Once just a small blip on the prairie horizon, the town of Fort McMurray is home to those working in northern Alberta's oil sands. It is not all work though. Catch a float plane from the town's Athabasca River to a remote fly-fishing fishing hole, and at night, look up and see the blues, greens and purples of nature's light show, the aurora borealis. Hotels and lodging are available in town near the Albian Sands headquarters or on the job site at Fort McKay.
Barge Landing Lodge
Barge Landing Lodge is literally a home away from home for oil sands workers. Located at Fort McKay, 40 miles north of Fort McMurray, the lodge offers long- and short-term stays in two types of room categories, executive and lodge. Executive rooms offer a private bath, queen beds and fridge, while lodge rooms are dorm style, with double bed and semi-private bath. This “city in the middle of nowhere” offers a full-service dining room, fitness center, business center, commissary and 24-hour medical service.
Creeburn Lake Lodge
Opened in early 2008, the Creeburn Lake Lodge is the newest long-term lodge at the oil sands work site. More upscale than its sister property the Barge Landing Lodge, the hotel also has rooms in executive and lodge categories, which are larger and have bigger televisions and more amenities. The lobby, with its high ceilings, open rafters and polished floors, looks more like something found in a downtown hotel than an oil field camp lodge. In addition to the dining room, commissary, 24-hour medical services and business center, the Creeburn Lake Lodge also offers a licensed (permit to sell alcohol) lounge with big-screen TVs, pool tables and an outdoor patio.
Nomad Hotel & Suites
If you are just on a visit to Fort McMurray and prefer to stay in town, the Nomad Hotel & Suites is only two blocks from the Albian Sands office. Choose from a basic hotel room with king or queen bed or a larger suite. Continental breakfast is included. Boasting the most on-site restaurants than any other property in Fort McMurray, the hotel offers you your pick of a steak at The Keg or all-day dining at Coco Jo Coffee House. Delaney’s Irish Pub offers pub fare, music and that signature Irish drink, Guinness. Long-term guests might be interested in the two-bedroom apartment suites in a separate building nearby.
Walk into the tiled-floor lobby with the high ceilings and cleverly recessed lighting and you might just forget that you are in the wilds of northern Alberta. The Stonebridge Hotel in Fort McMurray is one of the most upscale properties in town. Relax on a comfortable sofa in front of the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the lobby or indulge in a drink or meal at the on-site Bailey’s Pub. Choose a room with an in-room jetted tub for two and enjoy some private time. Walk across the street to the Peter Pond Shopping Centre and try some of the eateries in the mall, including Tim Horton’s. Short- and long-term rates are available.
- aurora borealis image by Moritz Frei from Fotolia.com