Banff National Park is one of those destinations that never gets old. I’ve made four visits to this dreamy town and every time I leave wanting more. Each visit I’ve stayed somewhere new, so at this point I’ve tried a lot of places – from the cheapest hostel to the most luxurious hotel fit for a queen (she actually stayed there). So without further ado, here are my recommendations for where to stay in Banff and Lake Louise.
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Hostels in Banff
If you’re on a tight budget, then staying at a hostel is your best option. With so many tourists, and consequently, so many hostels, competition is fierce, meaning they’re all of decent quality. Here are my two favourites.
Samesun Banff – This cozy hostel is my favourite hostel in Banff. Located on the main road, it offers both free WiFi and free parking. There’s a great, lively bar within the hostel that was perfect for a friend-seeking solo traveler like myself. The communal kitchen is small, but is much cozier than the industrial sized kitchens you often see at large hostels. The rooms are very comfortable; each bed has a little shelf, a fan, a light and an outlet (so you don’t have to compete with your dorm mates to charge your phone). The rooms even have a locker so all your stuff is secure. Overall, great hostel and very affordable. Would recommend to any budget- or solo-travelers! Check latest prices here.
Banff International Hostel – This hostel is perfectly okay; acceptable but not as nice as Samesun (and they’re the same price, so if Samesun is available go with that). It’s not nearly as cozy, but it does feel very safe and secure (they also have lockers in the rooms). Check latest prices here.
My favourite is Samesun and while I didn’t love Banff International Hostel, I do prefer it to HI-Banff Alpine Centre which has been intentionally left off this list.
Mid-Tier Hotels in Banff
Banff Boutique Inn – This beautifully cozy and quaint hotel feels more “staying at your friend’s ski chalet” than the other hotels in Banff. There’s a shared living space and access to a full kitchen if you’d like to option to cook your own meals. It’s also the highest rated hotel in Banff on Booking.com. Check latest prices here.
Royal Canadian Lodge – The Royal Canadian Lodge is a very comfortable hotel with a great restaurant and an extremely nice mineral pool and hot tub (one of the best out of all the hotels I’ve stayed in). My boyfriend and I celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend here and had the most delicious 3-course meal in their restaurants. And I think this is a hotel where you get an excellent bang for your buck. The rooms aren’t quite as fancy as the luxury hotels in Banff, nor do you get the same mountain views. However, the attentive service, comfortable decor and quality furnishings goes beyond what you would expect at a mid-tier hotel. Plus, the hotel is located on the main road, meaning you are in close proximity to several restaurants and shops. Check latest prices here.
Luxury Hotels in Banff
Rimrock Resort Hotel – The Rimrock is located a five minute drive from the main road, nestled on a mountainside near the Banff Hot Springs. It’s a luxury hotel with a swimming pool, spa and many awesome dining options. The views are simply fantastic, though you’ll need to pay a bit extra for a room with one. Check latest prices here.
Fairmont Banff Springs – I consider the Banff Hot Springs the epitome of luxury. La creme de la creme! If it was good enough for Queen Elizabeth, it’s good enough for me. The views are great and the food is delicious, but the best part is the spa. I spent an entire day hopping between hot pool and whirl pool and cool pool and steam room and sauna. It’s heavenly (and an additional $67). But if you can swing that and $400 for the hotel room I would 100% recommend this hotel. Check latest prices here.
So if you had to choose one, I’d go with Banff Fairmont Springs solely for access to the spa.
Hostels in Lake Louise
HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre – Although I don’t like the HI in Banff, I didn’t mind this one. It has a huge (but still very cozy) common room with a fireplace and a huge communal kitchen. The beds are comfortable, though again, my room didn’t have lockers. The building is surrounded by beautiful pine trees, but this isn’t a great option if you don’t have your own vehicle as it’s a tad far from the town centre. Check latest prices here.
Luxury Hotels in Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – You can’t beat these views. Waking up to Lake Louise is spectacular. Though it comes at a price. The rooms are quite small and you’ll definitely want to pay a little extra for a room facing the lake. Also the restaurant is top notch. One thing I didn’t love was just how busy the main floor gets (many of the tourists visiting the lake come inside to warm up or walk around). Check latest prices here.
Post Hotel and Spa – I haven’t stayed here myself, but someone I work with (quite senior and an extensive traveler from Alberta) is always raving about this hotel. I can understand why. The hotel is gorgeous, it’s located on water with mountains surrounding it, there’s a quaint bar and fancy restaurant, huge pool and extensive wine cellar. What’s not to like? Check latest prices here.
Things to do in Banff
Need some inspiration on things to do in Banff? Check out some of these destinations.
Have you stayed at any of these hotels or hostels? Which ones would you add to the list?