A visit to the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge might be the perfect escape from real life.

Sitting in the dwindling sun, before the mosquito hordes hit full bore, my husband reaches across the bench for my hand.

“Let’s move here.”

Birds chirping in the trees, a pretty pond below the towering Rocky Mountains, and our boys happily scrambling over rocks in the distance, I am almost convinced. Almost.

The pond at Kananaskis Village

The pond at the back of the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge with its Rocky Mountain view invites visitors to sit down and stay a while. Credit Jen Mallia

“This isn’t real life.” I counter.

I love living in the city, and Kananaskis Village (while a beautiful idyll to spend some time) is–by definition– the complete and utter opposite of urban.

Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Scenes from the Lodge Credit: Jen Mallia

We have come to the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection (quite a mouthful, I agree) to escape Real Life and enjoy some time as a family, not shop for real estate—which, as far as I could tell, is mostly limited to staff accommodation.

The hotel has recently undergone a $34 million renovation and rebranded under the premium Marriott properties umbrella of the Autograph Collection hotels. They are billing it as “Intersection of back-country beauty and world-class comfort.”

I’m not going to lie; they are doing a darn good job. From the homey woodfire smell that occasionally wafts up from the lobby to the comfortable rooms with the mountain views, the hotel goes out of its way to welcome you and make you want to stay. Stay permanently, if you ask my husband.

The lodge is close to the Nakiska Ski Area and some beautiful hiking trails in the mountains, but part of Kananaskis’ charm is that it is a quiet, secluded spot without thousands of things demanding your attention. Don’t think you or your family will be bored though—fun awaits in these mountains!

Kananaskis Nordic Spa

The Kananaskis Nordic Spa is next door to the hotel for a little grown-up escape. image courtesy of Travel Alberta/Mike Seehagel

Jump in: As part of the renovation, the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is getting a mountain themed waterpark, with a water slide, zero entry children’s pool, and fun water features to spray and splash. At the time of our visit, it was still under construction (anticipated opening in winter 2018), and my boys sneaked longing peeks through the construction barriers. We contented ourselves with swimming in the large indoor/outdoor hot tub and sweating it up in the sauna.

The other big watery draw in the village is the new Kananaskis Nordic Spa adjacent to the hotel. Although the spa isn’t part of the hotel, guests of the lodge receive a discount. If you haven’t treated yourself to a Nordic spa experience before, do it! The hot-cold-relax hydrotherapy cycle is a wonderful thing, and the mountain setting is unbeatable. It’s only for the over 18 set though, so you will need to arrange childcare if you are travelling with your littles—luckily the hotel daycare can help with that, or the front desk will arrange nanny services.

The open kitchen where the magic happens at Forte. image courtesy of Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Eat Up: One thing I love about vacation is not cooking. Not that I cook very much in my regular real life, but if we were to move to Kananaskis, I might give it up altogether. There are three restaurants plus a coffee shop with grab and go food at the Pomeroy. We didn’t get the chance to try the elegant Cedar Room steakhouse, but the meals at the Italian flavoured Forte restaurant and the modern pub classics at the Blacktail Bar were fantastic. I was a particular fan of the made-to-order omelettes at the breakfast buffet. Be warned that the buffet only operates when the hotel is busy enough to warrant it. It makes sense, but I fell asleep on a Sunday night dreaming of what I would have Monday morning only to realise too late that there was no Monday buffet. The phrase “first world problems” springs to mind, I know, but mmmm, those omelettes!

The hotel keeps families with kids in mind when it comes to food as well. Kids six and under eat free when ordering from the kids’ menu at the restaurants. On the weekends, kids can participate in a chef for the day program and make their own pizzas. And anyone with a sweet tooth is welcome to join the s’mores socials held nightly (seasonally) at the outdoor fire pit. S’mores and music…do you need more convincing?

Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Getting set up for games in the lobby, a mini waffle bar in the room and the extra space in a family suite was a welcome thing Credit: Jen Mallia

 All in the Family:  To add to his “we gotta move here” arsenal, my husband pulled out the big guns and appealed to my love of anything that reminds me of summer camp (without actually being camp). The lodge has tapped into that ethos by arranging lots of fun programming. Generally concentrated on weekends and holidays, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge has crafts and activities to appeal to lots of families. On Saturdays in the warmer months, Kananaskis Outfitters lead a hike to Troll Falls. We missed out on the group tour due to a mid-week stay, but the concierge helped us find our way on our own, and we had a great time.

Other fun stuff to get in on at the resort includes “warrior training” teaching outdoor survival skills, forest foraging, fishing, mountain yoga, plus movie nights, scavenger hunts and crafts.

When you’re not participating in the programming, the lodge has games to play beside the massive fireplace in the lobby, and rooms that give families enough space to sprawl out. We booked into a suite with a separate bedroom for mom and dad, or you can splash out on one of their premium loft suites for even more elbow room.

With lots to do and cosy digs, I can’t think of a better escape from real life than a visit to the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. If only temporarily.