Tag: Canada Hotels

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Quirky Cocktails That (Can Make You) Go the Distance

August 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.

There are some cocktails in this world that make you go, “Really?” Here are a few that fall into this category, proving that some things are best left for the experts to come up with.


This savory concoction comes from Shangri-La, At The Shard’s GŎNG. It contains Scotch – good; sherry – OK; blue cheese – what the?; and chocolate bitters. Really? All we can say is that we’re going to London soon and you can bet we’re making a pit stop here to see if it can actually be done.

Black and Blue Swizzle

Ingredients:
1.5 oz Talisker 10 Years
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz honey-blue cheese mix (method below)
1 drop Mozart Chocolate Bitter

Method:
To make the honey-blue cheese mix:
Add 2:1* honey syrup and 200g crumbled blue Stilton into a saucepan over medium heat and let the syrup simmer for a while (do not let it boil). Use a blender to make sure the cheese and honey are combined. It’s recommended to fine strain the syrup before usage.

Pour all of the ingredients into a copper mug and add crushed ice. Use a swizzle stick to blend the drink and crushed ice until the outside of the mug is frosted. A spoon can be used if you can't get hold of a swizzle stick.

Top up with fresh crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves, orange peel and cinnamon crumbles.

*A 2:1 (sugar/honey to water) is often referred to as rich simple syrup. The 2:1 ratio often gives the cocktail a better mouth feel and less is needed since it’s richer. It also lasts longer before spoiling.

Cost to imbibe at the hotel: £17 ($28)
Cost to stay at the hotel because you've imbibed too much: £500 ($834)

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HotelChatter Must-Stay Hotels 2014: Toronto

August 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must-Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.

Looking for a hotel in Toronto? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless “Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?

Here are four different hotels to try when you head south of the border to one of Canada’s largest metropolises, all located in Toronto's downtown area. Whether you’re going for pleasure or work and whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your wants, needs and desires.

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Go Big or Go Home: $75M Reno Biggest Ever at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1 rue des Carrières , Québec City, Québec, Canada, G1R 4P5
May 27, 2014 at 5:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you’ve never been to this Gothic revival-style grand hotel dominating Québec City’s skyline, you should know that renovating Le Château Frontenac would be like renovating a castle (the hotel even has ramparts!). But renovate they did and paid the princely price of $75 mill to revamp the 611-room, 120-year-old property. Wowza!

Compared to when this writer last stayed at the hotel about seven years ago, the lobby-to-roof reno looks to have kept the property’s elegant classical interior while updating textures and adding a more contemporary color palette.

Some of the nifty new things include the changes made to the Fairmont Gold level, Fairmont’s version of the Club Level. The room count went from 45 to 60 rooms and the private lounge – with dedicated concierge, morning breaky, evening hors d’oeuvres, and honor bar – has been consequently expanded and gussied up.

More below!

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Canada Gets Its First Autograph Collection Hotel with the Revamped Algonquin Resort

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 184 Adolphus Street , St Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, E5B 1T7
March 27, 2014 at 8:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

New Brunswick’s Grande Dame of a hotel, The Algonquin Resort, reopened last week after a one-year “rafters to registration” refurb to become Canada’s first hotel under Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand of independent hotels.

The century-old plus Algonquin Resort’s guest rooms and public spaces were completely redesigned by Toronto designer, Robynne Moncur of Moncur Design. The hotel’s décor reflects its Victorian origins but is re-styled for a modern sensibility, with a living room-style lobby that invites lingering around the two-sided fireplace. The lounge now opens to an outdoor patio that takes in the nightly sunsets over Passamaquoddy Bay in the awesomely-named St. Andrews-by-the Sea.

Each guest room and suite in the 233-room resort includes comfy pillow-top mattresses and bathrobes, radiant heat flooring in the bathrooms so that your tootsies don’t get cold, MP3 players, 32-inch flat screen TVs, in-room coffee, and complimentary in-room movies and WiFi. Select rooms and suites even feature a balcony or patio for you to while away an afternoon with a book — something like Michael Martin’s Lost in Hotels seems appropriate!

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Aloft Calgary To Open In April As Per Starwood’s 'Go Big Or Go Home' Goal

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 2359 Banff Trail NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2M 4L2
March 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

We’re hearing a lot about Aloft Hotels these days and here’s why: Starwood is planning to open 100 Aloft Hotels in 14 countries by the end of 2014. That’s a big shout-out to you, Gen Yers, since Starwood's building 'em mostly for you.

