Review: Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre, Alberta, Canada
The town of Canmore, Alberta, Canada is located immediately outside of Banff National Park. Canmore is known for it’s plentiful hotels that are convenient for exploring Banff and Lake Louise, in addition to being a great place to attend a conference. How would my trip to the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre fare for a work trip through the area?
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Review: Coast Canmore Hotel & Conference Centre, Alberta, Canada
“A Conference Centre Hotel that was a little light on the business facilities and experience”
My work travels took me to the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre located in the town of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. The hotel hosted a week of meetings in their medium sized facilities within the hotel and conference centre. In terms of context, my travels were within the first year of travel restart after the pandemic as the world slowly re-opened again.
Booking The Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre:
Although I was travelling for work and part of a meeting group, I never got the official invite or group code for the event from my employer. As a result, I booked my room directly on the Coast Hotels Reward website. I had no part or decision making influence in choosing this location for this event, and as an invited attendee, I just went along with the process by staying directly at the event hotel.
Since most of the base level rooms were already taken as a result of the group function, I ended up with a Coast King Bed with a Patio for $156 CAD ($115 USD) under a Coast Rewards Member Rate. There were also some deeply discounted pre-paid rates, but given that I was travelling for work, I didn’t elect for the pre-paid rates. With over one hundred delegates as part of our meetings, there wasn’t a whole lot of choice with respect to room types or category selections.
I also was part of the Coast Rewards loyalty program. However, as a base level “pink” member, I wasn’t expecting all too much. The Coast Rewards Pink level offered 1 point earned for every dollar spent, a dedicated phone line, member exclusive rates and a preferred car rental rate.
It’s worth noting that there are not many chain hotels in Canmore. Aside from the IHG Holiday Inn Canmore, the Coast Hotel is about the only other larger franchised hotel in the area.
Getting to the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre:
I arrived into Calgary International Airport on an Air Canada flight. I picked up a Hertz rental and received a conservative upgrade from my full size booked to a mid siz SUV; being issued a 2020 Ford Escape Sport Utility Vehicle courtesy of Hertz President’s Circle.
I set out on the drive from the Calgary International Airport westward on the Trans Canada Highway. After an hour and twenty minutes on an excellent four lane highway, I arrived into Canmore. The mountains had recently received snow, so the scenery was really picturesque.
The hotel is located just off the Trans Canada Highway and was really easy to find. It was situated on the primary road paralleling the Trans Canada highway.
The Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre was generally well located. The hotel was near to highway access, and walkable to several restaurants within a ten minute walk. There also happened to be a strip mall across the street that featured a dinner restaurant, a Subway Sandwiches restaurant, and a Beamers Coffee shop which featured during my visit for breakfast.
On arrival to the property, I self parked at the hotel in the outdoor parking lot. There were a lot of available parking stalls and I had no issues finding a spot to park. During my stay, parking was complimentary. I was required to place a parking coupon on the dash provided by the front desk.
Checking into the Coast Canmore:
I walked inside and checked in at the front desk. The hotel started off as a Radisson Hotel and Conference Centre and had been reflagged as a Coast Hotels and Resort property in summer of 2014.
Immediately upon entering the lobby, there was a seating area with four chairs and a gas fireplace.
Consistent with the price point of the hotel, the lobby area was decorated in a modern ski lodge type of feel that was functional, instead of more than over the top elegant.
At the front desk, there was no wait for check in. I was provided my room key and told my room was just up the hall on the ground floor.
I was also provided a parking coupon for my car. While it’s great that hotels want to keep track of what cars are in their lots, theres nothing more inconvenient than arriving to the front desk with your luggage, having to head to the room to drop your bags, and then having to return back to your car to place a slip of paper on the dash. Typically, when I arrive to a hotel after a flight and a 90+ minute drive, all I want to do is get to your room and get unpacked. Perhaps registering a licence plate at the front desk would be a more convenient, time sensitive and customer centric way of arranging this?
