T.O.'s Hazelton Hotel gets Harper honour...Lawyer Jackie should take on United
Noticed the other day that Toronto's Hazelton Hotel, located in trendy Yorkville, was given a nice nod by travel writer Andrew Harper.
Harper writes about luxury travel and is a big name in travel circles, so it's quite an honour for him to have graced the Hazelton with one of his "Grand Awards" for 2011. Indeed, the Hazelton was one of only 19 properties in his grand awards category and was the only one in Canada.
"Mr. Harper chooses his favorite properties visited over the past calendar year to comprise this list," according to his website, www.andrewharper.com. "All possess exceptional character, a commitment to classic hospitality and a profound sense of place."
I stayed at the Hazelton and wrote about it in the Star last year. I quite liked it, although I'm not sure that a "sense of place" is its strongest feature. The rooms are quite nice and the food is very good and I love the patio. There's wonderful artwork in the lobby; quite elegant, and the service is excellent. I guess it feels like Yorkville, but I wouldn't say you'd have any strong feeling of being in Canada the way you might with, say, the Wickaninnish in B.C. or Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City.
But Harper knows his stuff and has been in the business far longer than me, and I agree that the Hazelton is a fine hotel and one of the top spots in Canada for sure.
CALLING LAWYER JACKIE - HOT COFFEE DELAYS UNITED FLIGHT
I had to laugh when I read how a United Airlines pilot spilled his coffee and triggered a hijacking alert, not that that part of it is funny.
It seems the pilot was winging his way on a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt when the coffee spilled over and somehow interfered with the plane's communication and navigation buttons, thus triggering a distress signal to aviation authorities. The pilot made a detour to Toronto and all was cleaned up, it seems.
I haven't heard yet if he was drinking Starbucks (maybe even the new stuff without the word Starbucks written on the side of the cup, and how stupid a marketing scheme is that anyway) or Dunkin' Donuts or that improved McDonald's stuff. If we're lucky, it was Tim Horton's and we can get him to do commercials in Canada instead of watching more hackneyed ads with Sidney Crosby and cheerful kids on their way to hockey practice at 5 a.m. with brain-numbed parents in the front seat wishing they were in Jamaica instead of on their way to inhale more Zamboni fumes. But I digress.
Our story here in the Star said another plane was sent to pick up the derailed United passengers and take them back to Chicago, where they were to board another flight for Frankfurt. Passengers were provided with lodging and meals before departing for Frankfurt on Tuesday afternoon, according to a United spokesman.
No word on whether they got free coffee, too.
Writing at gadling.com, writer Tom Johansmeyer wonders what the pilot was thinking.
"Hey, buddy," he wrote, "ever heard of a travel mug?"
Me, I think it's time for the passengers or maybe the pilot to seek relief by hiring Lawyer Jackie from Seinfeld, perhaps the finest coffee attorney in the world.
I'd really love to see him defend the United pilot. I mean, can't you just see his final advice to the jury?
"If the coffee lid don't fit, you must acquit."
QUEENSLAND TOURISM IN BAD SHAPE
I received an email from Queensland Tourism late yesterday to advise that "while the floods currently affecting parts of Central Queensland, Western Downs and Outback Queensland had impacted visitor access to those regions, tourism operations in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Whitsundays, Townsville, Tropical North Queensland, Southern Downs and Toowoomba were functioning normally."
I would hope so. Tourism is a huge money-maker in Queensland, and Australia already is suffering from a lack of North American visitors due to the strength of the Australian dollar.
GOOD NEWS TODAY FOR WEST JET
WestJet today announced a December, 2010 load factor of 80.3 per cent. That's down a bit from the Dec., 2009 figure of 81.7 per cent. But revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 10.9 per cent year over year.
In a statement, WestJet said their guests this past holiday season "enjoyed the time-saving convenience of self-serve bag tagging at several of its largest airports, where check-in lines were significantly reduced. The self-serve bag-tagging option allows guests to easily print and attach baggage tags to their own checked baggage."
I guess they save some time, but I personally hate having to attach my own bag tags and do all that stuff at those little machines. I'm not a person that cares about getting pampered and all that (I hate the word "pamper,"), but I like being served by real airline workers rather than dealing with a machine.
"We're very pleased to be closing the year with such strong traffic results," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "With the season's festivities behind us and the reality of the Canadian winter ahead of us, we continue to expect that our Mexican and Caribbean destinations will be popular choices with Canadians looking to warm up."