Updated: May 1st, 2021
If you’ve been following us for a while, you probably know how much we love Banff. For people who love the outdoors, love the mountains, love beautiful clear turquoise-coloured lakes, and love skiing in a winter wonderland, Banff is paradise. Living in Calgary, we’ve been to Banff more than a hundred times, which has enabled us to truly figure out where to stay in Banff.
With all of these visits, we’ve had the opportunity to try out a variety of hotels and lodges. Whether it was a budget stay in the King Edward Hotel or a luxurious stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs, we know a lot about accommodation in Banff.
In this guide, we’re going to list out some of our favourite hotels for you to consider on your next trip to Banff.
Best Places to Stay in Banff
When it comes to Banff, there’s certainly no shortage of places to stay. As one of the most popular destinations in all of Canada, Banff has become a tourist mecca. Don’t let that scare you though. Despite its immense popularity, it remains extremely beautiful and is home to so much mind-blowing scenery and outdoor adventure, that it absolutely remains a must-do in Canada.
Banff is also a convenient place to find accommodation. Due to its small size, no hotel is really in a bad location. All of them have their pros and cons and almost all hotels are within walking distance to the downtown core and the many incredible and delicious Banff restaurants.
Luxury Hotels in Banff
If you’re looking for luxurious accommodations in Banff, none are more popular than the two mentioned below.
Fairmont Banff Springs
When it comes to luxury hotels in Banff, the Fairmont Banff Springs is the clear winner. Not only is it a luxury hotel, but it’s also an icon of Banff. Whether you stay here or not, it’s an absolute must-visit, even if you just see it from the outside. Known also as the Banff Castle, this stunning hotel is surrounded by mountains and trees. It’s a little bit further from downtown Banff than other hotels, but it’s really just a 3-minute drive or a shuttle bus away. This is the most expensive option in Banff, with costs ranging from about $400/night and up. We had a date night here once and it really was beautiful. There’s just something about the history of it all. Plus, the outdoor hot pools are great for relaxing and breakfast, although very expensive, was one of the best we’ve had. However, there are some things we didn’t like as well. First off, our room only had one little tiny window with mountain views. Because this hotel is quite old, it wasn’t designed with the bigger windows of a modern hotel. It also wasn’t designed for the electronic life we all live now, as there were very few plugins to charge our cameras and phones. Another downfall is that despite paying hundreds of dollars per night on a room, you also have to pay approximately $30/night for parking if you have your own vehicle. We often joke that the pricier the hotel, the more added fees there are as well. Still, if you’re willing to shell out the big bucks for a few nights in the Fairmont, then perhaps those added fees don’t mean much. Either way, it’ll be a night to remember.
The Rimrock Resort Hotel
Although this is one of the few hotels we haven’t stayed at yet, the Rimrock Resort is the second-best luxury resort after the Fairmont Banff Springs. It’s also conveniently located within walking distance of both the Banff Gondola and the Banff Hot Springs and is more of a modern hotel with bigger windows and rooms. It’s also cheaper than the Fairmont, which means you can still enjoy luxury in the mountains for a fraction of the cost. Besides the gorgeous views from all sides of the hotel, you’ll also find a number of fancy restaurants and bars, a spa and fitness centre, and an incredibly dressed concierge service.
Best Hotels in Banff
If you’re looking for nice accommodations in Banff but not wanting to break the bank, below are some of our top options. These hotels offer wonderful amenities and are quite beautiful, but yet not too expensive.
Best Western Plus Siding 29 Lodge
If you follow our YouTube channel, you probably know that we work quite a bit with Best Western hotels. We love them. They’re located almost everywhere and provide very good service and amenities for a decent price. When we stayed at the Best Western Plus Suding 29 Lodge in Banff, they were under renovation, but now that it’s complete, it’s quite beautiful. Located on Marten Street, a short walk from all the action, this is a great hotel. With rates as low as $100/night during the winter months, which include a hot buffet breakfast and free parking, this really is one of the best values in Banff.
