Where to Stay in Banff – (Areas and BEST Places to Stay in Banff)

If you’re wondering where to stay in Banff, I have good news! Choosing the best hotel in Banff and area to stay for you and your family is much easier than choosing proper accommodation in a large city.

Although Banff National Park is one of the largest parks in Canada, the area where you can stay is quite limited, and it is important to know where the best places to stay are. So much of Banff is protected, meaning most of the accommodation options are in the Town of Banff. Outside of that, we will narrow down a few exciting hubs.

Most visitors to Banff will likely stay somewhere in the Town of Banff and perhaps venture out of town for a few nights to visit Lake Louise or along the Bow Valley Parkway.

There is so much to explore around the park in the summer and winter before making your way back to your hotel for either a quiet night amongst the trees enjoying a campfire or a stroll on Banff Ave.

Unlike other similar articles, we won’t be discussing Calgary or Invermere as an option for where to stay in Banff, because quite frankly, those destinations are pretty far from the town and will alter your vacation to the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Let’s dig into the best places to stay in Banff.

Where to Stay in Banff? Quick Answer

Where is the Most Luxurious Place to Stay in Banff? Fairmont Banff Springs is undoubtedly the most luxurious place to stay in the entire park. It’s absolutely magical in both the winter and summer, although I’m partial to winter and Christmas time when they have “Christmas at the Castle.”

Where is the Best Mid Range Place to Stay in Banff? Mount Royal Hotel provides excellent comfortable and modern rooms right on the main crosswalk of Banff.

Where to Stay in Banff With Air Conditioning? Moose Hotel & Suites. Air Conditioning is not common in the Rockies as it’s always pretty cool at night. If AC is must consider the Moose Hotel.

Where is the Most Unique Place to Stay in Banff? Baker Creek Mountain Resort is a romantic location on the Bow Valley Parkway. If you want to feel like you’re lost in a traditional log cabin this place is for you.

Where Can I Stay on a Lake in Banff? Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise There is truly no more iconic in Banff than here. If staying on a lake front property is must at least one night here is ideal.

Where is the Best Pet Friendly Place to Stay in Banff? The Rimrock Resort. A higher end property that treats pets (and humans) like kings and queens.

Where to Stay in Banff as a Family? The Hidden Ridge Resort If you want an entire apartment in Banff perfect for large groups and families, consider here.


The Best Places to Stay in Banff


Town of Banff

Cascade Mountain from Banff Avenue - Downtown Banff
Where to Stay in Banff: Banff Ave

Your first main option when looking at where to stay in Banff is the actual town of Banff. The Town of Banff is located about 125.8 km west of Calgary. If driving from Calgary, you’ll pass the Town of Canmore and pass the Parks Canada gates. After driving past pull-offs like Johnson Lake and Two Jack Lake on your right hand side, you’ll quickly come up to the Town of Banff.

There are two exits off the Trans-Canada, which will take you to Banff Ave. Banff Ave is the main street in Banff and is where most of the hotel and accommodation options are located in Banff.

Staying on Banff Ave certainly has its perks. The ability to walk right out from your Banff hotel and enjoy the lively Banff Ave in summer or winter is impressive. The whole town of Banff is entirely walkable, and if staying downtown, you won’t need your car at all to explore the town.

You’ll have everything you need for a great vacation in Banff, just steps away. The best Banff restaurants, Banff cafes, and some fun attractions are nearby. I love the Mount Royal for the mid-range hotel option, as well as the Banff Caribou Lodge! There are also a few cheap hotels in Banff like The Rundlestone Lodge and High Country Inn.

A few Downtown Banff hotels are not located right on Banff Ave, but they are only a few streets back. For this, you will likely pay a lower rate than staying right on Banff Ave.

Staying in Banff

Pros

  • Close to all the action
  • You can get around Banff without a car with tours and the Roam Transit.
  • Many Banff hotels have free parking
  • Close to all the fabulous Banff restaurants
  • Closer to Vermilion Lakes, Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack, and Canmore!

