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Charlton's Banff 2.5

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Small, family-owned hotel a 12-minute walk to downtown Banff
  • One of the more affordable options that is in good condition
  • Contemporary indoor heated pool area with steam room and whirlpool
  • Small lobby cafe lounge with free coffee and tea, plus gas fireplace
  • Free light continental breakfast
  • Two outdoor decks, one with summertime barbecue 
  • Free, secure ski and golf storage
  • Bike rentals
  • Free (if spotty) Wi-Fi and free outdoor parking

Cons

  • Outdoor hallways can be slippery in winter
  • Rooms can be dark and dim
  • Reports of weak AC and spotty internet
  • Kitchenette Suites easily feel cramped

Bottom Line

Charlton's Banff is a 57-room boutique that falls in between the area's beat-up budget properties and pricier mid-range hotels. The rooms here are well-equipped if not quite stylish, with carved wood headboards, patterned wallpaper, and shower-only bathrooms. Loft Suites and Kitchenettes offer slightly more spacious layouts and a few extra amenities such as fireplaces and kitchenettes, respectively. Features are limited but in good condition, particularly the heated indoor pool area with steam room and nine-person whirlpool, and the contemporary lobby cafe area where a light free breakfast is served. Free Wi-Fi (that tends to be spotty), ski and golf storage, and bike rentals are available. Folks looking to be closer to the action, or for more contemporary rooms, should check out the Banff Aspen Lodge. 

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Scene

Welcoming lodge vibe and better maintenance than most hotels in its category

Charlton's Banff is a third-generation family-owned hotel that was first built in 1948 and functioned as Banff's first year-round hotel. Though it started off as a cabin property, in 1966 the layout was changed into individual units and then changed again 10 years later into the hotel's current, slightly confusing "triple horseshoe" configuration (the owner loves horses). This small property has a welcoming lodge look with the heart of an inn; expect outdoor hallways, classic (slightly dated) inn decor in rooms, and more contemporary vibes in public spaces. 

In a town where it is common for hotels to be worn but still have high prices, Charlton's Banff is a good middle ground where you can count on clean rooms with minimal wear and tear, decent prices, and basic features in good condition. It's a popular choice for younger groups and millennial travelers looking for a comfortable spot with an affordable rate. Charlton's has better rooms than most hotels in its budget category, though after an extensive renovation the Banff Aspen hotel offers stiff competition -- at a slightly higher price point. 

Location

Convenient location within a 10-minute walk of downtown Banff and close to public transit

Charlton's Banff is situated on the main road of Banff Avenue alongside many other similar hotels. Several restaurants and a liquor store are within an easy walk, and the main part of downtown Banff can be reached in about 10 minutes on foot. Of course, a car is a must for exploring the gorgeous landscapes of Banff National Park. Banff Upper Hot Springs is a 10-minute drive from the hotel, as are the scenic shores of Lake Minnewanka. Winter ski shuttles pick up outside of the Delta Hotels by Marriott Banff Royal Canadian and the Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa, both about a three-minute walk in opposite directions. There are also three public bus lines with stops within a block radius of the hotel. The closest airport, Calgary International, is about an hour and a half away by car. 

Rooms

Slightly dated but clean and well-equipped rooms; kitchenettes and loft suites available 

Charlton's Banff has 58 rooms outfitted in decor that can pass as classic or dated, depending on who's looking. Expect lightly patterned wallpaper, carved wooden headboards, slightly mismatched furniture, and soft color palettes. Comfort conveniences include AC, kettles and coffeemakers, terrycloth bathrobes, mini-fridges, and irons. The shower-only bathrooms have motion sensor lighting and a full range of toiletries. 

Deluxe Rooms come with one or two queen-size beds and old drapes, while upgrading to a Two-Bedroom Kitchenette Suites gets you another queen-size bed or two twins, a larger mini-fridge, a microwave, and a four-burner range plus settings for four. It's important to note that these rooms have no communal sitting space; the front door opens directly into the first room. There's also limited space in the kitchen, thanks to a hightop table, and the bathroom vanity is right off the kitchen. 

If you're looking for more space or privacy, the dual-level Loft Suites have a sitting area with a couch, TV, fireplace, and bathroom on the first floor, and a lofted king-size bed at the top of a winding spiral staircase on the second floor. Though the layout is a bit more romantic, these are also the most dated rooms in the bunch. 

Features

Good quality (but limited) features and access to a sister property, but no guest laundry

While it's not uncommon for mid-range (or even value) hotels in Banff to have heated indoor pools, Charlton's Banff definitely has one of the cleaner and more contemporary indoor pool areas. Touches like a small fountain, etched glass barriers around the nine-person hot tub, wood-paneled walls, and a sleek spiral staircase add a touch of style, while the large picture windows on three walls bring in lots of natural light. There are also free towels and a steam room, and the small freeform pool is heated year-round. 

Inside the main lobby area, there's a cafe-style lounge area with hightop chairs and leather bucket seats facing the gas fireplace. This is where a free, though basic, continental breakfast is served, and where guests can grab free coffee and tea. Off to the side, there's a small computer station for guests with a printer. Two public balconies (one with a barbecue during summer months) round out the features. Freebies include spotty Wi-Fi and covered outdoor parking, mountain bike rentals, and ski and golf storage (a locked shed accessed by key card). 

Guests at Charlton's can charge food, drinks, and services from the sister property Delta Hotels by Marriott Banff Royal Canadian Lodge to their room. Pets are not allowed and there are no guest laundry facilities at either property. If you arrive after hours, there's a phone by the front door connected to the sister hotel where you can pick up your keys. 

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Things You Should Know About Charlton's Banff

Address

513 Banff Ave., Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1B4, Canada

Also Known As

  • Charlton's Cedar Court

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