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“Grand Mountain Lodge in a Grand Setting”
Review of Num-Ti-Jah Lodge

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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
Reviewed 24 September 2011

This is a great old lodge in a grand mountain setting on Bow Lake, where we stayed in early September. My husband & I were warmly greeted to this historical lodge, where we had a large room that overlooked the lake and a marvellous view of the mountains. The room was rather plain & dated, the bathroom had worn fixtures and a tap that kept running continuously, not just a drip. The eiderdown was great. The reception & common areas are in keeping with such a rustic lodge with attractive historical mounted heads of various mountain animals. Guests have access to lovely lounge areas & free coffee, tea & tisanes at all hours, and a great map table with detailed topographical maps to study. The dining room is attractive, with friendly & attentive staff. They could dress a little less frumpily though. We enjoyed the most delicious & well prepared wild mushroom & asparagus risotto that evening. Delicious warm croissants were part of the simple continental breakfast. A hike for a couple of hours along the lake & forest was very enjoyable. When we asked to take a glass of wine outside to sit & watch the sunset, we were told that the National Parks rules would not allow them to provide this...a bit Victorian, we think. Num-Ti-Jah also has a very large gift shop with great clothes, native arts & an extensive book collection on nature & the history of the Rockies. This is a grand rustic mountain lodge in a grand setting!

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the lake, not just for the fantastic view, but apparently away from the e...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Chanterelley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 September 2011

It's a tough call. The setting on Bow Lake is amazing. We took an early morning hike to the falls and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The common spaces in the lodge are charmingly quirky. We had mixed results at dinner. My beef was great, but my partner's salmon was tasteless. The room, alas, really needs some upgrades. This is not a cookie cutter hotel. The layout of the rooms are odd, and the bathrooms are pretty low rent. (Painted particle board walls? Really?) You come away wishing they would spend just a little money improving the lighting and fixtures in the rooms.
All that said, I’m glad we stayed there. Outside of the Fairmont hotels, Banff doesn’t have a ton of places that have the historic authenticity that this place has. It’s the real deal. Do I wish that it pandered a bit more to modern tastes? Sure. But this place was established when it took 2 days by horse to arrive from Lake Louise. It was never a luxury hotel and it sure ain’t one now. But the old gals got a lot of character and you don’t find that everywhere.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Darryl M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2011

This place is all atmosphere, and deserving of accolades. Simply, the price is too high. But the room was spacious, except for the tight bathroom. Nice meals, and the common areas are very nice. REcommend the Bow Lake hike to the falls, very pleasant. But the room and the meals border on outrageously priced...the price one pays for solitude, I suppose. Me? I'd look for cheaper accomodations. With disposable income, this would be a top choice. Staff is friendly as well.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank slim577
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2011

We spent one night here while on a Backroads bike trip in the Canadian Rockies. The setting is stunning -- on the shores of Bow Lake, surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Rooms are simple and plumbing can be finicky, but the common rooms are cozy, in a rustic, woodsy sort of way. There are animal busts and stuffed wildlife decorating the walls (Num-Ti-Jah is a former hunting lodge). Food at the Dining Room is ok, but nothing special. No elevator, so not an option for disabled. You are completely off the grid: no cell phone service and no internet.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Lzbth57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

it is a wonderful place to stay, although for the price, I woud suggest a bathrooms renovation... other than that an excellent option for a romantic gateway

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank landscapechaser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2011

We stayed here for one night at the end of our family trip to the Canadian Rockies. From a price perspective this is not a low cost value option - it is more expensive then other options and you should want and expect the rustic stay in a older lodge with no cell service/ internet/ phone/ tv/ fitness center. For some this is unfathomable, yet for our family, having been one of many in towns like Banff and Lake Louise and even Jasper, this lodge was a welcome quiet reprieve in the mountains.

Hotel staff was helpful and accommodating and our third floor 2 queenbed room was clean, comfortable and nor a bad size for two parents and two teenagers. Bathroom was clean and we got hot showers and worked fine. If you are looking for kohler fixtures and granite go elsewhere.

