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Most hotels in Banff offer a limited number of wheelchair accessible rooms. Facilities vary with each property.
Hotels that offer full wheel-in shower bathrooms:
The Juniper Hotel
Banff Park Lodge
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa
Inns of Banff
High Country Inn
Banff Avenue B&B - Review: Excellent B&B - good for allergy issues (Jan 2013) Notes from review: "One things that is great for us, and other allergy sufferers, is that the downstairs room is all hardwood. It makes things much easier that staying where there is wall-to-wall carpet."
Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa - Review: Above and Beyond (May 2012) Notes from review: "I had the wrong kind of adaptor [for electric wheelchair from UK] . DOH !!! No problem...[Staff] drove to a store and got me the right kind of adaptor.... My room was spacious and fully wheelchair accessible." Not As Accessible as Ad Claims (Jan 2012) Notes from review: "The room was too small for my husband to move about [in a wheelchair] on his own, that is after we struggled to get through the heavy door to our room, after waiting for one of the elevators for 10 minutes that wasn't full of people so we could fit on.... I had requested a tub chair like offered in the description, no one seemed to understand what I was talking about." There is a management response to this review.
Banff International Hotel - Review: Lovely Hotel but not enough parking (March 2013) Notes from review: "...there are no handicapped parking spots. I had to drop my husband off at the hotel and then go and find a parking space and he has a handicapped plackard." Review: Over rated and over priced! (July 2012) Notes from review: ".. need two elevators to go from underground garage (with 6-foot, 1-inch vehicle clearance) to 5th-floor..." Very average hotel in a great location (May 2012) Notes from review: "...the front desk agent informed us that the underground parkade was full and that we would have to park on the street somewhere. ... my friend is not [familiar with the town] and ... finally found a spot three blocks away... if you have mobility issues, ask in advance about the parking situation, maybe they can do something for you."
Banff Park Lodge - Review: Disappointing in many ways (Nov 2012) Notes from review: "for some reason, I was assigned a wheelchair accessible room...This would not have been a major inconvenience but the floor slopes didn't contain the shower water so you end up with water all over the bathroom."
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort - Review: Great stay...lots of steps, but lots of amenities also (Apr 2013) Notes from review: "...this property is as far from 'handicapped accessible' as possible. Stairs to 2nd floor unit (all 2 BRs are 2nd floor), then stairs inside unit to both bedrooms. In the lobby bldg, stairs downstairs to the computer, the pool and the minimally used restaurant." All two bedroom suites are located upstairs (Oct 2012) Notes from review: "I wish I knew that the two bedroom units were all located on the second floor, and that the bedrooms were located upstairs within the unit. Our group was comprised of 4 seniors that had difficultly climbing the stairs with our luggage...Ask if your room is upstairs, and if so, is there an elevator." From the managment response to this review: "Had we know you wanted help our bellstaff would have been happy to carry the luggage up to your room for you and carry it down at the end of your week."
Brewsters Mountain Lodge - Review: VERY noisy rooms (Mar 2013) Notes from review: "Trying to find the breakfast room in the morning is also somewhat challenging as you must find a hidden stair case on the second floor and then go down 3 flights of stairs to the basement."
Buffalo Mountain Lodge - Review: A bit dated, but comfortable. (July 2013) "It just seems dark everywhere. The foyer is gloomy. The bedrooms are dark." Virtually no wifi, dark, dirty ...but beautiful location (July 2013) Notes from review: "We had a premier room which was very dark even at high noon and with every light on the brightest setting (don't plan on spending any time reading in your room)."
