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Since Banff is a major resort destination, with accommodations in high demand, the policies at most Banff hotels are different from non-resort destinations. Most hotels have a check-in time of 4 p.m. Most also have a 72-hour (3-day) cancellation policy. (A few properties offer visitors the opportunity to buy a cancellation waiver when you reserve, which enables you to cancel later without penalties.) Very few hotels in Banff have air conditioning, because the mountains are usually cool at night, even in the summer. Until recently, that hasn't been a problem, but as a result of climate change, there seems to be a week each summer when the weather is so hot that it doesn't cool off at night. Fortunately, these hot spells are still few and far between.
In the winter, the mountain air is exceptionally dry; this means that visitors from more humid areas may be shocked—quite literally!—by static electricity discharges when they touch hotel room doorknobs and light switches. Some visitors have been concerned that there may be a short in the wiring, or some kind of shortcoming in the hotel itself. Static shocks are just a fact of life in very dry climates, and are only marginally under your hotel's control. Even in the winter, this is an occasional event rather than a season-long phenomenon.
Finally, since it's all about location, you will find that Banff room rates, especially in high season, are more expensive than those of similar hotels which are not located near the heart of Canada's most popular national park.
Travellers with disabilities will find hotel information and reviews with comments related to various disabilities in the TripAdvisor Traveller Article Banff: Travellers with Disabilities.
Occasionally, people inquire about accommodations which offer full or half board (room rental package including all three meals, or just breakfast and supper). Although some places in Banff do offer this, there is a huge variety of dining options in the town of Banff, to suit all tastes and budgets, so it doesn't make much sense to lock yourself into eating at the same hotel dining room every day. For more information on dining in Banff, check out the TripAdvisor Traveler Articles on the Banff Dining Scene (scroll down for dining section).
Although the town of Banff is small, there are some geographical angles to consider when choosing a hotel. The town has a small, dense downtown, focusing on the 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Avenue (the part of Banff Avenue between Buffalo Street and Wolf Street), with a less-dense downtown area extending a few more blocks east, south, and north. The Bow River bridge, at the far west end of Banff Avenue, firmly marks the downtown's western boundary.
The main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) runs through the Banff townsite, between and roughly parallel to Banff Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway. Trains are required to blow their whistles as they go through a level crossing (the point where a road crosses the tracks). There are three level crossings in the townsite area. From east to west, the road crosses the train tracks at: Banff Avenue just south of the Trans-Canada interchange; Compound Road, between Banff Ave and Hawk Ave; and Mount Norquay Road, just north of Railway Avenue (near the train station and Banff Mineral Springs Hospital). The train whistles can be heard just about everywhere inside the townsite (including on Tunnel Mountain), but accommodations near the level crossing and the train tracks may have some noise problems. It's worth noting that trains are usually much more frequent on weekdays than on weekends and holidays. The degree of noiseproofing will vary greatly between accommodations, and the facing of your room can also make a difference. The Banff maps at Mapquest.com and at Google Maps both show the train tracks when they are zoomed in to a higher level of detail; unfortunately, Google Maps does not display the railway tracks in their map information. To help find the train tracks, look for the train station just north of the intersection of Railway Street, Lynx Street, and Elk Street.
A number of hotels are located in the Tunnel Mountain area; this is a small mountain within the townsite, but about a 20-minute walk from the downtown area. A few hotels (most notably the Banff Springs Hotel and Rimrock Hotel) are neither near downtown nor on Tunnel Mountain; to get to the many shops and restaurants downtown may involve a longer walk (20 minutes to downtown from the Banff Springs), driving, or catching a cab, hotel shuttle, or Banff Transit bus. And one hotel is within a very short drive of the Banff townsite, but isn't within the town limits, so it doesn't have service from Banff Transit.
The following is a list of hotels organized geographically; there is also a list of Banff hotels with ensuite kitchen facilities, as some travellers are interested in self-catering, and information on hotels with kitchenettes can be hard to find. Hotels with swimming pools and whirlpools are also listed. Hotels in the nearby town of Canmore, about 20 minutes' drive east of the town of Banff, are not included on this list. Review links are to the TripAdvisor member reviews for these hotels
Please note that in Canada, the word "resort" in the name of a hotel/motel is completely at the whim of the owner/operator, and does not necessarily have any relation to the quality of the accommodations or the amenities offered.
Plus: Very little walking to large selection of restaurants, shops; could be very important after a long day of skiing or hiking.
Minus: Might be a little too close to restaurants, shops; street noise from traffic, late-night partiers on Banff Avenue could be a problem at times.
Plus: A little less street noise, not as likely to have noise from partiers on the street. Within walking distance of downtown. On the public transit route. Easy access to Rotary Park - a large playground for small children, located at that end of Banff Avenue. A scattering of restaurants are located in this area.
Minus: Might be a bit too far from downtown restaurants, shops, to walk after a long day of skiing or hiking.
Plus: Very quiet area, far from the downtown, with little traffic. On public transit route. Water slides at Douglas Fir Resort are open to the public, for a fee. There is a convenience store at the Douglas Fir Resort. There are two excellent restaurants (one high-end, one moderate) at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, and a cafe at the hostel. Good chances of seeing deer and elk. Easy, direct access to a network of hiking trails.
Minus: A 20-minute walk or more from downtown restaurants, shops, and larger grocery stores. The walk into town is downhill, the return is uphill.
This list is not necessarily complete, but should help to serve as a starting point. Not all units may have kitchenettes.
For stand-alone spas, not located within hotels, see Inside Banff: Spas here at TripAdvisor.
This mobile map site from the Town of Banff will help you to see where lodgings are in relation to downtown Banff (the stretch of Banff Avenue between Buffalo and Wolf Streets).
This Inside Page is a wiki, which means anyone can edit it. If you know of a hotel which ought to be added to this list, or which is listed under the wrong name, please change it by clicking on the Edit button. If you wish to make comments about a hotel, please write a review and submit it instead of putting your comments here.