Tag: Halifax

The Casa Magna Marriott Puerto Vallarta

The Casa Magna Marriott Puerto Vallarta

Posted by Laura Snow on March 7, 2015 1


Nestled in the Puerto Vallarta Marina beach strip, the Casa Magna Marriott is a beautiful beachfront resort, with a full conference center, five restaurants, three pools and a fantastic fitness centre. The tropical grounds of the resort are covered in cacti, palm trees, flowering vines and lush gardens. The moment we walked through the front entrance, I immediately felt like I was in a tropical paradise. When you walk up the front steps you can see straight through the other side of the building to the pool and beach!

The hotel is very close to the airport, which is amazing when you just want to get to your hotel and put on cooler clothes on your arrival. It’s set outside of the downtown area, but still only a 10-15 minute bus or taxi ride to the city center or hotel zone. We had no trouble getting around Puerto Vallarta during our stay, and greatly enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the area. The Casa Magna is not an all-inclusive hotel so has fewer people who just came to drink and party.  Even though we left our kids at home we appreciated the family atmosphere. There are three golf courses near-by, the hotel has a five star spa and you can do many water activities right from the beach in front of the hotel.

The marina is only a five-minute walk from the hotel, and has many shops, services, restaurants, boat charters and dive shops. We spent a lot of time there since we took a scuba diving trip from PV Scuba in the marina. The marina has a totally different feel at night with many open air restaurants and boats all lit up.

The grounds, pool areas, and guest areas at the hotel were kept very clean. Our bed was extremely comfortable and the room had everything we needed. You have to pay for internet in the room but wifi is free and very fast in the lobby and pool area.

All of the staff at the hotel were very friendly, and helpful especially the bellhops at the front door of the hotel. They helped us get taxis, let us know where we could walk to and remembered us when we came back.

There are many locals selling their hats, jewellery, blankets and souvenirs on the beach in front of the hotel every day. They are very nice people. Talk to them. If you don’t want to buy anything just tell them no a few times and then start a conversation. They love to talk and often have questions about where you’re from!

We ate at three of the restaurants on site and I would highly recommend any of the Mexican dishes from any of them. The buffet was excellent with many, made to order, items including a local specialty: Chicadiles. This breakfast plate is made with taco chips, eggs, shredded chicken, ranchero sauce and cheese. My husband highly recommends it! There were also made to order omelettes and breakfast fajitas! My favourite drink at the Casa Magna was a fresh juice made from cactus, celery, orange juice and some other veggies/fruits I can’t remember. It was delicious and I had it almost every day. I would not recommend getting the american style food at the resort – the “american” cheese isn’t what we’re used to. It’s a much better idea to order the local food, and try new things!

The hotel has a fantastic view of the ocean, and city, especially at night. I was also lucky enough to see a humpback whale, in the ocean, from the hotel on my last day. The rooms all seem to have a wonderful view, but we really liked ours, with the sun setting over the ocean, directly in front of the balcony.

The beach was a little rough, at times, to swim in, but clean and warm. My husband did not hesitate to play in the waves, more than once! I stuck to the pool, which was warm and had a pool bar!

While we were at the Casa Magna, Marriott Hotels had a program going on with Go Pro where you could test drive a Go Pro Hero 4 camera. This was such a fun opportunity! We took the Go Pro with us on our scuba dive to Los Arcos and are so happy we have a video to remember it by!

via The Casa Magna Marriott Puerto Vallarta.

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=494

Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake Halifax: What are you looking for in a hotel?

Comfort Hotel

Comfort Hotel

I have worked on this review for a while now because I am comparing different hotels in the greater Halifax area. However, I have decided that it would not be exactly fair to this place to compare it to the downtown hotels. It is like trying to compare and apple to an orange. They are both satisfying, they both serve their purpose, but that is it. We really need to compare different verities of apples to other apple verities to understand which is better.

Can you get a hotel that is more luxurious than this place in Halifax? Yes you can, but at what price and what is included. Will you find something that offers free parking and a free hot breakfast in the downtown locations? For me, I like the super quality mattresses, the large bath areas and other amenities that are available in the more expensive hotel lines. Will I continue to pay for this when there is an alternative like this? Time will tell.

For now, let’s look at this location, on its own and not in comparison to other locations.

Comfort Hotel - Welcome Gift.

Comfort Hotel – Welcome Gift.

1. Value: It is easy to see why this is the number one choice at TripAdvisor. The value is here. I have said it before, and I will say it again. The best value you can get in a hotel is the staff. Here, the staff, are all great.

I was met with a smiling face who has the name of Klong. He made the check in process a breeze, as it should be, and went on to describe what this hotel offered and where everything was located. As well, he was sure to point out the operating times of such things as the indoor pool and dry sauna and the hot breakfast that included scrambled eggs and pancakes. They also had multiple catalogue books where you can choose from their large collection of Blu-Ray movies.

