National Park is absolutely breathtaking. In fact, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the town is packed with good restaurants and cozy pubs.
In summer, you can choose from hundreds of spectacular trails, take a gondola up a mountain and then ride a bicycle down, or just relax with a pint on a roof-top deck with a sensational view. In winter, you can ski, dog-sled, snowshoe, snowmobile, or go for a sleigh ride.
There’s a Banff hotel to suit every budget and travel style.
The grand dame of Banff hotels is the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to facilitate tourism in the area, the Banff Springs opened in 1888. Looking like a castle majestically towering over the Bow River, the hotel is one of the most photographed places in Banff. If you ask us, no trip to Banff is complete without a visit. Over the years, the stately stone structure has been expanded, renovated many times, and today, it’s equally historic and up to date. As you’d expect of an older property, some of the rooms are on the small side, as are the bathrooms. But all are beautifully furnished with luxurious beds and linens, top-quality toiletries, and fine fabrics. You’ll find every conceivable amenity, including 15 restaurants, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a state-of-the-art spa, and tennis courts. The only downside, aside from the price, is the traffic — the place is always packed.
The Rimrock Resort is about a five-minute drive from town on the side of Sulphur Mountain. Most rooms have spectacular views of the forested slopes, and it’s only a five-minute walk to the hot springs and Banff gondola. Because the Rimrock offers shuttle service to the center of town, it offers the best of both worlds. The lounge off the lobby opens onto a gorgeous terrace and the views from both are some of the best in Banff. The décor is smart and sophisticated with lots of dark wood and polished marble. The rooms are spacious and well equipped with sitting areas that take in the views. There’s a spa, two restaurants — including Eden, a AAA Five Diamond award winner — and a heated pool that opens onto the terrace. We stayed at the Rimrock last August, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of the top Banff hotels.
A short stroll from Banff’s shops and restaurants, the Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge has 99 nicely decorated rooms with WiFi, coffee makers, and mini fridges. Many have fireplaces. With its heated indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna, the Grotto Spa is a great place to relax after a day of hiking or skiing. The Evergreen restaurant serves Canadian specialties like Alberta beef, trout, and Arctic char. The lounge has a ski-lodge ambience, and service is friendly and professional.
Four blocks from downtown, the Fox Hotel and Suites is one of the newer hotels in Banff and it offers good value for money. From the outside, it looks like a ski lodge with lots of wood and stone. The interior continues the theme with Craftsman furniture, wood paneling, and open beams. Loft suites have living rooms with fireplaces, kitchen nooks, upstairs bedrooms, and open onto a small terrace or balcony. The pool area here is modeled after the original hot springs cave in Banff. There’s also a fitness center. Chili’s Grill & Bar in the hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But a free continental breakfast is included in the rate.
A mile from Banff township on Tunnel Mountain, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a great Banff hotel for those looking for peace and quiet. Since the city bus stops out front, getting to town doesn’t take much effort. Set on eight natural acres, the accommodations are in several small buildings scattered around the property. Rooms vary in size and amenities, but all have fireplaces, DVD players, balconies or patios, and down duvets. With its post-and-beam construction, huge fireplace and soaring ceilings, the Main Lodge is a great place for a drink. The Sleeping Buffalo and Cilantro are two of Banff’s best restaurants. And the outdoor hot tub is large enough to seat 25.
1) Fairmont Banff Springs Resort
2) Rimrock Resort
3) Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge
4) Fox Hotels & Suites
5) Buffalo Mountain Lodge