Well, what do you know. I'm often on the case of the poor folks at Trip Advisor, gently (sometimes) ribbing them about reader polls they do that seem to favour those lucky saps out in Vancouver who probably are already looking at crocuses and daisies popping out of their (wet) gardens.
Time after time, it seems, I get reader polls or what have you that give all the kudos to hotels in British Columbia and all but ignore Ontario and even Quebec. Let alone the poor Maritimes and Newfoundland. But now, just in time for Valentine's Day, comes a Trip Advisor Readers' Choice awards with more geographical balance, Canada-wise.
Their latest offering lines up the 10 most romantic hotels in Canada, and Ontario takes the top prize. I frankly don't know how they get such rewards on Trip Advisor, but Harbour House Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake got top spot for romance in Canada, followed by the Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa in B.C. The next four spots in a row, which I find unrealistic as well, went to Ontario: Woodland Echoes Resort in Magnetewan, Sterling Inn and Spa in Niagara Falls, The Charles Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Riverbend Inn and Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
In seventh spot came Hotel Kutuma in Montreal, followed by Le Relais Lyonnais in Montreal, Mercer Hall Inn in Stratford, Ontaro and Smugglers Cove Inn in lovely Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
This means Ontario grabbed six of the top ten spots, Quebec two, British Columbia a paltry one (heh, heh) and good old Nova Scotia one.
I put very little faith in these things, to be honest. They're fun to write about but I haven't a clue how people judge these things. Niagara is a romantic place that deserves some spots in the top ten, but 40 per cent?
It's fun to see Ontario beat out those romantics in Quebec, but I simply can't believe there's no place in beautiful Banff that doesn't deserve the top 10. Let alone places I've visited that are absolutely stunning: The Wickaninnish in Tofino, B.C. and Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec (see photo at left of Panache restaurant), which might be the top property in the country. Not to mention Toronto's Ritz-Carlton, Hazelton, Four Seasons, Trump and Shangri-La, or the lovely St. Germain on Mercer Street; still my favourite hotel in the city.
For what it's worth, Trip Advisor also listed the ten most romantic hotels in the U.S. and in the world. Here they are:
U.S. ROMANCE SPOTS
1. Bardessono, Yountville, California, 2. Koa Kea Hotel and Resort, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, 3. Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 4. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California, 5. Honor Mansion, a Wine Country Resort, Healdsburg, California, 6. Ocean Lodge, Saint Simons Island, Georgia, 7. Casa Laguna Inn and Spa, Laguna Beach, California, 8. Mountain Home Lodge, Leavenworth, Washington, 9. Tickle Pink Inn, Carmel, California, 10. Henderson Park Inn, Destin, Florida.
Lots of California content, for sure. And, once again, North Dakota gets robbed.
WORLD ROMANCE SPOTS
1. Anastasis Apartments, Imerovigli, Greece, 2. La Minerva, Capri, Italy, 3. Cranleigh Boutique, Bowness-on-Windermere, United Kingdom, 4. Cedar Manor Hotel and Restaurant, Windermere, UK, 5. Baros Maldives, North Male Atoll, Maldive Islands, 6. Casa del Mar, Langkawi, Malaysia, 7, Bardessono, Yountville, California, 8. Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai, 9. Layana Resort and Spa, Ko Lanta, Thailand, 10. Veligandu Island Resort, North Ari Atoll, Maldives Islands.
Nice, but no mention of Tahiti's overwater bungalows? For shame! On the other hand, I've actually been to one of these, Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai. It's stunning and I had an outdoor spa/tub overlooking the desert and a watering hole with, I think, a type of gazelle hanging about. Alas, I was alone...
TROUBLES IN MEXICO
Associated Press reports that six Spanish tourists were raped by a gang of armed, masked men in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, the latest chapter of violence that has tarnished the once-glamorous Pacific coast resort.
The attackers burst into a house the Spaniards had rented on the outskirts of Acapulco, in a low-key beachside area, and held 12 Spanish men and women and one Mexican woman at gunpoint before dawn on Monday. They tied up the six men with phone cords and bathing suit straps and then raped the six Spanish women, said Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton at a press conference later Monday.
"This is a regrettable situation, and of course it is going to damage Acapulco," said Walton. The once-glittering resort that attracted movie stars and celebrities in the 1950s and 60s has already been battered by years of drug gang killings and extortions, but except for a very few incidents, the violence largely has not touched tourists.
Walton said he believed, but wasn't sure, that the assailants in Monday's attack didn't belong to a drug gang.
"From what the attorney general has told me, I don't think this was organized crime, but that will have to be investigated, we don't know," Walton said.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement saying it regretted the attack, and suggesting it was not drug-cartel related.
That's nice. But it doesn't help their tourism situation.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY - JAMAICA
Snow's on the way, folks, so it's a good time to think about a sunny getaway. Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, is offering a deal for the lovely island of Jamaica, at the Grand Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay.
- BONUS: ACV Privileges offer exclusive check in/late check out (subject to availability), 4 guaranteed à la carte reservations per week, 20% spa discount, nightly turn down service and more!
- All-inclusive 7-night stay at the 4-Star Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Montego Bay, and round-trip airport/hotel transfers in Jamaica
- Accommodations in a Junior Suite, featuring 1 king or 2 double beds and private balcony or terrace. Max. occupancy: 3 adults and 1 child, or 2 adults and 2 children
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and unlimited domestic alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
Why We Love It:
- Continue the relaxation in your Junior Suite with your own hydro massage tub
- The experience of swimming in a 3-lake style interconnected pool
- The sleek and unique Victorian-style accomodations
- Valid for travel on the following departures:
Toronto: March 12, 16, 17, 18, 20 & 23, 2013
- Pricing (Rates are per person):
1st Child (2-12): $879
2nd Child (2-12): $399
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of bookin