The Sunshine Mountain Lodge in Banff is the perfect place to cozy up and wind down, all while surrounded by the best views Mother Nature has to offer and the best skiing in the Canadian Rockies. The Sunshine Mountain Lodge provides a quiet, rustic escape amongst vast mountains, snow-dusted trees, and countless stars.
An escape filled with long powdery ski days at Banff Sunshine Village and cozy nights? An escape that combines luxury with nature – sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? All this can be had at the Sunshine Village hotel.
This remarkable lodge sits in the village of the Sunshine Village Ski Resort, with its tall windows reflecting the stunning mountain backdrop that it stands against. The woodwork and stone structure are luxurious yet blend in with the natural landscape, looking as though it all formed in unison.
This place is the perfect getaway in Banff in winter or Banff in summer, for skiers, hikers, and relaxers alike. Here’s what you can expect when staying at the only ski-in/ski-out accommodation in Banff.
A Dream Escape at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Getting to Sunshine Mountain Lodge
The Sunshine Mountain Lodge is just a 15-minute drive from the town of Banff! After passing the famous Banff sign and following the Trans-Canada Highway west for roughly 8 kilometers, the Sunshine Village Access Road exit appears on your right.
The access road winds upwards for another 8 kilometers, leading you directly to the base of Sunshine Village. If you don’t have a vehicle, don’t cross this place off your list – Sunshine offers a free shuttle service to and from Banff!
As you pull up to the hotel check-in, the lovely staff are already waiting to help you kindly with your luggage. Your luggage is sent up the mountain and will be waiting in your room for you by the time you arrive. After checking in and dropping your vehicle in the VIP parking lot, you are provided with your gondola tickets and are ready to embark on the first part of your adventure – the 20-minute gondola ride to the village, which is filled with remarkable views the entire way up!
The gondola takes you another 5 kilometers into the beautiful Banff mountains as it leads you to your home for the duration of your stay. Between the gondola ride and the drive up the access road, you are truly immersed in the middle of nature, with nothing but stunning scenery and stellar ski runs for as far as the eye can see!
Why Leave the Bustling Downtown of Banff?
I have enjoyed staying at this stunning Sunshine Village hotel two winters in a row, choosing this lodge over any other, even after moving to Banff! As a Banff local, I can say that this lodge is incredibly unique compared to other hotels in this little mountain town. Being the only mountain top hotel in Banff has endless benefits that just cannot be beaten!
The Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only hotel in Banff National Park and the surrounding area that allows you to ski in and out of your front door. For skiing in Banff, it’s hard to get much better. With the hotel doors located just a few meters from the nearest chair lift, you can step outside, into your skis or board, and be on the lift in seconds! This guarantees you catch that first chair and score fresh turns without sacrificing a cozy sleep-in or relaxing morning.
Though I haven’t had the pleasure of staying here in the summer, I know that the ski-in, ski-out bonus does not fall short in the warmer months, either. The resort that is covered with the best snow in the winter also offers stunning hiking trails once the snow melts away.
You can ride the Standish chairlift to the viewing deck and begin exploring the Sunshine Meadows trails! Filled with wildflowers, 360-degree views, and 3 alpine lakes, it’s hard to choose the best season to enjoy all that this lodge has to offer!
After a stellar day on the slopes or a busy day of hiking, there is no better feeling than hopping straight into the hot tub and sauna. The hot tub at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge sits beneath the mountains, and not only does it have picture-perfect views, but it is big enough that it feels as though you have the place to yourself! Finishing riding for the day, grabbing the comfy resort robes, and alternating between the hot tub and sauna as the snow falls around you, is truly the perfect way to end any day.
If the hot tub and sauna pique your interest, you will definitely want to check out the Verde Day Spa located right inside of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. This spa has the perfect offerings to relax the body and mind after a big day on the mountain: massage therapy, facial treatments, and more.
Despite the many adventures the resort offers during the day, what puts Sunshine Mountain Lodge at the top of my Banff bucket list is the quiet, star-filled nights that follow after the sun goes down. As the lifts stop turning and the daytime visitors clear out, I find that this is when the resort’s true beauty shines through! Notably, because only hotel guests get to experience this particular time after the resort closes.
Thanks to the floor to ceiling windows in almost every room, the view from the comfort of your cozy bed is remarkable: the shadows cast by the mountains in the moonlight, the stars perfectly visible without any light pollution, and the snowcat machines starting their nightly routine high on the hill in the distance. Being fully immersed in the trees, mountains, and stars all while enjoying a gorgeous hotel room is truly unbeatable!
Food Fit for a Mountain Lodge
In the village of Sunshine, there are seven restaurants and two cafes, all with varying menu options and styles. I recommend exploring the restaurants outside of the hotel for lunch – Mad Trapper’s, Goat’s Eye Grill, The Alpine Grill, Restaurante El Lookout, or The Sunshine Burger Company – so that you can enjoy the comfort of the hotel restaurants for dinner!
The Chimney Corner and Eagle’s Nest Canadian Bistro are tucked away in the lodge, providing a cozy dining area with an excellent ambiance. These restaurants are precisely what you would picture when staying in a stunning mountain lodge – stone fireplaces, tall windows, and delicious meals.
