T.O. tops Canada charts, but we love to visit New York, Vegas and Chicago
You want a cheap hotel in a Canadian city? Try Cambridge, Ont. Looking to blow your budget? Camp out in a hotel in Kananaskis, Alberta.
The folks at hotels.com have issued their Hotel Price Index report for Canada and North America, and there's some cool stuff in there. For example, they found that the average hotel room in stunningly beautiful Kananaskis cost $244 last year, up 20 per cent from 2010 (why, I don't know). Rooms in Sun Peaks, BC saw prices jump a whopping 35 per cent; the highest increase in the country. Both were considerably pricier than the average room in Lake Louise, which was a relative bargain in 2011 at $209 - a drop of three per cent from 2010. Blue Mountain Ski Resort rooms in Ontario averaged $205, while rooms in Mont Tremblant, Quebec averaged $198.
But there are bargains o'plenty to be had. You won't get the same views, ahem, that you would in Kananaskis, but you can get a room in Cambridge for just $98 a night - the cheapest in Canada. Next cheapest was Campbell River, BC ($99), Welland, Ont. ($100), Langley B.C. ($101) and Bowmanville ($102). Personally, I'd spend the extra four bucks and stay in Bowmanville versus Cambridge, but I'm a guy who likes to live on the edge.
The Hotels.com folks also looked at the most popular Canadian destinations for folks to book a room. Tops was Toronto, followed by Montreal and Vancouver. International visitors, however, chose Vancouver over Montreal for second spot. Rooms in Toronto last year jumped five per cent but still come in at the cheapest of the big three, averaging a very modest $142 a night. Vancouver prices increrased three per cent last year to $144 average, while Montreal hotels climbed to two per cent to average $151. Still, those are all pretty close, and a good deal compared to many international cities.
If you look at the Hotels.com study, it seems more Canadians are booking rooms for the U.S. than they were in 2010; perhaps holding back on international travel in favour of something more affordable. In 2010, there were six cities outside North America in the top 20 for Canadians to book for a hotel stay; London, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Tokyo. Only four cities outside North America were on that list in 2011, with Barcelona and Tokyo dropping out.
New York was number one last year, followed by Las Vegas. The big news, perhaps, is that Chicago jumped to number three for top U.S. destination last year; a leap from the number 10 position in 2010. That's pretty good, but we've been hearing tons of great things about Chicago lately.
Here's a look at the top 20 hotel-city destinations for Canadians (outside of Canada) for 2011:
1. New York (anything you could want)
2. Las Vegas (and more)
3. Chicago (second city - not any more)
4. Seattle (great culture and scenery)
5. Orlando (no surprise)
6. San Francisco (scenery, food, wine, culture)
7. Boston (history, great walking city)
8. Los Angeles (much more than movie stars)
9. London (Olympics ratcheting up the tourist trade)
10. Paris (still the best place in Europe)
11. San Diego (best weather in California)
12. Miami (fun, fun, fun)
13. Honolulu (beaches, sure, but also great food and culture)
14. Newark (a surprise to me)
15. Rome (so many great places to see)
16. Fort Lauderdale (a gem on the Atlantic coast)
17. Anaheim (mostly Disney)
18. Hong Kong (one of the world's great cities)
19. Washington DC (great food, neighbourhoods)
20. Atlantic City (also a surprise, unless you're a gambler, I guess)
There's tons of other great stuff in the hotels.com world study. They found that the most expensive countries in the world to visit were the Maldives at $541 per night, followed by French Polynesia ($374) and the Seychelles ($372). The most expensive "cities" were Bora Bora (really an island, not a city) in French Polynesia at a whopping $699, followed by Cap Estate, St. Lucia ($473) and Paynes Bay, Barbados ($472).
Think room costs spiralled in your favourite city? Hotels.com says prices jumped an incredible 71 per cent in Florianopolis, Brazil, rising to an average of $223. Average rates across Brazil rose 12 per cent last year to $222. Double digit price hikes also took place in Chile and Peru.
On the positive side (for consumers), prices in Cambodia - already a cheap destination - fell 20 per cent, while hotel rooms in Egypt and Jamaica fell 13 per cent. The study found the average hotel room in Jamaica last year was $160 - only $58 a night more than Bowmanville. And the beaches in Jamaica are just a little better, too.
Looking for affordable, five-star luxury? Hotels.com says the best deal on the planet last year was Warsaw, Poland (see photo at left), with a five-star hotel room costing an average of $148. Hey, that's 50 bucks more than Cambridge! Second was Marrakech, Morocco (and that's pretty exotic) at $166, followed by Brussels, Belgium at just $168. Five-star luxury in a city with the architecture and style of Brussels for just $168 is pretty impressive, I'd say.
More of a four-star person? I've been saying this for months, but it's interesting to see you can get a four-star hotel in Bangkok for just $98 a night and one in Warsaw for an average of $99. Willing to slip to a 3-star? That'll cost you just $50 a night in Bangkok - $20 less than what I paid for a cab ride from Pearson to 1 Yonge St. the other day.