Banff Hotels with Outdoor Hot Tubs
If you are looking for Banff hotels with outdoor hot tubs, you have many choices. In the vast majority of cases, the outdoor hot tubs are communal, with many hotels describing them as “hot pools.”
Visitors have been enjoying outdoor bathing in Banff since 1885, with the resort town built on the soothing properties of mineral springs flowing out of the ground near the base of Sulphur Mountain, so in finding a Banff hotel with outdoor hot tubs you are continuing a long tradition. Banff was founded over 100 years ago upon the discovery of natural mineral springs which were fed into manmade outdoor hot pools as early as 1885. Realising their importance, the government established a reserve around the springs, which was soon expanded and renamed Rocky Mountains Park. It was primarily a business enterprise centered around the unique springs and catering to wealthy patrons of the newly completed railway. The mineral springs were also fed into local hotels, including the iconic Banff Springs. The site of today’s Administration Building was originally home to the Banff Sanitarium, a hotel styled on the great spas of Europe, to which water from the hot springs was piped for the enjoyment of guests. Mineral water was also pumped into the local hospital (now the YWCA), where there were separate bathing areas for men and women. Today, no Banff hotels use natural mineral water from the local hot springs, although you can still visit the original Cave and Basin, now protected as a National Historic Site, or take a dip at the Upper Hot Springs.
The closest hotel with an outdoor hot tub to downtown Banff is the Banff Aspen Lodge. The two large, modern hot tubs are in a central courtyard – not particularly private, but an enjoyable, stylish setting nonetheless. Beside the hot tubs is a fire pit and outdoor seating.
The hot pools at the Fox Hotel & Suites are styled on the original Banff Cave and Basin mineral springs, with a cave-like rock setting, complete with an opening similar to the hot pools upon which the town of Banff was founded. Although technically indoor, these hot pools are the most unique in town.
The rooftop pool complex at the Inns of Banff, at the far end of Banff Avenue, comprises a regular swimming pool and a large hot tub, both with views across the Bow Valley to Cascade Mountain.
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort has a 12-person outdoor hot tub attached to the hotel’s fitness facility and indoor pool. It is surrounded by greenery and outdoor chairs in summer.
Our favourite Banff hotel with outdoor hot tubs is Hidden Ridge Resort, located a short walk from downtown on the lower slopes of Tunnel Mountain. The free-form hot tubs are behind the main lobby (and set away from the guest rooms). Promoted as “hot pools,” there are a variety of pools surrounded by beautiful rock landscaping, with the varying tiers allowing sweeping views across the forested Bow Valley for all bathers. They are also illuminated at night. Part of the complex is a sauna and fire pit. Hidden Ridge is also one of the few Banff hotels with rooms that have private outdoor hot tubs (the four King Suites only).
Also on Tunnel Mountain, Douglas Fir Resort, the only Banff hotel with waterslides, has a large, modern (2013) outdoor hot tub. The hot tub is open Monday to Friday 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturday to Sunday 9 am to 10 pm. Admission is free for resort guests, while non-guests pay $20 per person, which includes access to the indoor waterslides.
The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs is generally regarded as one of Canada’s finest spa facilities. The indoor pools complete with marble tiling and waterfalls are the main highlight, but tucked away outside is an outdoor hot tub offering complete privacy from the rest of the world. Access to the Willow Stream is free with a facial or massage (from $185 per person). Alternatively, access for hotels guests is $69 per day or $49 after 4 pm. Willow Stream is open daily 6 am to 10 pm. Also within the hotel is Banff’s largest outdoor swimming pool. In summer it is surrounded by outdoor furniture where guests enjoy food and drink service. In winter, the pool is heated and becomes one gigantic hot tub. Admission to the pool is free for hotel guests and $20 per person for non guests.