It’s hard to imagine that we were just in that very morning, enjoying the luxuries of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and now, before the day has ended, we had arrived at the town of Banff, with quite a number of amazing sights thrown in between at Yoho National Park.
Just as in Jasper, we made the choice to stay in the town for 2 nights, allowing us to explore Banff in greater detail at our own leisurely pace.
The Rocky Mountaineer package had a few choices of hotels at Banff, and our hotel of choice was the Elk + Avenue Hotel (previously known as Banff International Hotel) , a place that is located right at the start (or end) of downtown Banff.
While our Brewster coach was dropping off passengers once we arrived at downtown Banff, we could appreciate the relative proximity of the Elk + Avenue Hotel to the shopping street where all the action were.
The Elk + Avenue Hotel at the edge of downtown Banff.
Just as at Jasper, there are plenty of wild animals at downtown Banff. These deers are making salad bars out of the backyards of the hotel that we were dropping passengers at. Deers are a common sight on the streets of Banff, we were told. That sounds promising, because I would love to encounter one while shopping!
Fast Check-in and Service
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There were unfortunately no deers waiting to welcome us to Elk + Avenue Hotel, but what we found was a polished check-in counter and a cool interior. In fact, the Elk + Avenue Hotel was recently bought over by Brewster and parts of it were given a facelift in phases, resulting in this cool and chic interior that we see now.
Our check-in was fast and prompt – our breakfast vouchers were dispensed quickly and room keys given to us. We were in fact, the only ones from the Brewster coach who were staying at the Elk + Avenue Hotel, which was a mystery to us, because this was quite an amazing hotel. Perhaps the majority of them were staying at the more up-market The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel further uphill, which was the sister hotel of the wonderful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Brand New Renovated Room
We were privileged to be allocated a room in the wing that was recently refurbished…which meant that we were going to experience a nearly brand new room!!
It looked like we were to stay in a log cabin! But no, they were normal hotel rooms in a normal building. I love this unique design! It relaxes me instantly!
Well, let’s have a peep into our room…
I declare that I absolutely love my room at the Elk + Avenue Hotel.
Let’s start with its configuration. Right after we stepped in, there’s a small corridor where we could deposit our luggage and have a settee for our shoes. At the end of this corridor is the bathroom (small, but beautifully furnished), and with this configuration, our bedroom had the most privacy that it could get. Which means that we will have minimal disruption from other guests walking along the corridors at night, a problem that even the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise had. Of course, other rooms may have other configurations, but I just love this one we had.
The bedroom…what can I say…? Its absolutely chic, absolutely modern, and it would be my dream bedroom. If we had bay windows like this back home, I would have renovated my own bedroom to look like this. Its the ultimate epitome of relaxation here, everything was designed to make you feel welcome, from the furnishings to the lightings and the soft touch of the materials carefully chosen for you.
This room was extremely spacious and comfortable and even though we had just, that very morning, come from the prestigious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, we felt that this room was far better. Of course the view outside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise remained unrivalled, but that was Lake Louise and this was Banff town.
The view from the other side of the room.
The little cove here at the far end of the room is my favourite, because that was where I could have a relaxing moment with a book with the windows open to let in just the right amount of cool fresh air.
It was also the place where we would pack our luggages as it was spacious enough for us to flip everything open. The only grieve that it gave me was that this side window here seemed to be near to some railroad which remained active even into the late hours at night, causing me to lose a lot of sleep despite the comfortable interior here.
The view outside the window. Right in front of us was a side road and opposite the road, a supermarket (Safeway). The positioning of our room just next to the side road added to the noise from the side windows. As we found out for ourselves later, Banff Town was a lot more vibrant than all the other towns we had stayed in the Canadian Rockies. And that posed a problem for anyone who is a light sleeper like myself when you find that the night life in Banff does not end quite early. All in all, I didn’t sleep like a baby because of all the noises of city life, although I do love this room to bits.
The view from the side window.
Just as with the rest of the room, the bathroom was also recently refurbished. Although a little small, everything in this bathroom was almost brand new, scrupulously clean and in working condition.
As with most of the other Canadian hotels that we stayed for this trip, for instance, at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront, the Elk + Avenue Hotel also provides the Keurig coffee machine and capsules for its guests.
The Elk + Avenue Hotel at the foot of the mountains.
I’ve always loved mountain resorts, but unlike the Marmot Lodge we stayed at Jasper, the Elk + Avenue Hotel was a lot more modernised and chic. Staying here means that we could enjoy the fresh mountain air all the time!
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Elk + Avenue Hotel occupies a more strategic location than many of the other hotels that our fellow passengers on the Brewster coach alighted at. We find that all the shops, restaurants and cafes of downtown Banff were just a pedestrian crossing away from the Elk + Avenue Hotel. And that made it so easy for us to come back to the hotel to refresh ourselves before heading out again.
Near to the Elk + Avenue Hotel were also public buses which, for a small fee, would bring you to places of interests such as Banff Hot Springs, the Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls, the Banff Gondola, and to the Banff uptown areas.
The Facilities and Common Areas
While we were there, the Elk + Avenue Hotel was in a state of renovation, and therefore, most parts of it were not accessible. The lobby and the restaurants were however, already in their renewed states.
The Elk + Avenue Hotel had an in-house restaurant called Ricky’s, and that’s where we had our breakfast at. Food was pretty good here at Ricky’s, but unfortunately service was not. The waitress was a one-woman show that morning (she was full of complaints), and she did not even have the knowledge to advise us on what items we could order with our breakfast vouchers. We ended up waiting 45 minutes for food after placing our order and consequently spent a long time at breakfast when we could have used the time for sight-seeing.
At the entrance of the Elk + Avenue Hotel was a souvenir shop cum day tour operator selling Brewster tour packages. Perfect for a last minute tour if you find extra time on your hands.
The souvenir shop had some pretty good stuff too – I found books that were difficult to find elsewhere, and dream catchers that retail for a much lower price than the shops downtown.
Elk + Avenue Hotel
333 Banff Ave,
AB T1L 1B1,
Join us next as we explore the town of Banff.