Vancouver rocks the Trip Advisor 2012 hotel awards ... World hotel prices rising
Either nobody who uses Trip Advisor comes to Toronto, or our hotels really suck in this town.
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. And I know that we have some mighty fine hotels in the T-dot. But, hoo boy, does British Columbia ever take us to the woodshed on the new Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice hotel ratings for Canada. Ditto for Quebec.
The newest ratings, out a couple days ago with little fanfare, show the top-rated hotel in the true north, according to Trip Advisor site users, is L'Hermitage in Vancouver (see photo below right). "Sublime," wrote a woman, Laura C., from Calgary. "Everything seems to be on a more human scale. The rooms are excellent. The service is brilliant. Nothing is rushed.”
In second spot was Auberge Le Vincent in Quebec, followed by Echo Valley Ranch and Spa in B.C. and Sonora Resort on Sonora Island in B.C., which apparently you reach by helicopter (la and dee and dah). Gotta admit I'd never heard of it, but it looks impressive on paper/web.
B.C. took the 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 spots in the top 10. Quebec had #2 and #10. Ontario? Our first mention was way down at 16, the Harbour House in Niagara-on-the-Lake (which always seems to get top ratings for some reason). Next from Ontario was Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, a deserving number 18, followed by the Cambridge Suites in Toronto in the 21st spot. It's not fancy, but the rooms are big and it's RIGHT downtown; an ideal family spot. Next was the new Ritz Carlton on Wellington, perhaps the top hotel in Toronto but not affordable for many folks, at #22.
And that was it. No Hazelton. No Thompson. Nothing else for the Big Smoked. And, surprisingly, nothing else for Niagara, at least not in the overall hotel category.
Here's the full top 25 hotel for Canada in case you want to put it on your fridge - or maybe in your birdcage: 1. L'Hermitage, Vancouver, 2. Auberge Le Vincent, Quebec, 3. Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, B.C., 4. Sonora Resort, B.C., 5. Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, 6. Opus Vancouver, 7. Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, Vancouver, 8. Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, North Vancouver, 9. Abigail's Hotel, Victoria, 10. Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City, 11. Hotel Le Clos St. Louis, Quebec City, 12. Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre, B.C., 13. Nita Lake Lodge, B.C., 14. Shangri-La, Vancouver, 15. Four Seasons Whistler, 16. Harbour House, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 17. Magnolia Hotel and Spa, Victoria, 18. Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, Toronto, 19. Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa, B.C., 20. Sundial Boutique Hotel, Whistler, 21. Cambridge Suites, Toronto, 22. Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, 23. Hotel Quintessence, Tremblant, Quebec, 24. Hotel Le Crystal, Montreal, 25. W Hotel, Montreal.
For those keeping score at home, that's 15 for B.C., six for Quebec and four for Ontario. Notice there's nothing for Banff or Jasper or Calgary/Edmonton and nothing for the prairies in general and nothing east of Quebec City.
I do wonder about these things. I understand the fancy spots such as the Ritz are going to suffer from a site such as Trip Advisor, which is built on mass appeal. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's kinda refreshing that they also do budget hotels and other categories. It's just that it seems awfully skewed, in this category, to Vancouver and B.C. Great places but there's not a chance that they have 60 per cent of the top hotels in Canada. Fifty eight or fifty nine? Maybe. But not 60.
The Cairns Motel in Summerside PEI (we wrote about it in the Star last year) came in at number one for bargain hotels in Canada. But at least Ontario was number five (the High Falls Motel and Cabins in Wawa). And Ontario was tops in the relaxation and spa category, with top honours falling (deservedly) to Ste. Anne's Spa in Grafton (see photo at left).
Ontario also fared well in the B and B/Inns category, with the two through five spots all inside the province (Britaly Bed and Breakfast, Niagara-on-the-Lake; Greystone Manor, Niagara Falls, La Toscana di Carlotta Niagara-on-the-Lake and Accomodations Niagara Bed and Breakfast, Niagara Falls).
SPEAKING OF HOTELS, MAYBE YOU SHOULD BOOK NOW
An item I spotted on travelmole.com (the European/UK edition) says global hotel rates rose by an average of four per cent in 2011. Hotels.com gathered information from 142,000 properties in more than 85 countries for their study, which shows some pretty remarkable and wild swings.
Asia, which is quite affordable in most cases already, found a two per cent dip in prices. Tunisia was down nine per cent due to political problems, while rooms in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh were down a whopping 30 per cent. Amsterdam hotel rates jumped nine per cent, while rooms in Venice and Barcelona rooms went up an average of eight per cent. Prices skyrocketed by 40 per cent in Ibiza (I have no idea why), but they fell 10 per cent in Athens.
The study said US hotel rates went up by an average of three per cent in 2011, but the rise was steeper in some American cities, with San Francisco up 14 per cent and Las Vegas rising 11 per cent. Average prices rose 13 per cent in Australia last year and there was a 12 per cent increase in New Zealand, fuelled by the Rugby World Cup.
GENE SIMMONS ROCK AND BREWS RESTAURANT - SOUNDS TRULY AWFUL
Gene Simmons of KISS fame (horrible band, I think) is partnering with some restaurant folks and a concert promoter to develop something truly horrible sounding: Rock & Brews. It's labelled as a backstage beer garden, and I haven't a clue what that means except there's talk of capturing the excitement of rock concerts, along with "The Great Wall of Rock" with posters and rock shows on flat screen TV's.
Okay, it might be halfway decent as long as they ABSOLUTELY FORBID showing anything by KISS, AC/DC or Rush.
The first one (OMG, they may have more???) will be in El Segundo, California - south of LAX. More are planned for Denver, Atlanta, Lahaina Maui (please, no), Tokyo and Los Cabos in Mexico.
Haven't we been through all this with Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood? And don't you wonder if a place with Simmons' name on it will have tongue on the menu?