Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shoot it or lose it

I don't know about you, but I always congratulate myself at the end of a trip if:
A. I actually wore everything I packed
B. I didn't leave anything behind in a hotel room on on a plane

This travel trip courtesy of  Meetings and Conventions: snap photos on your phone of everything you pack and refer to the photos as you repack to ensure you have everything.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mission: Massage

I'm treating myself to a massage a the Four Seasons Toronto Spa this week. Sadly I should have scheduled it earlier in the day, according to an article in the Travel Section of this weekend's Globe and Mail.

See: "How to get a good massage on the road" or Under Pressure

In terms of local (Toronto) spa experiences I'm still a huge fan of the Stillwater Spa in the bowels of the Park Hyatt.  Have heard great things about the Miraj Hammam Spa at the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto.  Next time - and I will book an earlier appointment.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do the Wild Thing

Animal welfare is a subject near and dear to my heart so I read with great interest an article in the March Issue of Meetings Today about how animal sanctuaries are welcoming groups and hosting events. Power-point-weary conference delegates are invited to take a break from technology and reconnect with nature and with living beings who have been given a second lease on life.

I have huge admiration for the people who run these safe havens for injured and abused animals - not for profit, but because of a strong moral conviction that this is the right thing to do.  From retired race horses, to rescued farm animals, to endangered species...."all creatures great and small" deserve safe and pain-free lives.

You can read the full article here

See below a YouTube video starring the animals of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trump Slump Silver Lining?

I woke up this morning to a piece on the radio about the Girl Guides of Canada suspending all trips to the United States due to the current travel restrictions and fears that if one girl on a bus trip to New York, for instance, is denied entry that they couldn't very well leave her at the border.
See story here

This is just the latest in a story I've been following about the sudden drop in travel to the United States since President Trump announced his infamous "travel ban".  Travel companies Frommer and Kayak have cited drops in individual hotel rates in the 30% range.  Domestic travelers typically don't spend as much as foreign visitors, affecting the one-in-eight people in the United States who earn their living either directly or indirectly from the travel industry.

ConferenceDirect has already canvassed its associates to find out how the current regulations are affecting our clients. I'm sure I'll hear more about that at our Annual Partner Meeting in Baltimore at the end of next month.

We've already seen a softening in group hotel rates in the wake of unprecedented demand over the last few years.  Could this mean a significant shift in what has been a sellers market?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The View from "Ici"

With 571 guestrooms, the Hilton Quebec is the second-largest hotel in Quebec City - and oh, by-the-way - all of those recently-renovated rooms boast oversized picture windows taking full advantage of amazing views:

The Plains of Abraham, Old Quebec, the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains in the distance...

The popular Plaines room on hotel's top, 23rd floor, offers a total of 2,772 square feet - again with a spectacular view.  The Executive Club floor is also located on the 23rd floor - great for VIP upgrades!

Hilton Quebec's 7,623 square foot ballroom is the largest in the city. With 23,000 square feet of dedicated hotel meeting space, and an enviable location adjacent to the Centre des Congres du Quebec (the city's newly-expanded full-service convention centre), the Hilton has always been the go-to choice for larger meetings and conventions.  A multi-million dollar renovation project, though, has added 73,000 square feet of flexible function space beneath the hotel's lobby; albeit technically part of the convention centre, it would be contracted separately.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Banking on Luxury


Located in the historic Old Port of Quebec City on Rue Saint-Pierre, the "Wall Street" of its time,  Hotel 71 was originally a built as a bank.  Now a Four-Diamond rated luxury boutique hotel, its 50 contemporary rooms and nine suites (and one fab Penthouse Suite) feature primary materials such as natural stone and the occasional bank remnant - like a vault door - as well as hardwood floors, spacious bathrooms, and glorious 15 ft. ceilings.

The hotel has four meeting rooms, all with natural light and DIY espresso machines. The largest, Salon 71 at 1500 square feet can accommodate up to 45 people classroom. (We saw it cunningly set-up with rectangular tables of eight - as an alternative to half-rounds.)

Its sister property - attached, with inside access (guests of both hotels have access to the same Espace CafĂ©/lounge offering complimentary coffee) - The Saint-Pierre offers an additional 41 guestrooms in more country-chic style, as well as its own library and lobby where coffee, tea and water are served all day long.  Great for overflow.

Also attached, the stylish but homey (all the dishes are prepared using "Mama's" recipes and patrons are warmly greeted by the owner) Il Matto Italian restaurant can accommodate small groups for dine-arounds or off-sites, that aren't really off-site at all!

Many other restaurants are within walking distance.  The hotel has bicycles for guests who want to explore the city on two wheels.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Having a little work done

In the finishing stages of a $70 million dollar facelift, Quebec City's famous "castle", is getting bigger as well as better.

The 120+year old Fairmont Chateau Frontenac is (proudly!) the most-photographed hotel in the world, so she likes to look her best. Guestrooms have been recently renovated in a more contemporary style with an updated lobby, meeting space and some snazzy new Food and Beverage outlets yet to be unveiled. The real focus, however, has been the addition of 15,000 square feet of much-needed meeting space - bringing the rooms-to-space ratio more in line.

The number of Fairmont Gold rooms is also increasing (from 47 to 61) and the Fairmont Gold lounge is being enlarged to allow more guests, and small groups, to enjoy this luxury product.

Now offering 613 guestrooms and 40,000 square feet of function space, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac will be ready for her close up May 2014.