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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.
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.
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Not that you want to hear about cold weather and snow during what seems like the coldest week ever (Ed note: don't be too sure!), there's something cool (pun intended) happening north of the border: Today marks the official opening of Montreal's Snow Village!
Built in the city's Parc Jean Drapeau, the Snow Village is North America's first and only entire village made of snow and ice. Now going on its second year, the architects and sculptors used the Big Apple as inspiration for this year's layout and design behind the attached Ice Hotel. It's like Montreal's very-own (snowy) version of Central Park and we're not above making snow angels.
Guess we'll need to explain that Ice Hotel if you've not heard us talk about it before.
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Each year on December 8th, the day Lennon was murdered, roses are left anonymously by the door of suite 1742 at Montreal's Fairmont Queen Elizabeth.
This room was the location of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace back in 1969.
It was the second of two sit-ins the newlywed couple held as a non-violent way of protesting war, hoping to create awareness and inspire others to promote peace.
After the first Sit-In in Amsterdam, the plan was to originally hold the second in New York City, but John was denied a US visa because of a previous conviction for marijuana possession. They changed plans and headed to the Bahamas, but apparently John couldn’t find a big enough fan and he wasn't one to get sweaty between the sheets, so the couple left abruptly for Montreal after John found the island too hot to stay in bed for a week.
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If you can resist this pumpkin-pie loaded shake--there's something wrong with you. Period.
Yes, some parts of the country have experienced their first bouts of snowfall, it’s still considered autumn per the calendar, and many hotel restaurant bars have a host of seasonal drinks created just for this time of year.
And damn, with all that's happened in the last few weeks (natural disasters, elections, secrets, lies, and...Donald Trump causing a stir) don’t you feel like--well, you could USE a drink? And a good, creative one at that?
We want to pay homage to the mixologists, or whatever the like to call themselves these days that have put in work to present some serious dranks (yep, we said it right, fact checkers) for the fall season. Thanksgiving is next week (AY!), today starts the unofficial weekend...let's toast it up !
Holsteins Shakes and Buns at the Cosmpolitan Las Vegas: This throwback restaurant gets major props for its Pumpkin Pie Bamboozled Shake, an alcohol-infused treat made with Sapling liquor, pumpkin pie filling, graham crumble, cinnamon syrup and pepita brittle. You can handle the Thanksgiving trip sipping a few of these.
The Ritz-Carlton, Montréal recently underwent a $200 million facelift , reopening at the end of May with refurbished rooms and adding new 3-Michelin-star Chef Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud restaurant to the mix. These "modest moves" earned them a Five Diamond rating this month. The recognition makes them one of four to earn the honors in Canada and the first and only in the province of Quebec.
Between the stars and the diamonds, that's a lot of accolades, so this hotel should need to be quite impressive as we're not ones to fall over awards that seem to be given out as frequently as free samples for sugarless gum.
But it turns out the Ritz-Carlton, Montreal ain't half bad and we'll tell you why.
This is not so much a bar hop as a bar marathon that runs (get it?) the entire length of Canada. If you have the stamina, so do we.
Well, it had to happen. Autumn is peeking just around the corner. In certain parts of Canada, the leaves are already starting to turn. For those of you who really embrace the whole crispness-in-the-air thing, you’ll love Montreal in the fall and the W Montreal's Plateau Lounge in particular.
When you enter Plateau Lounge you feel like you’ve walked into an autumnal forest, all cozy with orange and brown hues and trunk-like wooden tables. The bar itself has red and ochre leaves pressed into its illuminated top.
To get into the fall spirit if you’re not quite there yet, try the “Milton’s Muse” cocktail made with gin, Apfelkorn, house-made lime cordial and apple juice, or the “Saraswatini” consisting of Poire William, Amaretto, pear juice and, yes, apple juice.
