In the Heart of Canada's Most-Visited National Park
Banff National Park is Canada's oldest and most popular park. Millions of people visit each year, and they're looking for convenient, affordable accommodations.
Douglas Fir Resort sits near one of the region's best-known campgrounds just outside the Banff townsite, and within long walking distance of the main streets of this resort town.
Banff is a good base for exploring its namesake national park and four other national parks in the Canadian Rockies. Banff is in the southern section of the national park, but within a day's drive of Jasper National Park attractions, including the Athabasca Glacier. The nearest international airport is in Calgary, 144 kilometers (88 mi.) away.
It's important to take in Douglas Fir Resort's surroundings. Just a short distance from the Trans Canada Highway interchange, you can make day trips conveniently and be back at your base quickly and conveniently.
Water Slides and Indoor Playground
Banff is definitely an outdoor destination. You'll find some of the best skiing, hiking and water sports in North America just a short distance from this resort.
But we all know that rainy days occur on vacation. The diehard hikers will strap up and go on the worst of days. But what about families with fairly young children?
At Douglas Fir Resort, they offer two attractions that will keep the youngsters happy on those bad weather days or just during the evenings of your visit.
The Playzone is an interactive structure two stories high and 36 ft. in length. It is billed as Western Canada's largest hotel indoor playground. Only registered guests are allowed to play here, and adult supervision is required for all children using the facility. Only children under the age of 12 use the Playzone.
The resort also offers a Waterpark featuring two large water slides that might not be suitable for very young children. The general public pays $20 CAD for each visitor age six and older, but guests use it free of charge.
In addition to these two crowd-pleasers for the kids, other facilities include a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, swimming pool, game room, fitness center and tennis courts.
Economical for Larger Groups
Banff accommodations are not the most expensive you'll encounter, but quality budget offerings are fairly scarce in the area. Likewise, Banff restaurants can easily cost $20 CAD or more per person for lunch or dinner.
When families come to this part of the world, their expenses can mount quickly. Those who need two hotel rooms will struggle to make ends meet.
Douglas Fir Resort offers condo-style apartments and A-frame chalets. The chalet rates range from $205-$333 CAD/night. Loft condos include a ground floor bedroom with a second sleeping area on the second floor and two bathrooms. Prices for those run $166-$320 CAD/night, with lower prices in the off-season.
At first glance, those might not appear to be low-cost rates. It's likely you could find something cheaper in the Banff area.
But consider that two hotel rooms for larger groups are likely to cost at least as much as you'll pay for a condo or A-frame at Douglas Fir. Another major money saver is that many of the accommodations here include a full kitchen. It's a big money saver to be able to stock up on a few groceries and cook at least some of your meals in the room.
Not interested in supermarket shopping during your vacation? Douglas Fir offers a Bed & "Cook Your Own" Breakfast deal that delivers breakfast groceries to your refrigerator for one morning. Along the same lines, they have a Banff "Two Meal Deal" for two-night stays and a Barbeque package in which you can cook steaks on one of the resort's outdoor grill stations.
Most of Douglas Fir's rooms have wood-burning fireplaces. It's a nice touch in a place where evenings can be chilly even in summer. It can also lead to a smoky aroma in the room, which we found in our loft.
We also had some minor problems on one day of our stay with room key malfunctions. The staff handled our complaint quickly.
There is a general store on site that also serves the nearby Tunnel Mountain Campground. It's a convenience, but prices tend to be high.
A free shuttle bus stops right in front of the resort office that will take you into Banff. It's probably a bit too far for most people to walk, especially when roads are icy. Most visitors have a car, and parking is free or very reasonably priced in Banff. But in peak seasons, the shuttle ride might be more attractive than circling crowded streets for available parking.
Another point of economy for Douglas Fir is the fact that most of the amenities for which you pay extra at other places are included in the room rate: recreation, wifi, internet kiosks in the lobby and covered parking are all offered at no additional charge.
Some of the rooms are described as rustic, and it is true that this is not a luxury resort. Those who want to be pampered and enjoy elevated thread counts on their bedsheets will probably not be happy here. But if you're looking for an economical and comfortable base from which your group will explore the Canadian Rockies, Douglas Fir Resort is an excellent choice.