Cons

  • It’s Expensive
  • Busy, especially during the summer months.
  • Not secluded.

Where to Stay in Downtown Banff

Elk + Avenue Hotel

Elk + Avenue Hotel

Elk + Avenue Hotel is a great mid range hotel to stay at right on Banff Avenue. They offer comfortable rooms, underground parking, and quick access to restaurants like Farm & Fire.


Mount Royal Hotel Banff

Mount Royal Hotel

The Mount Royal Hotel is another historic hotel that dates back to 1908 and is located right in the center of Banff. It has an ideal location so you have quick access to anything you could want in Banff. The historic building has a beautiful exterior that likely makes an appearance in thousands of photographs down Banff Ave of Cascade Mountain


the moose hotel

The Moose

The Moose is our favorite hotel to stay on Banff Avenue. They have extremely comfortable rooms, many with fireplaces and AC. However what I love most about The Moose are their rooftop hot tubs and sauna. There’s likely no better place to relax with views of Cascade.


The Peaks

The Peaks

The Peaks is a new hotel and is easily now one of the nicest and most modern places to stay in Banff. It’s located off Lynx St just a few minute walk from Banff Avenue.


Banff Caribou Lodge

Banff Caribou Lodge

The Banff Caribou Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Banff on a budget. Rooms here are basic, but comfortable.

There are many amenities here, including a full-service spa, a jetted hot pool, steam room, fitness room, and bike rental service.


The Dorothy Motel

The Dorothy Motel

The Dorothy Motel is a newly launched and renovated motel just outside of downtown Banff. It’s a boutique motel with simple rooms that are well set up to meet travelers’ needs. Pets are welcome at the hotel as they are provided a bed, food and water bowls, a take-home toy, and tasty treats.


Downtown Banff Outskirts

Banff Springs Hotel - Where to stay in Banff
On the outskirts of Downtown Banff

Some of the best places to stay in Banff aren’t on Banff Avenue. There are a few Banff hotels located on the outskirts of town. Most are still completely walkable to Banff Ave; it just may take a bit longer.

Staying on the outskirts of town means you’ll have more privacy and a little less noise on a lively Saturday night. Though it’s not to worry, nowhere in Banff is like a large city at night, and noise is never much of an issue.

The most notable hotel located on the outskirts of town is the famous Banff Springs Hotel (aka the Castle). Upon viewing, you can see why its location in the trees and away from downtown is perfect for it.

There is also the Juniper Hotel, which is conveniently located near Mount Norquay. The Juniper Hotel is not near Downtown Banff across the Trans Canada. It’s about a 25-minute walk to Banff Ave, or they offer a free shuttle.


Where to Stay on the Outskirts of Banff Ave

Banff-Springs-Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

When it comes to luxury hotels in Banff National Park, nothing is more iconic than the long-standing Banff Springs Hotel. It’s one of the best hotels in Banff and for good reason. When you glimpse this grand landmark for the first time, you’ll see why it’s known as The Castle of the Rockies. The hotel has seen guests from all over the world for more than 100 years and to stay here is truly a bucket list experience.


Juniper Hotel

Juniper Hotel

This is one of the best places to stay in Banff that is close to downtown, but not actually located in downtown Banff. Juniper Hotel is about 2 kilometers from Banff Avenue, and 6 kilometers from Mount Norquay Ski Resort. It is set on a hill, perched above the Trans-Canada highway, and surrounded by mountains, particularly the views of Mount Norquay are stunning from the hotel.


Sulphur Mountain Area

Town of Banff Overlook Canmore vs Banff

Sulphur Mountain is near Downtown Banff but is across the Bow River Bridge and up a long steep road. While you can walk to Banff Ave from Sulphur Mountain, it may be easier to take a car or the bus. Sulphur Mountain is the sight of the Banff Gondola and the Banff Hot Springs, two of the best things to do in Banff.

There is really only one Banff hotel near Sulphur Mountain, and that is the Rimrock Resort, which is easily one of the most excellent hotels in the park. It’s a great option if you want easy access to the Town of Banff but wants to stay a little bit away from the hustle and bustle. It’s family and pet-friendly and provides more affordable rates than Banff Springs.

