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Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Fairmont Banff Springs – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"It's a large castle-like retreat in the middle of a fairytale location."
Best Budget: Samesun Backpacker Hostel – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Brings you and the other guests together with trivia nights, karaoke, bingo, and an open mic."
Best for Families: Buffalo Mountain Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Days together can be spent kayaking followed by a picnic lunch and unwinding in the outdoor hot tub or simply watching elk and deer graze."
"Look out your window and you’ll experience the sunrise over Lake Louise before the day crowds arrive to hit the slopes."
Best in Winter: Sunshine Mountain Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Sunshine Mountain Lodge is Banff’s only mountain top, ski-in/ski-out hotel."
Best in Summer: Num Ti Jah Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Cozy and rustic, the lodge is perfect for simple, outdoorsy comforts mixed with a hefty dose of tradition."
Best for Romance: Storm Mountain Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The cabins are spacious and cozy, with traditional cabin decor and comfy, quilted sheets."
Best Backcountry: Sundance Lodge – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter or horseback riding, fat-tire biking, and hiking in the summertime."
"A great choice for those looking to pamper themselves and stay away from the crowds that Banff sees in the summertime and ski season."
Best Overall: Fairmont Banff Springs
Easily one of the most photographed hotels in Canada, The Fairmont Banff Springs is a large castle-like retreat in the middle of a fairytale location. The hotel opened in 1888 and has undergone many renovations since.
With a bowling alley, a 27-hole championship golf course, and a 76,000-square-foot meeting space, there is simply so much to do. The hotel is also incredibly accommodating in every single way, from its pet-friendly policies – you can bring up to two pets for a $50 CAD fee per day – to its ADA-approved special mobility amenities.
The hotel’s spa is also world-class and is equipped to handle even the most discerning spa-goer. With its long menu that includes services like customized massage experiences, facial massages and treatments, and even salon services like pedicures and manicures, every base is covered.
There are four on-site restaurants to visit: the Vermillion Room for French flair, the 1888 Chop House for the best in Alberta meat and sustainable seafood, the Waldhaus for fondue, and Grapes for house-cured meats and artisan cheeses, paired with an incredible wine list.
Best Budget: Samesun Backpacker Hostel
Banff was first promoted by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a vacation destination for the wealthy, but it’s still a hotspot that caters very well to budget needs. Samesun Backpacker Hostel is a hostel chain that has a reputation for providing decent accommodation that will not break the bank.
This hostel is located right on Banff Avenue in the downtown area, so it is ideally placed for shopping and nightlife. The Beaver Bar and Restaurant brings you and the other guests together with trivia nights, karaoke, bingo, and open mic, and you’ll also enjoy mingling in the large common room with a cozy fireplace.
There is a mix of shared dorms, some with four, six, or 10 beds, but all come equipped with en-suite bathrooms. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day and hostel employees happily help travelers navigate finding the best activities in and around town at affordable prices. Many skiers and snowboarders hole up in here for the winter months, choosing to spend their money on lift passes rather than more expensive lodging.
Best for Families: Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Part of the family-run resort group CRMR, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a 108-room complex surrounded by nine acres of evergreen forest and situated just a three-minute drive from town. The hotel is located on Tunnel Mountain, a historic land formerly called Sleeping Buffalo by First Nations communities living in the area.
Snow or sun, the lodge is the perfect place for active families to set up camp. Days together can be spent kayaking followed by a picnic lunch from the lodge and unwinding in the outdoor hot tub or simply watching elk and deer graze on the lawns. Thanks to its mountain locale, the resort is right next to some excellent skiing or snowboarding, and Banff’s long winter means you’ll be able to hit the slopes well into the spring months.
Rooms come with fieldstone wood-burning fireplaces, and accommodations are decorated in elk-lodge style, complete with hunting trophies and comfy linens. For families traveling with pets, there are a limited number of pet-friendly rooms available at an additional charge.
