Category: Canadian

NewLeaf

newleafWhile we are hoping that Canada will have a new airline that offers new lower fares, for now it has been sidelined. It seems that there are questions and the CTA is now in the middle of it. Their website is down with a holding page that states in part …

“The CTA is currently conducting this review, but during this period Newleaf decided that in order to confidently protect the interests of our customers against any potential changes that could affect their travel plans, we have temporarily postponed sales of airline tickets that were scheduled to begin on Feb. 12, 2016. All customers will receive an automatic full refund of all credit card transactions made to date within 72 hours.”

So it looks like there will not be a quick fix to this or they would hold off on giving the eager beavers their money back.

All we can do at this point is hope that they can work this out and we will once again have a new choice in flying.

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=540

Excursion Trip

How blessed are we who get to travel in our course of life? Recently, I wrote about extending your trip to include a separate stop at no cost to you if you are using travelling from most of the major point programs.

Flying over the Rocky's

Flying over the Rockies on my way to LAX


I was travelling on AeroPlan for that trip and instead of just heading to Vancouver, I booked a multi-leg trip to include a weekend stopover, flying into LAX with no other cost other than the hotel for two nights and incidental costs that most people incur while travelling.

Hotel in LA

Hotel in LA

Since this was my first trip to this end of the country, I was not sure where to stay. The choices are many and so I headed over to TripAdvisor to make my choice. I was looking for something different. I wanted to be fairly close to the Airport district as I thought many of my readers would be selecting this area for a short stop over and yet close enough to several attractions so I can see the area while I was there.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier — The end of Highway 66

I have to say, I had an awesome time. Between the charter local bus service for the hotels in the area, the local bus service was second to none. I was shocked that for a very low fee, compared to my local city, I was on a bus that whisked me straight over to Santa Monica Pier. It was a doubly great since I was travelling on the Memorial Day Weekend.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Now I know some may be saying that it would be too busy and if you were to travel by car, I would agree with you 100% as parking looked to be a little tight, but arriving by local transit was no problem and the areas to explore were all fine. On the pier itself, you had families sharing food, laughter on the rides and fishing from the pier. It was really nice to see.

Fishing at Santa Monica Pier

Fishing at Santa Monica Pier

Down on the beach, we had the celebrations to honour the fallen which was touching to see. A large display of crosses were arranged on the beach with several to represent other religions of the soldiers that gave their lives for the freedom, not only in the USA but for everyone that enjoys the democracy we have and the freedom to travel around the world.

Memorial Day at Santa Monica Pier

Memorial Day at Santa Monica Pier

One nice touch was the shop out at the end of the pier that marks the end of highway Route 66. Such a famous iconic place to say “we were there” On your next trip I can only urge you to take that extra step and explore the many choices you have for stop over or multi-leg trips. I am sure you will find it a pure pleasure.

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=521

Travel as far as you can

How Far Can You Fly?

How Far Can You Fly?

When you travel, are you taking full advantage of the connections that you have to take? Have you considered extending that business trip by a few days and taking in the sights of one of your stops?

Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast

Why not do this on purpose and take full advantage of the possible stops along the way.

Recently I had to take a business trip from the East coast of Canada to the West coast. As I thought about stopping off in Toronto or Calgary for a few days, I thought, “I wonder how far I can travel on the same number of points.

For this particular trip, I was travelling on AeroPlan points. They have an option on booking that you can plan a “Multi-Leg” journey where you can pick an extra stop along the way and chose different dates. This allow you to select the path of your journey and the duration of each segment stopover.

Yes, there are limits to how far you can journey but it is very flexible and well worth the time to investigate this great option. It seems that if the extra leg is within a short-haul flight of the farthest destination, you can easily book it at no extra points.

My flight would have seen me leave New Brunswick, fly through Toronto and on to Vancouver. But, as I looked at my options, I went from my home base, and selected LAX as my first stop. This still took me up to Toronto and then a direct flight down to LA for an awesome Memorial Day weekend at the end of Highway 66. Some of you will know this as the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier — The end of Highway 66

From there, I selected my second leg that went from LAX up to Vancouver and after my work was complete, I flew from Vancouver back to the east coast as my third leg of my trip.  You do have to love the adventure of travel and you can even make the flight more enjoyable by selecting the best craft type for your journey.

I chose to fly business class for several reasons. Most are the usual ones that have to do with comfort but this time, I selected the flights that had the most modern seating arrangements. When I booked my segments, I first looked at the craft type and then confirmed this on the SeatGuru site. I like this site because they give you tips on the best to the worst seats to select on the flights.

I wanted to experience the full sleeper seating options and I was able to select three different styles on the longer segments of my itinerary.  For the flight from Toronto Canada down to LAX I was shown the back seat on the single row side had extra space and privacy. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation and made for as close to a perfect flight as I have ever had.

Flying up the Rocky's

Flying up the Rocky’s

For the heavy traffic but shorter flight from LAX to Vancouver, I also had a great seat. This was surprising to me since it was an Air Canada Rouge flight. As many of my readers know I am not fond of Rouge and I would not call myself a fan, but, I have to admit they have really improved things. Still a long ways to go, but it is worth noting that things are getting better. Keeping in mind that my Android device still would not work on the Rouge entertainment system, but, as always, I re-loaded my tablet with a few good movies and a book or two.

