Canada Travel Guide
Nothing average about a regular room at Four Seasons Toronto
This month, Four Seasons Toronto, the flagship hotel that opened last October in the Canadian city where it all began for Four Seasons, celebrates its one year anniversary. We thought we'd do a birthday solid and call out what might be the hotel’s best asset: its 217 "premier" — aka standard — guest rooms.
Step into one of these rooms with its plush furnishings, abundant wood touches, huge bathroom and thoughtful design (who knew you could do so much with muted gold tones and white) and you’ll have to do a double take, wondering if you’ve accidentally stumbled into a suite (there are also 42 suites).
Talk about annoying. After a long journey, you finally check into a luxury hotel and are handed your room card and minibar key. All is well, and for the $250+ late summer rate you're paying at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, the room comes with a lovely view and an enviable waterfront location. Still, something is amiss.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Renovations / Preferred Hotes / Boutique Hotels / Delta Hotels / Groupe Germain / Canada Hotels / → All Tags
Ever vigilant, we’ve noticed that there’s been a real buzz in the hotel world in the geographic center of Canada—unassuming Winnipeg. We decided to find out why two new locally-owned boutique hotels are or have just opened, why Groupe Germain decided to build the soon-to-be-open ALT Hotel, and why the Delta Winnipeg decided to embark on a top-to-bottom reno that sets them up to be the one of the first Delta Hotels to unveil the chain's new room design blueprint.
We first spoke with Neil Fishman, GM of The Grand, a boutique hotel that just opened on September 23 at Winnipeg's international airport. The property is Winnipeg’s first member of Preferred Hotels, falling under the Sterling Design label. We asked him what was behind the decision to open the hotel now? His response:
In October 2011, the Winnipeg Airport Authority built a brand new state-of-the-art airport [which we at HC just happen to know was designed by Caser Pelli & Associates, architects of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur]. We thought it was important to build a hotel that would be adjacent to the new terminal while offering our guests a new, unique boutique hotel experience. It was our goal to build a property unlike any other hotel in Winnipeg—to offer amenities and services no other hotel was able to offer. Winnipeg is a booming market and there is a tremendous amount of growth in the airport area.
The Grand is a vision in glass, making it unique in the city. We’re told that the property has spa-like bathrooms, iPads in every room, Smart TVs with free access to Netflix, and, for you Starbucks fanatics out there, Starbucks coffee in the rooms and the lobby. (We’ll be reviewing this hotel later in the year so you’ll get the full inside scoop then.)
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Last week we speculated that Marriott’s Autograph Collection had a hankering to take over the hotel world and we reached the conclusion that our speculation was, in fact, fact. As if to prove this point we give you Exhibit A: another Autograph Collection hotel is to be built in Surrey, British Columbia–-which is about 35 minutes from Vancouver.
“Why Surrey?” you may ask. Well, according to Statistics Canada, Surrey is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities with a growth rate of 10,000 new residents every year and 2,334 new businesses were created in 2011. We did not know that.
The 144-room property will be officially known as Civic Hotel at 3 Civic Plaza, Autograph Collection but we’ll shorten that in order to save our weary typing fingers to Civic Hotel, which we think sounds just fine.
More hotel deets after the break!
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Who can believe the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is one year old? They grow up so fast...
The hotel is marking its big birthday by partnering with Sunny Fong of luxury women’s wear label, VAWK, to create spiffy new Lobby Lounge outfits. Celebrities have traipsed down the red carpet in VAWK designs worldwide, including the Cannes International Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.
For the Shangri-La Toronto the designer drew inspiration for the sexy and sophisticated outfits from the “artwork in the lobby, the Ming vase tea library and the ornithological theme that is prevalent in the hotel, and the Zhang Huan ‘Rising’ sculpture.” The dress design borrows from traditional Asian design with shoulders reminiscent of the pagodas found in Chinese gardens and a sleeker silhouette of the traditional qipao with mandarin collar. The goal was to create something dramatic, almost theatrical, and holy-cremolely, he did achieve that.
And then there's the VAWKtail.
Hard Rock’s coming to Canada! The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is opening Canada’s first Hard Rock Casino this winter (an opening date announcement is imminent) in Coquitlam, which is about 18 miles east of Vancouver.
Great Canadian Gaming is reno’ing an existing casino, the Boulevard Casino, and turning it into a rock ‘em, sock ‘em entertainment wonderland. In the plans are seven restaurants ranging from cool and casual to fancy-dancy; three bars specializing in custom cocktails, craft beers and Canadian wines; gaming options which have heretofore not been seen in Canada; an intimate live performance space to feature local acts; and a 1,000-seat theater geared to showcase top music—rock, reggae, mainstream, indie, country, EDM, you name it—as well as comedy and other performance acts. We’re hoping to see some of the biggies here that turn up at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas, but only time will tell.
Most important for us, the hotel-loving crowd, is will there be a luxe hotel opening to accompany all of these decadent entertainment choices? We’re told that the company is currently evaluating whether or not this will happen, but we hope that they reach the logical decision to open a Hard Rock Hotel. One needs a nice place to crash after staying up all night playing pai gow or baccarat and grooving to Tiësto.
