I hemmed and hawed about whether to book a "loft suite" or a "chalet suite," as I didn't know the layout of the property, and was worried about what other reviewers had said about the thin walls separating the chalet suites. I had one of the most laid-back travelling companions in the world, who declared himself happy with whatever I decided, though he did note that the "loft suite" sounded nicer for our purposes, as it offers a king-sized bed in its loft space rather than the two double beds offered in the lofts of the chalet suites. I booked the "loft suite," and we discovered he was absolutely right: the loft suite with its king-sized bed really made the place.
It's true, as other reviewers have noted, that you tumble into the downstairs bedroom when you open the front door, but it's a perfectly fine space when the front door is closed, and the loft bedroom is lovely and spacious, with a view of Rundle mountain. (See photo from suite 261.)
I suppose if you're travelling with the kind of person who's going to fight with you over who gets which bedroom, the fact that the loft space is so much lovelier than the downstairs room, could be an issue. Very few of us are self-sacrificing types, after all! But the loft suites are a really great option for friends travelling together who want completely separate sleeping-spaces. It's an especially great set-up -- in our hetero-normative world! -- for friends of the opposite sex who are not lovers, as both bedroom spaces are perfectly private once you're both snugged in behind the closed front door.
Tunnel Mountain definitely met my cleanliness requirements, and I especially liked that the downstairs bathroom is spacious, with a deep tub, and nice big sparkling-clean white tiles on the walls.
One of the small pleasures of the suite: getting to have a real woodfire in the small living-room.
The only thing that irked me: for whatever strange reason, the stairs leading up to the loft space have a very cruel metal trim on each step -- the kind of thing you find on exterior stairs to keep cheap linoleum from curling up. Translation: be sure to bring slippers if you're going to be the traveller who secures the loft! Then both of you can be snug bugs in a rug without either one of you doing any hurt to your tender soles.
One last thought. The pleasures of the loft suite aside, my guess is that in peak season, you're probably better off in a chalet suite, for this reason: the chalet suites are tucked in closer to Rundle mountain, and are therefore further from the road. No matter what you choose at this cozy joint, you're going to have to deal with noise from the parking lot, which runs the length of the property, down the middle. But at least if you choose the chalet suites or mountain cabins you'll be backing onto the rear of the property, and forest, rather than onto the road.
Oh, and you had might as well treat the three long honks from the train that passes through Banff at about 7 in the morning as part of the place's charm. The honks resonating off the surrounding mountains are certainly more effective than most alarms!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tunnel Mountain Resort has everything you need for a perfect Banff vacation. Come get swept away in the majestic beauty of our Canadian Rockies resort. Our 96 unit resort in Banff National park has a wide variety of accommodations to suit every taste. The Tunnel Mountain Condos, Chalets, Cabins and Suites are perfect for the family or a getaway with friends or co-workers. The Executive Suites are ideal for the business traveler and perfect for couples looking for a luxurious, romantic Canadian Rockies getaway. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tunnel Mountain Hotel Banff
- Banff Tunnel Mountain Chalet Hotel
- Tunnel Mountain Chalet
- Banff Tunnel Mountain Resort
- Tunnel Mountain Banff