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“My locker was broken into - by the staff, no less!”

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HI-Banff Alpine Centre
Ranked #7 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Banff
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“My locker was broken into - by the staff, no less!”
Reviewed August 5, 2014

I stayed at HI-Banff from July 27 - 31, 2014 and was traveling by myself. I want to preface this review by saying that the location of the hostel was ideal for my purposes, the facilities were clean and well maintained, and I had an overall awesome time exploring the Banff area. I didn't mind the fact that the hostel was located a little far outside of town as I enjoy walking and was able take the bus whenever I didn't feel up to it. The free bus pass was a major bonus, by the way. Just a $5 deposit that was returned to me when I checked out.

However, I would like to echo a number of the other reviewers here by underling my severe disappointment with the quality of customer service by at least *some* of the staff. My initial booking was made over the telephone before I left Nova Scotia during which I made it quite clear that I wanted to book straight through from the 27th to the 31st. When asked if I would be willing to switch rooms if things got too busy, I replied with something to the effect of "Yes, if the need arises." Nothing more specific than this very general exchange was said to me about what all a room change would entail and I didn't another thing about it until the evening of the 30th.

It was this night that I returned to my room, as I had done the previous 3 nights, after a long and tiring day of exploring Rat's Nest Cave in Grotto Mountain just outside of Canmore. But this time something was different. After trying my key numerous times to no avail and being quite bewildered as to why, a tall, bald, and tattooed man with what sounded like a rather thick Germanic accent came up behind me and told me that I obviously had the wrong room. When I told him this was the room that I had been staying in for the previous three nights, (Room 506. I knew it for an absolute fact.) his response was "that's impossible" and he then told me he was one of 5 people currently staying in that room.

When I went to explain the situation to the receptionist, she didn't seem to recall who I was (She was the same person who checked me in upon my arrival.) After reminding her of this fact, she did a computer search and eventually explained to me that I actually wasn't checked in for the night of the 31st and that, when I had agreed over the phone to switch rooms if necessary, this was treated as a separate booking that I still had yet to make. This, of course, was *after* having made it clear over the phone that I wanted to book straight through from the 27th to the 31st and nothing was ever said to me to indicate that this wouldn't be possible.

Why in the world they weren't able to treat it as a single booking and just discreetly switch me over to a different room rather than locking me out of my old one without my knowledge is truly beyond me. To be fair, the receptionist told me that they had posted a notice on my door that morning indicating that this was the case but, considering that I had been away from my room for nearly 12 solid hours, I don't know why they just assumed I'd be around to see it.

Add to all this the fact that, after a very long and tedious exchange with the receptionist trying to explain to her exactly *why* I was upset, she tells me that they had to cut the lock on my locker in order to move my stuff to the new room. This was under the assumption that the lock belonged to *them* when, in fact, it was mine (which, upon hearing, the receptionist suddenly became very apologetic). Granted, it was ultimately replaced with a significantly cheaper lock but there is something about having my privacy invaded in this fashion that doesn't quite sit well with me.

As I said at the beginning, this hostel *does* have some positive things going for it and, being the sort of person that I am, I did not let this one negative experience ruin my entire trip. My qualm is not with the fact that I had to switch rooms or even with the fact that my personal property was deliberately (albeit unknowingly) damaged by the staff. My objection is that my willingness to switch rooms in order to be accommodating was met with an administrative screw-up that treated what should have been a single booking as two different ones without my knowledge. Not being a lawyer, I'm not as informed as I should be on the legality of a hostel breaking into a guest's locker but it would certainly be an interesting subject of research.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank Matt M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BanffHostelManager, General Manager at HI-Banff Alpine Centre, responded to this review, August 7, 2014
Hello Matt,

I'd like to apologize for the negative aspects of your experience with us. I've had a look through our reservations system and it's clear this was an error that shouldn't have happened. While there were group blocks that made it impossible to keep you in the same room right through your stay, the reservations agent made you two bookings and put clear notes on your folio for the Front Desk agent to follow when checking you in. We should have explained the room move on the 30th to you and charged you for your full stay upon arrival; not doing so led to the confusion and frustration you experienced.