Where to Stay Near Sulphur Mountain?

the rimrock hotel

The Rimrock Resort

The Rimrock Resort Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Banff and the only hotel to stay at near Sulphur Mountain. Its interior decor, massive lobby, floor-to-ceiling windows, fantastic views, and wonderful service make the hotel stand out. Facilities at the resort include two restaurants, an indoor heated pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, and fitness studio. Make sure to try Eden, the prestigious 5 Diamond Award winning restaurant when visiting.


Tunnel Mountain Area

Tunnel-Mountain-Hike

Tunnel Mountain is a small mountain right near the town of Banff. It’s a popular hike in the summer and winter and is well known for its ease and accessibility. There are a few accommodation options in the Tunnel Mountain area. All provide fantastic access to the Banff Golf Course and mountain bike trails in Banff, and of course, Tunnel Mountain.

Staying near Tunnel Mountain is an excellent alternative to Banff Ave. Like most other places, it’s still very possible to walk to Banff Ave in a short amount of time.

Up here, you can find a few resort communities like the Hidden Ridge Resort and one of the only hostels in Banff, the HI Banff Alpine Centre.

Where to Stay Near Tunnel Mountain?

Tunnel Mountain Resort

Tunnel Mountain Resort

Tunnel Mountain Resort is a great option for those seeking self-catering accommodations as all rooms include at least a kitchenette. The location sits just above downtown Banff on Tunnel Mountain – a quiet neighborhood. A walk into town is two kilometers down a large hill, but the hotel does supply a complimentary public bus pass.


The Hidden Ridge Resort

The Hidden Ridge Resort

Hidden Ridge Resort is great for groups and families. Each apartment-style room at the Hidden Ridge Resort includes a full kitchen, dining area wood burning fireplace, and balcony. It’s easy to see the appeal of this family-friendly Banff hotel.


Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a good mid range option for those looking to be close to Tunnel Mountain.  Each rustic room offers a wood burning fireplace, balcony and private bathroom.


Douglas Fir Resort

Douglas Fir Resort

A basic accommodation option away from Downtown Banff, best for those on a budget.


Ski In/Ski Out in Banff

sunshine mountain lodge - best places to stay in banff
The only ski in/ski out in Banff

There are three ski resorts in Banff. Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay. The only ski-in/ski-out hotel in Banff is located at Banff Sunshine. The Sunshine Mountain Lodge is a luxurious Banff hotel situated at the top of the Sunshine Gondola and one of the best places to stay in Banff.

Powderhounds can sleep in slumber here and look forward to getting first tracks on a Banff winter morning.

The Only Ski In/Ski Out in Banff

Sunshine Village Mountain Lodge

Sunshine Village Mountain Lodge

There is only one ski-in/ski-out accommodation option in all of Banff National Park. The honor lies at Sunshine Resort in the form of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. If you want to stay at the base of a ski resort when you visit Banff in the winter this is your option!


Lake Louise Area

devil's thumb hike
Looking down on the Chateau Lake Louise from Devils Thumb

Lake Louise itself is one of the most iconic places to visit in Banff and all of Canada. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and visitors come from all over the world to see the bright blue colors of Lake Louise.

Located about 40 minutes away from the Town of Banff, Lake Louise is an excellent place to stay. There aren’t many hotel options here, and there is only one hotel option on Lake Louise herself.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is another iconic Fairmont property on Lake Louise and one of the best places to stay in Banff. However, to book a stay here, expect to pay top dollar for location, especially peak summer when the rates can go as high as $800-$1000 a night.

There are a few other hotels near Lake Louise on Lake Louise Road that offer close access to the lake but at a fraction of the cost of the Fairmont. The Paradise Lodge and Bungalows, as well as the Lake Louise Inn, are good options.

