As one of the most popular destinations in Canada, trying to figure out where to stay in Banff isn’t always easy. The best hotels in Banff tend to run out of vacancy quickly especially during the summer high tourist season or when there’s a chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is known for its blissful mountainscapes, glacial lakes, hot springs and outdoor features. Banff Town, the main base for exploring the park, is a popular resort town with year-round activities including skiing, hiking & mountain biking.
Ready to choose the perfect Banff hotel for your ultimate Alberta road trip? Start comparing Banff accommodations with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Banff, Canada…
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Best places to stay in Banff
Spanning 6,641 square kilometres, Banff National Park isn’t exactly small. And coupled with its immense popularity among locals, Canadians, and international visitors, choosing where to stay in Banff can sometimes be quite the challenge!
While most visitors base themselves in Banff Town, a popular Canadian resort town and park’s central hub, there’s a handful of other places to stay in Banff both within the park and near its borders.
The best areas to stay in Banff include:
- Banff Town: As the main base for Banff National Park, this resort town is the best place to stay in Banff for first-time visitors. The town of Banff also offers the widest selection of accommodations for every budget in the area.
- Lake Louise: This small but famous village, nestled on the shores of its namesake lake, is the best area to stay in Banff for winter sports enthusiasts. Besides being home to one of the big three ski resorts in Banff, Lake Louise is popular for its cross-country skiing opportunities and a chance to go ice skating on one of Canada’s most iconic lakes.
- Canmore: Situated between Calgary and Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway, Canmore is slightly bigger than the park’s namesake resort town with a good selection of restaurants, bars & shops. It’s a great place to stay if Banff itself is fully booked up or you’d like to spend a day outside the park itself and avoid the daily fee.
- Golden: Located in the province of British Columbia about an hour outside of the park boundaries, Golden is a good option if you’re interested in exploring the eastern fridges of Banff National Park including the Lake Louise area and are looking for slightly cheaper accommodation options.
- Calgary: When all else fails, there’s always Calgary! Located about 90 minutes from Banff by car, Calgary is the second-biggest city in Western Canada and the urban gateway to the Canadian Rockies. If you’re a city boy or girl at heart and only want to spend one day in Banff and visit as a day trip, Calgary is a great alternative.
Banff Town✔ Best area to stay in Banff for first-time visitors
If digging deep into all the top things to see & do in Banff is high on your agenda, look no further than Banff Town. Thanks to its breathtaking surroundings, the town has swelled from a quiet provincial mountain retreat to one of Canada’s most popular travel destinations. First-time visitors will never go wrong choosing to stay here!
You’ll find everything you need to make your ultimate Banff itinerary a hit in this small resort town. There are plenty of excellent restaurants, bars, cafés, and shops here along with a breadth of accommodation options to suit every travel budget.
- Mount Royal Hotel: Offering some of the best value among Banff hotels, this modern hotel in the centre of town charms guests with its modern rooms and luxurious extras including an outdoor hot tub with views towards the Rocky Mountains.
- Banff Boutique Inn: Located just minutes from downtown, this boutique bed & breakfast showcases sleek alpine stylings at a price that won’t break the bank.
- Moose Hotel & Suites: One of the top hotels in Banff, these delightful alpine-inspired suites are super comfortable and offer extra amenities to guests including an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, and two rooftop hot pools.
- Fairmont Banff Springs: Built in 1888, this historic & palatial luxury hotel in Banff offers luxurious rooms and a whole range of amenities from several on-site restaurants to soothing spa treatments.
Lake Louise✔ Recommended village to stay in Banff National Park for winter sports & off-beat summer hiking
Set to a backdrop of Canadian Rockies and shimmering in azure blue hues, Lake Louise is one Canada’s most iconic places to visit. And while you can experience its glory basing yourself elsewhere in the park, why not experience all the best things to see & do in Lake Louise fully by deciding to stay in Lake Louise itself.
