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Rustic Banff lodge on Tunnel Mountain with outdoor hot tub, restaurant & in-room fireplaces

Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, parking, local shuttle, firewood, local calls
  • Rooms were liked by many guests for their rustic qualities, views and wood-burning fireplaces
  • Location was well liked for being close to town, but in a quiet and scenic spot
  • Staff were welcoming and professional said guests
  • Guests often enjoyed meals on site
  • Free shuttle to and from town was very much appreciated by guests
Cons
  • No elevator
  • No air conditioning at the lodge a disappointment to some
  • Rooms were dark and dated according to guests
  • Parking could be tight and limited
  • Noise disturbances reported from loud plumbing, nearby rooms and guests on their decks
  • Some felt the lodge was overpriced
  • No mini-fridges or in-room safes a disappointment for some
  • Wi-Fi worked well for some but not for others
Freebies
Free Wi-Fi
Free Parking
Editor's Analysis
Updated Jul 31, 2016
Overview
This hotel is located on Tunnel Mountain, a 4-minute drive or 20-minute walk from downtown Banff's restaurants and shops. It offers a peaceful setting and beautiful views, with wood-burning fireplaces in each room, an outdoor hot tub and unique on-site dining.   

The smoke-free lodge offers 108 rooms over 2 floors with no elevator. Standard room features include free Wi-Fi, free local calls, a flat screen TV, Blu-Ray players, a coffeemaker, a field stone wood-burning fireplace with seating and free firewood, an iron and ironing board, a hair dryer, windows that open and central heat. 

Rooms are furnished with 1 or 2 queen beds, a queen pull-down bed or 1 king bed. Room extras include a kitchenette (stove top, microwave, mini-fridge, sink), a dining table, a vaulted ceiling, heated slate bathroom floors, a claw foot tub, a glassed-in shower, bathrobes, a patio and a balcony. 

Free outdoor parking is available on site. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to town and back which works mostly on weekends from 2 pm to midnight. Pets (dogs only) are welcome for $25 per pet, per night. 

On-site dining includes Sleeping Buffalo Dining Room & Lounge which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the seasonal Cilantro, serving dinner (with patio dining) in the summer months. 

Hotel amenities at this lodge include a year-round outdoor hot tub, a sauna, a fitness centre and change room and a business centre. Guests will also find a coin-operated laundry located across the street.

Banff Centre is a 5-minute drive away while Banff Gondola and Banff Upper Hot Springs is 11 minutes by car. Mount Norquay Ski Resort is a 14-minute drive. The Trans-Canada Highway is a 5-minute drive from the lodge. Calgary International Airport (YYC) is 1.5 hours by car. (All travel times: Google Maps)

Confirmed with the front desk on July 31, 2016:  pet policy and fees, the free shuttle service details, all rooms have windows that open
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The Good
Guests typically enjoyed their stays at this mountain lodge in Banff. It was a good place for a romantic mountain getaway.

It was a great location. Guests liked being away from the busy downtown area of Banff, in a more secluded and very scenic area, yet an easy drive to town. What made it so functional is the on-demand free shuttle to and from town, which some thought was a highlight. It had beautiful mountain views and nearby trails for hiking and biking.

The staff were welcoming. Guests said they were helpful, efficient and eager to please.

The rooms were often enjoyed. Although dated, guests typically found them clean and comfortable with a cozy, rustic atmosphere. Those who had upgraded rooms enjoyed the vaulted ceiling, large bathroom, heated bathroom floors and claw foot bath tub. The wood-burning fireplace included in every room was a highlight for very many guests.

The food was good. Guests often enjoyed the gourmet and pub dining on site although there were some complaints of slow service, dated restaurant decor and expensive prices recently. On the whole, guests were also not that impressed with the buffet breakfast recently, although this sentiment was not universal.

Guests often enjoyed the outdoor stainless steel hot tub with beautiful mountain views.

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The Bad
There were some complaints and negative feedback found in recent reviews online.

Although guests usually found the rooms rustic and romantic with wood-burning fireplaces, some reviewers found their rooms too basic, dated and a little shabby. Some guests mentioned that there were newer rooms at this lodge and less desirable older rooms.

Ventilation was an issue in the late spring and summer. Although there were fans supplied and windows opened, guests were often too warm with no air conditioning at the lodge. One guest also mentioned that the bathroom had no extractor fan.

Other recent room complaints were: rooms did not match the pictures online, room was dusty, poor room cleanliness, windows don’t work, Murphy bed (pull-down wall bed) was not comfortable and inappropriate for a room that cost $300 per night, a poor view overlooking a storage area with dirty table and chairs, room was dark with limited lighting, the room had a stale log burn smell, thin and uncomfortable/hard mattress, pillows need to be replaced, and no safe or mini-fridge in the room.

Noise was sometimes a disturbance from: very loud plumbing sounds, trains, footsteps and creaking from rooms above, wedding music, a generator, slamming doors in the hallway and guests in nearby rooms and on their decks outside.

Some recent guests felt the hot tub should have been warmer and it seemed frequently closed for maintenance.

Some reviewers had parking issues. Guests described not being able to obtain parking near their rooms, although there were spots there, as parking was not assigned, but on a first-come, first-served basis. Occasionally guests could not find a spot and described having to back down a steep and winding driveway, unable to turn their cars around at the end of the parking area. There was some mention of also being able to park on a nearby road.

Wi-Fi worked well for some guests but not for others.

In high season when prices jumped, guests often felt the lodge was overpriced.

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Show Sources
Sources
TripAdvisor.com ranked this hotel #14 out of 32 specialty lodgings and rated it 4 out of 5, based on 1058 guest reviews.

Booking.com
rated this hotel 8.1 out of 10 based on 781 guest reviews.

Expedia.ca rated this hotel 4.1 out of 5 based on 764 guest reviews.


Editor's Analysis by Steph J.
Analyzed by Steph J.
Stephanie lives on Vancouver Island, BC, where she enjoys all things West Coast. She has daydreamed about travelling since childhood and has visited over a dozen countries since, but Canada is always at the top of her list.
Guest Reviews
8.1
Very Good
#
14 / out of 41
hotels in Banff

Rated 8.1/10 based on 2145 reviews

Ranked #14 out of 41 hotels in Banff

2145
Map Marker Buffalo Mountain Lodge
700 Tunnel Mountain Road, Banff, AB