Lake O'Hara,BC- Good lodging and food
Lake O'Hara is a hikers paradise. But you have to make arrangements well in advance to have a seat on the bus that takes you up there. The food is okay but not outstanding. If you like wine with your meal, be prepared to pay their price!
A better option is Cathederal Mountain Lodge just down the road towards Field and accessed directly off highway #1. The food is first class and certainly better than Lake O'hara's offerings. The accomodation is also excellent. It is, however, closer to the highway and does not offer the pristine experience of staying at Lake O'Hara. If you wish to stay at Lake O'hara Lodge this season, it is probably already too late to get a spot. There is also a restaurant in Field that is rated as one of the best in Canada. Unfortunately, I don't have the name. Perhaps one of the other Chowhounds can help with that.
I believe you may be thinking of the Truffle Pig. Unfortunately it has closed and according to their web site - The all-new Truffle Pigs Bistro and Lounge will be located in the Kicking Horse Lodge across the road in Field come summer 2008. That website just says Restaurant Opening Soon. I hope they do open soon as I will be driving by at the end of June and had planned to stop.
We were just at the Chateau Lake Louise last weekend. If you are a member of the President's Club you can get great deals at Fairmont Hotels. It is free to join. We paid $149.00/night for a room with 2 queen beds, and a partial view of the Lake, in the new wing. The old wing overlooking the lake is lovely, but more expensive and has interesting heating.
Dinner at the Post is wonderful, I have not stayed there, but keep in mind it is right beside the train tracks and trains run all the time, I believe they supply ear plugs. Our meal there was perfect in every way.
I took the recommendation on this board and went to Wild Four Bakery in Banff. Food was wonderful, bread nice and crusty.
Three years ago we stayed at Deer Lodge (next to the Fairmont), the room was quirky, but comfortable. Food was good, I enjoyed the game mixed grill.
You're welcome ildavis.
The cabin on the Pipestone River is at the Post Hotel. If you stay on the "preferred" side at the Post you will not hear the train. I am a very light sleeper and sleep like a baby when we stay on the "preferred side" ; we probably stay at the Post once a year. Mercifully they do not blow the horn at by the hotel. The "standard" side is cheaper, but if you have your windows open you will hear the tour buses pulling up or idling (or worse, smell them!) plus you will hear early deliveries or travellers leaving. The preferred side is worth the money.
As far as I know you must be a guest at Lake O'Hara Lodge before you can eat there. The food is like really good home cooking.
I would suggest going to Lake O'Hara on a day trip then staying nearby at the Post Hotel or Emerald Lake Lodge for the best experience -- accomodation and chowhound wise. My feeling is you don't get your bang for your buck at $720 a night per couple, with a minumum of a 2 night booking. The rooms in the lodge itself are depressing and with the communal washroom reminds me of boarding school.
The best dining and bang for your buck for nice accomodations/food in the park is the Post Hotel, in my opinion. The only thing is they don't do breakfast that well, but the best breakfasts are at the Emerald Lake Lodge. Chowhound wise, The Post does have the edge over Emerald Lake, but the accomodations are less expensive at Emerald Lake, plus if you hike, some A-list hikes leave from the area: the Emerald Triangle (which leads you through the World Heritage Burgess Shale Site) and The Iceline is a short drive away. The ELL belongs to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts group and therefore the cuisine emphasizes local game as they have their own game farm.
Best suites at ELL are the lakeview king suites and at the Post, the "preferred" side B suites. To splash out and very romantic, book one of the cabins on the Pipestone River (try to get the Temple Cabin)
The Chateau Lake Louise is a very nice place to stay, but having stayed at the Post and the Chateau LL (lakeside room) the rooms at the Post are less expensive, a third bigger, and most of them have a wood burning fireplace (wood is free). The Post has impeccable service and is more intimate, I believe they only have 70 odd rooms. The only downside at the Post is that it's not right on Lake Louise, but about a 7 minute drive away.
For chowhound food at a lower price point, check out the Deli at the Chateau Lake Louise, and the pub at the Post Hotel (the pub can be tricky to find, inquire at the front desk)