Dinner- not a cheap pizza and beer option but you can easily blow more money on dinner in Lake Louise or Banff. Unless you plan to spend the evening driving a lot of KM not really near any other options. The four course meal for ~$57 is a very full meal - we ended up ordering a combination of a full course option and some "just the entree" options and shared dessert and we were all full.

The canadian rockies are a tremendous region, we did miss the quiet that comes from settling in at night in the mountains without a lot people and commerce. We did find this at this lodge.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank JJCinNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2011

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is a one-of-a-kind "specialty accommodation" in today's world. That's because staying there is like traveling back in time, to about 1924 in the Wild West, where you would consider yourself privileged to stay in the lap of luxury because your room had an attached bathroom with... gasp... running water! Not integrated taps, of course - those wouldn't be invented for another 30 or so years - and a shower head that actually manages to get everything wet (the walls, the floor, the outside of the tub) BUT your body. And you'd count yourself especially lucky to revel in the luxury of the 3 or so minutes of hot water that come and go for no apparent reason.

You'd be thankful that you weren't bunking with your neighbors - though it sure sounds like you are, given the paper-thin "walls" that must be made from a lovely mixture of newspaper and straw. I blessed someone sneezing in the next room, and they said thank you!

A/C? who needs it in the Canadian Rockies? On those sweltering days where all of the day's heat rises to take up residence in your third floor room (to which you've climbed three flights of stairs with your massive backpack, suitcase, and camera equipment in tow), just open your one window to the cool-ish evening breeze that blows on by your room, bypassing it completely for lack of a crosswind window. Even a fan would be nice but there's none to be found.

Screens on the windows? Pretty sure those haven't been invented either in 1924. Get ready to get friendly with the mosquitoes. Except you might be up high enough that they don't fly in.

Fridges in the room? One might agree this "amenity" is a de rigeur necessity for any lodge/backpacking or hiking hotel, or basic accommodation in this day and age. Not here! Don't even expect an ice machine anywhere - not on your floor, not even in a common area multiple flights down! If you'd like ice for your drinks (or to cool off your sweltering self, see above) - simply ask the kitchen staff for multiple pitchers of it. (it's a great way to get to know the staff - when you're wandering in and out of the kitchen in off-hours like a wayward orphan asking for "Just another pitcher of ice, please?"). Granted, they will fulfill your request with a smile, no problem.

The beds are comfortable enough (a true testament to the exhaustion that's necessary to sleep well here, or the key travel tip to always roll with bomb-proof eye masks and earplugs) and the down duvet is a nice touch - though in the summer - highly superfluous. The sun streams in, in the morning, and the noise, if others are staying in rooms nearby, is awakening (to say the least).

Apparently, the Lodge hosts tour groups from Monday-Wednesday (one of the two nights we stayed there, the place was overrun with a bike tour - we were the only car, so at first thought, wonderful, we have the place to ourselves, but then realized, to our dismay, that was not the case, when swarms of kids and teens overwhelmed the place).

Which brings me to my final summarizing point: most accurately and identifiably, this place is run like and is completely reminiscent of a European mountain hostel or Asian guest house. The difference is the price tag - instead of paying $30 a night for such "rustic" accommodations (albeit with ample "atmosphere," history, ambiance, and mind-blowing scenery) the going rate is around $300 a night. And that's without dinner or breakfast. Which you will need to spend money on here as well, unless you've packed a scrumptious dinner of granola bars and nuts - because there are NO other options in the area, or within about 45 minutes drive (at the least) - and you don't have access to cooking facilities (which you would, if you were staying at a hostel). The dining room is set up to be a "fine dining" establishment, with a prix fixe four course menu, running $55, or a la carte for $8 for every course but the entree (which is $33).