Charlton's Cedar Court - Review: Holiday stay (Oct 2012) Notes from review: "When we view this [loft room] we ralised it was unsuitable for people of our age. The bedroom was on an upperfloor and the sittingr room and wash room was downstairs. Access was by a spiral staircase and we we worried that when we had to get up in the night, there was a danger that we would fall - we are in our late 60s. Also the room was dark." Review: Unimpressed (June 2012) Notes from review: "Loft suite with washroom on bottom level and bed/sleeping area in open loft up narrow spiral staircase. Would not want to navigate the stairs at night when groggy or worse... " Beautiful hotel with lovely staff (May 2012) Notes from review: "Loft rooms have spiral staircase which may not be suitable for the elderly or small children"
Deer Lodge (Lake Louise) - Review: Lovely hotel, fantastic location, forget the Fairmont! (June 2012) "...there are no lifts although we were offered help with getting our luggage up the stairs.." Friendly, oozes history, fantastic location, modern where it matters (June 2012) Notes from review: "Lack of lifts may be a problem for some..."
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel - Review: We are stuck in a room where we can't shower (Aug 2013) Booked and paid for a room with a queen bed and walk in shower (due to disabilities). Got originally put in a very small [room] with double bed which was the farthest room from the elevators on the 6th floor. Could not accept this room due to mobility issues and long hike to it. The only alternative was a room with twin beds but no walk in shower. We had no alternative, we were told. What happened to our paid for mountain view room with a queen bed and walk in shower?" Broken Elevators (again) and poor service (Nov 2012) "... elevators broke again. The staff did not care that my guests including a 92 year old woman had to walk up several flights of stairs. They saw she had to walk up and made no effort whatsoever to accommodate her..." Don't count on the bell service (July 2012) "... we needed luggage pick up for an early departure and my husband called the bell desk several times to confirm that they were coming, no one showed up. He had to carry two large suitcases down 2 flights of stairs because we were on the 8 1/2 floor where there was no elevator service." Review: Timeless elegance, unbeatable setting (June 2012) Notes from review: "Despite that elevators are available, there are stairs everywhere in the castle and unavoidable" Older hotel, too large to pay attention to guests (June 2012) Notes from review and room tips section of review: " ...the walk to our room [in Stanley Thompson wing] required going up and down staircases, and taking an elevator (my father is 75 and has difficulty walking long distances..If you can't walk far, don't get a room int eh Stanley Thomson wing - it's too far from the lobby.” Beautiful views and nooks and crannies to explore (Apr 2012) Notes from room tips section of review: "Choose a room in the hotel if you have limited mobility as there are stairs and long walks to get to the main foyer from the Stanley Thompson wing." Luxury & Service! (Mar 2012) Notes from review: "The only negative about self parking is that if you have any mobility issues, there is no elevator in the parkade so you may have to walk up & down 3 flights." HORRIBLE!!! (Jan 2012) Notes from review: "Told [front desk clerk] my husband couldn't walk and we have a parking placard but still asssigned us to a parkade where he had to manoever down SIXTEEN stairs to get out of there (no elevators-so why have Handicap stalls?)." There is a management response to this review.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Lake Louise) - Review: 5 star price with 2 star service (July 2013) Notes from review: "....bell manager ... insisted that the hotel would not carry our bags to the rooms as our driver had dropped us in the wrong drop off area. Despite traveling with two 80+, three 70+ year olds and one wheelchair bound member, we were forced to load two bell trolleys with our luggage and deliver our own baggage..." Infested by tourists (Apr 2012) Notes from review: ",,,if you have an issue with stairs don't bother bringing your bathing suit. I had a sprained ankle and had to hop down 3 flights of stairs to be able to use the not so hot tub..."
Fox Hotel and Suites - Review: Decent hotel, Nice location in Banff (June 2012) Notes from review: "..it wasn’t clear from the room description when I made my original reservation on Expedia that the Superior 1-Bedrm Suite was 2 storey (the bedroom on the lower floor connected via a narrow staircase – my father is 75 and has difficulty walking up and down narrow staircases... "
Hidden Ridge Resort - Review: Totally enjoyed Hidden Ridge, again (Apr 2013) Notes from review: "I have a mobility issue and they gave us a pylon to use to reserve a stall right next to our condo since I have a handicapped placard and it was nice to not have to worry about walking too far."
