By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 0 Comments
You’ll need deep pockets if you plan to spend a night or more in these luxurious hotel suites. (Prices vary according to season. High-season prices listed.)
1. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alta.: $12,000 per night in the Marquis de Lorne Suite. Overlooking Lake Louise, this sprawling suite is named after the fourth governor general of Canada, husband of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. Kelly Ripa and her husband were the most recent in a string of celebrities to vacation there. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants the Defence Minister to explain his choice of accommodations in Europe.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay charged taxpayers $2,904 for a two-night stay at the luxurious Bayerischer Hof when he went to a security conference in Munich, Germany in February of 2010. MacKay arrived in Munich after attending an informal meeting of NATO defence ministers in Turkey, where he billed taxpayers $2,310 for a three-night stay at Istanbul’s Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel. At $1,452 and $770 a night respectively, these room tabs go far beyond what most taxpayers would consider reasonable.
In Munich, MacKay’s staff stayed at the Munich Park Hilton, an eight-minute cab ride away, for $239 a night. In Istanbul, MacKay’s staff stayed in the same hotel, but paid $276 per night.
By Martin Patriquin - Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
Ottawa’s $1.1-million deal with a Quebec hotel sparks cries of favouritism
Havre-St-Pierre on Quebec’s North Shore is famous for its whale watching, though getting there is almost as much of a trek for tourists as it is for humpbacks. A 15-hour drive from Montreal, the town tends to attract only the hardiest of nature lovers.
Still, local businessman Daniel Dresdell recently opened up a 100-room, three-star hotel in the town—convinced, he says, that tourists will flock to the town of 3,280 if they have a decent place to stay. Apparently, the federal government is convinced as well: last December, the Conservative government financed 20 per cent of Dresdell’s project to the tune of a $1.1-million two-year interest-free loan, just one of the fiscal stimulus measures of its Economic Action Plan. “Tourism contributes significantly to the socioeconomic development of Quebec’s regions and the well-being of their residents,” said Conservative MP Denis Lebel at the time.
By Bruce Parkinson, Takeoffeh.com - Monday, July 12, 2010 at 9:57 AM - 0 Comments
There’s Gold In Them Islands: Caribbean Tourism Worth $12 Billion and Hotel Industry Recovery: As Rooms Fill
There’s Gold In Them Islands: Caribbean Tourism Worth $12 Billion
There are few places that equal the Caribbean when it comes to sun, sand and sea pleasures. There’s no place that equals the region for dependence on tourism. A recent impact study found that the Caribbean travel and tourism industry will earn $12 billion this year and account for 1.9 million direct and indirect jobs – or one in every nine jobs in the region. Tourism’s contribution to regional GDP is over 4% directly, but tops 12% on a broader impact measure. For some destinations, the impact is even more profound: tourism is responsible for one in four jobs on the island of Jamaica and 27.7% of the island’s GDP. In a statement delivering the study results, UK-based Oxford Economics said “Our research indicates that travel and tourism play a proportionately stronger role in both GDP and employment creation [in the Caribbean] than in any other comparable region,” As history has shown, such a disproportionately high dependence on tourism can be as precarious as it is profitable, as natural disasters and civil unrest can quickly slow the flow of visitors.
Hotel Industry Recovery: As Rooms Fill, Rates Will Rise
Industry analysts and hoteliers agree that 2009 was the worst year in the history of the hotel business. Not surprisingly, they’re only admitting that now as fortunes appear to be on the rise again — it doesn’t do to preach doom when you’re still trying to sell franchises or attract investors. What that means for travellers is that rate increases are just around the corner. As Business Travel News reported this week, a recent investment conference in New York gave lodging leaders a forum to express their recession experiences. “What happened last year was really the perfect storm,” said Best Western CEO David Kong. “Demand went down substantially, almost 6 percent, and at the same time supply grew by 3.2 percent.” “Corporate business just fell off a cliff,” said Monty Bennett, CEO of upscale hotel owner Ashford Hospitality. “When all these companies cut back all corporate travel, they made their profits by cutting expenses. Now that they’re looking to grow profits, they can’t cut expenses anymore.” The turnaround is underway, with hotels reporting higher occupancy through the first few months of 2010. Rates, which plummeted to very consumer-friendly levels during the recession, have yet to bounce back, but hoteliers believe that’s just a matter of time.
