Hilton will soon open its first branded Canadian spa.
Called Eforea Spa at the Hilton, it will open at the Markham Suites Hilton on Highway 7 on April 8. They'll feature organic products and all the latest treatments, including a "men's journey" program designed for guys.
"We've never had a spa brand," said John Forrest Ales, senior director – global brand public relations. "Increasingly, however, guests say a spa has an impact on their hotel decision."
It will be only the third branded spa by Hilton in Canada, which now has 15 Hiltons in total out of more than 550 worldwide. Hilton also operates Hampton Suites and other brands, including Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Doubletree and Embassy Suites.
The hotel chain also is helping boost their bookings from Chinese visitors, who (I mentioned this last week) now make up the second largest group of visitors to Canada after Americans. They created a program called Huanying with 20 hotels, offering a Chinese speaker at the hotel when guests arrive, Chinese language tour guides, Chinese televisioin stations, in-room tea, slippers and a Chinese breakfast menu.
There are now 70 or so such programs at various Hilton properties, including the Hilton Toronto, the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown and the Hilton Vancouver Airport.
Hilton is, of course, growing in China, where they set up shop 25 years ago. They also are opening their second hotel in Colombia soon and their first in Peru and also their first all-inclusive property in Mexico, on the Pacific Coast in Puerto Vallarta. Other all-inclusive's are being set up in Costa Rica and Spain.
The chain is having a bit of fun with North Americans who don't take enough vacations, sending out office survival kits and telling folks about the symptoms of "vacation-itis." If you go on their web site - www.vacationcarecenter.hilton.com and type in your address and postal code you'll get various offers or suggestions. I plugged in my data and my typical workload this morning and was told I should come by the Hilton Toronto for an after-work cocktail and try the lobster mac and cheese at their Tundra restaurant, or perhaps take in a meal at Ruth's Chris Steak House, which I find horribly overrated and way too expensive.
Anyway, it's a fun site and it's interesting to see Hilton being a bit more edgy than I would've expected.
FORBES SNUBS CANADA
The latest Forbes' list of great hotels and restaurants is another in a long line of American-centric lists that drive me crazy. They recently came out with their five-star awards and managed to find 58 properties in the U.S. worthy of the designation. But nary a one in Canada.
For the record, they did list 13 four-star properties in the True North Strong and Free. Four are in Toronto: The Park Hyatt, The Hazelton, The Ritz-Carlton (see photo at left) and The Trump Tower. Likely they didn't have time to review the new Shangri-La or Four Seasons. Also on the list for Canada wwere the Four Seasons Vancouver, Four Seasons Whistler, Shangri-La Vancouver, Sutton Place Vancouver, The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino B.C. (a personal fave), Hotel Le St. James in Montreal (a great spot), The Ritz Carlton Montreal and the Kingsbrae Arms in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
Five Ontario restaurants got four-star ratings: Langdon Hall in Cambridge, One Restaurant, Splendido, Canoe and Scaramouche.
Still, gimme a break.
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