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Fox Hotel & Suites 3.5

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • On Banff Avenue, walking distance to downtown and the bus stop
  • Gorgeous grotto-style hot pool modeled after the Cave and Basin
  • Spotless (if snug) rooms with updated lodge decor 
  • Spacious, lofted suites with kitchenettes and pullout sofas
  • On-site Chili's Restaurant (private room available), plus free breakfast
  • Free ski lockers and send-out tuneup service (fee)
  • Tiny fitness room and dry sauna
  • Can charge restaurants and services from sister properties to room
  • Freebies include Wi-Fi and heated parking
  • Pet-friendly (con for some)

Cons

  • Air-conditioning only in suites
  • Outdoor hallways can be noisy 
  • No area to wax skis 
  • No wheelchair accessible rooms

Bottom Line

Fox Hotel & Suites is a three-and-a-half-pearl property located within a 10-minute walk of downtown Banff. Its 116 rooms are spotless and contemporary with slate bathrooms and comfy beds, though suites are the only rooms with air-conditioning, and even then it's only in the living rooms. Guests tend to find the regular hotel rooms small (and a bit stuffy in summer without AC), while suites are spacious with kitchenettes, pullout sofas, and lofted configurations. The beautiful grotto-style hot pool is a favorite among the many new and returning guests, and the hotel's on-site Chili's Restaurant is almost always lively. There's also a small gym, laundry, free Wi-Fi and heated parking, and 24-hour reception. If you're looking for quiet or seclusion with self-catering, Hidden Ridge Resort could be a better fit, and has comparable features plus gorgeous views.

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Scene

Casual and contemporary (if sometimes noisy) hotel popular with younger couples and groups

Fox Hotel & Suites was originally built in 2007 and stays up-to-date with ongoing renovations that usually take place during the spring shoulder season. Off the bat, there's a warm and welcoming (and somewhat rugged) feeling in the lobby thanks to the faux rock, warm wood walls and ceiling, and rugged stone tiling. There is a small amount of wear and tear on furniture if you know where to look, but for the most part, interior spaces are clean and contemporary. It's a good value for money when factoring in the onsite facilities and the condition of the property, so it's no wonder that many travelers who come here are repeat or long-stay guests. 

The private and spacious loft suites make it a favorite with couples (particularly those in their 30s) and the self-catering suites that can sleep up to eight give it an affordable price point with younger groups of friends from the region. Unfortunately, the open-air halls, Chili's bar, and party-style of some of the younger groups can make it fairly noisy, especially with interior windows open. For a slightly higher price point, it's worth checking out rates at the Moose Hotel & Suites (a sister property) which is minutes to downtown on foot and has a full-service spa on site. 

Location

Fantastic location within walking distance of public transport, a supermarket, and downtown Banff

Fox Hotel & Suites is on the north side of Banff Avenue's eastern edge, between Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge and the Banff Inn. It's about a 10-minute walk to the IGA supermarket at the start of the downtown area. There are plenty of hotels on Banff Avenue that have on-site restaurants within a few minutes' walk, and most trailheads are within about a five-minute drive. The local bus service to Sulphur Mountain stops right outside the hotel and drops off across the street. Two other bus lines are across Banff Avenue, and a free shuttle to the Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs (which returns from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) is just a 13-minute walk toward town. 

  • Seven-minute drive to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge (19-minute walk)
  • Eight-minute drive to Cave and Basin
  • Nine-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • 11-minute drive to the Banff Gondola
  • 11-minute drive to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • 14-minute drive to Lake Minnewanka (34 minutes via public transportation)
  • 26-minute drive to Canmore (52-minute bus ride)
  • 40-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • 1-hour-and-27-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Spacious and spotless rooms and suites with options for lofts and kitchenettes

Though Fox Hotel & Suites is a predominately suite property, there are a few snug hotel rooms that manage to fit in either two doubles or one queen with a pullout loveseat and vanity/desk. Alas, these are missing mini-fridges and -- even worse -- air-conditioning. The lack of AC in these rooms means they get stuffy during hot summer days and nights, although they're equipped with fans. Apart from those issues rooms are well-equipped with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers and kettles, and pantry-style closets. Modern bathrooms have sleek slate tiling and are stocked with Rocky Mountain Soap toiletries, plus sewing kits and shower caps.  

Unlike rooms, Suites have AC along with separate living rooms with double bed-sized pullout sofas, plus kitchenettes with microwaves, toasters, full-sized mini-fridges, and settings for four to six. Lofted suites come with the same amenities and decor, but are split with either a lofted bedroom or, in a Reverse One-Bedroom, a lofted living room. Premium One-Bedroom Suites are the largest, though the hotel can easily fashion a Two-Bedroom Suite by connecting the One-Bedroom Suite and a Standard Room, hiking the occupancy level up to six. (We were also told that if configured with all double beds, it is possible to squeeze in up to 10 people, though we don't recommend this.) 

Rooms are accessed through outdoor hallways which are cooling in the summer and brisk in the winter. Since this is a popular spot with younger groups of friends, it can get noisy.

Features

An impressive grotto-style hot pool and an on-site Chili’s 

The Fox Hotel & Suites has some appealing features for an upper-middle-range property, starting with its pool. Its hot pool has a unique indoor/outdoor-style grotto design that's modeled after the Cave and Basin. The tiled pool is heated up to 104-degrees Fahrenheit and in a faux-cave with open-air skylights. It's popular among guests (especially in winter) and open to anyone staying at one of the hotel's sister properties. A small dry sauna can also be found here off to the side. Pool changing rooms look snazzy on first glance, but grubby tile and body wash/shampoo pumps give them a dated vibe. Hardcore fitness folks will likely be disappointed by the gym's small size, but a few free weights and two cardio machines cover the basics. 

Fox Hotel & Suites is also home to the town's Chili's Restaurant, located right off the lobby, and open for all three meals. It serves a typical Chili's menu as well as a few regional specialities. Hotel rates include a decent (but not extravagant) breakfast including waffles and fresh fruit. 

There's also a small business center with a printer, a coin-operated set of laundry machines, on-site bike rental, and several types of vending machines. Freebies include local calls, Wi-Fi, and parking in the heated, underground garage. The garage also has free lockers with combination locks for ski storage and a send-out service for ski tuneups (for an extra fee). Family-friendly features include free highchairs and playpens on request, plus a lobby book swap. This is a non-smoking, no pets property. It's also not a good choice for travelers with wheelchairs due to its layout.

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Address

461 Banff Avenue, Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1H8, Canada

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