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The Malcolm Hotel has three steaming outdoor pools with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.

GRAHAM TWOMEY

I wonder what Malcolm III of Scotland would make of his namesake as I soak in the southernmost hot tub of Canmore’s new $43-million hotel.

Based on the striking oil portrait in the lobby, I can only guess that the 11th-century king would approve of the 124-room escape, which is said to be the first and only traditional four-star luxury hotel in the scenic Rocky Mountain town just east of Banff National Park in Alberta.

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Surely he’d enjoy taking in the stunning views from the trio of steaming outdoor pools that overlook a slender tributary of Spring Creek, the brook after which the surrounding planned community is named. And I bet he’d be tempted to linger by the towering stone fireplace next to the check-in desk, appreciating regal features such as elegant chandeliers hanging from the lofty lobby ceiling, a handsome mezzanine above and wide hallways leading to a 8,800-square-foot event space with glorious floor-to-ceiling windows.

The lobby features a towering stone fireplace and elegant chandeliers.

GRAHAM TWOMEY

The first of three hotels slated for the 1,000-unit Spring Creek development, the Malcolm offers 20 suites, 73 double-queen rooms and 32 kings starting at $135 a night. I’m booked into one of the latter and find it to be comfortable and spacious – at 301 square feet – but somewhat bland compared to the stately lobby.

The main-floor Stirling Grill & Lounge reveals a similar contrast. The pub-like Lounge serves up a superb Cobb salad ($20) and traditional Scottish lorne sausage ($16) – a robust blend of minced meat, rusk and spices – but the decor verges on Boston Pizza territory. The Stirling Grill, however, is much more stylishly appointed, with a menu that follows suit with fare such as a rack of Alberta lamb with roasted garlic and shallots, potato pavé and rosemary sauce ($45).

Canmore Cave Tours offers spelunking excursions in the mountainside Rat's Nest Cave.

Fuelling up is key in Canmore, which has long been a popular jumping-off point for outdoorsy day trips to Banff. There’s plenty to do in the more-immediate vicinity, however, such as cross-country skiing and mountain biking at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park; boutique-, cafe- and gallery-hopping downtown, which is a 10-minute riverside stroll from the Malcolm; or spelunking in the mountainside Rat’s Nest Cave with a Canmore Cave Tours guide. I opt for the latter, and am rewarded with a thrilling day of rappelling down subterranean precipices, marvelling at surreal calcite formations, and squeezing through gaps in the ancient limestone.

Would King Malcolm make it through those gaps? I managed to squeeze through after breakfasting on an enormous smoked salmon-wrapped Scottish scrambled, so I like his chances.

The writer was a guest of the Malcolm Hotel. It did not review or approve this article.

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