The food at the restaurant is comfort-food gourmet; think indigenous wild berries, local mushrooms, and smoked, cured, and roasted wild game. Still, there are enough options on the menu to keep even the pickiest children happy.
Best View: Fairmont Lake Louise
Originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway over a century ago, The Fairmont Lake Louise proudly offers one of the most gorgeous alpine views in the entire world. Surrounded by massive mountain peaks, the Victoria Glacier and its sparkling emerald lake, this hotel is located right on the eastern shore of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its incredible alpine setting.
While it is a large hotel with over 500 rooms, most guests get out and about, so the place doesn’t feel overcrowded. Activities include guided mountain tours, world-class skiing, fishing, rafting, snowshoeing, scenic hiking, and canoeing. In the winter there’s also ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides.
The hotel is also perfectly situated for some of the most scenic vistas in all of Banff. Look out your window and you’ll have the privilege of being able to experience the sunrise over Lake Louise before the day crowds arrive to hit the slopes.
But for the best views, there is an entire collection of luxury one- or two-bedroom suites with balconies, a dedicated Suite Concierge, and complimentary breakfast. Penthouse Suites provide towering views of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier from two private covered balconies, ideal accommodation for a honeymoon or other celebration stay.
The Walliser Stube takes inspiration from European alpine cuisine, but Lago Italian Kitchen also offers dishes such as lasagna with Bolognese.
Best in Winter: Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Sunshine Mountain Lodge is Banff’s only mountaintop, ski-in/ski-out hotel. A uniquely Canadian boutique hotel nestled right within the peaks of Banff National Park, Sunshine is a basecamp for skiing since it offers effortless access to the slopes of Banff Sunshine Village.
You can be the first out on the slopes and can end a vigorous day on the mountain with a plunge in Banff’s largest outdoor hot tub. Afterward, a visit to the cedar-lined dry sauna will work out any remaining sore muscles from the day.
Once the lifts close for the evening and the stars are out, you can grab a pair of snowshoes and take a walk through the village or ask for a toboggan from the front desk and have a memorable time sliding down the mountain trails that surround the village.
If you’re a skier, the best rooms are the West Wing Premiere Rooms, with two Queen beds, stunning floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and ski-to-the-door convenience. A complimentary equipment locker is available in this wing, with each locker having space for skis, snowboards, boots, helmets, and outerwear. A boot drying rack is also available.
You’ll be able to choose which style of room you prefer as well, with accommodations ranging from cozy and intimate rooms with Queen beds to large family-style suites with private balconies. Each room features a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, large windows that offer excellent views, and an iHome alarm clock.
The hotel houses eight different restaurants and three cafes, where you can grab avocado toast with tomato and onion or an almond milk latté before hitting the slopes.
Best in Summer: Num Ti Jah Lodge
Num Ti Jah on Bow Lake was founded in 1898 by local legend Jimmy Simpson, one of Canada’s last great mountain men, and stepping on lodge grounds you’ll feel that time has somehow stood still since then. Simpson charismatically and courageously guided many scientists and explorers through the rugged terrain on expeditions, helping settlers expand westward, and the lodge still retains that historic energy.
Cozy and rustic, the lodge is perfect for simple, outdoorsy comforts mixed with a hefty dose of tradition. Rooms are filled with elk, bear, moose, wolverine and deer trophies hanging on the walls, all relics from a bygone era in the early 1900s when the animals were hunted and killed.
Surrounded by mountains and the Crowfoot Glacier, the lodge is closed during the winter months and is only open from Victoria Day Weekend in May through October. Since nearby Bow Lake does not allow motorized vehicles, summer activities like paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking can be done in tranquillity.
The lodge is especially great for exploring the mountainous regions around Banff, with its world-class hiking and mountain views. An hour and a half walk from the lodge will get you to Bow Glacier Falls, waterfalls that serve as the head of the mighty Bow River. And if you’re willing to put in four miles on the trail, you’ll be rewarded with incredibly picturesque vistas of the glacier waters of crystal-clear Peyto Lake.