High Country Inn - Review: Wheelchair accessibility (kind of...) (Jun 2013) Notes from review: "HC Inn has one disabled accessible room....The disabled room has an L-shaped entrance from the hallway which was accessible with a standard 28" wheelchair, however wider wheelchairs, powerchairs might be more challenging. Washroom has a roll-in shower with a fold-down bench and a handheld shower head within easy reach of the sitting position. The toilet grab bars are behind and directly beside the toilet, which is useless when one needs a forward hand hold to lift oneself up from a seated position. Overall bathroom size was small, but it does (barely) accommodate a person in a wheelchair and an assistant. " Nothing fancy. Clean and good location. (Nov 2012) Notes from review: "We had the wheelchair adapted room and the bathroom was great for my wheelchair. Roll in shower and sink with wheel in room underneath. Pool not accessible nor was balcony." To be avoided (Jun 2012) Notes from review: "The fold down ramps [that] go over the stairs in the corridors are difficult to navigate as they are steep to walk on. Those with mobility issues are strongly cautioned.' Good value (Feb 2012) Notes from review: " I wouldn't reccomend the rooms above the pool area to someone with mobility issues as you have to go a ways from the elevator and up a short fight of stairs."
Homestead Inn - Review: The Extra Mile (Dec 2012) Notes from review: "My husband has mobility problems, particularly in his right leg after a cycling accident last year, and [a staff member] spent a good deal of time with us, mapping out a walking route that would accommodate his condition." Not more than okay (July 2012) Notes from review: "The hotel doesn't have elevator. Luckily we didn't have a lot of luggage - our room was on the 3rd floor."
Inns of Banff - Review: great base (Oct 2012) Notes from review: "i do recommend any body who has mobility problems or not fit should ask to be housed in block A as there are 2 crosswalks with neither having a ramp with the added problem of 2 steps on either side. those with cars can drive and park under each block but if you choose to walk around yourself you will have to combat quite a sharp rise up to blocks B and C."
Lake Louise Inn (Lake Louise) - Review: Deeply depressed (July 2012) Notes from review: "...this hotel is not wheelchair friendly, on the contrary stairs everywhere..." Quiet hotel (June 2012) Notes from review: " I was in a building that had 3 floors on it, with no elevator, so this might be a concern for some people." From management response to this review: " ...we do have 2 buildings equipped with guest elevators for guests requiring service." Lake Louise is beautiful (May 2012) Notes from review: "Although I was given a ground floor room, there were ten steps to go up to reach it. Also the restaurants are not on the main floor and there are no elevators."
Mount Royal Hotel - Review: Just Okay (Sep 2012) Notes from review: "We were given a room on the 4th floor, which required us to walk from one elevator to another, a long walk up and down a short flight of stairs: difficult with luggage."
Red Carpet Inn - Review: Nothing special (Aug 2012) Notes from review: "The hotel has a weird floorplan with no interior stair to acess the lobby from upstairs, leaving the solitary elevator the main method of moving between floors. On two occasions I had trouble accessing my room because housekeeping left a large laundry bin in the middle of the narrow hallway. The elevator does not go down into the underground parkade." A nice place to stay (July 2012) Notes from review: "The only downside was the underground parking as there is no elevator up to the main floor. The elevator services floors 1-3." Review: Dive (Mar 2012) Notes from review: " I noticed the hotel has no handicap access, not even automatic doors."
Rimrock Resort Hotel - Review: Excellent service with rookie errors (Mar 2013) Notes from review: "I was initially booked into a room for someone with mobility issues. Great they have that option for people who need it, but I made no such request. It was awkward because there were big metal bars in places."
