TORONTO'S NEW HYATT
Got a glimpse of the new Hyatt Regency on King West last night; formerly the Holiday Inn. I never saw it as an H.I. except from the street, so it's a little hard to judge the transformation. But I CAN say that, after several/many millions worth of improvements, the new hotel is quite something.
The rooms feature lots of white with brown and cranberry accents. The huge, flatscreen televisions are encased in a large, curving panel of wood that makes it feel like you're lying in bed watching a giant theatre screen; tres cool. And the drawers for your undies and such are built into the wall so you avoid clunky furniture. Plus there's the IPod docking station and all those other audio-visual gadgets for plugging in your laptop to the TV or whatever else you might want to do with your latest electronic gizmo; you know, the one you always have to ask your kids to figure out for you.
The bathrooms are cool; with opaque glass that gives them an airy feel and nice-looking fixtures to go with marble floors. The rooms with two double beds are a bit cramped but quite elegant; the king-bed rooms seem much larger.
The lobby is a little minimalist for my taste but it's certainly upscale and the drinks at the Mix bar are tasty; try a King Street Collins with pear, lemon and lime and Grey Goose Vodka. The appetizers are good and the food selection downstairs at the sleek restaurant, called Social, is quite varied; Indian-style lamb, Vietnamese pho, New York strip steaks and paella. There's a good wine list and prices seem quite reasonable, with entrees maxxing out around $28.
Best part might be the pool and the deck up on the 17th floor, which come summer time will be one of the great places in the city to hang out.
Right now you can snag a regular room for $109 weekends and $119 weekdays, which is pretty spectacular.
ANOTHER TORONTO OPTION
It wasn't much in the old days, but they've done a major reworking of the venerable Strathcona on York Street judging by the quick glance I had of the lobby the other day and a look at their room photos on the website.
A p.r. person sent us an item to say the hotel has won a hospitality award for its on-line marketing schemes, which looks pretty good
on paper(sorry, on line).
The press release says the hotel, get this, increased revenue by 285 per cent from website bookings to net a 36:1 return on investment. Wow.
Visit www.thestrathconahotel.com for more information and for room rates and special deals.
Not sure it's a great slogan, but the folks in tourism in Turkey have announced a new campaign with the above title.
WEB SITES GALORE
The Times on-line travel site (Times of London, not New York) has released its list of 100 best travel web sites. Pretty cool stuff if you're looking for anything from lingerie in L.A. or a hot breakfast in Berlin.