The dinner menu is limited, and fairly meat-heavy; If you are a vegetarian, you will have a choice to eat a house salad and/or a very odd risotto (they call it a mushroom risotto topped with a ratatouille) which, after a long day of hiking, is a hearty and satisfying heavy starchy rice dish (not at all a real risotto) with a marinara-like sweet tomato-based sauce on top (how the old guard French Chefs des Cuisines are rolling over in their graves, Mon Dieu!). If you eat fish, there is an Atlantic Salmon available (which means "farmed salmon" - anathema to anyone from the Pacific Northwest region; we'd rather eat farmed tilapia), but unquestionably the best entrees are the pork or the steak (though a "medium rare" comes out more like a "medium well.") 5 star dining this is not, though it tries to be, out here in the Canadian Rocky Wilds.

Good things are:

The food, while not haute cuisine, is yummy enough, hearty, and filling - all requirements after a strenuous day of hiking/biking/climbing/adventuring. The prices are not completely crazy ($8 for appetizers, salads, and desserts is totally reasonable), though paying $33 equally for a steak and risotto is highway robbery (but after over $300 for what is but slightly better than a backpackers hut, one fails to even look at the prices here anymore).

The beer is cold, free flowing, and cheap. In addition, care seems to be paid to the varied selection for both beer and the interesting wine list.

The staff. Thank God for the hilarious, accommodating, welcoming, self-effacing, and utterly charming and genuinely friendly staff, who seemed to have a tongue-in-cheek attitude about both where they were working for the summer as well as the kinds of various travelers that traipse through their adopted home, all served with a healthy dose of good humor.

The history of the place. It's reeking with stories. It was built from the ground up with love, sweat, and chutzpah by Jimmy Simpson (he had a mountain named after him, for pete's sake). The huge wood burning fireplace, the lounge with games, pool table, and complimentary (EXCELLENT) coffee and tea available 24 hours a day, and "hunting lodge" ambiance fueled by the multitudes of game trophies acquired over the years (each has a story: ask for the sheet detailing the whys and wherefores of each one). I think all of the large mammals (and some smaller ones, and fowl as well) of the Canadian Rockies are here on display.

The obvious love for nature preservation, artists, and the perpetuation of both. There is an "Artist-in-Residence" program here. Which, if you're an artist, would be highly worth looking into. Can't really imagine a more inspirational place.

The location. Just look at any picture of Bow Lake and the charming red roofed lodge on its shores and you'll want to stay here. Keep an open and laissez-faire attitude about any and all things that come your way, and you'll want to return again and again. We do (especially in the winter), and that is after all of the rants above. We simply hope that management takes heed of our (admittedly, meagre and easy to implement) suggestions. How hard would it be to outfit each room with: 1) a fan, 2) window screens, 3) a new shower head? and perhaps even: 4) a mini-fridge. What would that run, about $200 at most per room? I think it's an affordable investment that would greatly increase the comfort of the guests. Never include tv or wi-fi in this place - people asking for such modern amenities truly should not be staying at this kind of lodge, in this location.

This review is an interesting one. For the accommodations itself, out of context and utterly by 21st c standards, as well as value for the money, this place gets somewhere between a -1 and 1 star. The location is absolutely 5 star. The restaurant is about a 2.5 but gets a nice 4 for effort. The quirks of the place raise that -1 to 1 rating to about a 2 (and alone, are so funny, given the sense of humor one has, are a 4.5); so overall, it gets a 3 from me. Though Num-Ti-Jah is, in no way, "average."

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank urbanmtngirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Num-Ti-Jah Lodge

Address: Mile 22 Icefields Parkway | P.O. Box 39, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 1E0, Canada
Region: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Lake Louise
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Lake Louise
Price Range: $382 - $540 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Num-Ti-Jah Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge overlooks one of the most dramatic scenes in the Canadian Rockies. Out of Bow Lake the mountains rise steep and rugged. The blue ice of Crowfoot Glacier hangs suspended over the turquoise water. To the west, the craggy peaks of the Great Divide tower over Bow Glacier.Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is located 40 kilometres north of Lake Louise on Highway 93 in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. We are a three hour drive from the Calgary International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Num-Ti-Jah Hotel Lake Louise
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge Lake Louise, Alberta

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