So without further adieu, here comes Aloft Calgary University, set to open on April 17—the first Aloft in Western Canada and the third to debut in the country.

Like all of the Aloft properties, you can expect modern design, loads of tech, and local live music at its signature W XYZ bar. You’ll also find a 24/7 pantry for when you have the munchies, indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, full-service day spa, spin studio and a casual eatery on the second level of the hotel.

The Aloft Calgary University will have 143 loft-inspired rooms each with a walk-in shower, Bliss toiletries, free and, they’re promising, fast WiFi, and plug & play charging stations that connect to the 42” LCD TV.

Rates in May start at $189 CAD, but we say go the distance and have breakfast included for $199 CAD.

{Rendering: Starwood Hotels & Resorts]

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Montreal Says 'Bienvenue' to a New ALT Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 120 Peel Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 4B8
February 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM | by | Comments (0)

Groupe Germain Hospitalité is opening its fifth ALT Hotel at the end of March: the ALT Hotel Montréal Griffintown. Along with Hôtel Le Germain Montréal and ALT Hotel Brossard Quartier DIX30, this will be the company’s third hotel in and around the city. It will also be the first hotel (try to keep with all of these stats!) to open in cool-sounding Griffintown, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods now home to Montréal’s Fashion Week and its own bespoke beer, Griffintown Blonde Ale from Brasseur de Montréal. (You know you’ve made it when your name’s on a beer, are we right?)

The hotel will continue to fulfill the ALT Hotels mandate of offering a “no-frills-chic hotel concept combining modern design and eco-friendly features at an affordable rate.”

See more renderings below!

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A Peek Inside Toronto’s Iconic Hipster Hangout, The Drake Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1150 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
February 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Drake Hotel was one of, if not THE, first boutique hotel in Toronto when it opened. When we heard that dot-comer Jeff Stober was opening The Drake west of Queen West, we thought it impossible for the hotel to survive in the then downtrodden boonies. We were wrong, so wrong—not only did The Drake persevere but it quickly became a hotspot for locals who lined up to get into its basement band venue and kickass lounge. Now, ten years on, we set out to discover whether The Drake Hotel still had true cachet.

We walked in on a wintry Saturday afternoon and the place was overflowing with bohos and hipsters alike, most waiting for a table in the recently-reno’ed (and enlarged but still full to capacity) restaurant and lounge. If you ever wondered what the Canadian design aesthetic is, you need to come here. There’s lots of natural wood, industrial lighting, earth tones, forest motifs and—to take it one step further—The Drake has a kitschy camp feel that reminds us of every camping trip we ever took as kids, sans mosquitoes.

The rooms carry on that mid-century modern campground feel but with modern ModCons. You can see inside the rooms in the photo gallery, but there are a few things that deserve an extra shout-out. First, let’s hear it for “Hairy Chest Man.” This particular doll for adults with leather studded collar is handmade and you can find a different doll in every room. Next, the “pleasure menu”: The Drake purports to be the first hotel in the world to carry one and while we can’t vouch for that, we can say that it is probably the most extensive menu of its kind that we’ve had the “pleasure” of seeing (yuck yuck). We also loved the owl light and the toiletries by Malin + Goetz.

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A Peek at The Beverley Hotel in Toronto

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 335 Queen Street W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2A1
February 13, 2014 at 3:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Next up in our Toronto tour is the 18-room hotel, The Beverley, found on hipster hangout, Queen West. After some initial confusion as to whether to head up or down the stairs (go up to check-in and down to go to the popular restaurant and lounge), we met up with GM Scott Newnham who showed us around this tasteful minimalist boutique property.

The hotel’s motto is, “Everything you need and nothing you don’t,” and we think this is a pretty accurate depiction of what the hotel’s all about. Cool, white minimalism takes over the rooms — with a happy shock of vivid color coming from the bathrooms — and what’s there is luxurious: Frette linens; local spa Body Blitz toiletries; fluffy cotton robes; and flat-screen TVs mounted on the ceiling or wall.

Have a look at the photo gallery below to see for yourself!

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Toronto’s Drake Hotel Has a New Sibling: The Drake Devonshire Inn

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 24 Wharf Street, Wellington, Ontario, Canada
February 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM | by | Comments (0)

For a new hotel that’s not opening in the heart of the city but in the country, there sure is a lot of buzz around the Drake Devonshire Inn. Mind you, it is opening in a quaint little town with a quaint name — Wellington in Prince Edward County — but we suspect it’s because The Drake name holds a lot of clout in these here parts (for a peek inside The Drake Hotel Toronto stay tuned until next week when we’ll bring you inside it’s hallowed halls).

