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“A good place for an inexpensive place to stay in Banff, but you get what you pay for.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of HI-Banff Alpine Centre

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HI-Banff Alpine Centre
2.5 of 5 Hostel   |   801 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1B3, Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Banff
Radium Hot Springs, Canada
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“A good place for an inexpensive place to stay in Banff, but you get what you pay for.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

This hostel costs a mere $35.00 or so for one person sharing a dorm style room. That is the best value in Banff by far. But expect to get what you pay for. It is not a "holiday hotel". The place is quite clean, but getting a bit run down. Nice location, and good value for the money. I only stayed one night, and while everyone made me feel quite at home, I was easily more than forty years above the average age in the place.

Room Tip: If you are a couple, spring for the extra few dollars, (I think it is about $75 or so) and get a pri...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

We stayed in Banff over the new year period in a private room. Great service at reception, very helpful and welcoming. 24 hour service as well.

The room was clean and the beds were really comfortable! Lots of storage space in the room as well.
All rooms were deep cleaned during our stay and it was good to see that the hostel has a high standard of cleanliness.

The kitchen is quite limited in space, however lots of storage areas. We cooked meals during the day so we could avoid the busy dinner period.
Note - No freezer provided.

Although a good 20 minutes walk out of downtown banff, the hostel offers a free bus pass for you throughout your time at the hostel, an the buses run every 40 minutes.

The only downfall was every time someone closed a door on our level it echoed throughout the hall way into the rooms. We understood that over New Years it was going to be busy, however once it quieted down the doors still woke us up at night.

There was no overhead on New Year's Eve at the bar downstairs, which was good as every where downtown was almost $100. Really great drink prices as well!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

I'm unsure why everyone here is ripping on this hostel. As far as hostels go, this place was absolute MAGIC. My boyfriend and I were here for 7 nights over New Years this year. We shared a private room with ensuite and only paid $50 per night which we booked online. (SUPER CHEAP considering everything in Banff was booked out)
There is nothing I would complain about.... at all. But I will take the time to list everything that made it so great for us:
* The staff were super helpful. This was our first stop when arriving in Canada, and no matter how dumb our question, they answered with as much info as possible. The 24/7 reception desk was always happy to do more than asked of them - even personally organising our day trips for us to Kicking horse etc.. and even the wait staff in the restauarant there were always happy to help (or just kick back ad have a chat)
* The internet worked everywhere via wifi and was free. For those who say it didnt work - occassionally if i was connected too long i would have to disconnect/reconnect but i think that was just due to timing out. No issue!
* The free pancakes in the morning were absolutely DEICIOUS, but the meals servied throughout the rest of the day at Cougar Petes was delicious. There were many nights after returning from snowboarding that we actually CRAVED their food.. nomomnom
* The bar downstairs in the hostel was SO MUCH FUN! Every night there would be something on down there, and always free pool. Drinks were ridiculously cheap, and NYE there went OFF!! The bar guy there was awesome.. always up for a chat and gave us heaps of info on where we should go next and the best/cheapest way to do things
* The hostel might be a 20 min walk out of the main street of town, but you are given a free bus pass when you arrive and the bus goes in/out of town every 20 minutes. THe hostel also puts the timetable up in the reception area AND if that isnt good enough, the bus stop out the front lists EXACTLY how many minutes (digitally) until the bus comes.. and its ALWAYS on time. Just amazing. We had hired a car for the week, and we used it twice... to drive to the hostel.. and to drive back to the airport. And if you are coming back after a big night and the buses arent running? A taxi from in town to the hostel was $7 including a tip.
* Its actually rather quiet cosidering its a hostel.. and we were there over NYE week!! There were some times when it was loud, but HELLO - you are in a hostel!
* Our shower had a permanent bench seat in it. Possibly the highlight of our snowboarding trip.
* There were lots of communal kitchens that had heaps of fridge space, numerous ovens, heaps of microwaves and every utensil you could think of.

In summary, this place operated like an expensive hotel rather than a hostel. FOr those with complaints, I can only imagine they never discussed their issues with the staff there, because i know first hand that they would have done anything and everything to ensure any problems were fixed. 10/10 in my books!!

Room Tip: Go private! For only a little extra you get your own bathroom with a permanent bench seat in it! ama...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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BanffHostelManager, General Manager at HI-Banff Alpine Centre, responded to this review, January 25, 2013
Hi Shelley Kate, thanks so much for taking the time to write about the great time you had while staying with us! We've had ongoing issues with our Internet which has annoyed a lot of people and it's good to read such a positive review and know that we are back on track (after many thousands of dollars of wifi upgrades, it had better be!)

I am also very pleased that you decided to use the bus pass we provide to guests while you were here, rather than using your rental car. This service was one we worked out with the Town of Banff's Transit Commission and while expensive, it does allow people the option of free transportation if the 20 minute walk to Main street seems too much for them. Personally, I like being a bit out of the main drag - as I type this, I'm looking out the window at a large bull elk with huge antlers grazing just outside on the front lawn! Where else can you see things like this? However, I do recognize that some folks find the walk a bit tedious so the bus arrangement with the Town is a great solution. Finding out that people with cars are using it reinforces the decision to continue with the bus service as it is a great environmental initiative as well, which is part of our operational goals.

Finally - I'm glad you liked the shower bench! :)

Happy travels,

Ken
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Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

No internet. there is a WIFI but internet never works. hostel is far from downtown.The hostel is poorly kept and the staff is terrible. Somebody was booked in my room at the same time as me on my first day, lets say that it didn't end up well. The second day i saw a guy being expelled from the property for helping people picking up garbage on new years eve because he crossed a door and was not staying at the hostel. A real nice guy that was stuck in the parking lot with his truck. He had no rights to get in just to warm up while waiting for AMA. Then i decided i would leave but everything is booked in Banff.

