We spent a few nights here because the reviews made us expect an outstanding hotel. We were disappointed. Nothing was seriously wrong (otherwise the rating would be lower), but it just did not live up to expectations we had for its price point, rating, and membership in the Relais & Chateaux.
Location-wise, there is nothing remarkable about this spot. For great views, the Fairmont would have been better.
Our room faced the parking lot and thus the railway tracks. We did not think much of it when we made the reservation. What we did not know: (1) Canadian trains use very, very loud diesel engines, (2) they are very, very long, (3) they do not weld the gaps between individual tracks so the wheels make a lot of noise. With the windows open at night (see below), this did not help get a good night's sleep. In addition, since the parking lot is apparently used as foot path from other hotels and the adjacent hostel to the small shopping center (including the liquor store) close by, one gets disturbed by noisy conversations and shouting outside.
This would probably have been bearable had the hotel had air conditioning, which it did not. At least in the summer, at least our room actually got very warm. Our room had two small windows that were equipped with mosquito screens and thus could be left open over night (the big windows did not open). The balcony door had to be kept closed to keep out the mosquitoes. Needless to say, the room was quite warm for most of the night.
In terms of furnishings, the room was reasonably appointed, with what one could describe as rustic charm. The jacuzzi seemed like a good idea, except that it is extremely noisy--like trying to relax with a vacuum cleaner running right next to you. This (and other) noise travels quite well in the building, incidentally, so we could hear when someone close by took a jacuzzi bath late at night.
Service was OK but not particularly customer oriented. On a couple of occasions, we asked for information at the front desk and got as an answer basically an "I don't know" (no "but I will find out for you"). It is not that we asked for solutions to second-order differential equations, but rather basic things that you would expect of a concierge.
Overall, nothing to write home about. It we were to return, we would try the Fairmont (or probably better stay in Banff itself).
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