My girlfriend joined me on a business trip to Calgary, so we finished off with a two-night stay in Banff at this hotel. As a treat, I booked a premium loft suite. From the moment we arrived at the hotel, both my girlfriend and I really liked the ambience of the hotel. There was a boutique-style to it, it felt like a mountain hotel and the atmosphere was welcoming.
Throughout our stay, we were always acknowledge/greeted by staff - whether this was at reception or by housekeeping staff. Too many times I have stayed at hotels where you get a smile as you check-in and then that's your quota of smiles over!
As soon as we walked in to our loft-suite, my girlfriend was thrilled - and I am still benefiting from the brownie points earned! The room was as it is shown in the hotel photos. Obviously, there was some 'wear and tear' to the room, but nothing that required attention. The room was not cheap ($300+ and taxes on top), but was certainly doable for a two-night stay. I would certainly come back to this hotel for a similar stay in this type of room, however, I'm not sure about the cost for a longer vacation. There was a sofa-bed to make the room good for 4-people. That said, if it were two couples using the room, I wouldn't want to be part of the couple that lost the coin-flip to miss out on the amazingly comfortable king-bed in the loft. The negatives on the room were: (1) The mountain-view was off to each side of our balcony. Straight ahead looked across to more rooms. There were blinds and sun-blinds for their obvious use, but they also provide privacy from the rooms opposite (which were close). (2) In the loft the w.c. and shower were in a small bathroom - however - the hand-basin was in the bedroom, in a recess opposite the bathroom door [In the hotel picture of a premium loft suite you will see a window at the far end of the room. Just before it on the right is a towel hanging on the left. That is where the hand-basin is. Directly opposite on the right is the bathroom. Note: that the rooms do alternate with the bathroom, bed, kitchenette, fireplace etc being on the opposite side to the hotel photos]. Even though I've mentioned the two negative obserations, they would not prevent me from requesting a similar room again. The mountain-view issue was a bit of a surprise - as beforehand you imagine looking off the deck out in to a 180-degree vista. As for the hand-basin issue; this was just unusual and could be a privacy issue for some. There is another hand-basin/sink in the kitchenette. A nice touch in the room - and around the hotel - were little accessories etc to add to the 'mountain feel' of the hotel. For example, if you look again at the photo of the premium loft suite bedroom, you will see a lamp at the end of the bed next to the pillows. On top of the lamp is a cast-iron fox. Such accessorizing really helps towards the 'feel' of the hotel.
Breakfast was a real surprise. It was included in the room price as a continental breakfast. While such breakfasts can be limiting, this was not the case here. There was plenty of choice with the highlight being the make your own waffles. There were three waffle makers with the waffle batter 'on tap'. Delicious (except for the three that I messed up on our second morning)!
The hotel restaurant is a Chili's. Both my girlfriend and I like this restaurant chain anyway, so we were pleased that there was one on site. We used the restaurant on our second night in Banff. The food was of the usual tasty high-standard that we have come to know with Chili's. There is also a nice bar centred in the restaurant with a large TV dedicated to sport. It was at this restaurant that I was introduced to a drink that Chili's calls a 'Bulldog'. If you don't know what this is, it is a margarita that has a little contraption affixed to the side so that a bottle of Corona can be inserted upside down in to the margarita. As you sip the margarita, the Corona slowly mixes in to it. Yum! If this is too much, there is also a 'Chihuahua'. It's the same drink - but instead of a full bottle of Corona, it uses the smaller Coronita bottle.
The Cave & Basin hot pool was a novel touch. We didn't get to use it, but it looked like fun and there always seemed to be someone using it. The pool itself is actually in the 'basement' level of the hotel as was laundry facilities, vending machines (including detergent) a computer room and the car park. The car park was full every evening. I'm not sure what happens for guests when there is no room left. Fortunately, this did not affect us during our stay.
The hotel is a gentle 15-minute walk along Banff Ave in to town. This brings you to the Cascade Plaza shopping mall end of the centre of Banff. Just a nice distance to walk off a good meal.
One closing comment to highlight the helpfulness of the staff at the hotel: My girlfriend inadvertantly left her cell in a store along Banff Ave. We had checked-out and were on the TransCanada heading for Calgary Airport when I called the hotel for help. They coordinated with the store (who had called us) to get the cell to the hotel and then to UPS it back to us in Nova Scotia. A truly outstanding piece of customer service. Thank you.