Canada Travel Guide

/ / / / / /

What's the Difference Between the Four Fairmonts in Vancouver?

Where: Vancouver, Canada
July 13, 2015 at 1:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Hotel lovers who visit Vancouver will notice that an abundance of Fairmont properties, four in total, call the city home. Three of them are located within not more than a couple blocks of each other in the downtown and harbor areas. Given their close proximity, we were curious if they were able to maintain their own unique identities, or if all were essentially one large hotel under the same brand. Below, we take a look inside each to find out what makes them unique.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is the city's flagship Fairmont. Like many of the epic Fairmonts in Canada, Hotel Vancouver looks like a castle, an image retained from its glory days as a railroad hotel. It is located in the center of downtown, a characteristic that distinguishes it from the two other downtown properties (the harbor is a 10-minute walk). The enchanting nature of the property and its architecture attracts both business and leisure travelers, and we think its the best value of the three downtown properties given its tendency to be significantly cheaper than the other two. It recently underwent a $12 million renovation that saw the addition of a new restaurant, Notch8. This weekend's rates start at $344.

more ›

/ / / / / / / /

Before and After: Now You're Privy to the Penthouse Suite at Toronto’s SoHo Metropolitan Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 318 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 3T4
July 8, 2015 at 4:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

Third floor of the redesigned Penthouse Suite

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

When we hear of hotel room renos, the rooms have often gotten to such a sad state of un-fabulousness that, in order to keep people coming back, they simply have to update them or risk being forgotten and going the way of the horse and buggy.

This is not so in the case of the SoHo Metropolitan and its Penthouse Suite renovation. As we mentioned last week, the SoHo Met was looking pretty fine when we were there and is still popular with the cool kids of the celebrity kind. The reno’ed Penthouse Suite, which was just completed before Will Smith moved in, has managed to keep some of the old yet bring in the new to create a very New York loft feel with floor-to-ceiling windows and an in-suite glass elevator.

The three-story, 4,000-square-foot suite has two bedrooms, five washrooms, a Kohler Sok infinity tub with chromatherapy, multiple fireplaces, a library, dining room, two living rooms, two kitchens, multiple wide-screen TVs, a Crestron entertainment panel, in-suite security system and a rooftop terrace overlooking the city with hot-tub and built-in grill. That's quite a mouthful!

Like what you see below? Let us know what you think!

more ›

/ / / / / /

Five Reasons Why Celebs Stay at the SoHo Metropolitan in Toronto

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 318 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 3T4
June 26, 2015 at 4:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you look up the SoHo Metropolitan (part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts) on a tourism site, chances are pretty good that you won’t find it there. And if you ask your airport taxi driver to take you to take you to the hotel, you might have to give him/her the address in order to make it. But do you know who does know about the hotel? Film and music celebs, that’s who.

We checked out the hotel on a recent trip to Corktown (AKA Toronto, and for you history fiends, the nickname came about from an old historic neighborhood in the center of the city) because we wanted to know what draws all of those bright shining stars to the hotel? Following are the five main reasons why we think this is their pied-à-terre of choice. (With more pics in the Photo Gallery!).

more ›

/ / / / /

The Chelsea Hotel Toronto is the First to Make Their Hotel More Accessible

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 33 Gerrard Street W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1Z4
June 17, 2015 at 4:09 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto (part of Langham Hotels and the largest hotel in Canada at 1590 rooms) is the first hotel in Toronto to implement a program called Closing the Gap to ensure guests with disabilities have a positive hotel experience.

The program was designed by the Accessibility Professionals of Ontario (APO), a full-service accessibility consulting firm, with the intention of helping “people with disabilities to travel and access goods and services independently and with dignity,” said Colin McCarthy, founder and lead consultant of APO.

And what does this mean exactly, you may ask?

more ›

/ / / / / / /

ALT Hotels Opens Their ALTernative Brand In Winnipeg

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 310 Donald Street, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R2V 2H3
May 13, 2015 at 4:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Let's just pause for a moment to think about how lucky we are to be living in a time when hotels are spreading their design wings and letting creativity flow. And we’re not being irreverent here -- we mean it. Remember the old days when hotels looked like they were all cut with the same dull cookie cutter? Dullsville, right?

ALT Hotels, baby sister brand of Le Germain Hotels, is a leader out of Canada that specializes in good design at a good price (think Mama Shelter or citizenM but where the private space is as important as the public space size-wise). The hotels are designed in a sorta industrial chic look, with enough comfy pockets for you to nestle into. They mix high-end furnishings with low-end services, meaning you get Italian designer chairs but not a concierge. This is how they manage to keep their uber-cool properties at a reasonable rate: in Winnipeg we’re talking $149 per night, every night.

While ALT Hotels all share a certain style, each ALT Hotel that opens has some unique features that make it its own, and the ALT Winnipeg – just opened two weeks ago – is no exception and we’re digging what we’re seeing.

If you want to see what we're seeing, go to the photo gallery!

more ›

/ / / /

Ace Hotels Eyeing Toronto Next

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 51 Camden Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
April 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

After Pittsburgh (opening this summer), Chicago, a second spot in NYC and possibly Nashville, Toronto will be the next city to get an Ace Hotel.

Shinan Govani of Hello! Magazine in Canada reports that the hotel brand just signed a deal for 51 Camden Street in Downtown Toronto. The hotel will have 130 rooms and it will be "built-to-suit" which is a bit different from the Ace's usual modus operandi of rehabbing historic buildings.

