Free trip to Mayan Riviera...Richard Gere's Hotel...Blackbox headphones test run
The Toronto Star's Wonderlist has launched a great contest this week. From now until Thursday, Feb. 18, Wonderlist is partnering with Bel Air Travel and giving away a trip for two to the Mayan Riviera.
Winners will enjoy one week, all-inclusive, at the Five-Star Riu Playacar in Mexico. For information, go to www.wonderlist.ca and click on the link to enter.
You know about (well, probably) about Robert DeNiro's Greenwich Hotel in New York. The lads behind U2 are behind the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.
Now comes word that Richard Gere, and, no, I'm not putting him in the category of Bono or Bob, has opened a hotel in tony Westchester County, New York (just north of NYC) called the Bedford Post. Apparently Esquire magazine gave one of its restaurant three thumbs up, so it sounds like he and wife/actress Carey Lowell (never heard of her but I don't get out much) have done a nice job.
It's only an eight-room place, so that seems pretty smart. And a boutique hotel in Westchester sounds just a smidge better than operating a Red Roof Inn at the Cleveland Airport.
DIRTY HOTELS PART II
I wrote yesterday about dirty hotels, and how tripAdvisor reviewers had said that six of the 10 dirtiest in Canada were in Ontario. Well, my employer, the Toronto Star, and it never hurts to give the boss a pat on the back, sent a couple reporters out yesterday to check out the Howard Johnson's Toronto East and the Arkona Motel in NIagara falls. They didn't find them all that bad for the price.
Either way, it's a good story in the GT section of today's Toronto Star, so check it out.
Had a chance to try out some new, noise-cancelling headphones from a company called Blackbox. They're very sleek and very portable, and they do a reasonable job of cancelling airplane noise. You can still hear the annoying interruptions from the pilot telling you they're now cruising at 35,000 feet (do I care if it's 35,000 or 36,000 feet or 35,700 feet, or what runway we're taking off from; honestly, we get way too much information on our flights from pilots who must figure, hey, there's a radio so I oughta talk to the folks squished into economy back there). Sorry, where was I? Oh, right, these are a lot better than my regular iPod headphones, for sure.
The sound was quite good, especially on my new Beatles in Mono CD's, where you can really hear Ringo bashing away on the drums and pick up more of McCartney's melodic bass lines. My favourite feature is how the part that fits over your ear swivels, allowing you to fold them up nicely and stow them in a sleek, round, two-inch-high container that also fits your iPod. It stashes away quite nicely in my backpack; much better than my old headphones.
Blackbox headphones are made by Phitek System and are available at Future Shop locations across Canada.
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY
FREE INTERNET DEBATE
Surprise - not everyone agrees with my rant about hotels making us pay for the Internet. I got a comment from a reader named John yesterday who took issue with my suggestion that we shouldn't have to pay for hotel Internet.
Why should I have to pay extra in my room rate if I don't use the Internet," he argued. "I don't watch pay per view movies in the hotel room either, should they also build those in to the room rate? What about breakfast? I tend to eat out because breakfast at the hotel has generally sat under a hot plate all morning. What about car parking? Not everyone at the hotel requires this. So why should all these extras be built in. User pays, I say!!!!!"
I happen to think Internet is different from breakfast or pay-per-view movies, especially in this day and age. But he's got a point.