer a number of times but it is very difficult to get a booking at the lodge during those months. We have visited three times during winter months. The ski in on a fire road (11 km) is not difficult for itermediate or better skiers but it is uphill for most of the way. The lodge has a lovely sitting area in fromt of a fireplace which takes 4 foot logs to feed it. The rooms are simple but comfortable. The food is superb-the breakfast is cooked to order and a lunch buffet is provided to pack a very generous meal. A guide is provided to lead outings to the high plateaus surrounding the lodge. You do need to have climbing skins to do the outings or snow shoeing is possible. The evening meal is lovely and very elegant. The host ,Bruce ,is gracious and helps form a very endearing atmosphere in the evening sometimes including games, music and of course good conversation. If you like back country skiing/snowshoeing there is no better place in the Canadain Rockies to stay.

  • Liked — The views , food and ambiance
  • Disliked — no private baths
  • Stayed February 2005, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank djhkswis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 7 February 2006

Getting there is requires a bit of work in the winter, you have to ski in 11 KM to get to the lodge, from the parking lot. But the setting, the food, and the service makes it worth it. great for ski touring, x-country, snowshoe activities etc.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 18 October 2005

My husband and I spent 5 nights at Lake O'Hara Lodge, as part of a Canadian Rockies hiking vacation. One caveat here, don't schedule your trip from mid-September to October, since the chance of snow is much greater, and the freeze-thaw cycle makes for icy trail conditions that could be particularly risky, expecially for folks in their fifties, like us. We would have preferred an earlier visit, but this time frame became available to us in May because of a cancellation, so we grabbed it. The details of scheduling visitors is outlined in a thick binder (the binder also provides historical information of the area, and natural history articles) that appears in each room and cabin, and prior visitors and large parties seem to be given preference, and other slots are filled from a "wait list". It seems that a minimum stay of 2 or 3 days is required. This was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we grabbed it. Of course, you can stay in the campground, or make reservations on the bus as a day visitor, but we wanted several nights and a lakeside cabin.
Our cabin was simple and serviceable, with a single and double bed. I believe the cabins were built years ago and moved to the site from another location. with
the simple, sparse bathroom added much later (shower stall only). Our cabin had a closet, dresser, desk, and commercial carpeting. We could adjust the heat, and a down comforter on each bed was sufficient. Heavy wool blankets are available if you need them. Of course, there's no tv or phone, (and no internet access for guests, but there is an outdoor phone booth), but if you need those, you shouldn't be here. Our cabin had a porch and chairs so you could, if you choose, pack your own trail lunch and eat it there (as we saw a few couples doing), all the while looking out upon the magnificent glacial lake.
We ate our meals (included in our $600 per couple/per night stay) in the main lodge, and if you're hiking, after breakfast you can pack your own trail lunch from 2 or 3 sandwich choices and a variety of goodies. The meals were much more than we expected: breakfasts always featured a buffet of fresh-made muffins (orange-date, banana-oatmeal, etc.), a big bowl of berries, yogurt, cereal, and a selection of juices. The breakfast entree varied daily, from pancakes to frittata, to crepes florentine with salmon. Or, you could settle for two eggs, any style. Lunches offered 3 choices, one vegetarian. A soup course preceded the main selection, which may include wonderful lambchops, a savory Thai noodle salad, a fancy grilled sandwich, or a pasta dish. A large garden salad was always available from which you helped yourself. Desserts (at lunch and dinner) included creme brulee, cheesecake, fruit crumbles, tarts, sorbet, etc., all beautifully presented. Dinners were set, again preceded by soup and freshly made bread (the cheese bread was a big hit), a salad course, and entrees such as mahi-mahi with fruit salsa, pan roasted chichen breast, boneless pork chops with brandy reduction, seasonal vegetables, and dessert. And prior to dinner, there was a 4 o'clock tea, with tea, juices, cocoa, and homemade pastries! I'm a foodie, and this was a foodie's paradise! Their young chef is wonderful, as well as the attentive, unobtrusive servers. Tables are assigned, and for three days we shared a table with another couple, and ate at a table for two the last days. This worked well and is designed to maximize the space and, I suppose, to eliminate the awkwardness of where to sit since people don't know each other.
In addition to the lovely dining room, the lodge has comfy sofas for reading and a small library. You must remove your shoes/hiking boots before entering the lodge, so carry slippers. The manager, Bruce, and his wife, Allison were warm and friendly, and helpful in planning hikes, etc., as were all the staff (primarily Canadian college students). There were hairdryers to borrow as well as trekking poles, outwear, gaiters, etc., should you need them. A terrific vacation: a wonderful setting, comfy cabin, excellent food, and friendly staff. Our hiking, unfortunately, was limited because of the trail conditions, but we did get in the Lake Oesa and Lake McArthur trails, and well as many walks around Lake O'Hara. Incidentally, snow about the cabins and lodge was only 2 or 3 inches, but the higher trails, we were told, had as much as 8 to 12, and many guests set out on hikes but turned back. Canoes were also available, but it was too cold to paddle around the lake. Would we go back? Most definitely, but in August!

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
40 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lake O'Hara Lodge

Property: Lake O'Hara Lodge
Address: 2nd Ave., Yoho National Park, British Columbia V0A 1G0, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Yoho National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Yoho National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 23
Also Known As:
Lake o`Hara Hotel Field
Lake o Hara Lodge

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