Let’s start with the obvious: Lake Louise Hotels ain’t cheap. The popular hamlet near the BC border is smaller than Banff (and 40 kilometres away, though technically still within the park) and selections are limited. You’d do best to book well in advance for your choice of Lake Louise hotels – especially in summer, when the town gets mobbed with awe-struck travellers.
With that out of the way, let’s clarify just why it’s so popular. Lake Louise (the lake) is stunning. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, with an emerald green tint fed by glaciers in the mountains that enclose – almost hide it – like a jewel within the Canadian Rockies.
I dare say it’s one of the most incredible things you’ll ever see. And the town itself, though tiny, is a skier’s wet dream, with many kilometres of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. There’s nearby Lake Louise ski resort too, and it makes a convenient jumping off point to nearby Yoho National Park, should be so inclined to straggle into British Columbia.
Banff to Lake Louise
You don’t stay in Lake Louise instead of Banff. You do both, to get more of an experience from your time in Banff National Park. Ideally, you’ll have a car, as commuting between the two towns can get pricey by public transit. Some ski resorts, like Sunshine Village, offer a free shuttle bus from Lake Louise to Banff during ski season.
In the summer months, car rental is likely your best option if you don’t have one of your own. Barring that, Canada Coach Lines, Hop On Banff and Alpine Limousine & Tours can get you there in comfort and style – albeit with a lighter wallet.
Getting a Room
To get a (relatively) cheap room in Lake Louise, I’ve got two words for you: BOOK EARLY. Banff National Park is by far the most popular park in Canada, and with just 6 hotels in Lake Louise, your chance of scoring any room, let alone a cheap one, in July or August aren’t looking so hot. As I write this (in July 2017), a quick search on Trip Advisor shows not a single room in any Lake Louise Hotel for August 14-15.
That’s a Monday and Tuesday, which are typically your best days of the week to snag accommodation in most hotels.
Still, things happen. If you’re just arrived in Lake Louise and you haven’t booked something, it I can’t hurt to at least call each of these hotels. Many places often have no shows, and will often take walk-ins at a lower rate.
It’s a bit of a gamble, but it can work in your favour. A few more ways you might get a cheap room in Lake Louise:
- Call the Hotel directly (not through a 1-800 number)
- Do it Late in the Day
- Try Hotwire (a last-minute hotel booking system)
- Sign Up For Price Alerts on Kayak and Hotels.com
- Book Mid-Week (Avoid Weekends)
Note that list is for if you arrive in Lake Louise without reservations. If you booked a room in advance, congrats! Peruse this article on how to level up – or lower your bill.
Cheap(ish) Lake Louise Hotels
While there is more accommodation on the outskirts of Lake Louise, there are just 6 hotels within the hamlet. Two are luxury hotels, including the famed Lake Louise Hotel Fairmont (also called the ‘Chateau Lake Louise’). It’s hard to pick faults with such a prestigious establishment, but a night there won’t do your wallet any favours. For that reason, your best shot for cheap Lake Louise Hotels comes down to the following:
HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre
This is a hostel. Yes, I know you’re looking for cheap hotels in Lake Louise, but bear with me on this. HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre is a very upscale pad in this expensive area that gets very high reviews on HostelWorld.com. Private rooms (some with ensuite) and even family rooms are available.
HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre is pushing 3 star hotel territory in most cities across the planet. A Private Room with a double and single bed is just $168 CDN on a Monday night in July for HI Members. Add 10% if you’re not a member.
Mountaineer Lodge has a great location. It’s 0.2 KM from the town centre and gets decent reviews on Trip Advisor. You get a few perks here – there’s ample parking, a hot tub, free WiFi and breakfast is included. This isn’t the Lake Louise Hotel Fairmont, but it’s a nice hotel and, starting at $279 CDN in the height of summer, about $700 cheaper.
Phone: 855-556-8473 | 403-522-3844
Lake Louise Inn
Mosey a few hundred feet up the road from the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre and you’ll find the Lake Louise Inn. This is a three star hotel, according to Trip Advisor, with a pool, breakfast buffet, free parking an free WiFi. That gets you the basics of a decent stay among Lake Louise Hotels. You’ll pay a little more here – think around $399 in summer, although prices will drop in ski season.
Phone: (403) 522-3791
Further from the town centre (but close to the lake), Deer Lodge comes in at a decidedly wallet-friendly $215 CDN per night in high season. You get the free parking, WiFi, hot tub and breakfast buffet too. The catch? The interior is definitely a little dated, and picky folks may find a few holes to poke in their stay at Deer Lodge.
My own two cents on that is don’t let this stop you. Deer Lodge is a three star operation, and arguably the most affordable of all Lake Louise Hotels. You’ve got less weight to gripe with at rates like these. Want a five star experience? Pay five star prices. Want a relatively affordable hotel room in a very expensive corner of Canada? Try Deer Lodge, HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre, or any of the hotels we’ve talked about.
It’s just a room dude. There’s more to Lake Louise than two beds and a flat screen.