Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is one of Canada’s most popular destinations. And with good reason. The glacier-topped peaks, shimmering turquoise lakes, and miles of forested hiking trails really do live up to all the tourist-brochure clichés.
The town of Banff, located within the national park, has a wide range of lodgings, and recently, accommodations providers have been upgrading tired, and often rather clichéd, alpine-style decors, opting for more design-conscious boutique interiors.
In the very center of the town, the Mount Royal Hotel is one of these newly updated boutique lodgings.
Here’s the scoop:
About the Hotel
Opened in 1908, the Mount Royal Hotel was rebuilt and expanded several times during its first century, most recently after a devastating fire in late 2016. The property reopened following a major renovation and updating in July 2018.
With several different sections connected through interior corridors, the brick-and-stone hotel, the second oldest lodging in Banff, now stretches along Banff Avenue, the town’s main street.
The boutique designs begin in the lobby where contemporary furnishings are paired with classic Rocky mountain prints and with historic artifacts from Banff’s Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
On the wall is a modern take on the “stuffed animal head over the fireplace” theme, a contemporary metal elk’s head that an Alberta blacksmith designed for the hotel.
Above the lobby is an additional seating area, as well as a tour desk, where you can book sightseeing excursions and tickets to other Pursuit Collection attractions in Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
As in many historic properties, the guest rooms vary in size and shape, from smaller “Heritage” units to more spacious “Centennial” rooms, to junior suites, which are equipped with kitchenettes and with a divider separating the living and sleeping areas.
What the 133 guest units have in common are their stylish designs, with colorful quilted headboards and custom-made Canadian furnishings.
Amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi (and well-located outlets near the beds), one-cup coffee makers, plush bathrobes, and modern white-tiled baths.
Because of the hotel’s central location, you may notice noise from the street, particularly on the lower floors. In the guest rooms, you’ll find ear plugs and a cheery cautionary note that reads, “Banff is Alive! If it becomes a little too lively outside, we hope these complimentary ear plugs will assist with a restful sleep.”
Not all the rooms at the Mount Royal have views but many do, looking out across town and the mountains. Request a view room on a higher floor when booking if these vistas are important to you.
The views are even more expansive from the hotel’s top floor, where you can have drinks and snacks in the window-lined Cascade Lounge.
My favorite spot in the hotel, though, is outside on the roof deck, where you can soak in one of several outdoor hot tubs beneath the mountain peaks. Because isn’t enjoying your time outdoors what visiting the Canadian Rockies is all about?
Double room rates at the Mount Royal Hotel start at CAD$149 per night, including parking in the small outdoor lot beside the hotel. Check the hotel website for packages that cover accommodations and attractions or tours. You can also check Expedia or Travelocity to see if you can get a better rate.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the new travel guide, Moon Vancouver + Canadian Rockies Road Trip. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Pursuit Collection arranged my stay for review purposes.