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Elk + Avenue Hotel 3.0

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • One of Banff's most modern and stylish hotels
  • Located at the top edge of downtown Banff, close to restaurants
  • Attractive rooms have flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges
  • Casual restaurant with hearty portions and breakfast served until late
  • Stylish lounge with daily happy hour and late-night menu
  • Indoor hot tub, dry sauna, and steam room
  • On-site adventure and tour company
  • Discounts for bike and ski rentals in downtown Banff
  • Free underground heated parking and ski storage
  • Free and fast Wi-Fi

Cons

  • No free breakfast
  • No AC in rooms
  • No gym or business center (printing available at front desk)
  • No pets allowed (pro for some)

Bottom Line

After its huge 2016 renovation, the Elk + Avenue Hotel emerged as one of Banff's most modern and stylish hotels. Its cozy minimalist decor is a breath of fresh air compared to its other three-pearl competitors, though the prices here can get steep beyond standard rooms. The hotel's edge of downtown location is as close as you can get without being in the center, giving it a huge advantage. On the downside, there are no AC, room service, gym, or business center here, but guests will get access to the on-site tour company, the hot tub and sauna, a chic cocktail and sports lounge, and a restaurant that serves big meals. Expect free heated underground parking, fast Wi-Fi, and full-sized ski lockers (with locks). Those looking for more wellness facilities may prefer Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa. 

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Scene

Chic and modern beacon in the largely dated pool of Banff hotels

This hotel was built in 1985, but thanks to a massive renovation in 2016, it feels fresher. Elk + Avenue (formerly the Banff International Hotel) has a very modern, upscale lodge vibe from the get go. The lobby's wood laminate floors, floods of natural light, sparkling white lights, and hip, contemporary furniture are a good indicator of the entire hotel's decor. At times, the decor borders on Scandinavian simplicity, though touches of warm tones, electric fireplaces, and natural wood accents help create a cozy atmosphere. Off reception, there’s a large stone partition wall with a long electric fireplace, lounge space with leather bucket seats on one side and up-tp-date couches on the other. Even the bathrooms here are stylish. 

This hotel has the character of a boutique, and it’s spacious yet feels intimate. During the week, it sees a mostly older, international crowd, while weekends can bring young partiers. Families and business guests take the majority during conferences. When compared to other three-pearl hotels in Banff, this property stands out for its modern and stylish design. 

Location

Located across the street from the start of downtown Banff 

Elk + Avenue has a central location on Banff Avenue, just straddling the edge of downtown. The free shuttle to the Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs picks up right outside, and visitors can also grab a public bus (route one) toward Sulphur Mountain that departs next door in front of the Banff Ptarmigan Inn (same-route buses heading toward Tunnel Mountain are across the street). Free shuttles to Lake Minnewanka depart across the street, and shuttles to the popular ski hills of Norquay, Sunshine, and Lake Louise are all within walking distance. Most trailheads are within about a five-minute drive. 

  • Five-minute drive, nine-minute bus, or 13-minute walk to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
  • Six-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • Seven-minute drive to Cave and Basin 
  • Nine-minute drive or 14-minute bus to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • 13-minute drive or 39 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka 
  • 10-minute drive or 20-minute bus o the Banff Gondola
  • 25-minute drive to Canmore
  • 43-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • 90-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Spacious and stylish rooms with a few thoughtful details

Elk + Avenue has some of the most modern rooms in Banff, especially for a three-pearl property. Charcoal carpets, shabby-chic wood panel accent walls, midcentury modern chairs and wood furniture, stark white walls, and gauzy curtains give a hip and modern feel to all 162 rooms. Bathrooms are equally stylish, with spotless white tiling and rectangular sinks, though we found the deep tubs a bit too short for a proper soak. Rooms also have a few thoughtful details like slanted door handles that make them easier to open, especially for guests in wheelchairs, and easy access to bedside outlets and lights. Mountain-view rooms face the front or back, while interior rooms tend to be quieter (and still get a reasonable amount of natural light). 

Two Queen Rooms are spacious enough to comfortably sleep up to four, while the Regular King Rooms are about the same size and have extra sitting areas by the windows. Loft Rooms are split over two levels with one or two queen beds, larger flat-screen TVs, and contemporary loveseats with silver-painted tree stump coffee tables, flat-screen TVs, and dining tables on the ground floors. Deluxe Rooms combine the features of the standard rooms and lofts, albeit on one level, giving guests either two queens or a king with comfortable sitting areas. Junior Suites are the largest of the lot and feature partial walls separating the bedrooms and spacious sitting areas, plus a few upscale decor extras like fur throw rugs.

Rooms also have Keurig machines with free coffee pods, ceiling fans, and mini-fridges. There is no AC here and rooms can get stuffy in the summer, especially the lofted spaces. 

Features

A good range of features, including a restaurant, lounge, and Jacuzzi, but no fitness room or business center

Elk + Avenue’s main restaurant, Ricky’s All Day Grille sports a contemporary diner vibe featuring laminate wood floors, a forest-green color scheme, and a stone column with a two-way fireplace. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is popular for its hearty portions of casually elevated comfort foods and serving a full breakfast menu until late (4 p.m. during our visit). There’s also RG’s Lounge, a modern space with flat-screen TVs almost always playing sports and a stylish and long electric fireplace. This is the place to snag daily happy hour and late-night bites. 

One of the hotel’s relaxation features includes the whirlpool and sauna area, which has a raised hot tub with patio views through a large picture window, a steam room, and a decent-size dry sauna. It’s good to note that there are two shower stalls and towels, but no dedicated changing rooms. There’s also a lounge area on the main floor that can fit between 10 and 15 people in front of a large electric fireplace. This space can also be used as a private, intimate meeting area by simply closing a barn door partition. For larger parties and functions, there’s a banquet room outfitted with basic audiovisual equipment, low lighting, and delicate grapevine chandelier lights.

Guests can also easily book tours through the on-site Explore Rockies adventure and tour company storefront right off the lobby. Discounts are also given in town for bike and ski rentals. 

Though they’ve added a few features, Elk + Avenue has also gotten rid of some, including the business center (guests can print boarding passes through the front desk), the fitness center, and room service. An ATM is off the lobby. If guests choose to opt-in to the hotel’s Eco-Stay program, a small nightly charge will be donated to the EcoStay Motherland Forest Reforestation Project. 

As with most properties in Banff, guests get free (high-speed) Wi-Fi, a spot in the underground heated parking lot (beware of low clearance), local calls within Banff, and use of a keycard-accessed ski locker room, locks included. A limited number of playpens are available on request for free, and there's a coin-operated laundry room. 

This is a non-smoking hotel with a no-pet policy. 

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Things You Should Know About Elk + Avenue Hotel

Address

333 Banff Avenue, Box 1040, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1B1, Canada

Also Known As

  • Banff International Hotel

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