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Brewster's Mountain Lodge 3.0

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Enviable location right off Caribou Street in the heart of downtown
  • Good value in terms of cleanliness, location, and features
  • Spacious rooms with pinewood furniture, flat-screen TVs, and balconies
  • Suites have two-person jetted tubs and mountain views
  • Large 12-person indoor hot tub, plus a dry sauna
  • Small (and dim) gym with exercise bikes and weight bench
  • Free expanded continental breakfast with hot and cold items
  • Heated underground parking and computer with printer (fees)
  • Free, decent Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Decor could use an update (typical for Banff)
  • Some complaints of street noise
  • Fee for parking (limited spaces)
  • No pets allowed (pro for some)

Bottom Line

Located in the heart of downtown, the three-pearl Brewster's Mountain Lodge is one of Banff's best all-around values for folks who prioritize location. The 77 rooms here are simple and rustic, with pine furniture and handmade-iron details. Originally an office building, this hotel used to be owned by later generations of one of Banff's founding families, and the duality of the town's history is reflected through indigenous patterns and vintage settler photos. Most on-site features, including the hot tub, gym, and breakfast room, are in the basement, though there are also two bright and quiet lounge spaces. Unlike several spots in town, there are fees for parking and local calls, but guests can expect free Wi-Fi and a free continental breakfast. There's no AC here, so anyone needing to stay cool should consider the Moose Hotel & Suites. 

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Scene

Simple and rustic lodge that's one of the better deals in town

Brewster’s Mountain Lodge is unique in that it was originally built as an office building, though the U-shaped layout and street-level shops are the only real indicators of its past. The property was originally owned by one of Banff’s first settler families, the Brewsters, who came to the area in the late 1800s, but was taken over by current ownership in 1996. Since starting life as a hotel, the property hasn’t gone through any major renovations, which explains its somewhat dated and definite rustic feel. 

Upon entering from Caribou Street, guests are welcomed by a large open atrium with big leather chairs and tons of natural pinewood log furniture. A beautiful iron arrow chandelier dangles down from the second floor and a bighorn sheep head stakes claim above the large decorative slate fireplace. Patterned wool fabrics and carpets pay homage to the First Nation residents of Banff, while antique black-and-white photos highlight early settler life. 

The hotel usually manages to feel more rustic than dated, and with free breakfast and such a stellar location, it’s a great value in the heart of downtown. For anyone wanting more contemporary digs, the closest contemporary spot is the Elk + Avenue, just a few blocks up on Banff Avenue. 

Location

Excellent location right in the center of downtown Banff

Brewster's Mountain Lodge has an enviable location right on Caribou street in the heart of downtown Banff. The town's concentration of restaurants and shops surround this property, including a weekly market around the corner. There are several spots for metered and lot parking. Bus stops and shuttles leave and return at spots on Banff Avenue that are between a one- and three-minute walk away, and the Banff train station is just an eight-minute walk from the hotel. This is a busy location best for folks who want everything on their doorstep. 

  • Five-minute drive or 10-minute bus ride to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • Six-minute drive to Cave and Basin
  • Eight-minute bus to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • Nine-minute drive or 13-minute bus to the Banff Gondola
  • Nine-minute walk to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
  • 13-minute drive or 41 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka 
  • 25-minute drive to Canmore
  • 37-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • 90-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Rustic rooms with pine log furniture and patterned fabrics

Brewster’s 77 rooms are simple and clean, with decor details like patterned wool bedspreads that nod at the area’s First Nation history. Rooms reflect a dated style that could use an update, though comparable hotels in Banff are often dated. Expect carpeting, finished pine log furniture, lamps with arrow stands, and historic black-and-white photos. All rooms come with coffeemakers, kettles, flat-screen TVs, and irons, plus shower/tub combos, hairdryers, a full line of AMBR toiletries, and makeup remover wipes in the bathrooms. Like several other properties in Banff, there are fans but no air-conditioning, so it can get hot in the warmer months. Not all rooms have balconies, though they will have views of Caribou Street, the adjacent alley, or Bear Street with some partial mountain views. 

Standard Rooms have open hanging closets at the entrance, are located off the streets, and are usually configured with either two queens or a king bed. Hallway noise easily slips through the gaps under the doors, and some guests have complained of street noise being an issue. Deluxe Rooms change slightly depending on the bed configuration; rooms with one queen-size bed have a single jetted tub; rooms with one king have a double jetted tub, and rooms with two queens come with double jetted tubs and a bonus medium-sized mini-fridge.  

Two-level Loft Suites have leather loveseats and small tables and chairs on the bottom floors, and lofted king bed, large flat-screen TVs, bar fridges, and double jetted tubs upstairs. The Brewster Suite is a single-level suite that has a two-person jetted tub and shoe polish and sewing kits as extra amenities. All suites come with umbrellas. 

Features

Good amount of amenities, including free breakfast

The hotel’s large hot tub area is a favorite with guests, especially during winter. It’s a no-frills, dimly lit space with a three-foot hot tub that can fit up to 12, as well as a big dry sauna. The adjacent fitness area only has two dated cardio bikes and a weightlifting bench. The lighting here is low, the towels are free, and, thanks to its location near the hot tub, workouts can get extra hot and muggy. Guests have access to contemporary changing rooms with a shower and toilet. 

A free expanded continental breakfast buffet is served in a large breakfast room featuring handmade pine tables and chairs, highchairs, and a TV playing news or sports. The buffet houses items like cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and oatmeal (in the winter). 

Public lounging space is limited to a mezzanine-level lounge area that’s lofted over the lobby and a peaceful, public interior courtyard. The lofted lounge has a for-fee computer with a printer that works in 30-minute increments, a pine bookshelf, a few handmade pine chairs with cushions, and a large central pine table. A few rooms have walkouts to the interior courtyard, though anyone can sit on its small bench. 

Convenience features include a coin-operated laundry room with detergent vending machines and folding tables, a currency exchange for a limited number of currencies at the front desk, and a street-level shopping plaza attached to the hotel with a hair salon, car rental, and kids' store. 

Unlike almost all hotels in Banff, Brewster's charges an extra fee for local calls and access to the heated underground parking (there are only enough spots for about half the guests), though guests get free Wi-Fi, bring-your-own-lock bike storage, and a ski storage room (locks included), a waxing bench, and 24-hour guest keycard access. Playpens are free on a first-requested, first-served basis. 

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Address

208 Caribou Street, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1J3, Canada

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