Spruce Grove Inn, Banff, Canada - Review
The Spruce Grove Inn
is one of the newest Hotels in Banff, built in 2003, and owned by Canada Select. It is situated at the end of Banff Avenue, one of the last hotels before you exit the townsite, however it is still only a 20 minute walk into the centre as the townsite is so small. Rated as 3 star this hotel is one of the most affordable in Banff, a very expensive town, but you do get what you pay for.
We booked a standard twin Queen room with breakfast on the last minute.com UK website whilst in Calgary (thus avoiding international card charges and exchange rates). The rate was £110 per night, one of only three hotels offering that rate. We travelled mid season, early September, and had a Friday/Saturday stay. We had hoped to arrive in Banff and choose a hotel on the spot, but an internet search for hotels and cabins that morning revealed that most of the hotels had no vacancies due to the unseasonable warm weather that we were lucky enough to enjoy, and so we booked this before leaving Calgary as I was worried that we wouldn't be able to find a room for the night. I would say that I wouldn't panic again as on arrival plenty of hotels had vacancies, they just weren't advertised or available online.
The hotel shares its amenities with the Voyager Inn next door, owned by the same hoteliers. The Voyager is a rather depressing looking 60's build that I am sure was very glamorous in it's hey day but now looks like a tired concrete tomb with a shabby and dated interior. The two hotels are joined by a corridor for use in the winter months or it's a 50 meter outdoor walk. The Spruce Grove does not have any amenities of its own, it is a faux log build with 120 guest rooms.
The hotel site does boast an outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna as well as conference rooms, an onsite liquor store, terrace patio, and restaurant but these are situated in the Voyager not the Spruce Grove Inn. The rather dull free continental breakfast is to be taken in the Voyager. For an additional $7 each you could enjoy the hot buffet, however one look told me to save my money, the choices of hot food being floppy bacon, pallid scrambled eggs and tiny sausages. A much more affordable and vastly better quality breakfast can be found in the centre of Banff, try Melissa's on Lynx Street for a hearty breakfast that doesn't break the bank - unlike most restaurants in Banff.
The room itself was spacious and very clean, however our sloped ceiling did get the better of us during the night and we did bump our heads a couple of times. The room had everything that you would expect, cable T.V. tea and coffee, clock radio, hair dryer, iron and ironing board and direct dial telephone. A big bonus was free high speed wireless internet, the password is available from reception. Parking is secure in the basement under the building and entry is by your room key card. One disappointment was the lack of a mini fridge, this was the only hotel that we visited in the Rockies that didn't have one, and so our drinks and snacks were kept cool by filling the sink or ice bucket from the ice machine on our floor which was a bit of a pain.
For the ski season there are ski and snowboard cages in the basement car park as they are not allowed in the guest rooms. Some of the basic rooms have balconies, other rooms have in room hot tubs and there are suites available. The staff were polite if not a little stoic, but we have no complaints there. The reception desk in the Spruce Grove is not always manned and so it's a bit of the pain to visit the adjacent hotel for service.
All in all it was a basic but clean hotel, and cleanliness is the most important thing in a hotel, I think. I would have liked more bang for my buck and so that's why I have given it just three out of five stars, but we did have a very pleasant stay and there is plenty to see and do in and around Banff.
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