I hadn’t heard this, but it seems the folks at Aloft Hotels (a division of Starwood) have been trying to draw in guests by staging concerts in the lobby with local musicians. It’s a fine idea for both musicians and hoteliers, I’d say; good publicity for both. Dan Young at Starwood tells me the Aloft property at Vaughan Mills north of Toronto has a different band, artist or DJ come in on occasion. They had an L.A. band called Wicker play last June and you can click here for the video.
Of course, Hotel California would be a popular hit. And also Heartbreak Hotel, I guess. I’ve always liked Motel Matches by Elvis Costello. And don’t forget Gordon Lightfoot’s Hangdog Hotel Room.
WESTIN TORONTO SPORTS DEAL
Here’s a nice one for sports or music fans. The Westin Harbour Castle on the Toronto waterfront has a deal through Sept. 2 where guests can save on their stay if they come to town for a special event such as a Jays game or Leafs playoff contest or a concert. Guests must show the front desk their ticket for an event scheduled within 48 hours of their stay when they check in to get the offer, which can be booked with rates from $139 per night. Call 1-866-716-8101 or mention the EVENTS rate plan or visit www.westintoronto.com for more information. Rates are fully prepaid at time of booking and priced per room, per night based on single/double occupancy and are subject to availability. Advance reservations are required. Go Leafs, Go.
PENINSULA HOTELS UPDATE
Peninsula Hotels are celebrating some big anniversaries this year. The New York property (Fifth and 55th) is celebrating a quarter century in business. There’s a new restaurant at the New York property, designed by the Toronto firm of YabuPushelberg. It’s set to open in the fall and will feature modern American cuisine with plenty of produce and other items from the American northeast. If you’ve never been, the rooftop bar at the New York property is quite something.
Elsewhere, the Peninsula Beverly Hills has finished an extensive renovation of its 193 guest rooms, suites and villas. Officials say it’s the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star hotel in Southern California for 20 consecutive years.
In Bangkok, the Peninsula is celebrating its 15th anniversary. I had a chance to stay for a couple of nights two years ago and loved it: an incredible spa and a beautiful pool and fabulous food, combined with excellent service. Last I checked you could get a room for about $200 and it’s well worth it. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about when I visited was the lobby, which seemed rather old-fashioned. But I saw pictures of the new one and it’s jazzy and bright and modern; a nice change.
The venerable Hong Kong property – easily one of the top hotels of the world – is celebrating it’s 85th birthday this year and just finished a $60 million renovation. There will be year-long celebrations such as traditional tea dances (see photo below) and puppet shows and they also have specials.
They’re set to open their first property in Europe with the opening (probably next year but given French unions who knows) of a hotel in an old Beaux Art building on Avenue Kleber in paris, a short walk from the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. The outdoor terrace looks outstanding and there will be a rooftop restaurant, bar and terrace with killer views of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.
Peninsula announced last week that they’re proposing a hotel for Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) on the site of the former headquarters of the Burma Railway Building. It’s remarkable when you consider Myanmar was almost nowhere on the travel radar screen two or three years ago…
In addition to fine hotels, Peninsula likes to offer guests great local experiences. In New York you can arrange theatre tickets plus a chat with an actor or director and a behind-the-scenes look at a Broadway production. Or you can go casual by foraging for food in Central Park and having a picnic lunch (with or without the wild mushrooms you might have picked). Not your style? How about a tour of Brooklyn in a bespoke Mini Cooper and some great local pizza. At the Peninsula in Manila, you can take a helicopter ride to a distant river and have a picnic on a boat or check out the war history of the Philippines.
No word on a Canadian property any time soon but you'd have to think it's only a matter of time until Peninsula steps into the market.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal on tap for a great 12-night cruise from Rome to Athens for $2,145, including all fees and taxes.
- EXCLUSIVE TO JAUNT 2 for 1: For every one person paid in full, the second traveller's cruise is FREE! (Two for one pricing already reflected in the price)
- 12-Night Athens to Rome Cruise on board the Aegean Odyssey, starting in Athens, Greece and ending in Rome, Italy
- Includes excursions in the following cities and/or ports of call: Athens, Greece; Piraeus, Greece; Nauplia, Greece; Syracuse, Sicily; Trapani, Sicily; Palermo, Sicily; Sorrento, Italy; Bonifacio, Corsica; Livorno, Italy; and Rome, Italy
- Accommodations in a Standard Inside Cabin (Category M)
- Includes open-seating dining, plus wine included with dinners on board
- Enjoy top lecture series and guest speakers on board to complement your cruise itinerary
- Includes gratuities on board, plus unique onboard experiences like lectures and fresh local fare
- A smaller cruise ship means exposure to less visited ports
- See Rome, Athens, Pompeii, Sicily and more
- Valid for travel on June 24, 2013 sailing
- Pricing (per person, based on double occupancy)
Standard Inside Cabin (Category M): $2145 tax included
NOTE: 2 for 1 pricing above reflects the following breakdown:
1st passenger: $3300 + $495 port tax = $3795
2nd passenger: $0 + $495 port tax = $495
= $2145 tax included per passenger
- Option to upgrade your package and include airfare, transfers and hotel stays pre or post-cruise. Call our travel professionals to book: 1-855-687-5925
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking