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Red Carpet Inn 2.0

Banff, Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Off Banff Avenue, walking distance to the town center
  • Large rooms with comfortable beds and flat-screen TVs
  • Indoor hot tub area with mountain views
  • Access to the sauna, hot tub, and indoor pool next door at High Country Inn
  • Free outdoor parking
  • Free on-site ski storage
  • Free Wi-Fi 
  • Pet-friendly rooms (with a daily fee)

Cons

  • No breakfast, restaurant, or bar
  • Some visible wear and tear and aging
  • Mixed reports on the stability of the water heater
  • Noise from the train (expected from this location near tracks)

Bottom Line

For budget travelers looking to stay within walking distance of Banff’s town center, the 52-room Red Carpet Inn is one of the more affordable value chain options. Clean and spacious (if mostly dated) rooms come with large flat-screen TVs and balconies. Some rooms come with hot tubs. The communal six-person indoor hot tub with mountain views, parking, ski storage, and free Wi-Fi and local calls round out the on-site features. Guests can also access the hot tub, indoor pool, and sauna at the High Country Inn hotel next door. The similarly-priced (and dated) Banff Voyager Inn includes a free breakfast buffet, but it's at the farthest end of the avenue.  

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Scene

A clean, but older chain property that doesn't hide its age and is slow with renovations

The Red Carpet Inn is the embodiment of a value hotel: a simple spot with dated rooms and few frills. Originally constructed with just two floors, a third floor was added in 1978, and the hotel was primarily untouched for two decades until exterior hallways were enclosed. Soft renovations were done to the lobby and interior hallways in 2008, and the hotel plans to have a total renovation of all bathrooms done by fall 2017. Expect typical motel decor in typical motel condition with clean and simple hallways. A few areas need particular attention like the threadbare carpeting on exterior stairs and dings on walls, and an old but functional elevator. 

This spot is a favorite with tour groups and budget travelers who don't need a lot of bells and whistles or amenities, but want to be within walking distance to town and public transit. For more updated rooms and a handful of features including free breakfast, meeting rooms, and a restaurant, check out the nearby, three-pearl Banff Ptarmigan Inn.

Location

Super convenient location within walking distance to town center and a bus stop out front

Red Carpet Inn is located directly off Banff Avenue, within a two-and-a-half block walk to the center of town. The hotel is between the sister properties of High Country Inn and Irwin's Mountain Inn. The Route 1 public bus to Sulphur Mountain (same route buses to Tunnel Mountain leave from across the street), or you can catch the free shuttle to the Banff Gondola and Upper Hot Springs right outside the Elk + Avenue hotel, a four-minute walk toward town. Buses to Lake Minnewanka depart from the high school right across from Elk + Avenue. Most trailheads are within about a five-minute drive. 

  • Six-minute drive, 10-minute bus, or 17-minute walk to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge
  • Seven-minute drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
  • Eight-minute drive to Cave and Basin 
  • 10-minute drive or 15-minute bus to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
  • 14-minute drive or 37 minutes via public transportation to Lake Minnewanka 
  • 11-minute drive tor 18-minute bus o the Banff Gondola
  • 25-minute drive to Canmore
  • 43-minute drive to Lake Louise
  • 90-minute drive to Calgary Airport

Rooms

Motel-style rooms and suites; some with updated decor, balconies, whirlpools, and/or fireplaces

Rooms at Red Carpet Inn are clean and simple with your standard two-pearl motel look, though planned renovations (starting with the Premium Rooms and Suites) are slowly giving rooms a more updated feel as light gray patterned carpets, pale texturized wallpaper, modernized bathrooms, and contemporary cushioned sitting chairs are added. Renovated bathrooms have gray tiles that mimic hardwood floors, block tiling behind the shower/tubs, and stylish sinks. Renovations have also downsized and updated the furniture from towering cherrywood all-in-one armoire entertainment centers (there are no closets in the rooms) to oak-veneered TV stands with drawers and faux-marble tops. Bedding is standard across the board: comfy, all white beds with dark blue runners. 

Most of the rooms on the second and third floors have balconies, though be prepared for some rust on a few. All 52 rooms have large flat-screen TVs with cable channels, mini-fridges, coffeemakers (with real mugs and tea and coffee packets, but no kettle), old clunky safes, and EarthTempo toiletries that include lotion and conditioning shampoo. You’ll also find individual in-wall AC units, photographs of needlepoint work and generic nature drawings hanging from the walls, and a small table with two cushioned chairs. 

Standard King and Standard Queen Rooms will sometimes have an extra mirrored vanity outside the bathroom, while upgrades to the hotel’s only Premium One King Room will get you more space, an extra sitting nook, updated look, and larger TV. There are two suite categories in the hotel, the King Jacuzzi Suite and the King Jacuzzi Fireplace Suite, both which have -- you guessed it -- two-person whirlpools, plus a lot more space and huge flat-screens. The fireplace suite has an oddly-placed stand-up shower right at the bathroom's entrance, new tub and separate toilet, extra vanity, views of Cascade Mountain, and gas fireplace. If you’re looking to avoid road noise from Banff Avenue, we suggest opting for a back-facing room where you’ll ask snag views of Tunnel Mountain. 

Some rooms are pet-friendly with a daily fee. Past guests have complained about an occasional lack of hot water. 

Features

A few freebies and an indoor hot tub, plus access to some features at the hotel next door

Red Carpet Inn is a value property with a limited amount of features, but you'll still find a few bonuses that add to the bang of your buck. Not common in most value hotels (though slightly more common in Banff), Red Carpet Inn has an indoor hot tub that can seat up to six. Accessed via keycard, the tiled hot tub area gets lots of lights via windows facing out toward the parking lot and mountains and there's a dedicated toilet and semi-private pre-soak shower. There's no restaurant or breakfast here, but you will get free ski storage, Wi-Fi, and local calls, plus access to the sunny indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna next door at High Country Inn. 

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Address

425 Banff Ave., Banff, Canadian Rockies T1L 1B6, Canada

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