Banff was first settled in the 1800s after Canadian Pacific Railway workers came across a group of natural hot springs surrounding Sulphur Mountain – an area that later expanded into Canada’s oldest national park. With a backdrop of Mesozoic mountains and blue alpine lakes, this mountain town may be considered a luxury destination, but there’s no reason you can’t see all it has to offer on a budget. Here’s a rundown of the top cheap accommodation in Banff that won’t break the bank, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Based in downtown Banff, this affordable inn boasts a central location as well as complimentary bus passes, which you can use to get straight to the town’s ski lifts in a matter of minutes. After a day on the slopes, soothe aching muscles with a dip in the hotel’s indoor hot tubs, sauna and steam room, before tucking into a hearty Italian meal at the on-site restaurant, Meatball Pizza & Pasta, where you’ll also enjoy complimentary breakfast.
A fifth-generation Banff family owns and runs this lodge-style hotel, conveniently situated just 10 minutes from the town center. Relax in your pick of 99 airy guest rooms and drift to the Grotto Spa for an all-natural treatment, set to a backdrop of slate rocks and tumbling waterfalls. After a day skiing, get cozy by the lobby’s stone fireplace, and enjoy complimentary coffee and hot apple cider. When hunger strikes, head to the Evergreen Restaurant and Lounge that champions locally inspired cuisine.
Escape the Banff crowds and head south to the nearby town of Canmore, the home of Mystic Springs. Each of its 40 self-catering residences has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a fireplace, making it ideal for family getaways. Individual entrances wrap around an intimate courtyard and large outdoor heated pool, which is the largest in Canmore and offers scenic mountain views. Come evening, take advantage of the courtyard’s communal barbecues, where you’ll find a picnic area, on-site laundry facilities and vending machines.
Few brunches in Banff set you up for a day in the Rockies like on-site Farm + Fire restaurant’s Cluckin’ Good Time, a fowl-focused feast of pulled rotisserie chicken, free-range poached eggs, homemade hollandaise and garlic-and-herb roasted spuds. Modern, minimalist accommodations range in size from a king double to a loft duplex with two queen beds and a separate sitting area downstairs; most also have mountain views. Hit the lounge for après-ski cocktails by the fire before pan-seared salmon at the in-house restaurant.
A great option for families or groups of friends, Tunnel Mountain Resort offers a collection of cozy condos and cabins, surrounded by pine and fir trees. Sleeping up to six, all the self-contained units have wood-burning fireplaces (complimentary logs are provided), kitchenettes, balconies or patios, and walls decorated with atmospheric sketches of elks, buffaloes and bears. Banff Avenue is 20 minutes on foot, while on-site perks include an indoor pool, bike rental, a kids’ playground, a sauna and a fitness room. Pets are welcome.
At the top end of the budget spectrum are the Peaks Hotel’s Grand Summit Suites, generously proportioned spaces with vaulted ceilings, pinewood walls and views of Mount Cascade or Mounts Tunnel and Rundle; one even has its own patio with seating, blankets and a fire pit. Call in at the fire-warmed lounge for a pint of Banff Avenue pilsner before dinner at La Terrazza, where Italian classics showcase local produce: try the Alberta bison carpaccio with pear purée, fried capers and arugula.
The gardens at this lodge-style hotel abound in juniper bushes and other endemic species such as kinnikinnik, a plant once smoked by explorers and Indigenous tribes. Start the day with a Juniper Benny brunch (bannock bread, braised rabbit, buffalo mozzarella, juniper glaze and poached eggs) and finish it on the patio, accompanying Mount Norquay views with the hotel’s take on a martini. Most rooms also have mountain views through picture windows. Downtown Banff is a 35-minute walk or 10-minute drive away.
Meat-lovers will have to be wrenched away from the in-house restaurant, Tony Roma’s, at Mount Royal, where the celebrated specialities are barbecue ribs, slow-roasted chicken and prime Alberta beef. For après-mountain fun, there’s a rooftop terrace with a small jacuzzi and views of the surrounding peaks and a bar with floor-to-ceiling windows, where you can pair craft beers with sharing platters of Canadian cheese and cured local meats. Hit the on-site library and museum to learn all about Banff Avenue’s most historic hotel.
Looking for somewhere else to stay? Check out our guide on where to stay in Banff. Alternately, book into one of the best hotels in Banff, or, if you’re traveling with a four-legged friend, opt for a room at one of the best pet-friendly hotels in town. For more budget stays just around the corner, check out the best cheap hotels in Canmore, bookable with Culture Trip.
Mark Nayler contributed additional reporting to this article.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.