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.
- 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