Rooms are especially comfortable after a day spent on the mountains, with warm quilts covering the beds. Rooms are well-heated thanks to radiators, and guests can look out at the Canadian Rockies anytime since there are stunning mountain vistas in every room.
Best for Romance: Storm Mountain Lodge
If you want an intimate retreat with simple luxuries, book a stay at Storm Mountain Lodge, an off-grid retreat that’s home to eight private log cabins with spectacular views of Storm Mountain. The historical lodge was originally constructed in 1922 as a way for the Canadian Pacific Railway to attract more tourists to the Rocky Mountains region.
The lodge is completely self-sufficient with water, power, and its own sewer, making for a sustainable and green environment. Famous for its cuisine, the lodge offers fine dining in a secluded forest setting every day from May to October but is closed for all of November and maintains fewer open hours the rest of the months. The chefs prepare Canadian cuisine with a dedication to organic ingredients and naturally raised Alberta meat and wild fish. Loaves of bread, desserts and breakfast pastries are baked daily on-site and hiker lunches can be prepared for the trail.
The cabins are spacious and cozy, with traditional cabin decor and comfy, quilted sheets, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding some rest and relaxation.
What you won’t find here is Wi-Fi, coffee makers, or televisions, as electricity comes from a limited generator. This means you can cozy up in front of a fire, reading, lounging, and reconnecting with your partner and with nature.
Best Backcountry: Sundance Lodge
Not the typical rustic-chic hotel in Banff, Sundance Lodge is about 10 miles from town and gets you well away from the internet, cell service, noise and light pollution for a true Canadian wilderness experience.
This 10-room log cabin nestled on the bend of Brewster's Creek in the valley of the Sundance Mountain Range, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter or horseback riding, fat-tire biking, and hiking in the summertime. In fact, hiking is how you’ll arrive, making this a retreat for serious nature and outdoor activity lovers only. The trail to the lodge is moderate, with an elevation gain of 568 feet and is mostly uphill on the way in, so it isn’t too difficult.
All meals are included in the room rate and beer and wine are available for purchase. Cookout food includes juicy steak with home-made beans and baked potatoes, and at the lodge, the restaurant serves dishes like beef short ribs and crème brûlée cheesecake.
With cracking fireplaces and furnished porches perfect for summertime animal-spotting, the cabins have a few different ways you can kick back and relax.
For those looking to book a private family reunion or memorable business retreat, the entire lodge is available to rent out. There is no telephone service, so the accommodations are a great place to unplug, but don’t worry: The lodge does stay in radio contact in case of emergency.
Best Spa: Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge
Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge lodge, underwent a 35-million-dollar renovation in 2018 after it was acquired by Marriott for its Autograph Collection. Forty-five minutes outside of Banff and nestled in the beautiful foothills of Kananaskis, the lodge offers views of both the mountains and valley riverbed that wind around the Kananaskis Country Golf Course.
The lodge has 408 rooms on the resort, with 247 in the main lodge, 70 in Crosswaters Resort and 91 rooms in Mount Kidd Manor. Room choices vary from smaller, simpler rooms to cozy bi-level lofts to hospitality suites. Accommodations all come with Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV with cable, and even a humidifier on request.
The hotel is attached to the 50,000 square foot Nordic Spa where you can indulge in one of the many saunas, steam rooms, exfoliation huts and hot, warm and cold plunge pools. There are even heated hammocks for ultimate relaxation. This lodge is a great choice for those looking to pamper themselves and stay away from the crowds that Banff sees in the summertime and ski season.
The food at the lodge is also excellent, with three restaurants, a bar, and a cafe serving high quality, seasonal offerings. Try the venison carpaccio with house-made mustard at the Cedar Room, or head to the Forte Restaurant for prosciutto-wrapped saltimbocca chicken.