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“We enjoyed our stay.”

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Johnston Canyon Resort
Ranked #18 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Banff
Reviewed 22 September 2012

There seems to be a lot of difference in opinion on this resort, depending on your expectations I suppose.
We stayed Sept 9-12th, 2012. We had booked the smallest single cabin option, but were upgraded to the next larger single cabin without even asking. The resort was pretty empty from the look of it.
We had cabin #30 and it was wonderful - very Northwoods, but with some surprising upgrades. They put a lot of thought in the lighting inside the cabin - a spot over the table, many recessed lights, floor lamp, and very useful bedside reading lamps on both sides. There were a large number of outlets to recharge cameras, etc. We've stayed in similar places where both lighting and outlets were scarce.
Their web site could do a better job of describing what is in each cabin. We had a small frig and a coffee maker. There was a TV, but it would only play VCR tapes - no antenna. If the web site explained this, you could bring your own especially if you had kids to entertain. The selection of VCR tapes for rent was lame. I'd suggest they go get some used tapes (you can find them at pawn stores for nothing) and just give them out with a $5 deposit or something.
Our room had a cozy feel with a gas fireplace and couch and the nice lighting. The fireplace kept the room nice and warm, but the heat didn't really make it into the huge bathroom that ran the length of the far end - so it was a bit chilly in there. Shower had plenty of hot water and pressure. The most noticable problem was lack of any hangers or shelves in the bathroom. Stuff gets balanced on the small window sill, and clothes end up on the floor - wouldn't need anything fancy, even a few nails would have helped. We came with a lot of bags, and they did sit on the floor while we were there, but we're not the kind to unpack for a short stay anyway, so this didn't bother us like it bothers others.
Cabin #30 is back in the third row of cabins, so didn't overlook the parking lot, but didn't have a lot of mountain view either. It's true there isn't much parking - one space per cabin. And the cabins are pretty close together but I was impressed by how they were arranged and offset from each other to maximize privacy - windows didn't look into other windows - still not sure if it was planned by a genius, or they just got lucky, but it works out well.
As mentioned by others, the office had a sign, "back in 5 minutes" when we arrived around dinner time. We just went up to the gift store and asked and the gal finished up her dinner and came down and checked us in. We're not sure if it was the same gal for checkin/checkout, but neither time was it a friendly, talkative experience - so I can see how some would be put off. The cleaning staff (in our case, 2 guys) on the other hand were extremely friendly and kept saying if there was anything, anything at all that we needed just let them know.
We did not ever eat at the restaurant or the lunch counter - we brought our own breakfast food and ate out other places for dinner, so we can't comment on the food.
We had one issue when checking out - the gal charged us for the upgraded room price until we noticed and said something, then it was corrected. Not a lot of expressive apology given - but that was how she was I guess.
On price, yes we thought it was expensive, but when we compared against places in Banff or Lake Louise, we were glad we had our own little Northwoods cabin at this price than a hotel room for more. It does take longer than expected to drive there because of the 60 kph limit on the Bow Parkway. But stick to that speed because of the animals (we saw a grizzly and an elk on the road). If you're in a hurry, take the highway instead - there is an access to Bow Parkway at the Castle Junction exit - and then backtrack to Johnston Canyon a ways - it will be quicker for you.
We really enjoyed our stay in the cabin, and would definately stay here again on our next visit. It was just the right amount of rustic for us.

Room Tip: There's a wide range in types of cabins and what they have in them - gas vs. real fireplace, kit...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank frozen-in-MN-US
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 September 2012

I have hiked the Johnston Canyon multiple times but have never, until Sept 11-13, 2012, stayed at the resort either as a camper or renting a cabin. I booked our stay about a week in advance as we were unsure of our timeline due to guests in from out of town but there were many spots open when I did book.

I specifically mentioned that we were on a pseudo honeymoon for three days having gotten married on Sept 8, 2012 and as I am also 8 months pregnant we could not travel that far from a hospital or from home. Plus being a dog friendly resort, we took our two dogs so that we did not have to try and find a dog sitter at the last minute.

When I checked in, I inquired about perhaps being upgraded (as per an email that I had sent informing them of our marriage status) and the reception staff member was less than enthusiastic and bluntly answered no when I asked about an upgrade. "Um, no", was her exact phraseology. I clearly saw the booking sheet for the week that we were at the resort and there were clearly only a maximum of 10 cabins booked of the many that were available.

Granted, the cabins are nice (quaint, warm, cozy), the sheets are clean and the towels are rich and luxurious but the staff members have no idea about customer service. We ate at the cafe or restaurant on site every day (as there was no other choice in close proximity), went to the little store there everyday, and being two of maybe a handful of people who were at the resort during the day, were treated like we had never stepped foot in the place before. I did not wear any disguises, nor did my husband, so we looked the same on every visit, but they still treated us like we had only just arrived.

Not a month earlier, during the height of summer traveling, a friend of mine went to the Chateau Lake Louise for his honeymoon for three days and they were upgraded from a common room to a honeymoon suite for no extra charge and that resort was FULL! We didn't even get a "Congratulations" or a "What brings you here this week?" or a "Where are you folks from?" Nothing that made us feel like this was a special experience or that we were more than an inconvenient disturbance to their ongoing personal conversations.

Our cabin, 5a, looked onto the roof of the staff cabin and parking lot. If we didn't look down, we could see the skyline and mountains. What kind of view is that in a place that overlooks a beautiful canyon and that isn't even at capacity with guests? Very disappointed for the amount of money we did spend.

The website did not have a picture of the room we got but if I had known, we would have taken a little table for storage. In the room is a lovely wood burning fireplace, a queen sized bed, some comfy sitting chairs close to a replica pot bellied stove and a huge bathroom. However, nowhere to put luggage, our toiletries had to be precariously balanced on a two inch ledge in front of the mirror and the shower curtain which only went half way across the bathtub. They do not have phones, tv reception, or even a clock radio in the room (which are all not negatives in my opinion - we didn't go away to be entertained by electronics) but they do have a small fridge and a vcr / tv combination with an 11 inch screen so that we could have rented outdated vcr movies for a fee from the reception desk. I would suggest to the owners that they replace this relic of an item with a microwave so that people can at least eat snacks or warm up left over food if they want to. I would email the owners my opinion, but their website seems to be stalled and broken too.

I would be hard pressed to call this group of cabins in the woods a resort. Would I stay here again for that price? No.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Michelle P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2012

We stayed two nights kinda off the beaten track halfway between Banff and Lake Louise. We booked a cottage that had a fireplace and a queen size bed. It was very clean and ultra cute. And surprisingly modernized with lots of power plugs, lights and the gas fireplace. During the day the area is busy with hikers but at night the area was very quiet and dark as to see the stars. Would recommend it to anyone travelling with a vehicle who wants something out of town.

Room Tip: They all looked good!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank turistik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2012

We stayed here for a night in early July and it was wonderful. The fireplace cottage we had was comfortable, clean and a good value, considering the prices for hotels elsewhere in Banff National Park. It is a little retro feeling but we loved that. Also wonderful was being able to go out and visit the canyon later in the day after all the crowds had left. Definitely a place we'd return to.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Amanda23Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2012

We had planned to stay at Johnston canyon for 5 nights, but shorten to 3 days, this was due to a number of reasons. If you go in the summer this location is in the woods so expect plenty of mosquitos!
On the positive side.. the location is great, plenty of walking/hiking opportunities, plenty of wildlife and a lovely drive to the cabin. The bathroom was also huge and the gas fireplace was a nice touch.
One the negative side.. I agree with other reviewers that it is overpriced and your don't get alot for your money. We stayed in a classic cabin, which was in need of some repair, the mosquito nets had plenty of holes and dead flys and bugs were everywhere along the window sills and walls indicating a lack of cleaning throughout the cabin. The towels did get changed everyday but they were old and in need of updating. If you are traveling as a group, there is limited car parking space, one per cabin and on one occasion we had to ask the neighbours to move there numerous vehicles!

Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Gill851
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Johnston Canyon Resort

Address: Box 875, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1A9, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Banff
Price Range: €177 - €213 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Johnston Canyon Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banff cabin and cottage/chalet rentals between Banff and Lake Louise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Johnston Canyon Hotel Banff

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