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I tried nearly all the Whistler and Banff hotels: Where you should stay when you go skiing and snowboarding

The best Whistler and Banff hotels for every type of adventure

Whistler Blackcomb gondola
Sierra M via Unsplash

With its epic mountain landscapes, the Canadian Rockies and western coastal region offer some of the most renowned outdoor opportunities in the world, whether you’re into snow sports like skiing or snowboarding, hitting the trails on a mountain bike, or simply enjoying the magnificent scenery. The Banff and Whistler areas in particular are popular thanks to their combination of natural splendor and charming mountain hamlet vibes. With dozens of hotels to choose from, which one is right for you? Here, we’ll check out the top Whistler and Banff hotels and ski resorts for a variety of trip categories: Budget, family-friendly, and so on.

You can rely on these recommendations, as I have vetted every one of them personally. Last summer I spent three solid months crisscrossing the region, and along the way, I stayed at nearly two dozen lodges. Not all of them are worth planning your ski or snowboard vacation or any outdoor adventure around, but here are several that will provide a superior experience.

Whistler Four Seasons.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Best overall: Four Seasons Whistler

The Four Seasons Whistler — which recently underwent a total renovation, so the whole place feels brand new — blew me away by every metric. It delivers a luxurious experience that feels more homey than pretentious. Art is all over the place, and the suites offer woody opulence and views of the surrounding mountains. It also has several solid in-house restaurants, of which the Sidecut is my personal favorite. Let me put it this way: My partner is exceedingly difficult to please when it comes to restaurants, and Sidecut’s steak spread had her raving with foodie joy.

I’m going to go ahead and give the Four Seasons Whistler the award for “best for romantic getaways” too. The elegant yet cozy atmosphere strikes exactly the right tone.

Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside.
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Best for families: Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside

Nestled directly in the center of the village, Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside is ideal for families thanks to its apartment-like suites that can offer multiple bedrooms along with a fully equipped kitchen. This is perfect for keeping hungry families fed without having to constantly shell out big money for restaurants. The central location also places it conveniently in the middle of all the action, just a few minutes walk from the lifts. It also has a heated outdoor pool that is open year-round along with two hot tubs on what the hotel calls “Whistler’s most scenic deck.” Pan Pacific Mountainside has won multiple awards, including being named Canada’s Best Ski Hotel in the World Ski Awards for 11 straight years as of 2023.

Rimrock Resort Hotel.
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Most refined: Rimrock Resort Hotel

Located on a secluded hilltop overlooking Banff, Canada, the Rimrock Resort Hotel is the place to book if you’re seeking a peaceful, upscale experience at a relatively secluded chateau. The stunning forest surrounding the place all but eliminates the potential for road noise. Some of the rooms even come with private balconies so you can relax and drink in the view (just bundle up if it’s winter). The back patio area in particular offers a supreme level of natural serenity. The general vibe of the place is majestic if a bit Overlookish (so maybe don’t read The Shining when you’re there).

Heather Mountain Lodge.
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Best for adventure: Heather Mountain Lodge

Located a bit west of Banff just off the Trans-Canada Highway in the gorgeous Glacier National Park, Heather Mountain Lodge is the place to go if you’re a thrill-seeker. Its remote location makes it the perfect jumping-off point for alpine adventure, and you can even launch a heli-skiing adventure from it. The onsite restaurant, bar, and firepit are also great places to unwind after a day on the slopes with your fellow powder hounds. The lodge is open year-round, so you can stay in rustic luxury in the summer as well and enjoy hiking or whitewater rafting in the nearby town of Golden.

Fairmont Banff Springs.
Fairmont Banff Springs

Best for parties: Fairmont Banff Springs

With its impressively oversized castle aesthetics, eye-popping views, and abundance of activities and food opportunities, Fairmont Banff Springs is a great place to party. It’s a historic property, built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, though the original wooden hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1926.  If you’re looking to pamper yourself, the Fairmont Banff Springs has a 40,000-square-foot spa with a mineral pool and waterfall whirlpools. In the summer, the hotel has an 18-hole championship golf course as well as a shorter 9-hole course. Whether you’re booking a bachelor/ette party, wedding, birthday, or even just a rowdy getaway with friends, it’s an appropriately over-the-top place to cut loose in style.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Photo by Navin75 - Flickr Creative Commons.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Photo by Navin75 - Flickr Creative Commons

Best hotel with an iconic view: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

When it comes to a scenic location, it’s hard to beat the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Located just outside Banff on the eastern shore of the iconic glacier-blue Lake Louise, the Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise, like its sister property, the Fairmont Banff Springs, was built in the early 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel and the lake are in Banff National Park, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. The year-round hotel has seven outstanding restaurants, and in the winter, it is a great base for skiers and snowboarders. Once you’re off the slopes, you can enjoy ice skating, sleigh rides, ice sculpture contests, as well as snowshoe excursions.

Pyramid Lake Resort.
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Best in Jasper: Pyramid Lake Resort

No Banff hotels striking your fancy? Drive just over three hours north of Banff through the gorgeous landscapes along the Icefields Parkway (you’ll want to make stops to admire the scenery, so factor that into your driving time) and you’ll find the remote town of Jasper. About five miles north of Jasper is the Pyramid Lake Resort. Situated on its titular lake, there is an absolute wealth of outdoor activity to be had here. In the summer you’ll find hiking, fishing, and mountain biking galore, and once the snows come and the lake freezes over, it’s perfect for launching days of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. Best of all, there are communal campfires with s’mores all year round.

Basecamp revelstoke.
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Best Basecamp: Basecamp Revelstoke/Canmore

If you’re looking for the perfect accommodations for a long duration — say, a week of checking out all the skiing or MTB opportunities in the region — you’ll be hard-pressed to find a basecamp better than, well, Basecamp. The concept is, essentially, that it’s your home away from home for the duration of your outdoor adventure and equipped with everything you need for long stays. Basecamp Canmore is an excellent option for skiers and climbers in the Banff region who want to be in the buzzing hub of Canmore. If you’re in the Glacier area, Basecamp Revelstoke offers more secluded, tranquil, upscale trappings.

Scandinave Spa Whistler.
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Bonus: Scandinave Spa Whistler

Fine, so this isn’t a hotel or lodge, but it is an essential experience after a day of skiing, biking, or otherwise enjoying Whistler-Blackcomb. The site, which is open year-round, rain, snow, or shine, offers a silent spa equipped with multiple baths and both thermal and nordic waterfalls of varying temperatures, several different sauna and steam styles, a solarium, and rooms for yoga or kicking back in a hammock, making it a relentlessly tranquil setting for unwinding solo or with a partner. The spa is open only to those 18 and over, so it isn’t a destination for families with younger kids.

Nick Hilden
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Hilden is a lifestyle and culture writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Afar…
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