Tag: Hotel

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.

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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

The Best Days of Your Life Are the New Normal in Ecuador

The Best Days of Your Life Are the New Normal in Ecuador By Donald Murray The place was packed; festive and noisy with a funky, thumping rhythm adding to the party atmosphere. It was a mixed crowd-some retired gringos along with a younger North American…

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Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=247

10 Luxury Hotels- Fabulous Travel

Luxury hotels are not just a place to sleep but an experience in themselves. From historic to modern, Majorca to Monaco here are 10 favourite Luxury Hotels featured on The Fabulous Times from the past two years. Whether you’re planning a weekend…

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Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=245

What to take or not take (Part 2)

Best Bavaro Runner Guide ever!  Luis R "Mimi"

Best Bavaro Runner Guide ever! Luis R “Mimi”

In my last letter, I covered some of the basics on light travel packing. Now I want to share a few interesting things I discovered over the years.

Once you go to an area for five or more times, you will most likely buy less and less to bring back with you, In fact you may find yourself leaving more there then you bring back.  Many times now we have packed in many different formats with thinking about what can we bring to benefit the locals to how we can save money on travel bags with those nasty airline fees.

So here are some helpful tips for different types of travelers.  I hope you read my earlier article and think about how you can get your packing down to smaller amounts of bags. It might be from 4 to 2 or as my wife and I travel from two large to one small suitcase.

  1. For the traveler that loves to shop and will be buying something for all the Grand Kids, Friends and neighbors, let me suggest a few things. First try to get your own packing down to on average suite case.  Then with a matched set of luggage, the real packed bag can fit inside of the larger one. If you can’t quite do that, you will find lots of room around the outside of the smaller bag to free form pack things like T-shirts, or other things that can be rolled.

    With our set, we can even put a soft sided medium duffel bag on wheels. So if you are travelling somewhere new that you want to buy “stuff”, you will only pay the airlines for one bag on the way down and you will have the choice of one or more bags to hold the goodies and only pay for that portion on the extra bags.

  2. Now for people traveling to returning locations, you most likely can get away with the one bag and save in both directions, but I want to suggest that  the more you know about a people group, the traits of a country, the more you can have an extra highlight by bringing things that people will really like.

    Now, this is directed at the traveler that is going to one location, usually today this means an all-inclusive vacation that you will be staying at for a full week. In this case you will travel with two pages and do the double bag trick and return with one bag.  Let me share with you some of the things that you might want to do.  The first time we went to Cuba, we knew the basics that we could take for people.  Ten years later we returned to Cuba and this time we did it a little differently.

    Now before I get into this, you have to realize that we get a real kick on seeing faces light up and knowing that we gave them a few things that are sometimes hard to get there.  It is not that they cannot afford to buy them, the resort staff are very highly paid in tips (and sometimes supporting large extended families), but they just cannot buy things that are extras.

    Travel Bag in a bag

    Different shot showing all the extra space between the smaller bag and the larger one.

    So knowing that the staff in the rooms will change sometimes day to day once they know you have gifts and you will also meet a bunch of great staff in the restaurants, and on the resort in different area. So my wife spent all of a few extra dollars and went to the dollar store for gift bags and tissue paper to make up nice looking presents. The staff, were all so pleased with this and it really did make our trip better seeing the smiles.

    I remember on the day we left, we asked if the people who were so friendly to us could meet with us for a little something. To our surprise, they were ALL there and lined up in a line to say good bye.  It was very touching and it was so nice to have the gift bag concept ready to go so we could personalize each one.

  3. Finally, I want to switch gears to the Dominican Republic. How can we apply the same thing here?  On one hand we have a country that still has a very low income level, but we are dealing with resort staff that really do make a good living compared to other countries. 

    One of the things that you will find here is the need to help the school systems. There are other writers that are trying to make a mark and tell you not to bring school supplies as the delivery of the supplies causes interruptions and actually hurts the system.  All I can say is we have never experienced this and there is a right and a wrong way to do any of these outreach things.

    In this case, I have to really tip my hat to a local company that supports one school each year. The school agrees to be interrupted in order to get the much needed supplies. Seems like a good trade off and everyone is on board with it. The company is Bavaro Runners.  When you take their safari trip, and you let

    Bag in a Bag minus our cat.

    Great trick to save on paying for 2 bags when you will only need 2 in one direction. — No the cat is not being packed.

    them know you have school supplies,  they will stop at one of more remote schools, away from the resorts that are really, truly in need of paper (heavy and costly to import), pencils, rulers, etc.

    If you want to read more on this check out their “Giving Back Page” 

    I want to also recommend a good friend and one of the best guides they have. If you want to go this route and you are in the Punta Cana area, please ask for “MiMi” and tell him Steve from Canada sent you.


Permanent link to this article: http://stevestravelblog.com/?p=197

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