Cruising Canucks: Sea-Based Vacations Are Fastest-Growing Segment
More Canadians are walking the gangplank – and paying for the privilege. A new study reveals that cruises make up the fastest growing segment of Canada’s travel market. Industry researcher PhoCusWright Inc. says cruises fit well with the Canadian appetite for all-inclusive package vacations – even though most cruises don’t include things like alcohol in the price. Over the past couple of years cruises have certainly appealed to Canadians’ appetite for bargains. When many Americans stayed home during the worst of the recession, prices plummeted and less-impacted Canadians happily took their place – Canadian cruisers grew by 5% in 2008 and “a stunning 9% in 2009″ during the recession. Another interesting result from the study: 27% of Canadian travellers surveyed said they usually book through traditional travel agencies, compared to just 13%of American travellers. Meanwhile, the cruise industry continues to generate reams of press with product enhancements. Norwegian Cruise Line, which has struggled in recent years, is back in the spotlight with the launch of its largest ship ever, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Epic. Taking the ‘floating resort’ concept to new levels, the ship puts the focus on onboard activities rather than port calls, with a dazzling entertainment line-up and an array of dining opportunities. With behemoths like Epic and Royal Caribbean’s 5,600-passenger Oasis of the Seas, it’s easy to forget you’re on a ship. But that seems to be what a sizable segment of cruisers want. Rather than an opportunity to explore new destinations, many cruisers appear more interested in eating, drinking, tanning by the pool and checking out high-profile entertainment at night. And when it comes to port calls, some of the most popular are the private islands owned by Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America and NCL. These small Caribbean islands are uninhabited until a few thousands cruisers arrive, unmolested by the hawkers and vendors typical of cruise ports. The cruise lines continue to add private island amenities, from private cabanas to water play areas, exhilarating rides to expanded beaches.
Up In The Air: Flying Is Back
After years of almost nothing but bad news coming from the international aviation industry, there’s finally something upbeat to report. In the month of May, both international passenger and freight traffic moved ahead of pre-recession levels. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported an 11.7% increase in passenger traffic and a 34.3% jump in freight demand compared to May 2009.
With airlines closely watching capacity growth, they are filling close to 80% of available seats, a near record level. Now if they could only get corporations to once again start paying 10 times the price of an economy seat for the big seats up front, everything would
By: Bruce Parkinson
Bruce Parkinson is a travel industry journalist and regular contributor to Takeoffeh.com as well as sister company, OpenJaw.com
Photo Credits: bestwestern.com, visitjamaica.com, disneycruise.com, Sieto
By Takeoffeh.com - Monday, July 12, 2010 at 9:49 AM - 9 Comments
Singapore’s Rooftop Infinity Pool
There’s no doubt there are rooms with pretty spectacular views at the brand-new Marina Bay Sands hotel, but it’s hard to imagine topping the vista from the rooftop infinity pool, 55 storeys above Singapore.
As the UK’s Daily Mail reports, swimming to the edge isn’t quite as dangerous as it looks. While the water in the infinity pool appears to end in a sheer drop, it actually spills into a catchment area where it is pumped back into the main pool. At three times the length of an Olympic-sized pool and 650 feet above street level, it is the largest outdoor pool in the world at that height.
The incredible pool is a highlight of the boat-shaped ’SkyPark’ perched atop the three towers that make up the world’s most expensive hotel, the $6.4-billion Marina Bay Sands development designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. The hotel, which features 2,560 rooms starting at over $500 a night, was officially opened recently with a concert by Diana Ross.
The title of world’s most expensive hotel was previously held by the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, estimated to have cost $3.2-billion when it opened in 2004. But with its indoor canal, opulent art, casino, outdoor plaza, convention centre, theatre, crystal pavilion and museum shaped like a lotus flower, the Marina Bay Sands has taken its crown.
Inside the resort, shoppers can ride along an indoor canal in Sampan boats styled on traditional Chinese vessels from the 17th century. The owners commissioned five well-known artists to create works of art designed to ’integrate’ with the buildings. Among these is a 40-metre-long sculpture made from 16,100 steel rods. The whole thing weighs 14.8 tons and it took 60 people to assemble it in the hotel. Another dramatic artwork is titled Rising Forest and consists of 83 three-metre-high pots with trees in them. The pots were so big the artist had to build a customised kiln the size of a small building to make them in.
Marina Bay Sands is another indication of economic recovery. It was due to open in 2009, but was delayed by funding problems due to the global financial crisis.
By: Bruce Parkinson
Bruce Parkinson is a travel industry journalist and regular contributor to Takeoffeh.com as well as sister company, OpenJaw.com
Photo Credits: Reuters, EPA
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM - 0 Comments
A hotel housekeeper in Miami who found $6,000 in cash left behind in a guestroom
A recent story about a hotel housekeeper in Miami who found $6,000 in cash left behind in a guestroom got a former hotel manager thinking about items guests are likely to forget and leave behind.
Daniel Edward Craig decided to pay a visit to a hotel’s housekeeping department to see what was kicking around in the Lost and Found. He found boxes and boxes of guest belongings, most of which looked like junk left behind on purpose, but he knew from experience that hotel staff do a lot of dumpster diving looking for things guests have left, so hotels are careful about what may suddenly be missed and deemed as valuable.
