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It’s midnight when we return to the Fairmont Pacific Rim after a night out on the town in Vancouver. When we walk into the Lobby Lounge, the place is overflowing with well-dressed lookers--locals, guests and residents of the hotel. And we know why.
Yes, it’s partly because of the atmosphere – West Coast cool with loads of glass, some woody features and a clean white background overall – but mostly, ladies and gentlemen, it's because the cocktails are to die for.
We took it upon ourselves to try a few of the bevvies on order but we kept coming back to the seriously tasty Absolut Beta Martini. This cocktail was created by the oh-so-charming head bartender Grant Sceney. With it, he won the Absolut Vodka Martini Competition and is carrying the flag to compete in Sweden. If it’s not the winner, we think the competition’s fixed.
The cocktail is both tart and sweet but with complex flavors that make it impossible to discern any one element over another. If you think you have the wherewithal to re-create it yourself, here’s what you’ll need:
Hotel News / Langham Hotels / Eaton Hotels / Toronto Hotels / Canada Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Hotel Renovations / → All Tags
The brand has decided to take over the Delta Chelsea in Toronto, which, at 1,590 rooms, is Canada's largest hotel.
As of July 1, the hotel will officially be known as Eaton Chelsea, thus becoming the first Eaton hotel to open in North America. (For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Eaton is an offshoot brand under the Langham umbrella, with several properties throughout Asia, including Eaton Hong Kong and Eaton Smart New Delhi Airport.)
Langham's parent company has owned the
Delta Chelsea Eaton Chelsea for nearly two decades, but has finally decided to take over management duties as well. This is most likely due to Langham's steadily growing presence in the US, with The Langham Chicago one of the most anticipated openings of 2013 (and not just because of the free WiFi!).
Similar in many ways to Langham, Eaton is known for its "smart, modern and uncomplicated interiors and an enthusiastic 'can do' service culture," as explained by Eaton Chelsea Regional VP Josef Ebner. The hotel itself will undergo major renovations to the exterior, lobby, Market Garden restaurant, and meeting facilities.
One of its main attractions is the "Corkscrew," downtown Toronto's only indoor waterslide.
Rates from $131/night.
[Photo: Eaton Chelsea]
Okay, so apparently this contest was not an April Fool's joke despite what our spam folders decided -- we really are going to vote on America’s best bathroom this summer. America’s Best Restroom Contest is looking for the “top 10 places to go when you’ve got to go.” A battle of the bowls, if you will.
The contest is open to any non-residential restroom in the U.S. that's accessible to the general public. Entries will be judged on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.
“Nominees and finalists run the gamut, from historical buildings or five star luxury hotels and restaurants in big cities, to gas stations along remote highways and mom & pop style diners in the rural Midwest,” says Sabrina Zimring, Survey Editor for Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest.
Hotel Renovations / Canada Hotels / Quebec Hotels / Quebec City Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / → All Tags
While in Quebec City last week, we had the chance to stay at the infamous Fairmont Le Château Frontenac and discovered it'll undergo a multi-million dollar renovation project to celebrate its 120th year. Don't worry, though, retaining the historic charm that's been the hotel's backbone since day one is part of the construction plan.
The renovations will include the guestrooms, main lobby, banquet areas, health club and restaurants. The various projects will be carried out in different phases between May 2013 and early 2014. The hotel will remain open during it all and says "special care and extra efforts will be devoted in order to minimize the inconvenience, visual impact and noise-related nuisance for clients during the renovations." We believe them, considering we toured a room right next to one that was being overhauled and we didn't hear a peep.
Fairmont has dedicated a website to the renovations where you can follow along with the progress being made. The photos in this post show the layout, design, and decor of two prototype rooms, though the hotel said the final product could differ slightly. We found the changes to be most welcome, especially in the bathroom. What say you? Are you liking the new look?
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Last week we started a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Cooking classes
What’s In: Creative classes
Not so very long ago, we realized that more and more hotels the world over were bringing in art concierges to help guide you through their hotel’s art collection, or to steer you in the right direction if you wanted to take in the local art scene or perhaps buy a couple of noteworthy pieces from local artistes. Well some hotels have taken this further and are hooking their guests up with local artists to give them a hands-on experience with the added bonus of giving you a pretty nifty souvenir to bring home.
Here are some prime examples:
Hotel Art / Hotel Packages / Vancouver Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Canada Hotels / British Columbia Hotels / Opus Hotels / George Clooney / → All Tags
While they're slinging essential oil cocktails and providing live TV screens of the lobby installed at the whizzers in the bathrooms, Opus Vancouver is at it again! Now they're working with emerging artist Alana Rothstein on taking your souvenir to the next level, and we're talking serious art stuff.
If you don't know Alana, you soon will. She was one of the artists featured at LA's Carousel of Hope, hosted by George Clooney, and her EMERGE art piece sold for $10,000. Obviously she knows how to werk as a contemporary image maker. So what will she do for you?
With the new exclusive partnership with Opus, Alana is taking your vacation and putting it into her art. What you need to do is provide her with images of your Vancouver trip (or just any images you want, really) and she basically lasers it onto plexiglass for this uber unique souvenir. This comes after an initial consultation to determine what kind of mood, feeling and overall presentation you're looking to capture. We think this memorable art piece beats a postcard or chocolate from the duty-free but hey, that's just us.