Staying in Lake Louise

Pros

  • More exclusive accommodation options/more special
  • Quieter, especially at night and the further away you get from the lake
  • Easier parking near Lake Louise
  • Closer to Moraine Lake
  • Closer to the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake

Cons

  • Expensive and books up faster.
  • No exclusive Lake Louise access
  • Few restaurant options
  • Few hotel options
  • Non-existent nightlife and shopping

Where to Stay in Lake Louise?

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the only property to stay at actually on Lake Louise. It’s an iconic property, although, be forewarned, this is easily the most expensive place to stay in Banff. You’re paying for location here, because the rooms are nothing to write home about and I’ve found service rude for the price point.  


Paradise Lodge and Bungalows

Paradise Lodge and Bungalows

Paradise Lodge and Bungalows may be the best hotel near Lake Louise. While not directly on the lake it is only a 500-meter walk from the lake.

Rooms, cabins, and apartments here have character and offer a comfortable stay with kitchens in a number of suites. Paradise Lodge is only operational during the summer months.


Lake Louise Inn

Lake Louise Inn

The Lake Louise Inn offers some of the best value for a traditional hotel in Lake Louise. It’s located in the Lake Louise village and features an onsite restaurant, pool, fitness center, outdoor grills, and free shuttle to the ski resort in the winter.


Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake
Free canoe rentals for guests of Moraine Lake Lodge

There is only one place to stay at the famous Lake Moraine and it books up fast. The Moraine Lake Lodge is only open from June to October (when Parks Canada opens and closes access to Moraine Lake).

It’s not a vast place, meaning if you want to stay at Lake Moraine herself and be one of the first people to see it every morning and last to say goodnight to the lake, it’s best to book as soon as you can. The good news is that guests of the Moraine Lake Lodge get free access to their rental canoes.


Where to Stay at Moraine Lake?

Moraine Lake Lodge

Moraine Lake Lodge

Moraine Lake Lodge may be set in the most scenic setting for a lodge in the entire world on the shores of Moraine Lake. This is the only place to stay on Moraine Lake, so if that is your goal while visiting you need to book here. Since this is the only place to stay on Moraine Lake you’ll have to book your room well in advance.


The Bow Valley Parkway

Baker Creek Cabins
Enjoying the fire at Baker Creek

The Bow Valley Parkway, or the “1A,” is the scenic alternative to the TransCanada. The Bow Valley Parkway runs from Banff to Lake Louise and provides many sightseeing opportunities in the winter and summer.

There are a few places to stay along the parkway, including the Castle Mountain Chalets, Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows, and Baker Creek Resort. All of these are truly among some of the best places to stay in Banff, providing warmth to visitors as there are the coziest cabins. If you can score a booking consider yourself lucky as they all offer a very unique experience in the park.

Staying on the Bow Valley Parkway

Pros

  • More Exclusive.
  • Quiet
  • Perfect if you want a cabin experience.
  • Pet Friendly!
  • Great self-catering options
  • Closer to Johnston Canyon and Morant’s Curve
  • Still close to Lake Louise.
  • Great biking off the Parkway

Cons

  • Far from Downtown Banff
  • Must have own transport
  • Few to no restaurant options.
  • Non-existent nightlife and shopping

Where to Stay in Banff on the Bow Valley Parkway?

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Baker Creek Mountain Resort is my favorite place to stay in the entire park. Here you’ll get a true Canadian backcountry experience surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and vast wilderness. Baker Creek is less of a “hotel” and more cabins. Enjoy a roaring fire under the night sky with access to outdoor fire pits.


Johnston Canyon Bungalows

Johnston Canyon Bungalows

Johnston Canyon Bungalows has been family-owned since 1926 and is located right at the start of Johnston Canyon. They have 42 cabins that vary in size and room amenities. Most of the bungalows have a large open bedroom, porch area, wood-burning fireplace, as well as luxury amenities like a flat-screen tv, bridge, and bathrobes.


Castle Mountain Chalets

Castle Mountain Chalets

Castle Mountain Chalets is located in Castle Junction just a 20-minute drive away from Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway, making it one of the best places to stay in Banff on the Parkway. It’s a secluded little spot to book if you want to be more self-sufficient on your trip.