Govani also reports that the Ace has partnered up with Carbon Hospitality in Toronto with Shim-Sutcliffe Architects overseeing the design. If all goes well, the hotel should open in 2018, probably in time for that year's Toronto Film Festival. We're excited but in a totally cool, calm and "whatever works" Ace kind of way.

[Photo of Ace London: Juliana/HotelChatter]

/ / / / /

First Aboriginal Art Hotel Opens in Vancouver: Skwachàys Lodge

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 29/31 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6B 1R3
April 3, 2015 at 11:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Late this fall, where Vancouver’s oh-so-hip and oh-so-coolly-named Gastown meets historical Chinatown, the Skwachàys Lodge Hotel & Gallery opened its doors to the public (pronounced skwatch-eyes). No trumpets blew and there weren’t any fireworks, but this little 18-room hotel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Owned and operated by the registered charity, Vancouver Native Housing Society, each room is designed by one of six local interior designers in collaboration with one of six Aboriginal artists (Native Americans in U.S.-speak in case you didn't know). Each unique suite features original carvings, paintings, fabric, art, custom furniture and décor.

more ›

/ / / / / /

Following the iPad Tour of Ottawa's Fairmont Château Laurier

Where: Ottawa, ON, Canada
April 1, 2015 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Ottawa, Canada's grand dame, The Fairmont Château Laurier may be redecorating its guest rooms, but all is very well and as original as possible throughout the historic public rooms of the hotel.

From the indoor, art deco pool to the Yousef Karsh portraits (most famously of Winston Churchill) in the Reading Room, the Château Laurier seeks to preserve all the little details, as well as the grandiose, and serves in places as a kind of time capsule to the days of its 1912 opening (which sadly coincided with the sinking of the Titanic, an event which claimed the life of the man who commissioned the hotel built, Grand Trunk Railway president Charles Melville Hays).

more ›

/ / / / / / / /

Before and After: The Fairmont Château Laurier Redecorates Canada's Castle

Where: Ottawa, ON, Canada
March 25, 2015 at 3:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Tripadvisor reviews haven't been very kind to Ottawa, Canada's historic Fairmont Château Laurier in recent years. The popular sentiment seems to be "time for a major renovation" and, luckily enough, that's exactly what the hotel has in mind. Better than that actually; the Château Laurier is in the midst of such a renovation of the guest rooms, replacing the former "grandma's guest bedroom" aesthetic with something much more modern, fresh, and bright.

Redecorated rooms finally offer lots of power outlets (including a desk with built-in console and bedside table lamps with outlets), Nespresso coffee makers and a variety of Fairmont proprietary tea blends, and bathrooms are equipped with both an ultra-flattering light-up mirror and a makeup mirror, not to mention toiletries from Le Labo's Rose 31 collection.

Only a small number of the hotel's 429 guest rooms have been redecorated with the fresher look, so guests should request one during booking or, at the very latest, during check-in.

more ›

/ / /

What to Expect From The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, T0L 1E0
March 6, 2015 at 3:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and its surrounding wilderness

Last week, we showed you the killer view that makes the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise one of Banff's most talked-about properties. Its location at the edge of glacially-fed Lake Louise is how it makes its first impression, but what's the rest of the property have to offer? Today, we open its doors for a peak inside.

The hotel was originally started as a base for outdoor enthusiasts, and has evolved into the upscale property it is today. This combination is what defines the hotel, a focus on soft adventure that mingles with modern-day luxury. This ying and yang is evident the moment you walk into the lobby and see how the outdoor-inspired art and bold colors mix with the large archways, shimmering chandelier, and soft accents of its interior design.

more ›

/ / / /

All About That Lake: The Killer View from The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, T0L 1E0
February 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

View from the far side of the lake of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

We've highlighted the natural beauty of the Fairmont Banff Springs in the past, but its lesser-known sister property, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, is no slouch when it comes to killer views herself.

A few years ago, we dreamed about what it might be like to stay there, and now we have experienced it first hand. We'll dive in a little deeper next week, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what attracts people to this property. It is positioned next to Lake Louise, which is fed by several glaciers that trickle down from the surrounding jagged peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

more ›

/ / / / / /

Loews Hotels' OE Collection Will Resurrect The Bisha Hotel in Toronto

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Toronto, Canada
February 2, 2015 at 6:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

A few months ago, news came out that Loews Hotels would debut their own lifestyle collection, called, OE Collection. While we made the scholarly guess that OE did not stand for Olde English malt liquor (heh), we were still left in the dark about what kind of space in the lifestyle market OE would fill.

But last week at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit conference in Los Angeles, we sat down with Constantine Dimas, the new chief business officer of OE Collection, and got the scoop.

Dimas is a Loews guy through and through, having served as Vice President of Asset Management & Owner Relations as well as Vice President of Food & Beverage.

Not so coincidentally, OE Collection hotels will have a strong emphasis on food and beverage and beyond. In fact, the first OE Collection hotel will be the Bisha Hotel in Toronto from Canada's nightlife king, Charles Khabouth (Bisha was Khabouth's childhood nickname, but Dimas refers to him as "The King of cool." Khabouth is also the restaurant partner at Loews Vogue in Montreal.)

Longtime readers may remember Hotel Bisha from way back in the day (2010) when they first announced that Lenny Kravitz would be designing an entire floor.

The hotel took a while to get going but now Loews, in the form of the OE Collection, is helping Khabouth make his hotel vision a reality. Come early next year, Bisha Hotel & Residences, OE Collection--with 100 hotel rooms, over 300 condo units, a 24-hour cafe, a bar, two restaurants and a mega rooftop experience--will finally swing open its doors...to the most culturally discerning guests of course.

more ›