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Banff Voyager Inn 2.5

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Clean, non-smoking property set a 20-minute walk from downtown
  • One of the more affordable hotels in town
  • Spacious rooms with microwaves and mini-fridges; some with balconies
  • Small, lukewarm outdoor pool and large indoor hot tub
  • Well-priced restaurant with patio seating serving breakfast and dinner
  • Free hot breakfast buffet
  • Lounge bar with slot machines, cheap drinks, food, and a fireplace
  • Liquor store with competitive prices
  • Spacious meeting room with lots of windows
  • Free Wi-Fi and covered parking

Cons

  • Dated property with noticeably old furniture, features, and rooms
  • Mixed reviews on breakfast quality
  • No AC in rooms
  • No elevator on property
  • Hallways and rooms have pockets of mustiness and cigarette smells
  • Thin walls

Bottom Line

The budget, 88-room Banff Voyager Inn was built back in 1964 and not much has changed since. Expect motel style, full of irregular stone tile, dated furniture, and spacious rooms with microwaves, mini-fridges, old appliances, and lots of natural light. The relative cleanliness and collection of features -- like an on-site restaurant, outdoor pool, bar with cheap drinks, liquor store, and big hot tub -- coupled with low rates, make it a popular spot for tour groups, business travelers, and anyone looking for the elusive Banff bargain. Freebies include Wi-Fi, covered parking, and a hot breakfast buffet that receives mixed reviews. If you can get past the wear and tear and retro vibe, this is one of the better bargains in Banff. Those looking to be closer to downtown may prefer the equally affordable and dated Bow View Lodge.

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Scene

One of Banff's more affordable spots, but worn and dated decor

Its midcentury boxy architecture and stone-wall exterior are obvious signs that the Banff Voyager Inn belongs to another era. This two-story motel property opened back in 1964, and after surviving over 60 years without a full-on renovation, remains much the same today. The property looks surprisingly well-kept for its age, though don't expect many bells or whistles to accompany the minimal wear and tear or dated furniture. The hotel is now non-smoking, but there's a hangover scent of cigarettes in the hallways from past guests and an expected, though slight, mustiness to the carpeted rooms. The last upgrades were done in 2016 and included new linens and comfy beds, plus the addition of microwaves and mini-fridges in rooms (though they somehow manage to appear decades old). Until its complete overhaul scheduled for 2018, Banff Voyager Inn is an affordable pick that's popular with tour groups and anyone looking for a good rundown of features without being too fussed about the imperfections that come with age. 

Location

On the eastern end of Banff Avenue, a 20-minute walk to downtown

Banff Voyager Inn is one of the easternmost hotels on Banff Avenue, about a 20-minute walk or six-minute drive to the concentration of restaurants, shops, and action in the downtown area around Caribou Street. There are plenty of hotels on Banff Avenue offering restaurants within closer walking distance, and most trailheads are within about a five-minute drive. The local bus service to Sulphur Mountain stops a half-block up from the hotel and drops off across the street, and the free shuttle to the Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs (which returns from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) is just a 13-minute walk from the Voyager Inn. 

  • Eight-minute drive to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
  • Nine-minute drive to Cave and Basin
  • Nine-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • 11-minute drive to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • 12-minute drive or 33 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka 
  • 12-minute drive to the Banff Gondola
  • 25-minute drive to Canmore
  • 43-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • 1-hour and 25-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Dated, but spacious rooms with microwaves and mini-fridges, but no AC

The 80 rooms here are clean, though have a slight musty smell and distinctly dated appearance. Expect outdated motel decor and mismatched furniture, old lamps, ugly carpet, plastic patio furniture, and no AC. Flat-screen TVs, Keurig machines (with free coffee pods), and the bedside alarm clock charging stations are contemporary touches you'll find in every room, but the microwaves and mini-fridges can look older than they are. Tiled bathrooms have your standard shower/tub combos, contemporary hairdryers with attachments, and toiletries with the usual suspects, plus make-up remover wipes. 

Standard Rooms only come with two queens, so if you want a king bed, you'll have to upgrade to a Superior Room (which also has a sofa bed we don't recommend using). Rooms are already spacious but Deluxe One King or Honeymoon Rooms are huge, with old entertainment centers and enough space to do cartwheels. Honeymoon Rooms have a queen bed and big above-ground jetted tub. Several rooms have small half balconies, while the Deluxe One King and Honeymoon Rooms have extended balconies.

Features

Good selection of features that add value, including a liquor store and pool

Banff Voyager Inn has a surprising amount of features for a budget property. For starters, there's a lukewarm outdoor pool, though it doesn't get much use, even in the summer. The basement level 10-person indoor hot tub is a more popular feature, but the space is worn and the floors are slippery. Upstairs on the main level, there's an average restaurant with mixed reviews and affordable prices. The free breakfast buffet with scrambled eggs, pastries, and fruit is served here in the mornings, while menu service is offered for dinner. The hotel's retro lounge bar has cheap drinks and feels more like a local dive hangout than typical hotel watering hole. You'll find guys on a first name basis at the bar, glittering slot machines against the wall, a menu serviced by the restaurant, and a bunch of fairly contemporary-looking tables and chairs by a large fireplace. If you don't feel like drinking at the bar, there's an on-site liquor store with competitive prices just off the lobby.

Other amenities include a one-computer business center and an ATM in the lobby, vending and ice machines on each floor, and a sunny and big (if basic) conference room with a bar area. Freebies include Wi-Fi, luggage storage, outside covered parking monitored via CCTV, and taxi phone in the lobby. Pets are allowed on the ground floor with a per-day fee. 

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Address

555 Banff Avenue, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1B5, Canada

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