On our long road to Calgary, we stopped in Banff because two of the passengers had never seen it. When I first visited Banff back in 1990, there was still the small resort town feel in the middle of Banff National Park. This feeling has been eroded by the growth of the town site.
However, the real gem of Banff is the Banff Springs Hotel. You have to drive through the entire town to reach it, but it’s worth the detour. There is street parking near the main doors or you can pay for parking in one of their lots.
It’s worth walking into the building just to have a sudden sense of time distortion. You feel like it’s suddenly back in a more civilized age. (However the nice, clean modern bathrooms sure beat the heck out of the ones in the Tim Hortons in Golden.) The lobby is vast and the decor harkens back to the railway days when this was a CP hotel.
Friends of ours had visited during Christmas time and they were momentarily convinced that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were going to come around the corner.
We explored to the back of the hotel and found a view from a balcony that was worth the visit. If you are going to stretch your legs on the trek to Calgary, this is place to do it.