Mount Royal Hotel
Located right across the street from the King Edward Hotel, the Mount Royal Hotel offers the same incredible location but with a much nicer hotel. This historic hotel is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside and offers some unique amenities such as a full-service restaurant, general store, library, and museum! This hotel has been a staple in Banff for more than 100 years and has been recently renovated as well due to a fire.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Banff’s main avenue and stay a little closer to nature, consider the Banff Mountain Lodge, which is located on Tunnel Mountain, walking distance to the Tunnel Mountain hiking trail. With 9 acres of fir, pine, and spruce trees, it feels like a little mountain oasis that’s just a 3-minute drive or a 15-minute walk to town. During our stay, we really enjoyed sitting in front of our very own wood-burning fireplace and eating at the delicious Sleeping Mountain Dining Room, which was also featured as one of our top Banff Restaurants to dine at. We also enjoyed the outdoor stainless steel hot tub, which is always a perfect way to end a day of outdoor exploration.
Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa
Another wonderful hotel to stay in Banff is the Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa. This hotel is located at the far end of Banff Avenue, right after you enter the town, and offers spacious rooms, a beautiful lobby with a wood-burning fireplace, The Keg Steakhouse on-site, and a popular pool and spa. In fact, we’ve noticed that families tend to enjoy this lodge, probably in part due to the pool that all the kids love. For those who are in Banff to go skiing, we also love the fact that the underground parking has storage lockers for the skis. This made it very convenient as lugging them up to the room each evening is not ideal. Plus, they need to dry! So whether you’re skiing or not, this is a great mid-range lodge to stay in.
Banff Aspen Lodge
Another popular place is the Banff Aspen Lodge, which is located on the main road but roughly a 5-minute walk from where all the action starts. They serve a very good hot breakfast, have two beautiful outdoor hot tubs, and for those travelling as a family, the beds (If you’ve opted for two beds) are separated by the bathroom, giving you much more privacy. At times, we find this hotel a little bit on the pricey side, but that often depends on the season and their availability. Another nice feature is the free parking and the balconies that overlook Banff Avenue.
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Although Sunshine Mountain Lodge would be inconvenient for those looking to explore the town of Banff, it’s definitely in the best location for those looking to hit the slopes. This mountain lodge is located right at Sunshine Ski Resort, up high in the mountains. In fact, to get there, you need to take the gondola! If you’re looking to be the first one on the lifts, this is the lodge for you. They have nice mountain-style rooms, an outdoor hot tub, and a number of on-site restaurants to choose from. This lodge is a little on the pricier side to its location, and the food options are not the best, but as I mentioned, if you want to stay thousands of feet up on a mountain and be the first to ride the chair lift to some of the best powder in the Canadian Rockies, this is a great option.
Cheap Places to Stay in Banff
If you’re looking for simple no-frills accommodations in Banff, there are a number of options. Below are some of our top picks.
This Dorothy Motel motel is not only budget-friendly but is also very good value. Not only is it NEW but they’ve also put a lot of thought into the rooms, giving you lots of space, a clean non-carpet floor, a tiled bathroom, lots of storage, a microwave and mini-fridge, access to the beautiful courtyard, free WiFi, and parking right in front of your door. This is now our favourite budget accommodation in Banff as it’s often less than $100 per night and is located right at the beginning of Banff Avenue.
Bow View Lodge
Another budget hotel that’s in a great location but also in need of renovation is the Bow View Lodge. This hotel is in a prime location, just minutes walking distance from the main street and right next to the Bow River. There’s nothing fancy about this hotel, but it’s clean and comfortable, and often less than $100/night. Parking is free, WiFi is free, and they also include pool access at their other property – the Banff Park Lodge.
Red Carpet Inn
For those of you who really want to follow in the footsteps of Matt and Karla, the Red Carpet Inn was the very first hotel we stayed in back in 2008! After meeting at the University of Lethbridge, we decided to take our first date to the winter wonderland of Banff before Karla went back to Mexico City. The Red Carpet Inn is located right next to the Banff Aspen Lodge and features a number of different rooms, some of which have their own jacuzzi. This cozy 2-star hotel features free underground parking, an indoor hot tub, free WiFi, and is pet-friendly!
Hostels in Banff
For those looking for cheap accommodations, hostels are a great option. Our days of staying in hostels ended with our backpacking trips to New Zealand and Australia back in 2009 (Well, we’ve stayed in a few since then but not many). Oftentimes, hostels are only worth it when travelling single or perhaps with a group of friends. As a couple, it’s often the same price to simply book a budget hotel and have the privacy to go with it. However, Banff is popular with everyone, including backpackers, which means there are a number of hostels to choose from.
Samesun Banff Hostel
Perhaps the most popular hostel of them all is Samesun. They offer private double rooms for about $75 and dorm-style rooms starting at about $34/night. Located right on Banff Avenue, right next to the Red Carpet Inn, Samesun offers everything you’d expect from a wonderful hostel, including free WiFi, a guest kitchen, baggage storage, free breakfast, reading lights, guest laundry, free parking, 24-hour staff, and even an on-site restaurant and bar called The Beaver. For those travelling solo, it’s a great place to meet some new friends and party!
Banff International hostel
Another very popular hostel is the Banff International Hostel, which is also located on Banff Avenue, just steps from Samesun. The Banff International Hostel also has a wide range of amenities, including free breakfast, free WiFi, a fully equipped guest kitchen, free parking, and even an on-site liquor store. Prices are similar at about $35/bed, but they also have the option of renting out 4, 6, and 8-bed private dorms.
When it comes to mountains and the great outdoors, many people often think of a nice log cabin and a place all to themselves. Well, Banff does have some options for you.
Banff Log Cabin Guesthouse
This quaint little cabin is located near Fairmont and is perfect for that romantic Banff getaway. There’s just one cabin, which makes it quite unique and quiet, but a hearty breakfast is served right to your door each day. This is your chance to stay in a log cabin right in a residential neighbourhood of Banff.
Banff Beaver Cabins
While these cabins look more like mini-homes rather than those iconic log-style cabins you might be thinking of, they definitely have the best location for those wanting to experience the hustle and bustle of downtown. Located just a block from Banff Avenue, this is the place to stay if you want your own private cabin while still being able to explore the town itself without a car. Options include both one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites and include a kitchenette with fridge, microwave, and hot plate, as well as free WiFi, off-street parking, and even a beautiful gazebo with two BBQs.
Storm Mountain Lodge
If you’re looking for a secluded spot in nature, consider Storm Mountain Lodge, which is located almost halfway between Banff and Lake Louise. Surrounded by trees and mountains rather than stores and restaurants, these beautiful log cabins are the perfect place to be in nature while enjoying the comfort of a 3-star hotel. Located at Castle Junction, they’re also a great place to stay for those wanting to make a little day trip down to Radium Hot Springs and Panorama Mountain Resort. They have 16 smoke-free cabins, an on-site restaurant and bar, a picnic area, free parking, a fireplace, and more.
Bed and Breakfast in Banff
Those looking for a cozier accommodation experience might want to check out some of the Bed & Breakfasts, which definitely offer a more “at-home” feel and a much better breakfast.
Holiday Lodge Bed and Breakfast
With an average ranking of 9.4 out of 10, Holiday Lodge Bed and Breakfast is easily the most popular Banff Bed and Breakfast in town. Centrally located near the main hub of Banff Avenue, this B&B offers free WiFi, private bathrooms, hardwood flooring, a common lounge, free parking, and homemade scones and croissants for breakfast. Travelling as a couple? In that case, it’s ranked 9.9 out of 10. Damn near perfect.
A Good Nite’s Rest Bed and Breakfast
Another popular Banff Bed & Breakfast is A Good Nite’s Rest, which offers rooms with microwaves and mini-refrigerators, as well as free WiFi, a delicious breakfast, a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, and private bathrooms. This B&B is also centrally located and within walking distance to most downtown Banff attractions.
Pet-friendly Hotels in Banff
We left this one until last because quite frankly, many of the hotels are pet-friendly. Some of these hotels include the Moose Hotel & Suites, Canalta Lodge, The Fox Hotel & Suites, Tunnel Mountain Resort, Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa, Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, Best Western Plus Siding 29, and the Red Carpet Inn.
How to Get to Banff
Located just an hour from Calgary and right off the Trans-Canada Highway, Banff is hard to miss. We’ve written a number of guides to help you get there.
What to Do in Banff
Nice accommodation is great but the most important thing is experiencing all that Banff National Park has to offer. Having travelled the region extensively, we’ve written a number of guides about Banff National Park and the many destinations that surround it should you decide to venture out on a good ol’ Canada road trip. Some of our most popular guides are:
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