Banff Backcountry

Beautiful Sundance Lodge, which we got to by horseback riding in
Beautiful Sundance Lodge, which we got to by horseback riding in

Last on my list of Where to Stay in Banff are epic places in the Banff backcountry. There aren’t many accommodation options in the Banff backcountry that aren’t camping.

However, we like the vibe of the Banff cabins you can get. Deep in the Alberta mountains and nestled away from everyday life are Sundance Lodge, Halfway Lodge, and Skoki Lodge. All require a trek to get to, but if you’re up for an adventure, it’s sure to be one of the best times of your life!

Where to Stay in Banff Backcountry?

Sundance Lodge

Sundance Lodge

Sundance Lodge is an awesome backcountry Banff cabin accessible by horseback, fat bike, hiking, or snowshoeing. You can book a stay back here with Banff Trail Riders.


Skoki Lodge

Skoki Lodge

One of the most iconic backcountry lodges in Banff, though it doesn’t come cheap and requires some legwork to get back here!


halfway lodge

Halfway Lodge (Only accessible via horseback in the summer)

Truly one of the most unique cabins we have ever stayed in. You’ll have to book a horseback trip back here with Banff Trail Riders to experience it!


Alternatives to Staying in Banff National Park

Airbnb in Canmore
Downtown Canmore

If you don’t mind staying outside of Banff, a few options are available. Fortunately, most of these destinations are more affordable than staying in Banff, and they are still in the mountains or very close (like in Cochrane).

Canmore: Canmore is the town right next to Banff National Park. It’s located closer to Calgary and Kananaskis. In my opinion, it’s just as beautiful as the town of Banff, if not prettier, but you are further away from the major sights like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Canmore has a great downtown and restaurant scene, and new accommodation options are popping up all over town. My favorite place to stay in Canmore is The Malcolm Hotel, but you can see the best places to stay in Canmore.

Golden: Golden is about an hour’s drive from Lake Louise and is an excellent option if you plan to hang out more in Yoho National Park, see Emerald Lake, and hike the Iceline Trail. It’s a cute little town and provides exceptionally close access to the Kicking Horse Ski Resort. There are less accommodation restrictions in Golden, meaning you can often find some very unique Golden cabins.

Cochrane: Cochrane is not located in the mountains, but it’s not far from Kananaskis Country, and it’s only a 40-minute drive to Canmore and 15 minutes further to Banff. It’s incredibly affordable because of its location at the “foothills of the Rockies,” it’s extremely affordable! However, we wouldn’t recommend it to most visitors.

Field: Field, just over the border in British Columbia is a small village located in Yoho National Park between Lake Louise and Golden. There’s not much here in the terms of accommodation, or…anything else! However if you plan on exploring Yoho and Lake Louise more in depth it is a good option that is often more moderately priced than Banff National Park. If you choose to stay near Field we highly recommend Cathedral Mountain Lodge near Tak Falls, or Emerald Lake Lodge at Emerald Lake.


Hopefully this gave you a better idea of the best places to stay in Banff and where to stay in Banff. If you have any other questions leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, and everything else.


Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • 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 camper prices on Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals and like to use travel credit cards to hack our way into free flights and hotels! Our favorite cards are the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire, which both work well in Canada and have no foreign transaction fees.
  • 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!

↓ Join the community ↓

The Banff Blog Facebook Group is your headquarters for Canadian Rockies travel advice and information, including hike and off-season travel information. You can also meet new adventure buddies.

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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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1 thought on “Where to Stay in Banff – (Areas and BEST Places to Stay in Banff)”

  1. THIS is, by far, the most complete blog about visiting the Banff area, EVER.
    A resident of Calgary since 1983 (when Banff was simpler), and still visits Banff “occasionally” by bus; I still learned quite a bit from the blog.

    Thanks for being so thorough.

    To visitors: This is THE guide; forget all the other sunny publicity pamphlets put out by travel agencies and others.
    The blog says it like it is, warts and all.

    Reply

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