With its historic hot springs, stunning Lake Louise, UNESCO World Heritage Site status and 8,000 acres (1,619ha) of skiable terrain across three mountains, the alpine town of Banff makes a strong case for heading to the Canadian Rockies. Find fresh air and perspective in our pick of the best hotels in the area.
The Fairmont Banff Springs is nothing short of a Canadian institution: guests have beenfilling the rooms of this world-famous landmark – dubbed Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies’ — for more than 130 years. Sweeping views from its 757 guest rooms and suites are the stuff of sonnets, bringing the beauty of Banff National Park to your doorstep. Practice your swing at the hotel’s own golf course, or relax beneath pulsating waterfalls in the Willow Stream Spa.
As the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Banff National Park with an on-site ski school and the area’s largest hot tub, Sunshine Mountain Lodge ticks all the boxes as a luxury base camp for all-season adventures. You can be the first on the slopes each morning, thanks to the hotel’s setting 7,200ft (2,195m) above ground in the peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Come summer, tackle world-class hiking trails running through the high alpine meadows.
Many of Banff’s hotels and main attractions sit along Banff Avenue, the town’s main street — and Banff Caribou Lodge is no exception. You’ll find shops, restaurants, hiking trails and the mighty Banff Gondola within walking distance, but if you’ve got your gear with you, make full use of the hotel’s free bus passes that will get you to Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in minutes. For ultimate luxury, splurge on a loft suite, which comes complete with its own hot tub and fireplace.
Enjoy high-end details at every turn, with a stay at Solara Resort & Spa. This hotel’s collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites feature fully equipped gourmet kitchens with cork flooring, oversized windows that bathe the space in natural light, and crackling fireplaces. Don’t leave without visiting the Aurora Theatre — Canmore’s only cinema where complimentary movies are shown nightly.
Away from bustling Banff, and set between two naturally flowing creeks, you’ll find Canmore’s first four-star luxury hotel. Named after Scottish King Malcolm III, this 124-room hotel has an element of grandeur. After discovering the shops, art galleries and restaurants within walking distance, find some time for a swim in the rooftop pool — The Malcolm’s answer to Banff Springs.
The Juniper sits along one of Banff’s lesser-trodden stretches, framed by lush woodland and three iconic mountain ranges. Vintage modernistinteriors do a good job of reflecting the hotel’s restful setting, with snug standard rooms oriented to the deep greens of the forest and deluxe rooms highlighting awe-inspiring valley views. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant, the Juniper Bistro, is similarly inspired by its surroundings. Garden-fresh, sustainable and bursting with regional produce and handcrafted ingredients, you really can’t go wrong with this menu.
A haven of relaxation, next door to Banff’s Upper Hot Springs, The Rimrock Resort Hotel marries modern comforts with all the charm of a Rockies retreat. Clean architectural lines and dark wooden furnishings give rooms a sense of sophistication, with added luxury in the form of Zents Laszlo amenities, Bose Bluetooth speaker systems and signature welcome gifts. Take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary bus service to downtown Banff and its ski connector service when heading to the slopes.
Natural wood and stone were used to achieve the Moose Hotel’s upscale mountain lodge design. Featuring two heated rooftop pools with views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain, and with rooms featuring playful artwork by one of Canada’s top Aboriginal artists, Jason Carter, it’s a tranquil base for city dwellers to wind down in between hitting the slopes and exploring downtown Banff.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise boasts unbeatable views of the natural wonder it shares its name with; the hotel’s guided hikes and voyager canoe experiences are the ultimate way to experience this beauty up close. Though if that doesn’t sell Fairmont Chateau for you, maybe its floor-to-ceiling wine library and Chateau Experience – complete with cheese fondue, chateaubriand and chocolate fondue – will.
Courtesy of The Elk & Avenue Hotel / Expedia | Courtesy of The Elk & Avenue Hotel / Expedia
An ode to Banff’s status as an outdoor mecca, contemporary rooms at the Elk & Avenue Hotel pair minimalist design with Rocky Mountain-inspired elements. Its convenient location puts guests within close reach of the town’s many hiking and biking trails, glistening lake and steep ski hills, while its Mount Rundle backdrop makes views here hard to beat. For activity recommendations, experts at the on-site Pursuit Adventure Centre will help you make the most of your time in the Rockies.