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Bumpers Inn 2.5

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Clean, non-smoking hotel set a 20-minute walk from downtown
  • One of the more affordable options in town
  • Rooms have microwaves and mini-fridges; some have balconies
  • Suites have modern upgrades, fireplaces, and more stylish decor
  • Large, central courtyard with wooden deck and seating
  • Free access to pool and other facilities at nearby Inns of Banff
  • Free public bus passes
  • Free Wi-Fi and uncovered parking
  • Pets allowed

Cons

  • Check-in is at Inns of Banff (three-minute walk)
  • Very few on-site features
  • No free breakfast
  • No AC in rooms

Bottom Line

Bumpers Inn is one of Banff's most affordable (and basic) properties. The 39 spotless rooms have little to nothing in terms of decor, and feature forest green carpeting, metal keys, wood-paneled walls, comfy beds, and large windows with motel drapes. Bathrooms have hairdryers, shower/tub combos, and Rocky Mountain Soap company toiletries. You'll also get convenience items like microwaves, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and an extra vanity area in rooms. There's not much on site outside of a courtyard and ice machines, but guests have free access to the facilities a three-minute walk away at Inns of Banff (also where you check in for Bumpers). This is a non-smoking, pet-friendly spot ideal for folks on a budget who don't need bells and whistles. If you want a little more, the nearby Voyager Inn has low rates (for Banff), free breakfast, and more on-site features (including a pool). 

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Scene

Midcentury motel that hasn't changed much since the '50s 

Bumpers Inn was built in the late 1950s and hasn't had much by way of renovations since. The hotel's midcentury design, complete with concrete walls and unfinished wood paneling, give it a mixed vibe somewhere between lodge and motel. In 2013, the property was taken over by the Banff Lodging Company, which also owns several other properties in town. 

The property is a true no-frills spot with a somewhat forgotten vibe thanks to its location off the main street, and its lack of even a front office for check-in. Guests must walk over to Inns of Banff to check in and grab their old-fashioned metal room keys. To the inn's front are the start of a creek and a bus depot, and to the back is a pine forest. Unfortunately, the thick pine forest obscures any mountain views. It's possible to hear sounds of the creek, though beeping from buses backing up at the bus stop is more likely. 

Location

On the eastern edge of town, close drive to trailheads and a block from the bus stop

Bumpers Inn is located one block off the eastern edge of the Banff Avenue strip, within about a five-minute drive of most trailheads. It's about a 20-minute walk or six-minute drive to the concentration of restaurants, shops, and action in the downtown area around Caribou Street, but there are plenty of hotels on Banff Avenue that have restaurants and are within closer walking distance. The local bus service to Sulphur Mountain picks up a block from the hotel and drops off across the street, and the free shuttle to the Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs (which returns from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) is a 15-minute walk. 

  • Eight-minute drive to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
  • Nine-minute drive to Cave and Basin
  • Nine-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • 11-minute drive to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • 12-minute drive or 33 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka 
  • 12-minute drive to the Banff Gondola
  • 25-minute drive to Canmore
  • 43-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • One-hour-and-25-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Spotless though basic and dimly lit rooms and modern suites with microwaves, mini-fridges, and no AC; some have balconies

Bumpers Inn has 30 dimly lit rooms that teeter somewhere between feeling dated and retro thanks to the motel-style carpets and bedspreads that live alongside wood-paneled accent walls and ceilings, flat-screen TVs, and contemporary bathrooms. In a bit of a design flaw, the rooms receive a lot of natural light through the large windows, but the drapes need to be drawn for any sort of privacy, leaving the low-watt lamps as your only source of light. Despite the hotel's age, the rooms are spotless, beds are comfortable, and the furniture, though basic, has little to no wear and tear. Rooms facing the bus depot in front can be noisy, and some rooms have a faint smell of smoke, even though this is a nonsmoking hotel. 

Bathrooms have tile floors and shower/tub combos, and you can expect slightly rough towels, hairdryers, makeup remover wipes, and full-sized pump bottles of Rocky Mountain Soap Company shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There's also a second vanity outside the bathroom that doubles as a countertop for a small microwave and coffee machine (with real mugs); there are a min-fridge and large flat-screen TV in the main room -- but no AC. Some rooms have balconies. 

Standard Doubles have the most natural light and have a spacious layout. The Standard One King One Double Rooms feel slightly more cramped, but typically have a slightly larger bathroom. We also noticed a little more wear and tear in these rooms. If you're looking for a more contemporary vibe, the Suites have updated carpets, furniture, doors and door frames, light fixtures, and stylish wallpaper, plus unfinished wood decor and slate fireplaces. The separate sitting area has a large flat-screen and pullout couch. Suite bathrooms ditch the tile in favor of wood laminate floors, swap pump bottles for tiny toiletries, and sport new toilets. Main room upgrades include newer beds, leather headboards, and a kitchenette area. 

Features

Value property with minimal features, but free access to the many facilities at Inns of Banff

Bumpers Inn is a value property that's low on on-site features, though you'll still get a big central courtyard with an expansive wooden deck and seating. There's an ice machine but no vending machines. Unlike some value hotels in the area, Bumpers Inn does not offer free breakfast (and its slightly lower rates reflect this). Freebies include an uncovered lot parking, Wi-Fi, and bus passes. Playpens and highchairs are available on request. Guests here can use the facilities at Inns of Banff (a three-minute walk) for free, including its restaurants, pub, a gift shop with local products, and an indoor pool and sauna.

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Address

250 Marmot Cres, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1H8, Canada

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