Set in the Rocky Mountains, just under an hour’s drive west of Calgary, Banff, Alberta is a beautiful resort town nestled in the wilds of Banff National Park. While spotting an elk grazing on a garden in town is a common occurrence, most people believe that finding affordable accommodations in one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations is rare. Not so. The Thrifty Tourist proves it with our list of the best cheap hotels and places to stay in Banff.
Visit the Calgary Groupon page and quite often you’ll find savings of up to 50 or more on hotels, activities and restaurants in Banff, Alberta. If you’re planning your vacation to Banff or even in the middle of it, the Calgary Groupon page is definitely worth a quick look!
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With Banff, Alberta being a resort town naturally the prices of hotels will fluctuate depending on the season. No matter what time of the year though these options are four of the most affordable places to stay.
Located along the Bow River, the Bow View Lodge delivers just what its name says—fantastic views of the Bow River. Rated 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, this cheap places to stay also features clean comfortable rooms, a plunge pool, Jacuzzi and a eucalyptus steam room. Many people who have stayed here rave about the super-friendly staff. Nice quiet location too that’s just a five minute walk from the shops, restaurants and bars of downtown Banff.
Another budget-friendly place to stay that’s a comfortable stroll from Banff’s main drag is Irwin’s Mountain Inn. It too is rated 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. Rooms are clean and well maintained. Amenities include a hot tub, sauna, ski lockers and laundry facilities. The hotel restaurant has a good breakfast at a reasonable price—their pancakes and crepes are recommended. If you want to stock up on a few groceries to have in your room, there’s a Safeway grocery store just around the corner.
If you crave breakfast included in the price of your stay, the High Country Inn will fit the bill. It scores a 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor and includes the convenience of a continental breakfast in the lobby before you head out exploring. When you return, you can relax in the hotel’s pool and Jacuzzi. Need to wash some clothes? They have laundry facilities available. There is also free parking and free wifi, and downtown Banff is just a short walk away.
Want a room right in the heart of Banff that will suit your budget? Book a stay at the Banff International Hotel. Rated 3.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, it’s located on the main street of Banff. Rooms are simple but clean, spacious and comfortable. If you can, get yourself a corner suite—they’re large and sunny. Amenities here include an indoor pool and gym. There’s free, underground parking, but it’s tight and the spaces go fast. Complimentary tea and coffee are available in the lobby every day. And here’s a tip: if you have a sweet tooth be sure and order a slice of apple pie in the hotel bar.
As thrifty travellers know there’s a rule of thumb that states that if you stay a little outside of town, most times you can get a little more for your money. The Juniper Hotel is a great example of that. A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award winner and rated 4 out of 5, it’s located off the Trans-Canada Highway at the bottom of Mount Norquay, about a five minute drive outside of Banff or a 25-minute walk. If you don’t want to drive into town, the hotel offers a free shuttle or you can borrow one of their mountain bikes. The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable. Many overlook the beautiful Vermillion Lakes. The Juniper Hotel is also home to one of the best restaurants in Banff—the Juniper Bistro. Culinary aficionados drive from Calgary just to eat here. Enjoy palate-pleasing meals presented with artistic flair and drink in the gorgeous view of the mountains as you savour every morsel.
Rated 3.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, The Mount Royal Hotel is centrally located in the middle of Banff which means trails, riverside walks, shops, restaurants and bars are just a short walk away. The hotel has free parking out back and each floor features laundry facilities, which is great when you’re midway or towards the tail-end of your trip and your clothes are due for a refresh. The hotel also boasts Tony Roma’s Restaurant & Lounge—be sure and sit down for at least one meal here where the food is excellent.
The Banff Inn is another good bet for the thrifty traveller looking for good value for their dollar. Reviewers on TripAdvisor give it 3.5 out of 5. Among the reasons to stay here are clean, comfortable rooms, a fantastic hot tub sauna and steam room, free wifi and underground parking. A free continental breakfast is included as well. The Banff Inn is located just out of town on the main road, but it’s just a short walk to all the shops, bars and restaurants.
Contributors to TripAdvisor give the Banff Ptarmigan hotel a 3.5 out of 5 and it has a lot to offer. Like the other choices we’ve mentioned it has clean, comfortable, cosy rooms and it’s close to all the shops, restaurants and bars in Banff, but here are a few things that set it apart. First of all when you book a room at this cheap place to stay you get a hot breakfast buffet included—there’s even a chef dedicated to making custom omelettes. For chilling after a run on the slopes or a hike on the trails there are two hot tubs, a sauna and a steam room. If your legs are tuckered but you still have the urge to go out, no problem: the hotel provides you with a free bus pass for the local transit system. There is also underground parking and free wifi.
Since you’re vacationing in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains you may want to stay at an affordable place that offers an authentic log-cabin, alpine-lodge feel. The Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa makes the ideal choice. The holder of a 4 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor, it’s anchored at the end of Main Street, but only a short walk from the centre of town. This budget-pleasing hotel has comfortable, clean rooms, free wifi, hot pool, steam room and underground parking. If you love a good steak for dinner you can’t beat The Keg restaurant that’s right inside the hotel. And if you need a break from hiking into town, you can take advantage of the complimentary bus pass they provide.
If you’ve been sticking to your budget-conscious ways throughout your vacation and feel like rewarding yourself for your efforts, a wonderful but still affordable hotel option to consider is the Hidden Ridge Resort. This place to stay in Banff is one of the best—with a 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor and the winner of a Travelers’ Choice Award. Stay here and you’ll know why it gets top marks. Beds and bedding are excellent. Rooms are spacious and clean. Relax in the hot pool overlooking the mountains and soak up the awesome view. The walk into town is just 10 minutes or so, or you can take the complimentary shuttle. The Hidden Ridge Resort is a true Mountain getaway.
A vacation rental is a cheaper way to go than staying at a hotel if your visit to Banff is going to be for more than three or four days. How cheap? Depending on the time of year, some thrifty Banff vacation rentals can cost less than $150 a day.
Got a small budget but big dreams i.e. want to visit Banff, Alberta? You can’t beat the price of accommodations at the hostels in Banff. In most cases you can get a place to lay your head for under $50 a night—even during peak tourist season. Two great places to see what hostel accommodations are available are Hostelworld and TripAdvisor.
One great way to save on Banff hotel accommodations is to peruse Groupon, the money-saving website that features local discounts in 150 cities. Visit the Calgary “Hotels” Groupon page and chances are you’ll find savings of up to 50% on places to stay in Banff, Alberta. The Groupon Calgary “Hotels” page is a smart place to start when you’re first planning your trip to Banff, Alberta and even when you’re in the middle of your Banff visit because new deals get added weekly and even daily many times.
Be thrifty and practical! This information was accurate when published, but can change without notice. We recommend you confirm all details with the provider in question before planning your excursion.
Photo Credits: TripAdvisor and the Juniper Hotel.