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“Great Getaway, Terrible Food (but options for self-catering)” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Johnston Canyon Resort

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Johnston Canyon Resort
2.5 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Box 875, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1A9, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 19 Specialty lodging in Banff
Calgary
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Great Getaway, Terrible Food (but options for self-catering)”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

This is a charming resort featuring a collection of cute, folksy cabins, just off highway 1A about half an hour west of Banff.

The cabins are set rather snuggly together, interspersed with mature pines, and I can imagine that it might be less than peaceful in peak season. We were there, however on the last weekend of their season, in early October, and it was very quiet except for a little noise from the road and the occasionally train whistle.

Our cabin was, I believe, the most basic, but it was extremely pleasant, and I thought that it was far nicer than the photo on their website would suggest. The furniture was all mission or arts and crafts style, the bed was very comfortable, and there was a small fridge and coffee maker. The bathroom was adequate but a little chilly. There were two wooden chairs and a small table on the porch at the front – a perfect place to sit with a book.

In terms of dining, there is a restaurant (see below) or an area with picnic tables and two barbeques. Note that one of them was pretty much unusable, taking about half an hour to creep up just a few degrees. Luckily the people using the other one finished their cooking quickly, and left it on for us.

If you’re seeking a slightly rustic getaway in the woods, I highly recommend Johnston Canyon Resort.

The restaurant: Bad, Cold Food and Slow Service (Breakfast)

This small restaurant looks charming, with its mission-style décor and Rocky Mountains atmosphere, but sadly the poor food and service mean that I give it a serious thumbs-down.

We went for a late breakfast, and despite there being only four tables occupied, after waiting over 10 minutes we went and asked for menus. The lone server appeared to be busy, but also sat down when she could. Then we waited 5 minutes for coffee. And another ten minutes or so for the server to return and say they were out of sausage – we both ordered the standard two egg breakfast which comes with toast, hash browns, and a choice of ham, bacon or sausage. Then we waited about another fifteen minutes for our food.

By then I was hungry enough to start gnawing the table, so even though the meal was bad, we ate. The whole thing was perhaps a degree or two warmer than stone cold. The eggs (ordered sunny side up) had so much unset white as to be almost inedible. The bacon was flabby, lukewarm, had way more fat than meat, and was not browned in the slightest. The hash browns were snow white, and the only evidence that they had been cooked at all lay in the speckles of black carbon, presumably from an unclean pan or flat top. It’s hard to wreck toast, but it is nice if the butter is spread vaguely towards the edges, and if it’s crispy, neither of which were attributes of our toast.

The server was pleasant, but perhaps could have had a bit more training. When I said that the meals were cold, she said, “Oh,” and carried on with what she was doing, then we had to ask twice for the bill.

All in all, a ghastly experience. If you go to Johnston Canyon, take a picnic.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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221 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Cochrane, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

Great cabins. Ours was spotless clean, and so nice and toasty warm when we arrived on a cold October evening. The fireplace was going and it was a very cozy, comfy cottage. We will definitely return. I would recommend bringing food (we brought sushi from Banff to eat for dinner), as options are limited out there and prices rather high (we paid almost $3 for a bottle of pop). Very friendly service!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013 via mobile

It was lovely returning to Johnston canyon and seeing how well they maintained the cabins. The decor was great and the cabins cleaned well. Nice touch with the diner. Would like to see the train run though, guess it was in
restoration mode.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2013

Overall the cabins are so nice and comfortable. We would have liked to stay a bit longer but
had to return. The linens are nicely appointed and we found our cabin was clean. It was nice to
have an opportunity to experience scenery without all the crowds and noise. Very peaceful. There is a
If possible we would recommend a cabin a bit bigger. They have a variety of cabins and the one we had was a bit small if you have lots of luggage. The value was very good and the food in the restaurant was fine. It was invigorating.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013 via mobile

The cabin was very good. We found our service was friendly and courteous. The staff were well informed and the food in the diningroom was well prepared. It had a very classic ambiance to it. The trout was very good too. Would recommend it.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Destin, Florida
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

Our most recent vacation to Banff NP included a one night stay at the Johnston Canyon Resort. I booked the Pilot Bungalow via the web which included a complementary bottle of wine and breakfast. Upon arrival, the young attendant was at a loss. She had to find the key to our cabin. I asked about the wine & breakfast and she said that was not included. I walked away but then decided to ask her to look these options up on the website. She then remembered the inclusions. When we arrived at the cabin, the bed was made haphazardly. After pulling down the bed covers, the sheets appeared to be clean but torn at the corners. The rest of the cabin appeared to be clean except for the worn couch. I felt comfortable enough to stay for the night. We took a late afternoon walk to the upper falls and found the area to be littered throughout. It was such a disappointment. The following morning we had a lovely breakfast in the restaurant. It's hard to give such a beautiful place a poor rating but upper management needs to step in. Seasonal help needs help. Sadly enough, I will not recommend.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Edmonton, Canada
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013 via mobile

We booked online & didn't have any issues. We came for a retreat & to hike to the Ink Pots. We had a duplex unit near the tennis court.You can hear the river, it was great. Every unit had either chairs or a bench swing to enjoy the surrounding nature. There was also a BBQ space that you could use.

There were webs in some of the corners but with these being older cabins in the middle of the forest I think if you cleaned the webs in the morning some would be back by check-in. The Better Crocker coffee pot was a joke, we had to run water through twice to get water hot enough for tea. The provided coffee was ok though. If you can, bring your own mugs. We found the ones provided were small (maybe 8oz/250 mL)

The bed was ok, we've had worse. The mini fridge was useful but we did not feel like renting VHS to play on the small TV. We came to recharge & get away from the city so not being able to watch tv or surf the net on our laptop wasn't the end of the world. You do get cell service. We had a gas fire place but the thermostat must be off. It never reached the temp indicated & it was a balmy 6•C when we arrived. We didn't get a unit with a tub, I'd highly recommend that if you're going to hike. Our cube shower was clean & I was surprised at the amount of hot water we got. The walls between units were pretty thin, we could hear a lot of what the other guests were doing.

Bridges Restaurant: we had the same server for the 3 meals we had & she was great. I enjoyed everything but my husband was not a fan of the chicken burger (what he didn't like is what made it a great burger for me). We sat by the fire place for breakfast, but the fire was mostly out & ash was floating around. Neither of us brought this up to our server though. The dinner menu changes on the weekend. We very much enjoyed the steak. The Gluten Free chocolate almond torte was delicious.

The Falls: we've been here a couple times before so we knew what to expect. The best time to start is before 9am, after that the tour buses show up & not everyone understands courtesy. It's an easy walk to the lower falls & for a non-hiker it was a bit hilly up to the upper falls. The views along the way make it worth it.

Ink Pots: I was expecting more from these. The views that surround them is what saved this hike. I thought they would have been near the top of mountain for some reason. It's a lot of uphill, with some steep sections followed by a lot of downhills to the Ink Pots. It was an almost 6 hour round trip for us newbie hikers. Everyone we encountered on this bit of the trail was friendly. We saw squirrels, woodpeckers and a grouse. Be prepared for varying temperatures.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Johnston Canyon Resort

Address: Box 875, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1A9, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 19 Specialty lodging in Banff
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Johnston Canyon Resort 2.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banff cabin and cottage/chalet rentals between Banff and Lake Louise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Johnston Canyon Hotel Banff

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