Besides the lake itself, there’s a ton of awesome hiking trails in Lake Louise leading to some of Banff National Park’s most spectacular views. Whether you want to clamber along the lakeside and upwards the Lake Agnes Teahouse or continue onward to the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, Lake Louise is an outdoor destination to be reckoned with.
When the small village truly shines for many travellers, however, is the winter. The Lake Louise area is home to one of Banff’s big three ski resorts. There’s also plenty of opportunities here for winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.
Keep in mind that the selection of accommodations & places to stay in Lake Louise is quite limited. Be sure to book well ahead (especially in high season) to get your choice of the best rooms.
- Lake Louise Inn: Far larger than its name implies, this resort is chock-loaded with amenities including a heated pool, hot tubs, private balconies, fireplaces, and two on-site restaurants & bars. For all you get here, the price is surprisingly reasonable.
- Baker Creek Mountain Resort: Featuring everything from private rooms to suites to self-catering chalets, this lovely mountain resort, located on the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A) 20 minutes south of Lake Louise, is a fantastic choice for exploring the area. Extras include a fitness centre, steam room and sauna along with a range of activities like horseback riding and ice skating.
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: Crouched on the lakeshore since 1890, this legendary luxury hotel is one of the most-coveted places to stay in Canada thanks to its glorious location, regal rooms, and views towards Victoria Glacier.
Canmore✔ Best place to stay outside Banff National Park
Located just twenty minutes by car from Banff National Park, the resort town of Canmore is a popular getaway for Albertans and great alternative to staying within Banff National Park itself.
Deciding to stay in Canmore is an especially good option if you’re arriving to the area later in the evening. Since the town is outside of the park boundaries, you won’t have to pay a daily parks fee here upon entry.
Although it might not have the same name recognition as Banff, there are plenty of things to see & do in Canmore. The area is (unsurprisingly!) home to a handful of its own great hiking trails including the Grassi Lakes Trail. Canmore’s also a good base for more difficult climbs like Ha Ling Peak and The Three Sisters.
- Lamphouse Hotel: One of the top budget picks in Canmore, this hotel offers spacious & modern motel-style rooms in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies. The outdoor hot tub area is a nice touch.
- Malcolm Hotel by CLIQUE: An absolutely spectacular place to stay offering luxurious rooms & amenities at mid-range prices. Chill out in the evening at the year-round outdoor pool for spectacular views to the mountainside.
- Stoneridge Mountain Resort by CLIQUE: Another stunning luxury resort nestled among the jagged peaks of the Rockies. Each suite includes a walk-in shower, deep soaker tub, and gas fireplace.
Golden✔ Recommended place to stay near Banff for exploring multiple national parks
Pushing further west into British Columbia’s side of the Canadian Rockies, the town of Golden is another alternative place to stay for exploring Banff National Park. It’s located about an hour’s drive from Lake Louise and 90 minutes from Banff.
Beside the possibility of cheap accommodation and better availability during the summer tourism high season, Golden makes a great base for exploring other natural gems in the area. To the east, Golden is 20 minutes from Yoho National Park; to the west, you’ll find Glacier National Park just 40 minutes away by car.
On top of all of that, there’s a surprising number of things to see & do in Golden itself year-round including skiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and whitewater rafting down the Columbia River.
- Canyon Ridge Lodge: Located just 15 minutes from Kicking Horse Mountain, this lovely lodge offers cozy rooms and a relaxing outdoor hot tub for guests.
- Deer Ridge B&B: Overlooking the town of Golden, this small bed & breakfast is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a dash of home-like hospitality on your trip.
- Moberly Lodge: For a true feeling of staying out in the wilderness, look no further than this rustic & luxurious lodge. Both private rooms and detached self-catering chalets are available for guests.
Calgary✔ Recommended area to stay near Banff for day-trippers
If you’re tight on time for your Banff adventure, you may want to consider Calgary as your base of operations. As Western Canada’s second-biggest city and a major Canadian urban centre, Calgary has a little something to please anyone embarking on a cross-Canada road trip.
