Guests should be aware that air conditioning comes at a premium in Banff and many hotel rooms in this city don't have it, even in the more expensive hotels, which seem to reserve air conditioning for their full suites and most expensive rooms. Usually the summer nights are cooler in the mountains, but recently there have been some issues with hot nights and no air conditioning for guests in Banff.
Expect to hear train noise from most places in Banff as the trains blow their whistles at the following road crossings even at night: Banff Avenue just south of the Trans-Canada interchange (about 275m from Banff airport); Compound Road, between Banff Ave and Hawk Ave; and Mount Norquay Road, just north of Railway Avenue (near Rocky Mountaineer Banff Train Station and Banff Mineral Springs Hospital). Hotel rooms facing these road crossings will be louder. The hotels closest to these road crossings are: Brewsters Shadow Lake Lodge, Banff Rocky Mountain Resort and Bow View Lodge. If you are booking at these hotels and a light sleeper, it may be advisable to bring ear plugs with you.
Editor's Top 11 Picks
Many feel it offers great value with genuinely nice staff and a prime location away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, yet still within easy reach for an evening out or visit to shops and museum.
It’s hard to tell what guests like more, the fabulous food on site or the spectacular panoramic views.
Suites and cabins are recommended for more space and amenities including balconies and decks, bedrooms, fireplaces and full kitchens. Wi-Fi and parking are free.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, parking, local calls
- Rooms were clean, comfortable and well maintained said guests
- Staff considered excellent and super friendly by many
- Location was excellent near the forest and trails but still walkable to downtown Banff
- Juniper Bistro was highly acclaimed by guests
- Views were highly enjoyed by guests from their rooms, balconies, hot tub and restaurant
- Good value according to many guests
- Wi-Fi was rated as good in online surveys
- No elevator to second floor
- Decor a little dated, according to a few
- Some guests could hear the highway and guests in nearby or overhead rooms
It’s about a 10-minute walk to the town centre along Banff Avenue, or guests can use a free Roam bus pass for trips to town. Other spots of interest along the bus route include the Upper Hot Springs and Banff Springs Hotel. Ski shuttles to the area’s three major ski resorts can be caught a short walk from the hotel.
The spacious one- and two-bedroom suites and lofts offer a mini-kitchen, dining table and air-conditioned living room, and some feature a balcony and gas fireplace. This popular hotel adds value to your stay with a well-liked free breakfast, very good free Wi-Fi and free heated underground parking.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, breakfast, parking, local calls, Roam bus passes
- Rooms were clean and comfortable said guests
- Location was an easy walk to town's restaurants and shops
- Cave-like hot pool with waterfalls greatly enjoyed by guests
- Wi-Fi was very good according to online surveys
- Staff were well liked, friendly, helpful and accommodating
- Free amenities were often appreciated by guests
- Some enjoyed the lounge and restaurant on site
- Some rooms have stair access only
- Some guests complained that the basic rooms were smaller than expected and cramped
- Guests were disappointed that basic rooms were not air conditioned
- Late night noise caused by other guests was a disturbance to some
- Some guests complained about no mini-fridges, no microwaves and inadequate lighting in their rooms
This is a friendly place that guests like to come back to year-after-year. The setting is beautiful with mountain views and there are a lot of extras that add so much convenience for guests such as underground heated parking and a free car wash, a great indoor swimming pool with hot plunge pool, a eucalyptus-infused steam room, ski shuttle pick up and drop off right outside the hotel, a great little gift shop on site, canoe rentals behind the hotel, a playground nearby for kids and a great buffet breakfast (with lots of fresh fruit).
The rooms are getting a refresh (2016) and guests are enjoying the new multi-jet showers. There’s heated bathroom floors in some rooms too, as well as laptop safes, balconies and gas fireplaces. Parking is $15 for valet and $10 for self-parking and Wi-Fi is $10 per day for unlimited devices.
- Rooms were clean and spacious with comfortable beds
- Guests enjoyed the breakfast and other dining on site
- Some felt this hotel offered good value and good amenities
- Location was excellent, close to town and the Bow River trail
- Staff were cheerful and accommodating said guests
- Wi-Fi is $10 for 24 hours
- Self-parking is $10 and valet parking is $15 per night
- There was the odd noise complaint from guests
- A few found the bathroom lighting too dim
It’s become quite dated, as seems typical for Banff, but for some guests it suffices due to the size and affordability of their units, some with full kitchens, air conditioning and separated bedrooms, steam showers, wood-burning fireplaces and jetted tubs. Guests really enjoy the scenic views from their rooms and balconies which can include an occasional visit from a curious deer.
