Banff is a 20 minute bus ride from the ski-hill, which is where all the main drinking holes, restaurants and hotels are located. It's possible to lodge on the mountain itself at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge - the only ride-in, ride-out accomodation. If peace and quiet is what you're after, perfect! Otherwise, stay in Banff itself. Its picturesque, quaintly Canadian vibe provides a welcome change after a fun day at high elevation.
The town has a relatively cosmopolitan feel, being one of Canada's main tourist towns. You'll encounter many Brits and Aussies here 'doing a season'; however the town also attracts a wealthy, international ski crowd. The infamous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, a National Historical Site of Canada, opened in 1888 and was styled after a Scottish Baronial castle. It's a quintessential image of Canada, nestled amidst snowcapped peaks and millions of sparkling Christmas trees; worth checking out out of sheer curiosity.
A good variety of bars and restaurants provide entertainment in the evenings. The Brew Pub is a locals' favourite, good bars also worth checking out are St James's gate, Elk and Oarsman and Rose and Crown. There are 2 0r 3 nightclubs to choose from including the Dancing Sasquatch, popular with the young, seasonal crowd. Banff is located in the province of Alberta where there is only 5% tax, in comparison with BC's 12%! Another reason to avoid the sometimes overcrowded Whistler!To avoid scowling service, don't forget the mandatory tipping policy - 15% is the minimum expected on top of your bill.
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