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HI-Banff Alpine Centre 2.0

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Mountain location with beautiful views all around
  • Dorm-like rooms or private rooms and cabins with en suite bathrooms
  • Restaurant and pub plus nightly activities and entertainment
  • Two communal kitchens and dining areas
  • Organized group hikes and adventures and nightly events in the pub
  • Reception is staffed around the clock
  • Game and TV room plus an event room
  • Daily housekeeping plus coin-operated laundry facilities
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking

Cons

  • Town is a bit far away for a walk (20 minutes)
  • Kitchens can get crowded at peak times
  • Wi-Fi can be spotty
  • Homey decor can be a bit dated

Bottom Line

The 54-room HI-Banff Alpine Centre is a budget hostel situated a five-minute drive outside of the town of Banff. It's in a beautiful mountain setting, with all sorts of outdoor recreation close at hand. Simple, but cozy rooms come in dorm or private configurations, and while some have en-suite bathrooms, many share a bathroom with the floor. Private rooms and Cabins have flat-screen TVs. There's a popular pub on-site serving breakfast and dinner, and there are two communal kitchens for those who prefer to self-cater. The pub also offers activities like karaoke or trivia, and the hotel organizes hiking, skiing, and snowboarding trips. Travelers wanting to forego the communal atmosphere should consider the Inns of Banff, where rates aren't much higher and there are two pools and a hot tub.   

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Scene

Lodge-inspired hostel with a social vibe that's suitable for young backpackers

This lodge-style hostel is located in two separate buildings and private cabins, with a lobby in each building. The main building's lobby has two black sectionals in front of a stone fireplace, a cozy space for hanging out -- as many of the guests are wont to do at this casual and kicked-back property. In fact, public interiors -- while not exactly exercises in high style -- have a homey, cozy atmosphere which helps the social vibe that defines this hostel. The Mary Belle building -- the hotel's second building -- also has a stone fireplace with lodge-pole furniture, while both buildings have lofts that make for good places to read or mingle with other hostel guests. Guests also hang out in the game and TV room, as well as on the deck. The atmosphere here is lively, and activities keep everything amiable. As with most hostels, this property is geared toward backpackers ages 20 to 35, but some families stay here as well. 

Location

A five-minute drive from downtown Banff, convenient to bus stop

This hostel is located a little over a mile outside Banff, about a 20-minute walk or five minutes by car. The hostel provides free bus passes for guests, so it's easy to get around, and the bus stops nearby. The Banff Gondola is about a 12-minute drive away or 15 minutes by bus. Bow Falls is about eight minutes away by car, or travelers who like to walk can get there in 30 to 45 minutes on foot. The Tunnel Mountain Trail is about a five-minute drive away, and Banff Upper Hot Springs are 10 minutes away by car. The closest airport, Calgary International, is about an hour and a half away by car. Shuttles and buses are available for transportation from the airport. 

Rooms

Dorms, private rooms, and cabins, some with en-suite bathrooms

Rooms are either dorm-like with bunk beds or private with shared or en suite bathrooms. Cabins also are available. Dorm rooms have either four or six beds and come with storage lockers for each bed, plus a shelf, light, and power outlet. Bed linens and towels are provided. Guests can choose from female only, male only, or mixed dorms. Some have en-suite bathrooms with a sink, toilet, and hairdryer, though showers are down the hall. Private rooms come with either a double bed and shared bathroom or queen bed and en-suite bathroom. They are basic rooms with few frills except a wall-mounted flat-screen TV. Bedspreads and drapes are a bit dated. Bathrooms have a sink, toilet, hairdryer, and walk-in shower. Private cabins come with two double beds, a fireplace, flat-screen TV, coffeemakers, and an en suite bathroom. A loveseat, bench, and chairs provide seating by the fireplace. Some of the rooms have nice views of the mountains or forest, while others look out into the parking lot. 

Features

Restaurant and pub with nightly events, two communal kitchens, plus a game and TV room

Serving breakfast and dinner, Cougar Pete's restaurant is a cozy lodge-style space with log walls and wooden tables. Picnic tables are available on the deck for alfresco dining in nice weather, and views of the surrounding mountains are beautiful. The Storm Cellar pub hosts nightly activities such as karaoke or trivia. 

Two communal kitchens are well-supplied with everything needed for cooking and eating. The one in the Mary Belle Barclay building offers a huge refrigerator, stainless steel counters, microwaves, stove and oven, toasters, and two sinks. Plates and glasses are supplied, but there is no dishwasher. The dining areas have fireplaces and TVs.

A game room has billiards and foosball tables, darts, and a flat-screen TV. The Mary Belle meeting room has windows all around with views of the forest. A computer is set up in the main building lobby for guests to use, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the hostel.

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Address

801 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1H5, Canada

Phone

778.328.2220

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