If you're looking for a destination hotel, the Banff Aspen Lodge probably isn't what you want, but if you're on your way somewhere and looking for a solid stopover spot for a night along the way, this place is it -- clean, comfortable and accommodating.
The hotel, despite some pretty extensive renovations to the rooms and the lobby and pool areas, remains somewhat dated -- old TVs and in-room refrigerators, a single small elevator and a steam room and sauna that won't have anybody thinking "spa." Parking is limited and the spaces are tight. The restaurant is downstairs and serves a complimentary continental breakfast to stay or to go.
That said, the people at the Banff Aspen Lodge are first-rate. They aim to please and they make the most of what they have to work with. We stayed twice within a week -- coming and going to our destination -- and the stay on the way back was far better than our first experience.
When I mentioned we had a very noisy room during our first stay -- it was either the ventilation system or some other inner mechanical working that weezed and howled like Darth Vader all night long -- the young lady at the front desk apologized profusely and informed the manager right away. Shortly after we settled in our room, she provided a note wishing us a better stay and two chocolate bars (winning our six-year-old son over) and checked to make sure there was no such noise this time around. That gesture went a long way.
The Banff Aspen Lodge isn't trendy, it isn't upscale and it offers no pretentions about being either. It is what it is: reasonably priced, clean and the service, at least for us, made up for the lack of amenities.