There are fitness facilities, indoor hot tubs, steam room, sauna and indoor pool for guests’ relaxation and recreation. There are affordable bike rentals available to take advantage of nearby trails, plus free Wi-Fi and free parking also available on site.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, parking, local calls, DVD movies, Roam bus passes
- Rooms were well equipped and comfortable for many guests
- Staff were helpful with information and friendly
- The units were affordable said guests
- Location was well liked for being outside of town, but an easy ride to Banff's restaurants and shops
- Wi-Fi was good according to guests
- The resort's parking was described as tight for larger vehicles
- Some found the hotel and rooms in need of maintenance and better cleaning
- Only Executive Suites have air conditioning
As a sister property to the more upscale Banff Park Lodge across the street, guests receive free passes to the leisure facilities which include gym, indoor pool, hot plunge pool, hot tub and eucalyptus-infused steam room (a must try!). There are dining and lounge facilities there also with a well-liked breakfast buffet. The ski shuttle for the area’s 3 ski resorts picks up at Banff Park Lodge too, with convenient last-on, first-off timing.
Guests say the best part of this hotel is the staff who are genuinely friendly and helpful. Guests should note that this small inn has 3 storeys, but no elevator and is also one of many Banff hotels without air conditioning. Rooms offer convenient mini-fridges with in-room ski and snowboard storage. Wi-Fi is an extra $5 per day and outdoor parking is free.
- Free amenities: outdoor parking
- Rooms were clean with comfy beds
- Location excellent, an easy walk to town centre
- Great value at this hotel said guests
- Staff were professional and friendly said guests
- Amenities at Banff Park Lodge added value to guests' stays
- No elevator
- Wi-Fi costs $5 per 24 hours
- Guests complained of dated rooms and dirty carpets
- A few complained of noise disturbance from within and from outside the hotel
- No air conditioning a problem in the warmer months for some
Although this budget standby is getting a little old and wrinkled (and some say she needs a facelift), she is still quite comfortable to be around. Her best features are balconies with views of the Bow River and Mount Rundle (I’m told) in the distance, and the occasional spotting of deer.
Only the River Suite is air conditioned and may be worth splurging for as I hear it’s quite roomy, offers some kitchen appliances, wall-to-wall picture windows and a 2-person rain shower.
Although off site, the hotel provides recreational amenities at her 'sister’s place', Banff Park Lodge next door. Parking is free and Wi-Fi is $5 per day.
- Free amenities: parking, bike and ski/snowboard storage
- Rooms were clean and comfortable said guests
- Guests liked being within walking distance of downtown and the Bow River walkway
- Friendly and helpful staff, according to guests
- Many guests enjoyed the river view from their rooms
- Many guests felt that the hotel provided a budget-friendly option in an otherwise expensive hotel market
- Wi-Fi is $5 per day
- No air conditioning (except for River Suite)
- Many found the hotel dated and in need of TLC
El Toro Restaurant is attached offering very good breakfast and delicious Mexican and Spanish-inspired cuisine. A very clean indoor hot tub and dry sauna add warmth to the stay, and very good free Wi-Fi will not disappoint. Ask for a room with a balcony facing the mountains for a more inspiring stay.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, local calls
- The location was praised by many for being walking distance to shopping, restaurant, supermarket and trails
- Guest reviewers said the rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious
- Some guests really enjoyed meals on site
- Staff were very well liked and knowledgeable of the area
- Guests enjoyed the hot tub and found it very clean
- Wi-Fi was rated very good by online reviewers
- Parking can be limited and tight for larger vehicles, according to guests
- Some said the hotel was a little tired in appearance
Guests like the value of this hotel. It offers a good hot breakfast which guests say saves a fair amount of cash in dining out costs in Banff. It offers a well-equipped room with a mini-fridge and microwave, so guests can save leftovers and enjoy some lighter meals in their room. There’s free heated underground parking for cars, handy in the winter months, and there’s excellent free Wi-Fi and wired Internet in the rooms, which is not a given in all hotels in this area.
There is also an indoor pool and small hot tub on site for some down time. If you want to have your own Jacuzzi, you can reserve the Jacuzzi suite or the Presidential Suite which offers a private outdoor hot tub on a deck. Some front-facing rooms come with a balcony with seating and views of the mountains.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, wired Internet, hot breakfast, underground parking, local calls, all day coffee
- Rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious said guests
- Free hot breakfast was very well liked by guests
- Staff were friendly and helpful to the guests
- Location offered easy walking access to the town's restaurants and shops
- Good value at this hotel according to many guests
- Wi-Fi was excellent according to online surveys
- Parking was tight with too low a clearance (5'9") for larger vehicles
- Breakfast sitting area a little small
- Pool and hot tub were small according to some guests
- Some thought the hotel was a little dated
Outdoor hot pools with a nice-looking fireplace offer great après-ski ambiance. Adding value are a free hot breakfast buffet, free underground parking and good free Wi-Fi. If you like coffee and specialty teas, along with fresh baking, you’ll enjoy their Whitebark Café which is open from early morning to the evening.