There's a whole package around it so get booking before Alana becomes Damian Hirst famous.
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Word on the street is the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver's tallest tower might finally be getting some company at the top--from none other than Mr. Trump himself. Rumors have swirled and Twitter has buzzed at the possibility of a Trump Tower rising up on Georgia Avenue, but despite the rumblings, there has yet to be any confirmation of the agreement.
The original plans for this location called for a five-star Ritz Carlton directly across the street from the Shangri-La, but the brand bailed when the 2008 recession hit, and the project was dormant up until a year ago when developers jumped back in and started hacking out a deal with Trump, apparently because they like the international appeal of his image to potential buyers across the globe.
One of the corporate giants largely responsible for the growth of the gambling and gaming industry in the U.S. is now knocking on our northern neighbor's door.
MGM Resorts is making progress in its bid to build its first hotel and casino in Canada. MGM chairman and chief executive officer Jim Murren (in photo) stated on TV earlier this week that the project has a 50-50 chance of being approved by the city of Toronto. “If it doesn’t happen here there will be one somewhere in Ontario,” he said during a press conference. “Our preference and the OLG’s preference is to be in Toronto.”
It's said that the city of Toronto and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. are mulling it over, though The Star reports that the decision won't come for about a year. Apparently there's been some lobbying going on behind-the-scenes, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.
It is interesting to us that some large stakeholders in Vegas -- MGM and Wynn, for example -- are investing in other cities as opposed to re-investing in Vegas.
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Yes, it’s winter and yes, Canada can be cold. But that also means fluffy snow and chestnuts still roasting by an open fire. Starwood Hotels & Resorts wants to entice you to visit the country with some “winterful” packages (yeah, yeah, we know!).
1) “Two Nights are Never Enough in Canada: Two for the Price of One” package –- This sweet deal lets you book a long weekend of your choosing at over 50 Starwood Hotels across the country so that you can cuddle up during those cold, dark nights of winter. You pay for two nights and they’ve got the third one covered. Rates in a Deluxe King at the Westin Calgary, for instance, will only set you back $179, but you need to arrive between Thursday and Saturday.
2) It’s Hockey Night in Canada –- With the “Hockey Night Special” package at the newly-reno’ed Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, you get a special rate of $139 for a Traditional King on home game nights. Montreal’s Bell Centre is across from the hotel, so if you have that beer swagger going on after the game, you’re nice and close.
We've seen some pretty inventive cocktail concoctions in our time, but this one has us pretty intrigued. The Opus Vancouver has partnered with doTERRA Vancouver to create essential oil-infused cocktails. Yep, we can hear you now. "Huh"? We had the same reaction. Last time we checked essential oils were used in spa treatments or hokey feel-good remedies. But a drink? Nah, man.
Guess we needed to be schooled, and that happened when we asked for more info. Apparently these cocktails are made with dōTERRA's certified therapeutic grade essential oils that can be ingested (not all oils have that quality) by adding them to water or in this case, booze.
So, the hotel's Opus Bar created cocktails like the Opusition, a mix of passionfruit liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, Brut sparkling wine, poached pineapple and grapefruit essential oil. And in addition to sipping this yummy blend, you're actually boosting your digestive and immune system and uplifting your mood. You can't be mad at a multi-purpose cocktail!
Then there's the Hugo, the bar's version of a gin & tonic made with Bombay gin, mint, soda and lavender and lime essential oils. Now, with this drink apparently relaxation is meant to occur along with natural aphrodisiac, mind calming and restorative feelings. We read this to mean you can drink a few, let your hair down, and maybe not regret it in the morning? We say cheers to that!
[Photo: Opus Vancouver]
Raise your hand if you've had sex on the beach.
Congrats, you're one of a million. You got sand in your shorts (or worse). You positioned yourself in the corner of the small lifeguard stand. We're awfully proud. Did you watch the sunset and brush her hair behind her ear, too? Yawn.
Now, a show of hands, who's melted a forearm into a bed before? No? That's what we thought!
But, seriously, our headline is meant to be taken literally, kids. Ice hotels can be hella romantic, and the novelty of the experience will knock your socks off. Though keepin' 'em on is a special kind of sexy we can't imagine.
We're fresh off a stay at Sweden's Ice Hotel, and we can tell you firsthand the stories of individuals breaking a sweat in the heat of the night are totally true. Can you get sticky in your sleeping bag? Youbetcha!
So instead of moaning about the plummeting temps outside, we'll show you how it can get steamy, even in the Arctic.
Airport Hotels / Hotel Openings / Renaissance Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Canada Hotels / Alberta Hotels / → All Tags
Edmonton’s set to get its first Renaissance Hotel this summer (the first in Alberta, as it turns out). The new 213-room hotel will open at the recently-expanded Edmonton International Airport. As the only hotel attached to the airport terminal, this is good news for those of you who find a bed more comfortable than your airport chair.
The hotel was originally scheduled to be a Courtyard by Marriot property before that was kyboshed and it was decided to make the property the more boutique-like upscale Renaissance. The owners felt that the new airport terminal was so modern that the Renaissance was a better fit with the airport re-do.