The Prince of Wales Hotel, on the grounds of Watertown Lakes National Park in Alberta, is a place where I’ve always wanted to stay. Who wouldn’t? Standing on a windswept outcropping overlooking the gorgeous, deep water lakes, surrounded by sheer, towering mountains, it looks like a fantastic combination of a gingerbread house and a Swiss Chalet. You’d be hard pressed to find a more spectacular location for a hotel.
Well, now I’ve done it, and I’d recommend a visit to anyone who likes charm, grand hotels, and jaw-dropping surroundings. The P.O.W. was built in the ’20s, and appears to be made almost entirely of wood; the lobby makes you feel like you’re in your own personal cuckoo clock. There’s a good bar and a restaurant, too, and the food and drink prices are reasonable. Sure, the fixtures in the rooms are antiques, and the wireless is a bit dodgy, but that’s all part of the allure of the place.
And the bottom line is this: Watertown Lakes Park has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the P.O.W. has the best view there is — with one exception I’ll talk about later. When we woke up this morning to pack up and head down to the States, the wind has died down, the lake was calm, and the view from our third-floor balcony made the world seem like a beautiful place.