Now i have to stay in Canmore. Thanks to them for ruining my vacations. TERRIBLE management. DISGUSTING customer service. I will never go back there. The only thing that was good was the vibe of the place and the people staying there.

Stay away at all cost.

Amanda.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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BanffHostelManager, Manager at HI-Banff Alpine Centre, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
Hello Amanda,

I'm very sorry you had such a poor experience while staying with us. It is true that our WIFI is in terrible shape right now; we had some hardware failures in late November and havew had to cobble it back together with some basic residential components we were able to buy at the Source, which is obviously not enough to power a property with 200 guests all trying to watch Youtube simultaneously.

The good news is that we have received our first shipment of back-ordered Meraki hardware from the United States and are now proceeding with our wireless upgrade project. We hope to have the system up and running to a great high-quality standard within a week.

In regards to the issues you witnessed in our parking lot, I am familiar with the individual you saw picking up garbage. I can only say that there is a long history of incidents with that individual that you are unaware of; his eviction from the property was not a decision that was taken lightly and we had numerous discussions to try to resolve the issues with him leading up to his eviction.

I can't comment on the issue you had with your roommate, as you haven't given any details, but we will always accommodate requests for room changes or the like when problems are brought to our attention.

Again, I'm sorry we couldn't meet your expectations; I wish I'd had the chance to speak with you before you left.

Best of luck with the rest of your travels,

Ken Campbell
General Manager
HI-Banff Alpine Centre
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Illinois
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

My husband and I stayed here in July 2012. Our room was small but clean. The mattress was not firm at all, so I'd recommend that they get new mattresses soon. While we were there, it was very hot, and because the room was small with only 1 small window, we were very hot. We requested a fan and got one very quickly. AC would have been wonderful, but we made do.

No problems with the bathrooms. Clean and not crowded.

The kitchen was also clean and not crowded when we used it. We tend to eat dinner early, so we had no problems. Even when we used the kitchen to get our breakfast ready was not a problem -- clean and not crowded.

The complimentary bus passes were fantastic! A great way to get into town quickly! Very helpful! It was nice to leave the car there and not have to deal with parking in town. Loved that!

We would stay here again to take a break from our usual tent camping. It's a good hostel. For Banff, it's affordable lodging.

Room Tip: We had a private room, which I recommend if you can afford it.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

This place is simply awesome. We paid roughly $35 per night and got a much better stay then what we had for $40 a night at another Banff hostel. The kitchens are fantastic, large, open and with all the facilities needed to prepare decent meals. The rooms are a little small, but there is a large common area with a fireplace and chairs. The beds are really comfortable and each has its own lamp and powerpoint. You get a large locker (roughly 2m high) and can fit a lot of stuff in there. The room ensuite has a basin and toilet, the showers are down the hall. There are laundry facilities and also a great restaurant which sells reasonably priced meals. The bar downstairs has nightly events (including a weekly pubcrawl) and has really good prices ($3 for a shot), it is also a sweet place to hang out in because it has pool, darts and a foosball table. As the other reviews mention, the internet is not the best in your room but I generally got a good connection in the common area however it did seem a little unreliable, but I wasn't too fussed. There is a bus stop 2 minutes from reception which takes you to town and you get a free bus pass for the duration of your stay.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Swindon
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

Terrible Internet, that’s the only problem with this hostel.

Indeed, in the two weeks that I was here – the internet only worked for one week, and even when it did work during peak periods one was dealing with speeds slower than dial up. Given the amount of occupants of this hostel, I personally feel like it’s a poor show not to have multiple aggregated connections.

Location wise, this hostel is located on a main bus route into downtown Banff and to the Sunshine Village Gondola. The distance is walkable, however, a bus pass is provided for free so you might as well make use of it.

It’s recommended that you elect to reside in the new block, it’s much nicer – and has a beautiful fireplace in the centre of the lobby. That said, it does have a curfew at 11pm, so it’s a little annoying, but also fantastic if you wish to sleep. It’s a double edged sword. Annoyingly the kitchen area is closed after 11pm so no late night snacking.

It’s a little bit of a party hostel, not a Miami style party Hostel but there is definitely a social atmosphere here – that’s a good thing, however, don’t be surprised if you end up having to deal with people having sex in your room. It happens.

That said, there are older - +60 and younger (>18 people) whom do also seem to use this place as a base, it’s an interesting mix.

Would I recommend it – yes, unless you need the internet on a regular basis. It feels expensive without the internet as you’ll end up at Coffee shops.

The hostel is kept very warm!!!

Room Tip: Select the new block.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about HI-Banff Alpine Centre

Address: 801 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1B3, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Banff
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — HI-Banff Alpine Centre 2.5*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Are you looking for an place to stay in Banff? Seeking the Canadian Rocky Mountain experience? HI Banff Alpine Centre Hostel, has a more than just dorm beds, this Banff hostel also has many family and couples rooms available to book for your holiday in Banff. Looking to make a reservation? * Cougar Pete's on site restaurant * The Storm Cellar Pub and Gamehouse * Free guest use Wi-fi through out * Two spacious guest kitchens, * Two cozy lounges with fireplaces * Lookout deck with spectacular views of the mountains. * Internet kiosks to send a message to your friends at home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hi-Banff Alpine Centre Hotel Banff

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