10 Reasons to Stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton

From mid-May to September, you can stay at one of Alberta’s most iconic hotels: the Prince of Wales Hotel. This special place is located in the heart of Waterton National Park, overlooking the stunning Waterton Lakes. It’s easily the best hotel in Waterton and should be on your Canadian Rockies bucket list!

This National Historic Site of Canada has 86 rooms and is a great place to base yourself as you explore Waterton National Park. Let’s dig into why the Prince of Wales Hotel is so amazing!

Prince of Wales Waterton Quick Details

Why You Should Stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel

You’re Staying in History

Prince of Wales Hotel

In 1895, the federal government protected a 54-square-mile area known as Dominion Forest Park, which is now known as Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton was the fourth national park established in Canada. The park’s name derives directly from Waterton Lakes, which are impossible to miss.

In 1927, the famous Prince of Wales Hotel was opened, and service to Glacier National Park in the USA commenced. Then, a ship was built to travel between Glacier and Waterton. The “M.V. International” can still be experienced today.

The Prince of Wales Hotel was built for the Great Northern Railway Company and is considered one of the best railway hotels in North America. The whole building was deemed a National Historic Site of Canada in 1922 and remains true to its roots to this day. It has seven floors, and most of the rooms overlook Upper Waterton Lake.

Prince of Wales Hotel

This is the only Canadian Railway hotel built by an American company. After hearing stories, we learned that the hotel was built in an attempt to lure American tourists to Canada during the prohibition era when drinking alcohol was prohibited in the United States. All Americans had to do was cross the border from Montana for a drink! The hotel was named after the Prince of Wales, although the Prince nor the Queen of England have ever stayed overnight.

You’ll Have Epic Views of Waterton Lakes

Prince of Wales Hotel

If you book a lakeside room, you’ll have epic views of Upper Waterton Lake and the surrounding peaks at all times. Even if you don’t book a lake view room, the main lobby of the Prince of Wales has the most epic large windows I’ve ever seen.

natasha Looking out from our Lakeside room from the prince of wales hotel
Looking out from our Lakeside room

You can sit right next to the window, enjoying Waterton Lake views while sipping your morning coffee every day you stay here.

It’s Easily the Most Iconic Hotel in Waterton

Prince of Wales Hotel

Waterton National Park is not a huge park, and the town is pretty small. It’s no secret that there aren’t a ton of accommodation options in Waterton. However out of all the hotels in the area, the Prince of Wales Hotel is easily the nicest and most iconic. If you book early enough, you can even score some great rates even in the summer.

Rooms are Historic, but with Modern Comfort

Prince of Wales Hotel rooms

Once you step into any Prince of Wales hotel room, you’ll be instantly transported to another era. It’s pretty apparent when walking in that this is no ordinary hotel. It’s older and has lots of history and charm.

The beds and overall room design look straight out of the 1930s. That’s not to say that the rooms are dated! Oh no, the Prince of Wales team has gone above and beyond to create an elegant, comfortable, and modern feel to the rooms. The beds are super soft, the showers are well-kept, and there is blazing-fast internet.

The Prince of Wales is Steps Away from Downtown Waterton

downtown waterton

Downtown Waterton is an easily walkable small town. Up and down the main street, you’ll find restaurants, bars, a brewery, shops, and ice cream. You’ll inevitably venture into Downtown Waterton on any visit.

Downtown waterton on a nice summer day

While parking is relatively easy to score downtown, I loved being able to walk from the Prince of Wales Hotel. You can go from your room to eating at Wieners of Waterton in less than fifteen minutes.

It’s Right Across the Street from Bears Hump Hike

Bears Hump HIke.

Even better than being close to downtown is the hotel’s position next to the most popular hike in Waterton – Bears Hump Hike! Bear’s Hump is a must-do short hike in Waterton National Park. It’s a great Canadian Rockies hike as almost anyone can make it up to Bear’s Hump and get incredible views over the park. On a clear day, you can easily see Montana from here.

Bears Hump HIke.
The Prince of Wales Hotel from the Bear’s Hump “Summit”

Located right in town, to get to the top of Bear’s Hump is doable in under an hour – meaning you can complete your days in Waterton with plenty of other things to do.

Here’s how to hike Bear’s Hump in Waterton National Park!

The Hotel Has Delicious Food Options

Prince of Wales Hotel

The Prince of Wales offers two dining options for guests and nonguests. The Royal Stewart Dining Room is one of the best restaurants in Waterton. Score a reservation here and step back into history. The Royal Stewart Restaurant serves Old World and Canadian fare. Some of the staples on the menu are bison stew or pork chops. If you get a reservation by the windows overlooking Upper Waterton Lake, it will indeed be a night to remember.

The other dining area is the Windsor Lounge. The Windsor Lounge is a great spot to sit and relax in the hotel. They dish up light pub food, or you can visit for a pre-dinner cocktail with friends.

Get Your High Tea On

Prince of Wales Hotel

You can’t stay at a hotel named “The Prince of Wales” and not enjoy a high tea ceremony. After being outside all morning, or hiking the Crypt Lake Trail, one of the best things to do is to enjoy High Tea at the above Waterton Lakes.

Seriously, there aren’t many places better to have high tea than here. Hotel guests and nonguests alike can enjoy sandwich squares and pastries every day from 12 to 4 p.m.

The Prince of Wales Might Be Haunted

Okay, noting that an old hotel might be haunted is not a reason to say – or maybe it is – depending on your personality. As previously mentioned, The Prince of Wales was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1927, and stepping in truly feels like stepping back in time. From the furniture, rooms, and elevator to the cocktails coming in here is a different experience. You can bet that a hotel with nearly 100 years of history has some stories to tell.

Every evening at 8pm, the staff at the Prince of Wales also share stories from Waterton and even a few ghost stories from the hotel. Some hair-raising spooky stories from the Prince of Wales would make you think twice about wandering around the hotel alone at night. We’ll let you visit and see if you think it’s haunted or not.

There Are Many Amenities

prince of wales in waterton

The Prince of Wales operates like a new modern hotel with a touch of history. Amenities include a bellhop, free Starbucks coffee, Fast WiFi, and interpretative hotel tours.

Prince of Wales Hotel

And then, of course, always being at the fantastic location of the Prince of Wales Hotel is almost an amenity in itself. Perched high on a hill above the Waterton Lakes overlooking surrounding peaks.

It’s One of the Most Photographed Hotels in Canada

Prince of Wales Hotel

Given its location in Waterton Lakes National Park, it’s no wonder the Prince of Wales Hotel is one of the most photogenic places in the Canadian Rockies. Although you can get a photo of the hotel from almost anywhere in Waterton, I find it fun to get a fantastic photo of someplace I have actually stayed and experienced.

For the best photo opportunity, I highly recommend getting up before sunrise to head to the park’s edge along Upper Waterton Lake. If you get low enough and have an excellent wide-angle lens, you can see the famous colorful rocks in frame.

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!

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About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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5 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton”

  1. What a great article. The Royal Stewart Dining Room menu changes every year and may not have previous years items on the menu (Bison Stew, Pork Chop, Starbucks coffee). BUT, it is one of the most magical places on earth.



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