Once again, I apologize. This isn't the norm and is certainly something that I will be discussing with everyone involved. I don't want this happening to other guests in future.

Matt, if there's anything further I can do to make up for this incident, please give the hostel a call and ask to speak to me directly. I travel in hostels all the time and, while I occasionally have to deal with mistakes made to my bookings, they are generally handled very well by the staff and I'm very disappointed you've left my hostel with such a poor impression of our team; I'd like to change that, if there's any way to do so.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
94 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2014 via mobile

Left here the other day. Very helpful reception staff, welcoming and friendly. The centres location was fine, about a 20 minute downhill walk to town. There was plug sockets by each bed so there was no plug issues. The wifi was very patchy and the rooms were cramped and stuffy with small windows. The corridors were not well kept either. The kitchen space was good and kept clean. Overall, it was not a place where I would go back to, but wasn't too bad.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
2 Thank F S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2014 via mobile

Great spot, away from the Banff Ave shops, but a short 5 minute drive away. We stayed in cabin #1 with our toddler and it was perfect! Quiet and clean with an a/c unit, TV, couch, two beds, private bathroom with shower, coffee and hot water maker. The fridges in the kitchen were great for storing food for our son and sandwich makings and coffee creamer for ourselves. Because we were traveling with a kid, we didnt spend much time in the main lobby or internet spaces. We dos enjoy a hike behind the hostel and even saw two deer.

An amazing hostel, especially since it was our first with a kid!

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
1 Thank worldtravels1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camborne, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2014 via mobile

Lovely room with toilets and showers close by. Fan provided as it was super hot. Loads to do on site including a bar and restaurant or a short(ish) walk into town or you can catch a bus from the main road.

All staff really nice and helpful. Would definitely stay again!

Stayed July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canadian Rockies, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2014

Stayed in the cabins for one night on one of our mountain trips out snowboarding. Was a bit expensive, but most likely due to it being the weekend. The cabin was clean and the beds were comfy. Staff we dealt with we're nice. Can't comment on the kitchen as we didn't use it. Would stay again, maybe not the cabins (the dorms are probably cheaper).

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank rig-lyfe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2014 via mobile

Although a little out of town. Let this not deter you. Complimentary return bus pass available. bus is very frequent. Super friendly staff. AC is non existent in common areas but they provide fans in room but the place is clean an safe and very pretty with lovely Bistro. The town f Banff is so cute. Lots of shops, eateries and pubs. Pay a visit to the information centre they are simply fantastic. Would recommend this hostel. No problem.

Stayed July 2014
1 Thank MMargaretH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort McMurray, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2014

I have many memories here as I have stayed a few times at this hostel. In fact I once spent nearly two months here while I was working in Banff, many years ago, and was having trouble finding an affordable apartment.

This time I spent a couple of days there during a mini vacation of Banff and Calgary. To be honest the hostel has changed very little in the last 12 years. I stayed in a dorm and they look and smell roughly the same as before. My dorm was a four person and was as good as you could expect from a dorm. A bit warm but mostly clean and the bed was decent.

The staff have always been super nice as this hostel and this visit was the same. I love the views from the lobby looking towards the mountains and I spent a bunch of the time just staring at the scenery from the deck. I love the fact that is away from the craziness of Banff Avenue but still close enough to even walk if you are energetic.

The worst thing at this hostel is the kitchen. It really needs to be redone and soon. I don't cook much at home and never on vacation so I only used it to drink water but it did not look great.

One day I will plan far enough ahead and book a private room.

Room Tip: Book early. This is very popular on weekends for people from Calgary. The earlier you book the bet...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank bcbusdriver
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

Property: HI-Banff Alpine Centre
Address: 801 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1H5, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 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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