BIG NEWS FOR INN AT MANITOU & QUEBEC HOTEL...CARIBANA BOOST
Travel + Leisure has come out with its top hotel winners for 2009, and there's a pretty big surprise for Canada.
In the general hotel category, the top three worldwide were Bushmans Kloof in South Africa, Oberoi Vanyavilas in India and the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve in South Africa. Fourth was Jade Mountain in St. Lucia, which we wrote about in Star Travel last fall. Fifth, however, was Ontario's own Inn at Manitou, located in McKellar (near Parry Sound). It was the highest-rated spot in North America, actually, and that's saying a lot.
The hotel put out a press release but it was fairly quiet about it; kinda surprising in that they beat out lots of well known hotels around the world (all but four of them, actually!), including the Peninsula in Hong Kong and a ton of high-profile Four Seasons resorts around the globe. There's a mention of it on their website, manitou-online.com, but I'd think they'd be making a bigger deal out of it. Still, it's great news for them.
"We're very proud of our dedicated, professional staff and so very thankful to our guests who have been so loyal over the past 36 years," said Sheila Wise, founder and owner of The Inn. "We've tried to create an ideal getaway for our guests that is both comfortable and elegant."
The 34-room inn is a member of the Relais and Chateau Association. There's tennis, yoga and a spa, and folks tell me the Ridge at Manitou golf course is superb.
Congrats also to Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City, which was ranked third in Travel + Leisure's Top 10 Small City Hotels (100 rooms and under) in North America. The hotel, a 95-room boutique property in the old town, is built over one of the city's most signficant architectural sites.
Just fyi, the top two hotels in the small city category were the Eliot Hotel in Boston and the Watermark Hotel and Spa in San Antonio.
KUDOS FOR CARIBANA
I thought everyone knew about Caribana, Toronto's annual Caribbean street festival. But apparently not. Caribana has taken over the number four spot on Canada' Top 10 "Hidden Travel Gems" list, as determined by Canadians through the Canadian Tourism Commission's LOCALS KNOW web campaign (www.localsknow.ca)
Some great comments have been posted on Caribana, which is always good for our tourism folks.
Interesting that so many folks continue to click on the photo of Georgian Bay in Tobermory; more than 80,000 hits since the campaign began June 1. Folks also are checking out Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park in the Chilcotin Region of B.C., which looks like the mountains of Mexico, and the Athabasca sand dunes in northern Saskatchewan, which are hugely cool and very much the sort of thing that a foreign visitor would not expect to see in Canada.