In keeping with The Drake Toronto, we’re expecting a certain cheeky Canadiana charm to fill the twelve-room Inn, which is expected to open early summer. The architects have taken an existing historic building and are melding it with the new to create a rough-luxe design aesthetic where flannel would be appropriate. The hotel’s aim is to bring the big-city cool kids to the country — a sort of adult year-round camp — and that also means an old-school games room, farm-to-table dining in an indoor and outdoor restaurant that serves home cookin’ with a twist, loads of local entertainment and maybe the odd pillow fight.

And while you’re hanging out on the outdoor deck sipping a Pinot, it’s--quite literally--hanging out over Lake Ontario.

Rates aren't available yet, but we hope to know more soon.

[Renderings: Drake Devonshire Inn]

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A Peek Inside Toronto’s Hotel Ocho

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 195 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 2C5
February 7, 2014 at 10:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

We popped in to 12-room boutique Hotel Ocho during our recent excursion to T.O. We found an industrial-style crash pad with Danish minimalism and shabby chic décor thrown in for good measure.

The hotel opened in May 2011 in an area underserviced by the big-name brands. Next to Chinatown and in the trendy Queen West area (you can rent a bike right outside the hotel to get around), it attracts the creative class with its basement restaurant and lounge offering martini and wine nights. The hotel’s reception is also in the basement level, although you might just miss it if you're not aware, since check-in is located behind the stairs leading up to the second level (as you can see, there’s some quirk here too!).

Once you hit the rooms—on the top two floors of the four-storey building (and yes, there is an elevator)—you’ll have a choice of a Standard Room, Superior Room or Deluxe Room. All have wood-plank ceilings, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. We had a peek at a Superior Room and it also had a little desk, an open bathroom concept and walk-in shower, and La Source toiletries. The Standard Room also had the open concept bathroom and was... cozy.

The hotel showcases local artists and rotates the work about every two months, giving the hotel a lot of character. See for yourself in the Photo Gallery below!

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Generation Next In Airport Hotels: The Grand Winnipeg

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1979 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3H 1H5
February 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM | by | Comment (1)

While times, they are a-changing, the vast majority of airport hotels are still conservatively-designed chain hotels. The Grand Hotel Winnipeg Airport, part of Preferred Hotel Group, could be the next generation of stylin’ airport boutique hotels that have it all goin’ on.

To prove our point here are 10 things that we loved:

1. It brings back the golden age of flying – We’ve all heard tales of a time when one wore their Sunday best to fly and martinis were copious. We’ll never get those days back, but with The Grand’s design scheme we can still pretend. Colours in the hotel are tarmac grey paired with sky and Robin’s egg blues. The addition of whites makes the hotel feel crisp and laundered. It feels like optimism, all shiny and new.

2. Artwork – The hotel doesn’t bill itself as an art hotel, but it should. All of the artwork in the hotel—the rotating images behind reception, in the rooms and throughout the public areas—are photographs taken by the hotel's owner, Keith Levit.

3. The Room – Spacious and well-thought out, full of flat spaces and cubby holes for our stuff. We had a Deluxe Runway View room (620 sq ft) and—calling all location scouts—it looked directly out onto the apron and runways.

4. Local food done really well – Fresh ingredients including the kitchen’s homegrown micro greens made for a great dinner, and you should see that walk-in wine cellar!

Not ones to apologize for noticing and appreciating the minutiae of a hotel because we do sweat the small stuff, some small but important deets are below:

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The 2014 Definitive Guide to Canadian Hotel Openings

Where: Canada
January 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM | by | Comment (1)

Drake Devonshire Inn, opening this summer.

When we released our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings in 2014, our Canadian hotel section was sparse. Sorry. BUT, news has been coming in from our neighbo(u)r to the north about 2014 hotel openings so we've been able to expand on that section. We'll add this to the Master List soon (sorry again) but here's a dedicated look at what's in store for Canada. Looks like we need to make a trip up there soon, eh?

NEWFOUNDLAND

St. John’s
· JAG Hotel: Spring

NEW BRUNSWICK
· Atlantica Hotel Halifax (reopening): March
· Hampton Inn by Hilton: Spring

QUEBEC

Montreal
· ALT Hotel Montreal Griffintown: Spring

Quebec City
· Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (reopening): June

The rest of the country below!

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