Located within the strikingly beautiful Banff National Park, the town of Banff has plenty of ordinary motels and several splurge-worthy mountain lodges. However, if you’re looking for accommodations with style but don’t need super-deluxe amenities (or super-deluxe prices), you don’t have as many options.
The new Moose Hotel & Suites is the first lodging to open within Banff National Park in nearly a decade, and it’s aiming for that upper mid-range sweet spot, with a convenient location and a comfortably upscale mountain lodge design. I had a chance to stay at the Moose as the hotel was finishing up its construction this summer. Here’s the scoop:
The Banff Lodging Company, which owns nine hotels, seven restaurants, and a number of other businesses in the Banff area, opened the Moose in late June (2016).
In keeping with its mountain setting, a short walk from many of the attractions, restaurants, and shops in the town of Banff, the Moose was constructed with plenty of wood and stone, beginning in the spacious lobby with a double-height ceiling and a wall of windows facing an interior courtyard.
An unexpected feature of that courtyard is that it contains a 1913 wood-frame house that was the home of Leonard Leacock (1904-1992), a musician, composer, and avid outdoorsman who was raised in Banff. The house was moved from its original site nearby and is in the process of being restored. Hotel staff expect to use the Leacock House to host small functions and possibly a small museum.
The Moose has 174 guest rooms, including standard doubles and both one- and two-bedroom suites. All have balconies or patios and large windows, so they feel open and airy. Views are mostly of the surrounding trees and streetscape (I shot the iconic Banff town view photo at the top of this story from Cascade Gardens, about a 15-minute walk from the Moose), though some upper-floor units do have mountain vistas.
A local carpenter constructed the wooden dressers in each of the rooms, and a blacksmith from British Columbia’s Kootenay region designed the hooks and other iron work used throughout the property.
All units have mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffee makers. The suites have a living room area with a sofa bed and a small dining table.
Bathrooms are spacious and modern, with granite countertops and rainfall showers.
Wi-Fi, available throughout the hotel, is complimentary. USB ports are conveniently located by the beds, so you can keep your devices charging nearby while you sleep.
Parking is included in the room rates, as is a pass for Roam Transit, the local bus network that can shuttle you to many attractions in and around Banff.
Aboriginal artist Jason Carter, who is based in Canmore (just south of Banff) created the colorful, moose-themed artwork that decorates the walls in the guest rooms and public spaces.
On the top floor of the hotel, two outdoor hot tubs overlook the mountains, and there’s an indoor pool and sauna as well. The fitness room isn’t large, but you can enjoy the views of Mount Rundle while you work out. A full-service spa is opening later this summer.
The hotel’s Pacini Italian Restaurant and Bar, a local franchise of a Quebec-based restaurant chain, hadn’t opened yet during my stay, but it will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books Moon Vancouver and Canadian Rockies Road Trip, Moon Handbooks: Ontario, and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Moose Hotel & Suites hosted my stay for review purposes.