In good road conditions, Calgary is approximately a 90-minute drive to Banff National Park. With the multitude of activities in the park, staying in Calgary isn’t ideal, but it’ll work in a pinch if you’re okay with visiting Banff as a day trip.
Besides, there are plenty of things to see & do in Calgary itself. Whether it’s wandering through the historical shops of Stephen Avenue, eating gourmet Canadian cuisine along 17th Avenue, ziplining at a former Olympic site, or enjoying a relaxing walk along the the Bow River Pathway system, you’ll never run out of things to check out on a trip here.
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites Calgary: One of the best budget picks in Calgary, these downtown self-catering suites are an excellent alternative to the other most expensive central hotels.
- Hyatt Regency Calgary: This fantastic mid-range luxury hotel in downtown offers spacious rooms and a whole host of amenities including an on-site restaurant and a fitness centre.
- Hotel Le Germain: The best luxury hotel in the city, this charming boutique hotel features luxurious rooms & amenities for guests including a soothing spa, bar lounge, and on-site restaurant.
Best hotels in Banff
Fairmont Banff Springs
One of Canada’s most legendary hotels, the palatial Fairmont Banff Springs is a must for luxury travellers looking to make their stay in Banff extra special. This castle-like resort, serving guests since 1888, is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada is a destination unto its own.
Fully renovated while still retaining a dash of regal charm, the rooms at the Fairmont Banff Springs relax guests with delightful forest and mountain views and luxurious cloud-like beds & duvets. The hotel’s appeal, however, spreads far beyond its rooms.
This top-rated Banff luxury hotel is home to several restaurants ranging from gourmet Italian to Japanese to locally inspired Canadian. There’s also a excellent array of wellness activities ranging from spa treatments at the Willow Stream Spa to taking a dip in the year-round indoor or outdoor swimming pool.
Fairmont Banff Springs is a particular good choice for skiers. The hotel offers shuttle service to all the best ski resorts in Banff including Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village, and Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Rimrock Resort Hotel
Located six minutes from the centre of Banff, the five-star Rimrock Resort Hotel places you near the main attractions, including Banff Park Museum and the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. You’ll also find breathtaking views of the mountains from your room and the on-site restaurant.
The rooms at this top hotel in Banff are large and fully furnished in luxury. If you don’t want to step into the cold, the hotel can help keep you warm with its on-site spa and wellness centre. It’s a full-featured wellness centre with spa services, hot tubs, massages, a swimming pool, and a sauna.
As one of the few five-star accommodations in Banff, this location tends to run out of vacancies quickly. It’s a popular spot, thanks to its friendly staff and luxurious lodgings, which requires interested travellers to book earlier.
Moose Hotel and Suites
Found near the centre of Banff, the warm atmosphere at Moose Hotel and Suites should appeal to anyone looking to explore the town. It’s only about a one-minute walk to the heart of Banff and several attractions including the research station and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
Instead of a rustic look, the lodgings at Moose Hotel and Suites are elegant and classy. The atmosphere of the rooms matches the ambiance of the on-site restaurant. When you’re hungry, stop in at the Pacini Italian Restaurant for gourmet Italian dishes and a large wine selection.
The location of this four-star hotel makes it easy to reach every stop on your Banff itinerary. You can even take a shuttle to any of the ski resorts in the area. Spend the day checking out the shops and restaurants in Banff before retiring to the comfortable accommodations at the lodge.
Mount Royal Hotel
Offering some of the best value among the top Banff hotels, the Mount Royal Hotel is fantastic choice for your Alberta road trip adventure. It’s centrally located in the heart of the resort town, steps away from great restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops.
Each room in this beautiful alpine-inspired building has been crafted with bright modern designs that counteract the warm ski-lodge feel in the hotel’s lounging areas.
As delightful as the rooms at Mount Royal Hotel are, the real treat for guests is the chance to chill out in the outdoor hot tub to blissful views of the Rocky Mountains.
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
If you want to get away from the city centre, the secluded Sunshine Mountain Lodge is a top recommendation among hotels in Banff. It’s about 20 minutes west of Banff and only reachable via the ski trail or a gondola. The gondola ride offers a sweeping view of the mountains and the town.
