Okay, this is really a travel blog. But you have to travel to get to Vancouver for the Olympics next year, and I've got an Olympics blog during the Games, so there's my hook.
The Bay today unveiled its new uniforms for Olympic athletes to wear at the 2010 Winter Games and for the public to buy. They look pretty good and they're a HUGE improvement over the Hugh Hefner look from Beijing.
The new models are conservative but Canadian looking with lots of red and black and checks and such; woodsy and northwest and comfortable looking. Not cutting edge at all, but that's not what most of us want.
You can go to www.vancouver2010.hbc.com for a better look and bigger pictures.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts today announced the official opening of three new properties along the ancient path of the silk road. Fairmont Nile City, in Cairo, Egypt; Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China and Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, all officially opened the doors to guests today.
Fairmont has a hotel in development in Beijing, but the Yangcheng Lake property marks their first official opening in China. So congrats on that.
Toronto-based Fairmont is building a 248-room property in Jaipur, India, slated to open late next year. The Fairmont Hyderabad is scheduled to open early in 2011.
Fairmont currently has more than 20 new properties in development, including London’s The Savoy, which will re-open within the next year following an extensive restoration program. I just might have to check that one out, personally.
Over at Starwood, they're also doing some big things. Quite big, actually, as in $6 billion worth of work to Sheraton Hotels around the world.
Included is a $24 million renovation announced the other day for Le Centre Sheraton Montreal. Room features include a 37 inch LCD flat panel TV, oversided work desks, state-of-the-art "multi-use jack pack connection boards" (sounds good for us journalists), plus new Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds and new bedding; all-white, 300 thread-count stuff.
Sheraton also announced a $1 million renovation at the Sheraton Gateway Toronto at Pearson International Airport, including newly designed boardrooms, health club equipment, new bedding and beds and other changes.
Finally, Starwood announced the opening of a Four Points by Sheraton in Cambridge, Ontario, located directly off Highway 401 at Highway 8.
TOURISM TORONTO TAKES A BOW
Tourism Toronto won Best Tourism Advertising and Best Interactive Marketing awards at the 2009 Ontario Tourism awards. They've been doing some good work.
INTRAWEST HELMET RULE
This was filed by Canadian Press a few minutes ago and is worth a look:
Six months after actress Natasha Richardson died following a fall at the Mount Tremblant ski resort in Quebec, the company that operates the facility has announced helmet requirements at all its North American resorts.
Vancouver-based Intrawest says when the ski season begins in a few weeks, it will recommend all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets, and it will update its advertising images to feature skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets.
The headgear will be mandatory for all children and teens enrolled in ski and snowboard programs and for any student, regardless of age, taking part in freestyle terrain park programs.
Intrawest operates nine ski resorts in North America, including Mount Tremblant in Quebec, Panorama Mountain near Invermere, B.C., and Whistler Blackcomb, which will host alpine events for the 2010 Winter Games. Also, of course, Blue Mountain here in Ontario.
Richardson, the 45-year-old wife of actor Liam Neeson, died of a blood clot on the brain in March just days after a minor fall at Mount Tremblant.
The mandatory helmet rules would not have applied to Richardson, an adult who was taking a private ski lesson at the time of her fall.
On a related note, you can go to www.thestar.com/travel today for an online ski preview section.
Aeroplan has launched what it calls its "biggest Bonus Aeroplan Mile" offer ever. There are bonus deals w/ AirCanada, Avis, Delta Hotels, Fairmont. For more, go to aeroplan.com/maximizer.
There’s still time to put together a Thanksgiving getaway at a reasonable price. The 100-plus members of Resorts of Ontario run the gamut from resort hotels and lodges to cottage resorts and country inns, and many have special rates and packages for Thanksgiving weekend. At Foxwood Resort on