We took advantage of their decadent room service for breakfast, and I highly recommend you do the same. After waking up and looking outside, to the fresh snow, the chairlifts starting up, and the sun rising over the mountains, we were eager to get going.
We browsed the Chimney Corner’s menu, called down to the restaurant, and cozied up by the fireplace while waiting for the knock on our door. After enjoying our delicious meals, we got bundled up to hit the slopes with plenty of fresh fruit and hot coffee.
After a long day of skiing and enjoying the hot tub, of course, there is nothing better than changing into your day clothes and heading down to the restaurant. We chose to enjoy the Chimney Corner for dinner, sitting in front of the gorgeous stone fireplace and indulging in one of their many menu options.
With plenty of options for appetizers and desserts, mains suited for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, and a perfect kids menu, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something for everyone on their menu!
I have nothing but positive things to say about the tasty soups, fresh salads, and main dishes we enjoyed at the Chimney Corner; it’s certainly one of the best Banff restaurants. Our dining experience here was definitely up to standard. I haven’t had the chance to dine at the Eagle’s Nest, but this restaurant may not be worth having a meal at after talking to some friends.
The Eagle’s Nest is intended to be the finest dining at Sunshine – with salmon, steak, bison, and other upscale menu options – but the reputation doesn’t seem to live up to the expectations.
Prepare for a Visit to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge
With this lodge sitting high up in the mountains, requiring a gondola ride to access, you must come prepared. From Saturday to Thursday, the gondola stops running at 5:30pm, and on Fridays, it stops running at 10:30pm. The gondola’s set schedule can make it difficult to get to and from town or even to your Banff rental car and back.
I recommend planning your visit with this in mind – use this lodge as an escape from cities and towns for a night or two, and ensure you are ready to stay put at Sunshine once you arrive. Ideally, 2-night stay would be perfect, with enough time to fully enjoy the mountains and skiing at Sunshine, but not quite enough time to where you would feel bored.
Though the restaurants are perfect for lunch, dinner, or an appetizer in between, my true vice is snacking. When visiting the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, I am sure to pack my favorite snacks seeing as the closest grocery store is back in the town of Banff – trail mix, granola bars, fruit, and treats for my day on the mountain, and charcuterie and cheese arrangements for back in the room.
Keep in mind that the rooms are not equipped with mini-fridges, so plan your snacks accordingly. It never hurts to throw in your drinks of choice, either. Although you can always throw your goodies outside for a bit to stay cool.
If you are visiting the lodge in the winter, it is important that your car is just as prepared as you are. The access road to Sunshine, though well maintained, can become a challenge when there are large snowfalls. When using this road in the winter season, the resort requires you to have proper winter tires on your vehicle.
No matter the season, anyone visiting Sunshine Village must have a Parks Canada National Park Pass – Sunshine Village is in Canada’s oldest National Park, Banff National Park. Parks Canada wardens make frequent visits to the Sunshine parking lot and do not hesitate to write you a ticket, so do not forget to grab your pass at the Banff entrance gate or online.
Choose the Right Room for You
Last but not least, find the room that is best for you. The Sunshine Mountain Lodge offers five different rooms types: West Wing Loft Rooms, West Wing Premiere Rooms, Main Lodge Suites, Deluxe balcony Rooms, and Deluxe Waterfall Rooms.
- The West Wing Loft and Premiere rooms are the most spacious, with 1-2 Queen beds and a queen-size Murphy bed. If you are bringing along your family or friends, these are the best options for you. Options like these make this one of the most family-friendly hotels in Banff.
- The Main Lodge Suite, with a king-size bed, jacuzzi bathtub, and spacious seating area, is the perfect room style for any couple looking for a romantic getaway!
- The Deluxe Balcony and Deluxe Waterfall rooms have a queen-size bed and a single trundle bed. These rooms are great for a short stay but do not have much space for lounging other than the bed itself. The Waterfall rooms look out into the trees of a ski run, and some of the Balcony rooms are blocked by the West Wing building, so the views in these rooms can be quite limited. Some of these rooms do not have fireplaces either, which is fine for the summer season but something to note if looking for an extra cozy stay in the winter season.
Check out the rates here to learn more about the room types, and to book your dream mountain escape this season. If you’re looking for more cabins and hotels around the Canadian Rockies take a look at our Lodging section and choose your favorite destination for the days you will spend exploring outside of the Sunshine Village Ski Resort.
Where Else Should You Stay in Banff?
Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies
- Hiking in the Rockies: Purchase an AllTrails subscription to have a mobile map on you as you hike.
- 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!
- Hotels in the Rockies: There are many places to stay, from luxury hotels to wilderness cabins. See all our favorites here.
- Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service that will connect you right from YYC to the town of 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.
- Fly For Free: Turn your spending into airline miles and points with travel credit cards (that’s what we do!). See our favorite travel credit cards. 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!
- Travel Insurance: We don’t recommend traveling without travel insurance. We recommend checking out HeyMondo, which offers competitive rates for all travelers.
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