The facilities at Sunshine Mountain Lodge should keep you busy. You can work out at the gym or relax at the spa. It’s also a full-service ski facility with on-site ski rental, access to the ski gondola, and a ski school. For dinner, choose from five different on-site restaurants.
As with many of the best places to stay in Banff, this place has a lodge atmosphere with luxurious furnishings. The rooms are spacious and provide views of the mountains. You can even open your window to breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Located a few minutes away from Banff city centre, the spacious Canalta Lodge has large outdoor facilities with hot tubs, fire pits, and saunas. The outdoor features are open all year around, including the winter season.
You’ll find a wide selection of accommodations at Canalta Lodge to suit your budget and tastes. The hotel has pet-friendly king rooms, deluxe queen rooms with three queen beds, king rooms with balconies, and many more options. No matter what room you choose, you’ll have access to a variety of health and wellness services and ski storage.
This place stands out compared to other Banff accommodations for its unique woodsy atmosphere. The rooms feature natural wood furnishing combined with modern-chic décor. The hotel also offers plenty of outdoor seating, ski storage, and fitness facilities.
Fox Hotel and Suites
The cosy atmosphere at Fox Hotel and Suites should keep you warm and comfortable after a long day in the cold. It’s a contemporary hotel with modern rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
The facilities at Fox Hotel and Suites include a heated pool and an on-site restaurant, giving you two great reasons to stay inside. The pool area resembles a cave while the on-site dining option is a Chili’s Restaurant and Grill.
It’s a boutique-style lodge in the heart of the town, a short walk from many of the top attractions. You can quickly reach the famous hot springs, nearby Banff Park Museum or some of the best hiking trails in Banff.
The hotel also offers free shuttle rides to the Banff Ski Gondola if you’re visiting Banff for a skiing holiday.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Located on the slopes of Tunnel Mountain, the rustic Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a bit further from town compared to some of the other hotels in Banff. To reach the city centre, you hop on the ski gondola. It’s a 13-minute ride over the tops of the various lodges near the centre of Banff.
The comfortable, rustic rooms at Buffalo Mountain Lodge include basic amenities such as a TV and coffee maker. While the hotel has limited amenities, it offers mountain views from private balconies and equips each room with a wood-burning fireplace. You’ll stay warm and cosy between your ski trips or excursions to the centre of the town.
While many of the best hotels in Banff are found near the centre of town, staying further away gives you more seclusion. When you look out the window of your hotel room, you’ll see a vast mountain range instead of groups of tourists arriving and departing.
Banff Boutique Inn
As one of the most affordable locations for Banff, the comfortable Banff Boutique Inn is a top choice for budget travellers. It’s a quaint little lodge with a friendly staff, continental breakfast, and surprisingly large rooms.
Each room at the Banff Boutique Inn is equipped with a full kitchen including a fridge, stovetop, microwave, coffee maker, and utensils. You just need to bring groceries and you’ll never have to leave the guest room.
This boutique hotel is about a five-minute walk from Banff city centre. It’s in a secluded spot on the south side of Bow River, keeping you away from the touristy destinations in the centre of the town. The one feature missing from this hotel is a view of the mountain range from your hotel room.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
If spending time getting to know Lake Louise is in your agenda, there’s no better place to stay in Banff than the legendary Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. At over a century-old, the ol’ gal is just as majestic as when she was first opened in 1890.
With its distinctive palatial look and location on the shores of Lake Louise, staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has become almost a rite of passage for luxury travellers sweeping across Canada.
Like at many of the sister properties in its parent Canadian luxury hotel chain, the rooms at this resort brush together classic European elegance with a dash of contemporary style for a look that’s undeniably divine.
Aside from the comfort in its luxurious quarters, the hotel serves up several on-site dining experiences haute German cuisine & wine at Walliser Stube, high tea & cocktails at the Lakeview Lounge, and local organic cuisine at the Fairview Dining Room.