Rocky Mountain B&B - Review: First time in the Rockies (Feb 2012) Notes from review: "My travelling companion who has a disability also felt very welcome and all his requests were well-received although the B&B is not physically accessible....If your'e travelling with a disability or like your privacy I'd recommend a room with an ensuite bathroom [Room 5 or 6]"
Rundlestone Lodge - Review: Nice hotel (May 2013) Notes from review: "...the front doors have two steps and no ramp. When I had first exited the
building for a walk, the front desk staff, who said hi to me and
noticed the stroller, didn't say anything about the steps out front and I
carefully took my stroller down. When we came back, I had carefully
taken the stoller up the steps. When I made this issue known to the
front desk, they had mentioned that there was a ramp on the north side
of the building but that I would've had to come in (leaving my baby
unattended outside wasn't going to happen) and have a staff member open
the door as it locks from the inside. The ramp wasn't noticeable from
the outside (no signage)." Room tip from review: "Unless coming and going from the garage, there
are steps at the front entrance and no signage for the ramp around the
side and you have to get a staff member to open it.” Nice hotel (July 2012) Notes from review:"We stayed ... in a loft suite....The bedroom was upstairs with the bathroom downstairs. If you need the facilities at night, it can be a bit tricky. The stairs are fairly steep." Photo of front entrance steps (Feb 2012)
Tunnel Mountain Resort - Review: Great deal for the price and nicely laid out suite! Notes from review: "Some units do have stairs so be advised if you have anyone with special needs."
You can rent wheelchairs at the following locations, prices are as of August 2009:
Gourlay's Pharmacy in the Wolf & Bear Mall at (you guessed it!) the corner of Wolf and Bear Streets. $50 per week plus $150 deposit. They have 5 and always have one available so they don't take reservations
Rexall Pharmacy in the lower level of Cascade Plaza, at the corner of Wolf Street and Banff Avenue. $10/day, no weekly rate; $200 deposit. They have 2 - sometimes both are rented out.
Thanks to timriley12 for providing this information in a post on the Banff Forum!
In Calgary, the University of Calgary's Outdoor Centre rents the TrailRider Transport Wheelchair for backwoods access. $12/day. Contact the Outdoor Centre for further information: 403-220-5038 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, curb cuts have been installed throughout the downtown area of Banff, and handicapped stalls are plentiful and clearly marked. Newer buildings are barrier-free, however there are some older buildings that have no elevators and may have barriers to accessibility. Side streets may not have sidewalks, and may have steep sections.
The Bow Riverside trail is paved and accessible throughout its length, and is a lovely spot for peace and relaxation while still being near the downtown area.
The Lake Louise summer sightseeing gondola is partially accessible. Click here for details.
Taxi Mike's dining guide indicates which restaurants are wheelchair accessible. The St. James Gate Olde Irish Pub has been mentioned by forum members as a candidate for Banff's most wheelchair accessible restaurant.
TA member tlhjar commented (Apr 2013): "Best bet for accessible restaurants... those on Bear St. (Bear St. Tavern, Wild Flour, etc.) and Old Spaghetti Factory in Clock Tower Mall.. up escalator or elevator 2 levels)."
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar - Caribou Lodge location
The Meatball Pizza & Pasta - located in the Ptarmigan Inn
Chili's Grill & Bar - located in the Fox Hotel
Bumper's Beef House - Review: Some good some very bad (Aug 2012) Notes from review: "We were there when they opened and still had to be moved to three places due to reservations, and our daughter's wheelchair access."
Keg Steakhouse and Bar (117 Banff Ave location) - Review: Wonderful beef (July 2012) Notes from review:"We wanted to check out disability access, so popped in in the morning and talked with the cleaner, they were helpful and made a booking for us in the accessible part of the restaurant. Unfortunately the staff in the evening were rather less friendly and helpful, requiring me to leave my scooter near reception and walk (not easy) to our table."
The Maple Leaf - Review: Could this be the best restaurant in Banff Townsite? (July 2013) Notes from review: "We booked this restaurant by way of their website and they allocated a table that was easily accessible for a disabled person."
Saltlik - Review: Texan travels to Banff for steak dinner (Sep 2012) Notes from review: "...from the moment we walked on the property, the Hostess, Manager and other staff assisted us with seating for a wheelchair bound person. From opening doors for my husband, showing us the elevator and seating us near the fireplace... the warmth and hospitality shown made our dinner special. " Great service (Aug 2012) Notes from review: "Staff was outstanding in providing assistance to patrons with disabilities and requiring an elevator."
