We stayed for a week in the Banff Boundary Lodge during some of the hottest weather Alberta has seen in several years. Like many non-chain hotels in the Canmore/Banff region, the Banff Boundary Lodge does not have air conditioning, but thankfully in this part of Alberta, the nighttime temperatures provide for comfortable sleeping weather most of the time.
The Lodge offers condo-style accomodations, which in our case included a single floor room with two large bedrooms, one bath, a dining area, kitchen, and small living room. It's as large as many apartments, making this a good choice for groups who want share rooms or families.
An on-site gas grill lets you prepare meals on-site, which can be a real savings off the tourist trap prices for things in nearby Banff and Canmore. The hot tub got some use by several of our friends who also had no complaints either.
The Banff Boundary Lodge is located literally down the street from the entrance of Banff National Park, but as another reviewer noted, that may be misleading to some because the town of Banff is a 20 minute drive down Hwy 1 inside the park (with an extremely steep entrance fee I might add - nearly $9.00 PER PERSON per 14 hour visit!). It's not located near the town of Banff at all. Canmore is a five minute drive down a service road - the Banff Boundary Lodge is located in the Hamlet of Harvie Heights, which is basically a tiny neighborhood with some homes up in the hills and a bunch of hotels clustered along Hwy 1.
Most bemusing to me were the daffy policies this hotel has when it comes to dealing with amenities. This is not a full service hotel by any means. Maid service carries an additional fee of $50 per day (although their website claims it's less.) If you want fresh towels, you take your dirty ones to the front office and they exchange them one to one. If you want matches to start the grill, they hand you ONE match (sometimes two if you're lucky). If you want soap or shampoo, walk down to the office and get it yourself. In fact, your first trip after arriving here will probably be to the Canmore Safeway to buy tissues, surface cleaner, paper towels, and a variety of similar cleaning and personal care products because none are available from the Lodge.
The staff always accomodated our requests, but it became a nuisance very quickly.
Review the manual and policies for the hotel carefully. There are many rules and regulations and penalty fees for violating them. They even count the Corelle dishes here, so if you party with folks from other units, make sure your dishes and flatware go back to your own unit, or at least let them know where the stuff might be located when you check out.
Wildlife does enter the property, especially at night. We encountered a mountain sheep rumaging out by the grill one night. The hotel insists on guests putting their trash in the bear-proof bins for good reasons - bears have visited the Lodge before looking for casually tossed food.
The showers are connected to a domestic-quality water supply system. Our unit had a very slow draining shower, a toilet that frequently ran constantly, and changes in water temperature and pressure. These were very minor inconveniences and did not seriously impact on our stay.
The furniture and decor were tasteful, although I don't recommend the pull-out beds for comfort. The bedroom accomodations were lower end. Hospital-quality sheets and pillows are the fare here, although the bedspread was nicer. The beds were reasonably comfortable.
On site laundry for guests is rudimentary - two washers and two dryers which do basic laundry for $2 and $1.50 respectfully. The dryer on the far right does a poor drying job however so avoid it. One load of laundry soap is provided free.
Additionally, access to your room is via a bizarre, very uneven narrow asphalt pathway which connects the units. Great care must be taken as there are endless dips, small hills, cracks, and ruts in the asphalt. It is very easy to lose your footing if you are not watching, especially down the middle corridor between units headed towards the office.
Noise levels in the back of the complex are far lower than those in the front, but it's a trade off. The Banff Boundary Lodge is yet another property that claims to have wireless Internet access, but the full story emerges after you arrive. Units in the back typically cannot receive any signal from the wireless router located in the office, so if Internet is important to you, stay elsewhere because even when access is available, it is non guaranteed to be consistently available. Things are better in the front units, but then noise is greater there.
Hotels need to get with the program that Internet access is no longer a fancy extra. It's becoming as important as having a telephone (and speaking of which, if you want to make a long distance call here, you need to use the payphone in the office or bring your cell phone - room phones do not support toll calls).
Overall, I'd say this is an acceptable place to stay for an active vacation where you won't be stuck in the room all day (they get quite hot during the summer months) or if you want to get away from technology. If you expect amenities and maid service when you are in a hotel, I'd recommend avoiding this hotel and choosing a full service establishment in Canmore.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Banff Boundary Lodge offers the discerning traveller all the comforts of a private condo suite with the incredible amenities of Canmore and Banff right at the doorstep. Located just metres from the Banff National Park gates and minutes to world-class skiing, golfing, dining, shopping and hiking, Banff Boundary Lodge gives guests unparalleled access to all the activities the Canadian Rocky Mountains have to offer. The lodge features two bedroom, fully stocked, self-catering kitchen suites with gas fireplaces, an on-site conference room, outdoor hot tub and free Wi-Fi. The lodge also offers a selection of pet-friendly rooms making it the perfect vacation accommodations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banff Boundary Hotel Harvie Heights
- Banff Boundary Canmore
- Banff Boundary Lodge Harvie Heights, Alberta