Quiet but central location, one block from Bow River
Large, clean rooms with comfy beds, balconies, and whirlpools
Stylish and hip indoor pool area with hot tub and hot plunge pool
Fine-dining Italian restaurant and tapas lounge
Casual restaurant with buffet, kids' menus, and kids-eat-free policy
Small gym and aromatherapy steam room
Nine full-service meeting and event spaces for up to 500 people
On-site shopping promenade with various shops
Heated underground parking (fee)
Coin-operated laundry machines, ATM, and money exchange
Fees for parking and Wi-Fi (unusual for Banff)
No air-conditioning in rooms (climate control is available)
A la carte fees for all features can get expensive
Rooms have dated decor
Some rooms have views of walls only
No pets allowed (pro for some)
The 211-room Banff Park Lodge Resort and Conference Centre is a mid-range property featuring many amenities that come with a price. If guests want to use any of them, it'll cost extra, even Wi-Fi and parking in the heated underground lot. Still, this spot remains popular with families, couples, and the occasional conference groups. Rooms here are spacious, largely dated (though with contemporary bathrooms), and furnished with mini-fridges, comfy beds, and balconies. The main restaurant has kids' menus and a popular Sunday brunch buffet, while a classy Italian restaurant serves lounge tapas and fine dining. Other top features include an indoor heated pool with hot tub, small gym, steam room, and the small promenade stretch of shops. For air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi, it's worth checking out rates at the nearby and more contemporary Banff Aspen Lodge.
Huge, mostly dated hotel with open space that's popular with all types of travelers
From the outside, the weathered wood-panel exterior and dated architecture design hint at the building’s age, and the generic patterned carpet and interior design help back this up. Visitors are greeted with a massive, lofted atrium topped by a vaulted wood ceiling and skylight. There are a small concierge stand, fireside sitting area with mismatched furniture, and the back wall of a wide set of stairs. All the public spaces are in the middle of the hotel on each floor for easy access.
Banff Park Lodge and Conference Center is huge; it almost takes up an entire block. At the time of our visit, the most recent renovation was a 2016 overhaul on all bathrooms, though room decor stays outdated. Heavy on event and meeting spaces, it’s no surprise that this hotel is popular with business travelers, though it’s also a favorite for families and couples. During the summer, there are several international senior-aged tours, while winter sees a slightly younger ski crowd from all over. The plethora of on-site features makes it convenient, but given there’s a fee attached to just about everything, it can get pricey.
Located in downtown Banff, just outside the town center
Banff Park Lodge Resort and Conference Center has a downtown location one block from the Bow River. It's located on the outer edge of Banff central, just a two-minute walk to Caribou Street. Bus stops and shuttles leave and return two blocks away on Banff Avenue, and the Banff train station is a six-minute walk north. This is a quiet location with great access to all of downtown Banff, the walking trail along Bow River, and the freeway on-ramps to Lake Louise and Canmore.
Six-minute drive to Cave and Basin
Seven-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Nine-minute drive or 15-minute bus to the Banff Gondola
11-minute walk to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
15-minute bus to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
14-minute drive or 55 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka
Spacious, basic rooms with climate control, balconies, and granite bathrooms
A huge chunk of the 211 rooms here are the standard Superior category, leaving only a handful of higher-category rooms available (so book early). All rooms are spacious, dressed in classic -- though dated and basic -- wood furniture, and come with comfortable beds, balconies or patios, and individual climate control (not to be confused with AC). Bathrooms are more contemporary due to their 2016 renovation, equipped with modern shower/tub combos, rainfall showerheads, slick tile, and black-granite countertops. There are usually wet bas stocked with mini-fridges and glassware. Expect magnifying mirrors, basic toiletries, 49-inch flat-screen TVs with digital cable, and pillow menus.
The Superior Limited View Rooms should be avoided since views are of a wall or lot. Regular Superiors still have a limited view, but this time it’s at least of a mountain. Balconies have flowers in spring and no furniture. Superior King rooms up the ante a little with stylish leather and fabric pullout sofas and contemporary armchairs with footrests, though upgrades to the Executive One Bedroom Suites go farther with extra amenities like vanity and sewing kits, mouthwash, jetted tubs, and multiple showerheads, and black-granite showers, plus terrycloth robes and balconies off both the living rooms and bedrooms.
Executive One Bedroom Suites are most popular with business guests, while the Deluxe Jacuzzi Rooms (which are at the same rate) are popular with couples. These have two-person whirlpools in the bedrooms (on raised granite platforms with no steps). Lodge Suites have two queen Murphy beds, plus pullout sofas, making them popular with families, though their open layouts lack privacy; they are basically two regular rooms with the connecting wall knocked out. These rooms feel slightly fancy with contemporary carpeting, walkout patios, and black granite tile, and they also come with microwaves.
Located on the first floor is the white-tablecloth La Terrazza Ristorante and snazzy but casual Terrace Lounge. Lunch, dinner, and tapas are available in the lounge area, while the romantic back terrace serves a fine-dining menu underneath a gorgeous skylight ceiling. Room service is also available. The Crave Mountain Grille (replacing the Chinook Restaurant) is on the second floor and serves a wide variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a very popular Sunday brunch buffet with omelets and prime rib. A regular hot-and-cold breakfast buffet and a la carte menu are offered here the rest of the week. This is the most family-friendly spot, and has kids' menus, highchairs on request, and a policy that kids 5 and under eat free on breakfast and brunch buffets with a paying adult. There’s also a very limited packed lunch and breakfast to-go menu that comes in handy for hikes.
A smorgasbord of features that all cost extra, including Wi-Fi and parking
With a whopping nine rooms that can hold up to 500 people, plus guest rooms that can be utilized for more intimate meetings, Banff Park Lodge excels at providing an array of full-service meeting and event spaces. Most meeting rooms are located on the ground-level promenade strip (where guests will also find a general store, hair salon, and boutique), and three huge, connecting, slightly dated ballrooms are on the second floor.
The hotel’s indoor pool area is spotless, sophisticated, and home to a small hot plunge pool, 11-person hot tub, and a main heated pool, all heated between 95 and 104 degrees. The stone pebble pool perimeter, contemporary wood paneling on the walls, and the chic slate-tiled fireplace area with a few wicker seats make this one of the more modern and stylish spots in the hotel. Off to the side, there’s a changing room with digital lockers, a shower, and toilet, plus a small air-conditioned gym with cardio machines and free weights and a 120-degree eucalyptus-infused steam room.
Banff Park Lodge also has guests covered with an exchange desk for a limited number of currencies, an on-site post box, coin-operated business computer station with printer, and ATM. Ski storage is available in winter, accessible via the concierge, and the hotel has partner discounts with local vendors for gear. There’s also two snug, coin-operated laundry rooms (with detergent built-in to the machines).
It’s good to note that nothing here is free -- everything has an extra fee -- including Wi-Fi and heated underground parking, and there are no pets allowed.
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