I was also introduced to Nimfa Bautista, the General Manager that happened to make my hotel arrangements. She too wanted to make sure that all my needs were looked after and gave me a warm welcome. She was talking to someone at the time and as it turned out, it was the Owner, Stephanie. Instead of being above the guests, she too was welcoming. You can tell when the good training comes from the top down and it does here 100%. I failed to note the kitchen staff names, but they interacted with the guests and made it a very pleasant part of the hotel experience.

Comfort Hotel - Room Interior

Comfort Hotel – Room Interior

2. Comfort: The room I had was 417. One of the business suites which by looking at the floor plan means it is the larger size rooms. Not a unit with a separate bedroom. The king size bed was comfortable, but they have some type of waterproof covering on under the sheets that well, creaked if you rolled over. I know it must be for sanitary reasons, but not the best idea in my opinion. I minor point, but the microwave and coffee maker were nice and clean. The room over all was a little sparse from the doorway in. It was large enough and could have used a table and chairs for eating in that end of the unit.

The bathroom was functional, but the tub/shower area was small and lacked modernization. They have installed the curved shower curtain, but that was it.

3. Amenities: The TV was a larger flat screen that has multiple inputs. A HUGE point for the traveler as I use my computer to feed to HDMI to watch the shows I want to watch in HiDef. The room also does have the blu-ray player but I did not use this. I am still surprised that it is still the norm to have no HiDef channels coming into the room. Nothing against this hotel as it is that way in most hotels I stay in.

They did offer me 10% off the restaurant and a free drink that included alcohol, but I was out for dinner and did not get to take advantage of this. However, later in the evening I was hungry so I did order room service. The late night menu really pushed their pizza’s and when I called, they stated that this was a popular item. Well, I really could not eat the crust. Yes, it was that bad. The toppings were good but not worth the price tag. If you want a late night pizza, I would recommend you order out.

Comfort Hotel - Room Interior

Comfort Hotel – Room Interior

4. Hotel features.: The hotel did have a nice pool area. Sort of a different location as there are windows through to the eating area. I suppose some parents might head to the kitchen while kids are in the pool, but I would suggest that this is not a great idea. I did not take pictures of the pool since the tile lining was a very dark blue and I know they would not look good. The water was conditioned well and was at an excellent temperature. If you enjoy a pool, this is a good one to do a few laps or just relax.

The dry sauna should have been a nice experience. It was until I looked at the heater or rather the floor area surrounding this. It is a dry sauna, but people still bring in water from time to time. In this case, the area surrounding the floor had black dots where people splashed something. I welcome the comments from the hotel on this as it looked like possible mold and I left the sauna area.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience here. Again great bang for the buck. More so if I was travelling with a family as all the perks would be multiplied. It is in the Bayer’s Lake area so, lots of shopping, eating and movies to entertain you. It is only 10 minutes to the downtown area, but you will still have the downtown parking and other expenses. If you are coming to Halifax for the Bayer’s Lake shopping, I would recommend this location to stay at.

It is interesting and always a treat when I post a review on my Trip Advisors page and the staff reply to my comments. I take this as a response that means the owners / managers care about the feed back and take the concerns to heart. Here is the reply I received.

Stephanie G, Owner at Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake, responded to this review

1 week ago


Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you so much for your wonderful, detailed review. We truly appreciate the comments on all aspects of your stay. It is through this type of feedback that we can work on maintaining and improving the level of excellence that we want our guests to experience.
I am delighted you appreciated our staff, value, amenities etc. 
I will take this opportunity to comment on some of your valuable feedback and recommendations.
a) Our waterproof mattress coverings. Yes Steven, we have placed them for sanitary reasons. They are there to protect our guests. During our 2 1/2 years of operation we have had a couple of comments regarding creaking noise and most do not notice it at all. I have been trying to source something as effective but of a different material. No luck yet. It is something though that I will keep looking into.
b) In regards to the lay out of our Junior suite. I sincerely appreciate your recommendation for more furniture. I am on it!
c) Our phone and tv channel provider, had informed us before the summer that many channels were to be converted to High Definition. They have some technical issues in implementing and we are still waiting.
d) I have spoken to our Kitchen Manager regarding the pizza crust. He will definitely work on improving it and discussing with the rest of the cooking staff, so there will be consistency.
e) It is unfortunate that you did not enjoy our dry sauna. I had a close look at the spots you were referring to with my housekeeping manager. They are the result of natural residue released from the heated stone. Even though the sauna floor is cleaned daily, getting rid of those, required a stronger chemical agent. Thank you for bringing it to our attention, as it can be confused for mould.

I hope you will visit us again when you are in Halifax!