While perusing the collection, a staff member added a very large bra to the mix, saying that happens all the time. Asked what other things guests leave behind, staff listed off everything from the trivial – toiletries, toothbrushes, CDs, adapters – to the treasured – jewellery, laptops, iPods, passports, USB sticks, clothing and prescriptions. One guest left behind an $800 bottle of Crystal champagne. It might have made for a fun staff party had he not picked it up – two years later.
Sex toys are another popular leave-behind, probably because they’re usually hidden out of sight, in a drawer or under the bed. Apparently guests never call back looking for those.
If items left behind in hotel rooms are an indication of what travellers are up to on the road, Craig says partners and spouses have good reason to be nervous. In the Lost and Found log book he found records of a whip, pornographic materials, a nurse’s uniform, a wig, a stethoscope and narcotics. Then again, he also found business books, language tapes and a Bible.
What should you do if you leave something behind in a hotel? Call the hotel immediately and ask about it. If they can’t find it, be patient and persistent; sometimes items are temporarily misplaced, but eventually they should show up. The hotel will arrange to mail it back to you.
Since most of us are inclined to leave something behind that we’d appreciate having returned, the nice thing to do is always leave a tip for the housekeeper. By the way: Craig reports that people were so moved by the honesty and difficult personal circumstances of the Miami housekeeper who found the $6,000 and turned it in, that she later received donations exceeding the amount she found.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
The first nudist resort in this Muslim nation is set to open soon
Turkey will get its first nudist hotel when the Adaburnu Gölmar opens its doors to tourists on May 1. And, in a Muslim country led by an Islamic-oriented political party, the resort’s clientele hasn’t been an issue. Indeed, there is widespread support for the family-owned facility among local residents of the Mediterranean town of Datça, located near the Greek island of Rhodes. Selma Ünal, a member of the local chamber of commerce, echoes many by saying she sees the hotel’s nudist strategy as a way of diversifying their region’s tourist industry into a niche market.
By Jaime Weinman - Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 3:35 PM - 1 Comment
I’ve been having a surprisingly good time in a talking-back-to-the-screen sort of way with the season 1 DVD of Hotel, due out July 21. The show is really terrible in a lovable kind of way, perhaps the worst-written of Aaron Spelling’s successful series (and anyone who has ever watched a Spelling show knows that this is saying something). It was Dynasty meets The Love Boat: after Love Boat was canceled past its prime, Spelling bought Arthur Hailey’s novel Hotel and used it to carry on his favourite format, the guest-star vehicle. As on the Pacific Princess, a mix of old, young, famous and semi-famous guest stars would have various romantic problems, one of which would involve one of the members of the permanent cast. But because Spelling’s most successful show at the time was Dynasty, the problems were mostly soapy and sensationalistic.
People vaguely remember the show for the better-than-average cast — James Brolin, Connie Sellecca (who spends large sections of Episode # 2 in her underwear being stalked by a mysterious killer who magically makes her record player play Ravel’s “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte”) and Anne Baxter (brought in in a weird All About Eve maneuver to replace an ailing Bette Davis). But I wasn’t prepared for the sheer level of badness on display here, not from the actors, who do what they’re told, but from the writers, who appeared to have been on several substances that hadn’t even been discovered yet in 1983.
I’ll list some memorable moments later in the post, but watching a show like this reminds me of a principle I formulated a few years ago: no major-network show today would be allowed to be as bad as the worst shows of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Not that there aren’t bad, unwatchable shows. There always are plenty of those. But while today’s flood of network notes and multi-executive tampering may hamper many shows, it also keeps the bad shows relatively sane: a totally ridiculous, moronic plot or line of dialogue will at some point be objected to by somebody, because a script has to be approved of by so many people. The worst shows of 25 years ago didn’t get as many notes, there was less competition (only three networks, remember) scripts weren’t always as extensively rewritten as they are now, and the wishes of a powerful producer like Aaron Spelling were pretty much law, no matter how bizarre.
And that is how you get scenes like this — bits of two real, un-dubbed scenes, plus the actual voice-over at the end of the episode — being broadcast in prime time on a major network: the producer’s daughter Tori strikes up a friendship with a robot. A robot who talks in funny robot-talk like the robot from the Robin Sparkles video. Except this isn’t a parody. And ABC really did air it in a Christmas episode in 1983. No show today could possibly be anywhere near as bad as this.
Like I said, there are bad shows today, but this is a kind of over-the-top, demented badness that you don’t often see today; a bad show on ABC today tends to be dull and predictable, not insanely stupid. In a way, the bad shows of yesteryear are a bit like some of the weirder HBO shows of recent years, like Carnivale, in that the network doesn’t really care if they make Continue…