Toronto hotel goes all-inclusive...Grand Hyatt NYC reno (and a bare butt story)
Before I get into that, I have to say I really like Premier Dalton McGuinty's new liquor laws, which allow alcohol to be included in all-inclusive deals and also allow folks to, wait for it, drink beer at a festival OUTSIDE OF THE BEER TENT. I really, really, REALLY like the motto behind the chages: ONTARIO: Even more free with liquor than Saudi Arabia. It's quite catchy, Dalton.
But I digress. I mostly wanted to point out the story to those who didn't spot it and to suggest I'm surprised hotels up in Muskoka haven't tried. It seems like a natural for Taboo or some such. The Hilton deal Tony wrote about costs $159 per person and gets you a night at the hotel, a buffet breakfast,a packed lunch, a buffet dinner, unlimited drinks with your meals and at the bar, plus valet parking for one car, which is worth $35. They have free wi-fi, as well as a pool and a gym.
For two people, the all-inclusive deal would cost $320. The parking brings it down to $285, in essence. Then consider the breakfast, lunch and dinner worth at least $120 and you're at $165. A room alone in downtown Toronto is going to cost you $150 most nights, I'd say, so then you're looking at $15 for unlimited drinks. Hell, given prices in Ontario (see above note on Dalton), that's barely a beer per person at dinner.
I checked the website for current prices, and a room for Saturday, Aug. 20 was listed at $239, including breakfast. Which makes the rest of the all-inclusive package seem that much better, as you'd get the packed lunch, the valet parking, the buffet dinner AND all the drinks you want for $80 LESS if you're on your own or for just $80 more for two people. The item I saw on Travelzoo.com said the savings were $180 compared to booking things separately, although how you price someone's alcohol consumption I don't quite know.
Assuming the food's halfway decent at dinner (anyone can make breakfast), it's an attractive deal that should spark others to follow suit. How about unlimited martinis on the patio at The Drake as part of a package?????
GRAND HYATT NYC...AND A FUNNY BLUE JAYS STORY
Got a note to say the Grand Hyatt New York is "ushering in a new era" with a $130 million renovation, slated for completion in October. There will be re-designed guestrooms, a new restaurant called New York Central (the hotel is adjacent to Grand Central Terminal; a superb location), a "refreshed" lobby and mezzanine level and more.
Sounds pretty cool. I wasn't crazy about the hotel back in the mid-1990s, when I stayed there quite a lot as a member of the Star's sports department charged with covering the Blue Jays. The rooms were so-so, I thought, and the place was just too busy. But most visiting baseball teams in those days stayed at the Grand Hyatt, and the Jays would book us rooms at the same time, so it was convenient. We also got to fly on their team charter in those days, which was REALLY terrific as we didn't have the hassle of commercial airlines. And there was no security in those days, and when we landed we simply handed our custom cards to a guy who came up the stairs and onto the plane.
Anyway, the Jays had a bus that would leave from right in front of the hotel at 2:30 p.m. or so for the drive to Yankee Stadium for night games. I remember one time there were some rookies on the bus for the team's first trip to New York City of the year, and the veteran players called them over as the bus was filling up. They knew what was coming, but the rookies didn't.
"Come over to this side, you gotta see this," the veterans told. The kids, of course, did as they were told. Sure enough, out from a men's store came a big, sweaty fat guy. He proceeded to turn his back to the bus and, yes indeed ladies and gentlemen, drop his pants. He then gave the rookies a rather hairy moon shot, whacked himself on the behind and shouted out, "Good luck tonight, boys!"
It was hilarious. Apparently the guy did this on a regular basis.
Only in New York....