Kind Regards,
Stephanie G
Owner/General Manager

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=180

Review of Radisson Suite Hotel Halifax

Excellent Staff makes an Excellent trip

Review of Radisson Suite Hotel Halifax
1649 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V8, Canada
 radissonEvery hotel I stay at, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  After just returning from a trip to the states, I was at this place and I thought, “Here we go again”. There were some minor things wrong like a dirty fridge, a dead remote and a left over wire hanger on the shower from someone else’s dry-cleaning. 

But, the response from the local staff to these concerns was fantastic. After years of travel, I should be the first to say, every hotel cleaner is going to have an off day. Sure there are checks that can be in place but from time to time, these can get missed and in my case I had an early 1 PM check in to boot.

I want to congratulate the front desk team and especially Jessica who went out of her way to make sure that a tired travel writer’s or guests concerns were addressed professionally and promptly. The fridge was sparkling when I got back to the room, and I settled in for the later evening. I was a tad hungry and ordered a basic “Duffy’s Classic Burger” ½ hour before the service ended for the night. Again it did not seem to be my night as the burger came with the burger warm, but the blue cheese slice was cold and un-melted on a cold bun. Along with this there was no salt for the fries and they were very bland. This meant the ½ way finished; I just could not finish it.

The next day, I had multiple staff contact me to make sure that things were looked after correctly. The restaurant staff, I am sorry that I did not make note of her name, called and apologized for the meal and offered to make it right. I had just returned from a meal at my daughters choice of restaurants, “Henry’s House” and had even brought back desert. Thinking quickly, they offered a complimentary specialty coffee, which I thought was a touch of class. 

Jessica caught me earlier in the lobby and personally apologized for the problems I had at that point and again offered to make it right which, through herself and the GM Jamie Bolduc, did so. Absolutely wonderful service and that personal down east caring that I never find elsewhere. I am sure it was Jessica that contacted the food staff to get sure i was satisfied. What great service.

I think I was in the same room as I had a few years ago and the renovations are first class. I love the suite design which is the same as before, of course, but they updated everything on the interior. The hardwood flooring is nice, still keeping carpet in the separate bedroom. The TV’s accept HDMI so I can feed my Google movie’s which is a plus and the overall design was excellent. 

As far as the room itself,  many resort level has never been this good. The bed was excellent. Multiple pillows on the a first class mattress, made for a great sleep. The bathroom had two doors and offered a TV in the mirror and a shower that had a huge shower head and still had plenty of pressure. Large enough that you could step in and out of the water flow as needed. Simply a wonderful start to the day. My only note on this is that if you like a cold drink, the ice machines are only located on the even-numbered floors. Knowing this ahead of time means you can simply ask one of these floors to make life the small bit better.

I guess my overall feeling this trip was this; could it have been better? In on sense, yes, since I had a few minor things go wrong, but in the greater sense, no. What really matters to me is the staff. If they care and look after you like they did here, then you could not ask for a better stay. 

I tip my cyber hat and fully recommend this establishment to one and all. 

Oh, I did not get the opportunity to use the pool / hot tub and exercise room, but I did go there and it looked very clean and welcoming. The exercise room had a number of elliptical machines which are my fav. 😉

Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=152

Delta Halifax Business Travel Review

After staying in many rooms that I consider “normal” I think I have grown used to having somethings not being perfect. In this case, I have to say that, the more time went on, I was looking closely since I could not find anything wrong with this hotel.

The room was super clean and did not smell like perfume, stale smoke or chemicals, just nice and clean.

Excellent room at the Delta Halifax

Excellent room at the Delta Halifax

I can’t tell you how nice it was to have this as I hate smells covering up other smells and people saying that, that is “clean” To me cleaner small is just as bad on my nose as a stall room. Most likely it is worse for me. Wonderful first impression to have real “clean”.

The staff from the front door, to the check in to the people who attended the room were all friendly with a smile and for the most part, used my first name when addressing me once they knew it. Nice touch.

I was going to go out and sample the local restaurants, but I had emails and work to do first and I ended up ordering from the room service menu. This is not something I like to do, since I have found that hotel quality usually lower than the hard-working restaurants competing for the dollar. I even had a few restaurants recommended to me by clients I was meeting with. In this case, I have to admit that even the food was great and priced to where I feel I got great value for what was spent. Actually, I will go on to say that the simple meal I ordered was far above average. French onion soup was excellent, and the steak sandwich was a full strip loin steak cooked to perfection and was tender and with a really great taste.

One of the reasons for booking this hotel initially, is the central location to everything. It is connected internally to a mall, it is connected to internal walkways to the entire downtown core. I had 3 meetings in the morning and only went outside by choice to enjoy the great weather.

Being connected to the downtown business towers is great, but also being connected to the historic properties and to the boardwalk area was really nice to have as well. Just another step above the hotels that are several blocks away from all of this, and it was priced very nicely so that was not a reason in deciding hotels.

Would I recommend the Delta Halifax and would I stay there again? 100% yes.

Please take this review to heart and go and see what Maritime hospitality is really all about.

I hope this is helpful to you and Enjoy,


Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=72