The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Banff

Explore Mount Rundle and Banff National Park without breaking the bank from one of Banffs best budget hotels
Explore Mount Rundle and Banff National Park without breaking the bank from one of Banff's best budget hotels | © RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo
Emma Gibbins

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.

1. Banff Ptarmigan Inn, for a downtown locale

Budget Hotel, Inn

Charming chalet-style exterior of Banff Ptarmigan Inn covered in snow with snowy mountains rising behind it
Courtesy of Banff Ptarmigan Inn / Expedia

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.

2. Royal Canadian Lodge, for a warm welcome

Budget Hotel, Lodge

Front entrance to Royal Canadian Lodge lit up at dusk with glass doors and stone pillars
Courtesy of Royal Canadian Lodge / Expedia

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.

3. Mystic Springs Chalets and Hot Pools, for large gatherings

Ski Chalet, Hotel

Large enclosed outdoor swimming pool at Mystic Springs Chalets and Hot Pools on a sunny day
Courtesy of Mystic Springs Chalets and Hot Pools / Expedia

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.

5. The Elk & Avenue Hotel, for hearty meals

Hotel

Bright and spacious king room with pale wood accent wall, desk and textured blue carpet at the Elk and Avenue Hotel
Courtesy of the Elk and Avenue Hotel /Expedia

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.

6. Tunnel Mountain Resort, for an independent stay

Resort

Childrens playground in front of condo units at Tunnel Mountain Resort
Courtesy of Tunnel Mountain Resort / Expedia

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.

7. Peaks Hotel & Suites, for luxury on a budget

Suite Hotel

Cozy yet modern guest room with two beds, wood accent wall, plaid accents and dark brown seating at Peaks Hotel and Suites
Courtesy of Peaks Hotel and Suites / Expedia

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.

8. Juniper Hotel, for alpine views

Budget Hotel

Bright living room with stone accent wall, rattan furniture and large picture windows with mountain views at the Juniper Hotel
Courtesy of the Juniper Hotel / Expedia

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.

9. Mount Royal Hotel, for a rooftop jacuzzi

Hotel

Stylish rooftop deck at Mount Royal Hotel with jacuzzis, heaters, ecru couches, black poufs and views of mountain peaks
Courtesy of Mount Royal Hotel / Expedia

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.

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