The Room: A Coast King with Patio
I led myself over to Room #111, which was located on the ground floor level just around the corner from the front desk. I was travelling with only a carry on and I didn’t need any luggage assistance, nor was any offered by the front desk.
The Coast King with Patio room had recently been modernized and renovated. The room had some modern touches to it, including a print wall behind the bed. The room had new carpeting and things looked mostly fresh and new.
Immediately after stepping into the room, the king size bed was evident. In a great touch, the bed had five pillows. There was one more than I usually find, which was a great touch for sleeping.
There was also a modern looking occasional chair rounding out the room.
In a strange renovation upgrade decision, the room did not have a working desk. Instead, it had a round occasional table located towards the window area of the room. I really couldn’t understand the lack of desk in the room.
While the hotel is situated in a leisure area, it markets itself as a Hotel and Conference Centre. In addition to the challenges of working at a round table, there weren’t any power plugs easily near the table. All to say, this was a weird decorating choice for a conference centre hotel that didn’t make a business stay all that more comfortable. Working away on the round table, I felt like I was back at home working on my uncomfortable kitchen dining table in the early days of the pandemic.
The room did offer a long bench like storage area. The bench like storage space was convenience for storage, but it did give the room a bit of a low rent touch. A flat screen television that was smaller than the standard 55 inch televisions was mounted on the wall. While you don’t come to the Canadian Rockies to spend time watching television, I couldn’t help but notice that the television looked smaller than it actually was, thanks to the lack of any other wall art on the television wall.
For some reason when I booked a patio room, I was expecting a nice view like on a lanai balcony like in Hawaii. Perhaps it was because the hotel was located in the middle of the Canadian Rockies Mountain Range. Instead, the Coast King “with Patio” was indeed just that, a patio area with a small viewless space. I couldn’t say that I’d be inclined to book this particular category of room again just for the sake of having a patio. Perhaps, I might feel differently in the warmer summer months.
Moving onto the bathroom, the space was pretty small and designed for one. The outer bathroom space contained a small empty mini fridge, a coffee maker, an ice bucket and a wall mirror.
Inside the bathroom, there was another small mirror, along with a single sink and vanity. The bathroom also featured a shower and tub combination.
The toiletries were branded as Bee Kind dispenser type tubes which were located on the bathroom counter. They were easily moved into the shower for use. The shower had a slow running drain, and I had to remove the stopper completely in order to get the bathwater to drain during my morning showers.
In another bit of an irritant, the bathroom door was on a tilt so that the door didn’t stay wholly open. Instead, the door leaned towards close. This caused the door to brush up against me while I was standing at the sink; brushing my teeth, shaving, towelling off after the shower and while doing all the usual bathroom actions. While this isn’t a major deal, it did tend to get irritating after a while.
The hotel offered me a welcome amenity and a welcome letter which was found on the coffee table in the room. For some reason, the welcome letter had me listed as a Coast Rewards Silver Member; usually attributed to someone who stays ten to nineteen nights a year. A bar of locally produced Rocky Mountain Soap of Seaweed and Spearmint was also provided. This was a nice touch and I happened to find the Rocky Mountain Soap store while walking around town. The soap was retailing for $7.95 CAD, so this was a great souvenir to take home.
The hotel appeared to have a rectangular layout, with most rooms located around a bank of the main building. The meeting and conference space was located on the ground floor behind the front desk area.
The overall sleep quality in the room was very good to good. While there was a little hallway noise from other hotel guests being one door away from the main lobby, there also happens to be a major train track that runs east – west across the street from the hotel.
While it wasn’t constantly noisy, there were times where I could hear train noise inside the room. In fairness, the train track runs right through town. As a result, the noise isn’t something that exclusively only to the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Center. It’s something that likely impacts almost all hotels in the Canmore area.
Around the Hotel Property:
The Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre didn’t have a whole lot of on property amenities. It notable that the word “Resort” is not in the title, and that the property correctly refers to itself as a “Hotel”. Despite this, there were a few items worth mentioning.
