Q My husband and I are planning a summer trip to Banff. There are so many things to see and do, we could use some guidance. Also, we're looking for a place to stay with a view and good restaurants.
A The town of Banff, in the Canadian Rockies within Banff National Park, is a popular summer resort destination that has a downtown area with shopping, dining and nice hotels. It is set in a scenically beautiful region known for outdoor recreational activities.
A boat tour on nearby Lake Minnewanka (403-762-3473, www.minnewankaboattours.com), a visit to the Banff Upper Hot Springs (800-767-1611, www.parkscanada.gc.ca/hotsprings), a ride on the Banff Gondola (403-762-2523, www.banffgondola.com) and a guided nature hike (800-732-7251, www.backofbeyond.ca) are just a few activities that come to mind. For a full list, contact the Banff-Lake Louise Tourism Bureau (403-762-8421, www.banfflakelouise.com).
Banff has dozens of hotels, many with nice views. Top shelf is the Fairmont Banff Springs (800-441-1414, www.fairmont.com/banffsprings), with rooms in summer starting at $310 a night. If that's too rich, try the High Country Inn (800-293-5142, www.banffhighcountryinn.com), with views of the Cascade, Tunnel and Sulphur mountains, and rooms starting at $138 a night. Another choice is the Inns of Banff (800-661-1272, www.innsofbanff.com), with rooms from about $192 a night.
Banff has lots of well-regarded restaurants. For a special night, the Banffshire Club in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, with great views of Sulphur Mountain, is top-notch. The Maple Leaf at Banff Avenue and Caribou Street offers a "Pan Canadian" menu and mountain vistas. For Chinese food with a view, try Silver Dragon Restaurant on Banff Avenue. For other good choices, go to www.dininginbanff.com.
Are there any cruise lines that have oxygen onboard for passenger use? My oxygen provider does not deliver overseas and I'd like to cruise from Santiago, Chile, around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires on Celebrity or Princess.
Most cruise lines allow you to bring oxygen onboard, but they do not provide it. Rules vary, but generally you'll need a letter from your doctor approving your travel plans and the use of oxygen. Susanne Ferrull, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, said the letter should also include the "diagnosis of the passenger, the oxygen dosage the passenger uses and the passenger's present medical condition."
The information should be submitted to the cruise line's medical director at least 30 days before sailing. Then you'll need to contract with a company that specializes in providing oxygen for travelers. Companies include Cruise Ship Assist (877-478-7827, www.cruiseshipassist.com) and Travel Oxygen (800-391-2041, www.travel02.com).
Another option is to go with a group that organizes cruises for those who require oxygen. Medical Travel Inc. (800-778-7953, www.medicaltravel.org) sponsors dozens of "oxygen cruises" annually aboard several Radisson Seven Seas ships.
Four friends and I will be staying in London after a transatlantic cruise. It's our first trip to London and we're looking for a place to stay.
London has hundreds of hotels in all price ranges, although rates are generally higher and rooms smaller than what we're used to in the United States. Rates have dropped in recent years, especially at better properties. I would steer clear of budget properties. The last time I stayed in a room that cost less than $100 a night, I woke up with bedbug bites.
Some better centrally located neighborhoods to stay in include Mayfair, Soho and Westminster. More moderately priced properties are available in Bloomsbury, Kensington and Earls Court. A good resource for hotel deals is LondonNights.com; for example, the booking site was recently offering rooms at the four-star Gresham Hyde Park Hotel starting at $156 per night. Other booking sites with good deals include www.superbreak.com and www.hotels.com.
An apartment may make financial sense for a group of five. A good source for well-priced properties is www.central-london-apartments.com. For example, a two-bedroom flat in Kensington that sleeps six was recently offered for $393 a night. Another option is to rent rooms in a private home; contact Uptown Reservations, 800-872-2632, www.uptownres.co.uk.
For more info on London hotels, go to www.visitlondon.com or contact the British Tourist Authority (800-462-2748, www.visitbritain.com). Also, ask your cruise line whether it provides post-cruise hotel packages; good deals are sometimes available.
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