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Accommodation in Banff

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Banff, Alberta.
A stay in the mountains may inspire visions of sleeping under the stars in a tent surrounded by towering pines, or wrapped snug inside a cozy, rustic cabin. The truth is, the famous Rocky Mountain town of Banff accommodates its millions of yearly visitors in a vast range of lodgings, including hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts and hostels, as well as the quintessential campgrounds and cabins.

Vacancies are scarce during the summer high season (June to September) and peak winter ski season (December to March) so it is wise to make reservations even months in advance. Note that properties also tend to increase their rates during these busy tourist times. Because the town of Banff is located within Banff National Park, a park pass must be purchased in order to visit. These can be obtained from park entrances on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1).


For those keen to experience a "wild" night in the Rocky Mountains, there are campgrounds located at Castle Mountain, Two Jack Lake, Tunnel Mountain and Johnston Canyon. These seasonal campgrounds are generally open May through September. Most (but not all) offer basic amenities such as flush toilets, showers, sani-dump facilities and fire pits. Reservations can be made for Tunnel Mountain campsites—which are the most convenient to the townsite—but the rest are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Step the luxury up a notch yet still enjoy an authentic stay in the woods in one of the area's cozy cabins. From simple lodgings like seasonal backcountry log cabins for hikers and cross-country skiers at Brewster's Shadow Lake Lodge to rustically elegant hideaways such as Storm Mountain Lodge's heritage-style cabins complete with stone fireplaces, clawfoot tubs and down duvets, visitors will find a variety of options located west of the township off Bow Valley Parkway and Highway 1.


A wealth of Banffhotels populate the townsite. Most standard rooms are available at mid-range rates and offer modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. Hotels here more often than not reflect their spectacular setting in the Rockies with mountain-inspired décor such as cozy stone fireplaces and picture windows framing inspiring views.

Properties like the historic and iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the clifftop Rimrock Hotel offer the height in luxury with resort-type features such as exceptional cuisine and spa facilities. High-end accommodation in downtown Banff can be found at the Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge on Banff Avenue and the Banff Park Lodge on Lynx Street. Otherwise, mid-range hotels are abundant along Banff Avenue—the townsite's main artery—all offering a convenient location and comprehensive amenities.

The Bow View Lodge is the only Banff hotel that boasts a spot on the bank of the Bow River yet is still only two-and-a-half blocks from downtown. Heading out Tunnel Mountain way, visitors will find convenient condo-style accommodation at resort properties such as Douglas Fir and Hidden Ridge resorts that are also close to downtown. And the Sunshine Mountain Lodge at the Sunshine Village Ski Resort deserves a special mention being the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in the area.


Visitors who appreciate genuine local hospitality and unique personal touches will be pleased to know that Banff is blessed with numerous bed and breakfasts. Most bed and breakfasts are situated on residential streets skirting the main downtown strip, within walking distance of restaurants, shops and amenities. The Banff Boutique Inn and At Wits End Bed and Breakfast are located on the other side of the river, tucked at the foot of Sulphur Mountain away from—yet still very convenient to—the downtown bustle.

While all bed and breakfasts offer complimentary breakfast with each stay, rates and standards vary among properties. Simple yet homey rooms at affordable rates are available at abodes such as Big Horn Bed and Breakfast and Blue Mountain Lodge, while sumptuous accommodations for more extravagant prices await at properties like Buffaloberry Bed and Breakfast.


It's easy to spend money in Banff. For those exploring Alberta's Rockies on a shoestring, the town offers a handful of hostels for the budget-minded. SameSun Backpacker Lodges offers dorm-style accommodation in two properties on Banff Avenue: Banff Hostel and Banff Chalet. Both SameSun properties provide complimentary breakfast and the Banff Chalet also features private rooms. Other choices for backpackers include Hostelling International's Banff Alpine Centre on Tunnel Mountain Road and the Banff Y Mountain Lodge across the river on Spray Avenue. Each provides dormitory accommodation as well as private rooms and loads of amenities, including on-site dining.
Banff's Rundlestone Lodge
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Photos of Banff  Banff's Rundlestone Lodge
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