Indoor Heated Pool:
The hotel offers an indoor pool. Unusually, and especially for a hotel that probably faces cold winter temperatures of up to -20 Celsius, is that the access to the indoor pool requires going outside into the parking lot.
After key carding yourself into the pool area, you found yourself inside an indoor pool area. There was also a small hot tub.
Hotel Fitness Centre:
The pool building also featured a long rectangular gym. The gym was a little cramped, but it was always nice to have access to a gym, instead of going without.
Probably the best part about both of these features, is that there was no Resort Fee applied to the property.
Views from the Property:
Probably the best feature of staying at the Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference centre were the views from around the property. When the visibility allows, there are some absolutely world class views from the property.
The views in October weren’t always clear like this, and there were days that the visibility of the mountains were completely obstructed. This might be something to keep in mind if you happen to be visiting the area during the shoulder or winter season.
Food and Beverage:
Table Food and Drink
The Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre had an in house restaurant called Table. The restaurant was located on the ground floor lobby adjacent to the conference centre facilities.
Unfortunately, despite over a hundred people attending our event and staying in the hotel, the restaurant was not open for breakfast and offered limited capacity service for lunch.
I’m not sure if this was intentional on the part of the hotel, or the lack of available restaurant staff hired and ready to go after the pandemic, but the restaurant was shuttered for a good portion of our stay.
As a result, I ended up at the Beamers Coffee shop for breakfast, and the Subway Sandwiches Restaurant for lunch during both days of my stay. Both were located just across the street and were a convenient alternative. Dinner was also taken off the property, with many restaurants located within a ten minute walk of the hotel.
Checking Out of The Coast Canmore:
On my day of departure, I ended up in my meeting event in one of the hotel meeting rooms. I wasn’t really sure exactly what time check out was but I aimed to get to the front desk as soon as my session ended. I did check for the departure time on the night before, but a check out time wasn’t ever provided to me at check in, it wasn’t written on the door of the room, or printed on the key card folder when I checked in. My plan was to get to the front desk before twelve noon; the usual check out time for most properties.
It was about 11:40 AM before I got to the room. I found that my key had been de-coded and no longer worked. I went up to the front desk in order to check out. While there was no line, I could sort of tell that the reception wasn’t all that impressed. I had my key re-coded in order to regain access to the room. I returned to the front desk after to finalize the bill about 3 minutes later, which was as expected.
While I didn’t get a full lecture, I did get a comment that staff had entered my room to check on it’s status. I wasn’t really sure how to take this, but it didn’t leave me with a warm hospitable feeling; especially for a group that brought the hotel 100 guests over a week. While I wasn’t expecting a Marriott Bonvoy 4 PM Titanium Check Out, it was a cold experience among my 70 nights in various hotels this year. It wasn’t what I would consider a service failure by any means, but rather one of the odder experiences I had staying. I didn’t follow up further, despite the property sending me several survey requests.
Lastly, my Coast Rewards points never posted to my Coast Rewards account after my stay. I followed up by email with a copy of my hotel bill. The response from Coast Rewards was exceptionally prompt, and the matter was sorted out within 4 hours of me emailing the contact us address that was provided.
The Bottom Line: The Coast Canmore Hotel and Conference Centre
The Coast Hotel and Conference Centre offered “about as expected” accommodations in recently refreshed rooms. However, there were some strange elements to my stay that I hadn’t recently experienced in a business hotel.
The lack of proper work space in a room that is marketed as a conference business hotel was bizarre. The restaurant being closed during breakfast hours was confusing and caused a little last minute searching, My check out experience at the end was a little odd. While these things didn’t break the stay, it was noteworthy enough that it caused me to question some elements of my stay, especially for someone like me who spends a great deal of nights in hotels.
Despite this, I’d probably stay here again. I might just adjust my expectations accordingly.