As is the case for many hotels in Banff, there is no air conditioning at Aspen Lodge, so it can get warm in the summer months, but requesting a room at the back with a balcony will likely solve this problem. (Rooms at the back are quieter, so opening your balcony door won’t open up to possible street noise.)
This is a good pick for skiers as unlike some hotels in Banff, this hotel provides secure ski storage with a lock supplied by the front desk, and not just a room to throw your beloved boards into. Also the ski shuttle is a 1-minute walk away.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, deluxe breakfast buffet, underground and outdoor parking
- Rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious said guests
- Location ideal to the town centre's shops and restaurants
- Many guests enjoyed the cafe and breakfast on site
- Guests liked the hotel's updated decor, and courtyard featuring hot pools and outdoor fireplace
- Staff were cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful said guests
- Wi-Fi was rated as good by online reviewers
- Many guests planned to return, recommended this hotel and thought it offered good value
- Some guests were bothered by noise outside the hotel
- Lack of air conditioning a problem for some guests on hot summer nights
There are some nice loft junior suites with a private double jacuzzi and some rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows or balconies with mountain views. Guests enjoy the Keg Restaurant on site and the hotel’s spa services are excellent with a very large and inviting indoor hot pool and steam room on offer.
If you’re coming in the summer, you may want to overlook it for a place with air conditioning, but it’s ideal in the winter with ski shuttle pick up right at the hotel, good ski lockers and a great roaring fire in the lobby.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, coffee bar in lobby, Roam bus passes, local calls
- Rooms were clean and well appointed said guests
- Location well liked, in walking distance to the downtown but far from the downtown bustle
- Great customer service and friendly staff, according to guests
- Wi-Fi was rated as very good by online reviewers
- Keg Restaurant on site well liked by guests
- Guests reported excellent spa services on site
- No AC a problem for some guests
- Some guests complained that the basic rooms were smaller than expected
- Underground parking a little tight for larger vehicles, according to guests
- Some guests found their rooms dark
- Noise disturbances reported by some guests from outdoor traffic/trains and guests in hallways
There’s pretty good dining on site at Bumper’s Beef House which offers a good made-to-order breakfast as well as a great fish and chips, bottomless salad bar, bottomless Pepsi and well-priced beer and wine.
Besides the tremendous staff, guests enjoy the comfy beds with quality linens, 42” flat screen TVs and DVD players with free movies. There’s free bike rentals, plus a clean indoor pool and hot tub for some recreation, along with a nearby playground for the kids.
- Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, bicycle rentals, DVD movies
- Guests liked the atmosphere and amenities of this hotel
- Clean and spacious rooms with comfy beds, according to many guests
- Reasonable prices and good value, according to some guests
- Some guests enjoyed meals onsite
- The Rundlestone is one of very few hotels that has air conditioning in Banff
- Convenient location away from the noise, but close to downtown and trails
- Staff were very well liked, polite and very helpful
- Wi-Fi was rated as very good in online surveys
- Some guests complained of dated decor and dark rooms
- Some rooms near the pool smelled of chlorine and faced the interior of the hotel
Tips For Staying In Banff
Choosing A Hotel in Banff
Quick Summary of Most Popular Areas
Downtown Banff: is vibrant and very walk-able with lots of activity. There are interesting shops and lots of restaurants and bars but the downtown hotels are typically older and all the activity can prove to be noisy for some folks. The best downtown hotels are those along the Bow River where it's quieter but still an easy walk to the town centre.
When to visit Banff
If you are under the impression that Banff is a one-season resort town, you'd be wrong. Banff is a beautiful place to visit all year around. The summer provides comfortable weather to check out the numerous hiking and biking trails and take in the beautiful mountain scenery. The fall gives visitors a chance to witness the beauty of the leaves changing colours across Banff National Park. The winter, Banff's bread and butter, gives skiers and winter-sport enthusiasts a snow-covered playground. If you are looking to visit during a quiet time, try October and November. Typically this is the off season for the town as it is too cold for hiking trails and not yet ready for downhill skiing.
Where to stay in Banff
The majority of the hotels are situated along Banff Avenue, just minutes from the Trans-Canada Highway and most of them have restaurants in walking distance.
What to do in Banff
There is no shortage of things to do in Banff. Situated in the Canadian Rockies, Banff is home to breathtaking mountain views, almost tame wildlife and endless trails to explore. This city is a hot spot in both the summer and winter. Banff National Park is over 6000 square kilometres of wilderness and home to Mt. Forbes, at 3612m it is Banff's highest mountain. The three main ski resorts in Banff are Mount Norquay Ski Resort, Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort and the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
From Banff, it is only a 45 minute drive up the Trans Canada Highway to the beautiful and scenic Lake Louise. This is a trip definitely worth making if you are visiting Banff.