I will share more on my LAX side trip later, but for now, I do hope you will consider taking a little more time booking your next flight and take the opportunity to travel to a new place. Experience what is all out there for you to enjoy and live life to the fullest.

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=513

Coming of Age — Florida Style

That Old Town Florida: Part 1

Old Town Clock

Old Town Clock

Traveling to Florida several times a year can mean that you start to see redundancy in some of the things people like to do and like me to write about. We have to remember that Florida is so much more than what my wife likes to call the “Plastic City” area. You know what I mean. That part of Florida where the rocks all play music and the fire in the torches never runs out.

Now, you know from past posts that I do like the parks. I love the roller coasters. I was never happier than the first time my wife agreed to go on one. I remember that I was working hard to get this decision but she had strong reservations about this particular form of entrainment. We were having a great day in the Magic Kingdom and ended up in Tomorrow Land. I really was not expecting anything but as we stopped for a bite to eat, I noticed that she was looking at the people coming from the Space Mountain ride.

Disney's Space Mountain

Disney’s Space Mountain

We were having the usual type of casual conversation when she paused and looking over at a woman in her sixty’s and a boy not more than nine walk off of the roller coaster ride, she said, “You know, if a Grand Mother and a little boy can get on Space Mountain, well then, so can I”.  I was shocked.

I think that might have been one of the few times in my life that my jaw literally dropped.  Just a bit. Never one to let an opportunity pass by, I agreed and suggested that we try, just this one. I don’t know if you have ever been on this particular ride, most likely you have, but for those that have not, this is a bit of a unique layout in that the design of the ride has one person sitting in front of the other.  Because I am tall, I sat behind her so that she would get the full visual effect of the planets and stars zooming past us as we spiral down to that explosive finish to the ride.

What this meant is that with all the sound effects and noise from an indoor ride I really could not tell what was happening. Was she going to  enjoy this or was I heading for divorce for not stopping her from making this insane decision? I heard a few oh’s with another word or two afterwards, but I still could not tell if she fell in love or hated this one time experience.

I am happy to report that we are still together and very much in love. The experience brought us closer together and now I think there is only two coasters in the greater Orlando area that we have yet to experience.  This was a happening that lead to years of fun travel together in the parks of Florida.

But, this story is not about “Plastic City” but rather the area around it. The area of Kissimmee that many visitors never get to experience, or really enjoy.  I will talk more about Old Town and the surrounding area in my next post or two.

Talk soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=443

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE

 InterContinental Hotel Toronto Centre

InterContinental Hotel Toronto Centre

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE

Stayed August 14-16, 2014

Room: King Suite on the 19th Floor.

What a delight to stay at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre. I was on a trip to a conference and I wanted to be within walking distance. This seemed like a good choice. Being part of the IHG Hotel line, I was able to take advantage of the priority check in which had me in my room in a few minutes. This was a nice surprise since I arrived after 5 PM and I was concerned about a check-in at this time of day.

No worries at this place. My fist session was at the Roy Thompson Hall at 7 PM which was only about a 4 minute walk from this hotel. I had time to order and eat a delightful room service burger and still had time to walk, not up the street, but rather through the City Way. An internal walkway that went through several of the downtown buildings.

Azure Staff -- Great Food

Omelet Staff -- Great Food

Omelet Staff — Great Food

The next two mornings I had a delightful breakfast buffet at Azure, the restaurant inside of the hotel. I do like a buffet, but I am fussy eater in that I want to have fresh, hot, well seasoned food with great service. They have it all here. I usually go do different spots for each meal but I wanted to come back and try more of the food here the second day. Not only was the omelets service excellent, the rest of the choices were all good as well.

I have two other points for you in this review. Usually, I like to give kudo’s to a staff member or two that I think went above the call and offered excellent service. I honestly cannot do that here. Everyone from the hotel front desk to the staff at Azure were all great. Fast efficient and making sure I wanted for nothing. Hat’s off to the staff here. Good staff means a great management team in the background. This means you should have a great experience as well. I am including a few photo’s of staff members.

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Spa

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Spa

I did not have time to treat myself at the Spa, but, I did take a walk through and the Spa facilities look very nice. I wish I had of stayed an extra day to unwind from everything and indulge myself here. Maybe next time.


Finally, if this is just a stopover, then this won’t impact you as I am sure all the rooms are great, but if you are coming for two or more days, I would highly recommend upgrading to a suite. I did and I was super pleased. It is only a modest increase and to have a separate room, separate from the bedroom to relax in, just make it feel so much more relaxing. I have stayed in other hotels where it was not worth it, but at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre, it is worth the upgrade 100%
Book InterContinental Hotels and Resorts today!

I do want to say that the prices might seem high to the budget traveler to stay in the downtown core, but I compared most of the hotels in the business district and I found this hotel to be of great value. If your travels are taking you to Toronto, save on all the daily cab fares and treat yourself to a hotel stay here. I am recommending this one.

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Business Desk

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Business Desk

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Bathroom

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Bathroom

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Suite Room

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Suite Room

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Bed Area

INTERCONTINENTAL TORONTO CENTRE Bed Area


Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=331

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