Squish Sandwich Cellar - Review: Sandwiches $11 - $15 and worth every penny (Apr 2013) Notes from review: "It's down some stairs."
Tony Roma's - Review: good food and atmosphere (Aug 2013) Notes from review: " they are not handicap accessible and had to carry my walker up the stairs." Good food, great service! (Oct 2012) Notes from review: "..the washrooms [toilets] are in the basement, 2 flights down from the restaurant."
Skiing and snowboarding: The forum thread Banff-ski resorts for the disabled briefly discusses adaptive skiing in Banff National Park ski areas and the Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Centre, which is based in Canmore.
Banff Upper Hot Springs - Review: Heerlijk tijdens een seeuwbui (May 2013) Notes from review (Google translation from Dutch): "For disabled was separate dressing area and private lockers." Rude, Very Dissapointing (Feb 2012) Notes from review: "My Husband has a prosthetic leg. We wanted to look at the pool entrances to see if my husband would be able to take his leg off and if there was a convenient place for him to do so, and then put it while we were enjoying the Hot Springs. The older male employee in the entrance where you pay, would not let us do so. We explained why [twice] ... he still wanted to know why my husband had to take his leg off??? We said he never wears it in the water, and that he would not want to take a chance of having to walk around with a wet socket and getting blisters.... We never were able to view the pool entrances.. Needless to say we just walked away and did not go back to enjoy the Hot Springs.... "
Banff Visitor Information Centre - Review: very busy (July 2013) Notes from review:"The elevator was broken, had to carrier our stroller up the many stairs. There was also a gentleman in a wheelchair that couldn't make it up- very discouraging."
Bow Falls - Review: Mooi zowel met als zonder sneeuw (May 2013) Notes from review: (Google translation from Dutch) "From the parking lot you can already see the waterfall, so for people with mobility problems or in a wheelchair. Easily accessible." Lots of Water (July 2012) Notes from review: "Access to the falls is not easy for disabled people although there is parking nearby however don’t be put off by that , go and see what you can, if you can walk and climb and get close, if you cannot, get as near as you can – it’s worth it"
Chinook Rafting - Review: Simply the Best (May 2013) Notes from review:"[Rafting guide Rohan] made our daughter and her friend with disabilities feel apart of the team and kept them engaged during the whole trip."
Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure - Review: Be prepared for a long wait with no apologies! (May 2013) Notes from review: "We waited an hour! ... We waited in a cramped corridor with people getting very annoyed all around us. ... a lady on crutches had to sit on the floor!"
Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola - Review: Expensive but good choice for those w/mobility issues (Aug 2013) Notes from review: "Prompt, gracious help on/off gondola, ride to lookout point and then to interpretive center & back." Very helpful for those with limited mobility (July 2013) Notes from review: "My elderly mother has mobility issues and the staff was very helpful. We were picked up at our car in the parking lot by a golf cart which took us within 5 feet of the gondola. They stopped the line so that my mother could get into the enclosed gondola and did the same at the top of the mountain. Again, a golf cart picked us up at the top and took us to the nature center ... The staff was cheerful and gracious to my mother.": Spectacular panoramic view (Sep 2012) Notes from review: "There is an interesting interpretation center a short walk from the viewing platform and there is even a golf cart in use to transport people who may not be up to taking the moderately strenuous trek."
Lake Minnewanka - Review: Beautiful location (July 2013) Notes from review: "Went there with my 3 sons and husband (who is in a wheelchair), boat trip was good but we were sat at the back in the outside area and it was so noisy we couldn't here the commentary."
Peyto Lake - Review: Reasonably accessible (July 2013) Notes from review: "My elderly mother wanted to see Peyto Lake. She uses a walker. Fortunately, there is a handicapped parking lot at the top of the hill. (General parking is 1 kilometer away at the bottom of a hill.) She could handle the steepness of the path to the viewing platform."
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