[Renderings: The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation]
We're all about cool hotel technology here at HotelChatter but sometimes, we just want things to be simple which is why this button found on a Country Inn & Suites phone is right up our alley.
We reached out to the hotel to see if this pizza button was still in service and where the pizza came from but so far, they've not answered us. Don't they understand this is important stuff we're talking about?
Anyways, while the pizza delivery is going to cost extra, the breakfast is free as part of the Country Inns and Suites standard amenities. Rates start at $199 CAD next weekend.
UPDATE, 11:46pm: The hotel has written us back! Here's who the pizza button, still in service, calls:
The pizza button is set to a local dependable business that provides an excellent product. The Country Inn and Suites in Niagara Falls is a very busy hotel. This button is very convenient for the guests in the room and also frees up our guest services team to have more one on one time with guests in the lobby.
Hotel Deaths / Cory Monteith / Glee / Celebrity Scoops / Hotel News / Vancouver Hotels / British Columbia Hotels / Canada Hotels / → All Tags
Last week, we reported on the untimely demise of one of Canada’s stars, Cory Monteith of Glee fame, at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver. We were impressed with the hotel’s low-key and respectful response to the crisis for the sake of Cory’s family, friends and fans, many of whom flocked to the hotel to pay their respects and leave flowers and other memorials to the star.
But we thought we’d check-in with the Fairmont Pacific Rim this week to see what the plans were for all of the mementos and memorials being left outside the hotel.
We were told that the hotel is removing the flowers, but will be donating all other items to charity. This means that if you left a teddy bear at the memorial site, Teddy will be going to a better place too.
Meanwhile, it was discovered that one of Cory's last public meetings with his girlfriend and "Glee" co-star Lea Michelle was at The Crescent Beverly Hills during her photoshoot for Marie Clarie magazine. No memorials have been reported at the hotel yet but you never know.
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OK – so every city has its share of restaurants that serve local, sustainable cuisine, but believe us when we tell you that forage restaurant takes this concept to the nth degree.
Forage is located in one of Vancouver’s most eco-conscious hotels, The Listel. This hotel goes out of its way to be a good citizen in, arguably, one of the greenest cities on the planet (did you know that if a corporation wants to build a structure in Vancouver, they need to give something back to the community, like public green space or art?). The hotel has a zero waste policy, solar panels and a heat capture system. And in the late fall of last year, forage opened and continues that tradition of sustainability.
Chef Chris Whittaker attacks this philosophy with a vigor that is quite astounding. He grows his own vegetables, catches his own fish, make his own preserves, composts all of his food waste, hunts for the purpose of feeding his family, and forages to connect himself with nature and remind himself where our food comes from. Pretty impressive, right? The man evens keeps mason bees to pollinate his crops.
Hotel Deaths / Cory Monteith / Glee / Celebrity Scoop / Hoel News / Vancouver Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / → All Tags
Cory Monteith, star of the popular TV show, "Glee", was found dead in his hotel room on Saturday afternoon at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver. He was just 31 years old.
According to Vancouver Police, Monteith was expected to check out on Saturday after a weeklong stay. However, after he failed to do so, housekeeping went into his room on the 21st floor and found him lifeless. Paramedics were called to the hotel but Monteith was declared dead at the scene. Vancouver police said no foul play was suspected yet Monteith did just complete a stint in rehab for substance abuse this past April, leading to speculation across the internet that drugs were to blame.
Shortly after the police held their press conference on Saturday night, Fairmont tweeted their condolences:
Together with our friends in the @VancouverPD we express our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Mr. Monteith— Fairmont Pacific Rim (@FairmontPacific) July 14, 2013
Classy and respectful. Unlike the Beverly Hilton after Whitney Houston died.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Rumors / Hotel News / Trump Hotels / Vancouver Hotels / British Columbia Hotels / Canada Hotels / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Back in February we told you that rumors were swirling in cyberspace that a Trump Hotel & Tower might be coming to Vancouver. Well, stop the swirling because we can confirm that Mr. Trump is coming to Canada’s biggest west coast city.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver is expected to open in summer 2016. Here are some of the tantalizing deets:
• 147 guest rooms, 218 residences
• Vancouver’s first pool bar nightclub (details on what this is all about are scarce right now)
• A champagne lounge
• A signature restaurant
• Canada’s first Mar-a-Lago Spa by Ivanka Trump, a new line of boutique spas
• Trump Attaché – a dedicated department that offers guests personalized attention with no service off limits (we can only imagine!)
Read the full story for some more pics!
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We mentioned last year that ALT Hotels, baby sister brand of the chic Le Germain Hotels, was planning a Canada-wide expansion. They started in Québec City, then Montréal's Quartier Dix30, at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and now? Halifax.
The 169-room ALT Hotel opened at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Monday and is the fourth ALT in Canada. The hotels combine good design and stylish interiors with a “no-frills found here” concept that works.