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Comfort on the Cheap: 6 Hostels for Grown-Ups

HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre hostel in Banff National Park. Photo by Simon Starr.

By Candice Walsh

The hostel scene in Canada has been growing these past few years and with all the added competition hostels have had to step up their game. In the process, they’ve realized that a good bargain doesn’t only appeal to university students on spring break or summer vacation.

Here are six of our favourite hostels for those among us who’ve outgrown beer pong but not saving a buck or two:

HI-Banff Alpine Centre. Photo © Hostelling International Canada.

1. HI-Banff Alpine CentreBanff, Alberta

Wraparound porches have epic Rockies views at HI-Banff Alpine Centre. It feels more like a hotel than a hostel, with room options to fit all budget types, a cozy cabin-style restaurant and a stone fireplace in the lounge. The staff are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. It’s on the outskirts of downtown Banff, but city bus passes are included in your stay—and besides, that means better wildlife sitings! Fair warning: the on-site pub is fun, but can get raucous.

WHAT WE LOVE: private cabins (with fireplaces!) and private rooms with en-suite bathroom, free Wi-Fi, Cougar Pete’s restaurant, an ice wall for climbers in winter

COST: shared dorm from $34, private room from $102 (non-members)

2. HI-Lake Louise Alpine CentreBanff, Alberta

Like its sister hostel in downtown Banff, the HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre is a cozy country-cabin-style collection of shared and private rooms. The best feature might be its cozy common area where you can lounge by the massive stone fireplace. It may not be right on Lake Louise (to get that prime location you’ll have to spend an arm and a leg—or maybe two of each—at the gorgeous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise), but it’s not far from it, and it’s right at the start of the Icefields Parkway.

WHAT WE LOVE: best budget restaurant in Lake Louise, on-site sauna, free Wi-Fi, private rooms with en-suite bathrooms

COST: shared dorm from $31, private room from $98 (non-members)

Rooftop patio at HI-Vancouver Downtown. Photo © Hostelling International Canada.

3. HI-Vancouver DowntownVancouver, British Columbia

So we happen to like Hostelling International properties! HI-Vancouver Downtown is in the heart of the city’s West End, but is a quieter, more mature alternative to most area hostels. The roof-top patio is a great place to enjoy stellar views of the city, or a mojito or two.

WHAT WE LOVE: rooftop patio with a view, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, one private room (but no en-suite bath), attractive deals—i.e. book for seven days, pay for six

COST: shared dorm from $33, private room from $84

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