Sure we love big name hotels with glam names and cache behind them—they’re crazy exciting. But there’s something about those hidden places. They don't get a lot of fanfare, but are worthy of being celebrated. And while we hesitate to reveal them for fear they'll blow up and start smelling themselves (aka get big heads), we think you should check them out the next time you're in their neck of the woods.
1. Villas Sur Mer, Negril, Jamaica
While everyone exclaims about the big three resorts in Negril's West End (namely Rockhouse, The Caves, and Tensing Pen) the Villas Sur Mer is an 18-room hideaway that's one-to-watch as the others have started to rest on their laurels. Each villa here is made up of huge one-to-three bedroom units with kitchenettes, sitting rooms, free WiFi (and free calls to the U.S. and Canada!) and even patios with cute wooden porch swings made from rich greenheart wood. There's a deep sense of privacy here thanks to the jungle-like thicket of palm and ackee trees surrounding the property. Plus, each home is spread apart, none more than the stand-alone six-bedroom seaside villa, popular with families and wedding guests.
This is the West End, so there's no beach. But the hotel's lagoon-like pool and oversized hot tub is quite nice and Seven-Mile Beach is just 10 minutes away. Two of the coolest things about VSM is the onsite underground tunnel to Negril's famous cliffs and a ladder that leads right into the Caribbean sea for amazing snorkeling.
Rates begin at $200 per night with a 3-night minimum
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The super-luxurious Ritz-Carlton Montréal is opening its doors once again on June 1 after an extensive renovation that saw it revamp its public areas as well as all of its rooms and suites.
This Grande Dame of a hotel has kept its belle époque style intact in its lofty lobby, Palm Court and Oval Room with coffered ceilings, much marble, and gold flourishes, but they’ve added a contemporary elegance by bringing in lots of whites, greys and textured woods.
The rooms and suites, too, are ritzy (sorry – we just couldn’t resist) with white, grey and yellow in abundance, modern lighting, and luxe decor. They’re a thing of beauty.
Yesterday we told you about Montreal’s new Snow Village, the first North American outpost of the chain with structures in Finland and Norway. Today, we're about to tell you what it's like on the inside. Yes, despite arched eyebrows from our pals, we spent the night in the "ice hotel". We’re troopers like that. Or so we thought.
First thing—we were prepared for things to be a bit wonky the first few nights as this is new territory for Montreal. It’s not like Quebec City’s Ice Hotel—a well run operation in effect for years. But, things did go a bit haywire during our visit.
The registration process in the welcome center involved a seemingly normal contract—no smoking, lock your valuables, we’re not responsible if you slip—until the last paragraph, advising guests “not to lick any of the ice structures.” Visions of Flick’s tongue sticking to the pole in “A Christmas Story” danced in our head.
Last winter we proved we don’t wuss out when it comes to the cold, so when we heard about Montreal’s new Snow Village, we strapped on our snowshoes (ok, not really), and headed to the Great White North.
Montreal’s latest attraction is a five minute ride from the downtown area on Sainte-Hélène island. This area hosts an annual winter festival in its Parc Jean-Drapeau, but this year it goes over the top with the addition of the Snow Village, three giant igloos forming a ice hotel complete with restaurant, bar, conference center, and chapel to rival Quebec City’s famous seasonal structure. It opens this evening and is set (hopefully!) to remain in place until it’s deconstructed on March 31st.
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Le Centre Sheraton Montreal has acquired the rights to 40 archival photographs from the city's nearby McCord Museum, and the photos are to be displayed exclusively in the hotel's meeting rooms. A recent $40 million renovation enabled the artsy purchase, as well as the addition of some swanky new banquet chairs.
Designed with fidgety, conference-bound business travelers in mind, these aerodynamically-configured chairs provide laptop storage space underneath the seat and a hook on the back of the chair (for backpacks, umbrellas, fruit cornucopias). In short, the hotel is doing away with beds completely, and now asking frazzled business travelers to get cozy in their banquet chairs for the duration of their stay.