Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rimrock Hotel: No Holiday is Perfect (8)

Banff is much bigger than Jasper and I was delighted to see that there was a large, downtown area with wide, inviting sidewalks and baskets of flowers and lots and lots of shops.  It wasn't Lake Louise, but it looked like it might be fun. So I was a bit taken aback when we got off the bus and were told we'd have to take a taxi to our hotel, which was two miles out of town.
Two miles doesn't sound like much. But this was two miles up a winding, narrow mountain road where the forest came right down to the edges of the crumbling asphalt.
The Rimrock Hotel is perched on a steep mountain slope in the middle of nowhere.   That could have been romantic. It wasn't. There was nobody at reception. There was a (closed) jewelry store on the lobby, with all the prices in yen. The Rimrock caters to Japanese tour groups and isn't all that interested in the odd, individual traveller. It took nearly an hour to check in, and after waiting another hour for my luggage to be brought to my room, I went and got it myself.
I assumed there was a courtesy bus to town.  There wasn't. Guests take the public bus, which runs every forty minutes or so. It turned out, we'd just missed one.  There was no way I was going to walk down that road, which was barely wide enough for two vehicles. And even if I did make it to Banff without being run over by a car or attacked by a bear I knew I would never in a million years make it back up again.
We'd had a fabulous day yesterday, and would enjoy a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. A quiet afternoon by the pool might be nice, I decided. But the pool was closed.  So was the restaurant. The bar wouldn't open until 5 PM. Okay. Maybe a nice walk around the grounds, enjoying the cool, Canadian air. But there weren't any grounds. The hotel is built on the side of a mountain, sloping down to a dirt road and endless forests. No walks. No trails. Nothing. And whoops! The public bus was running early and we'd missed it again.
Long story short, I would not recommend the Rimrock Hotel. On our last morning, when I attempted to have breakfast in the restaurant, I was told that I'd have to be put on a waiting-list.  For breakfast!  There were empty tables but apparently they were all reserved. Never in my entire life have I been wait-listed for breakfast. We ended up having breakfast in the room.

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