Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Hotels for the Birds & Bees

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

There are some hotels taking this whole ‘let’s be friends with our habitat’ concept way too seriously.

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Denver

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Denver

Exhibit A: Homewood Suites (Denver) – One week ago, a pair of Canadian Geese swooped into the parking lot at this airport hotel in Denver and started building a nest (see video).

While the sign above their nest clearly says ’Reserved for Guests,’ it’s possible that the duck on the hotel sign may have mislead them into thinking it was a hotel for birds.

So they start chasing away people who came within pecking range. Just in case the message wasn’t clear enough, the male also starts jumping on cars parked too close to their new extended stay nest.

In this showdown of the Geese vs Guests, the dastardly hotel staff decided to side with the Geese, and blocked off  parking spaces around the nest with traffic cones. What’s more, they’re now feeding crackers and bread to the Geese. No rent either.

Exhibit B: The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver – There are six beehives choc-a-bloc full of 390,000 honey bees in this hotel’s 2,100 sq ft herb garden on the third floor terrace. In case that’s not enough, the hotel has also put up bird baths to add to the cacophony.

Herb Garden, Fairmont Waterfront In Vancouver

Herb Garden, Fairmont Waterfront In Vancouver

Even worse, they’re rubbing it in with a package deal for The Birds and The Bees. Book this package, and you get:-

- Overnight accommodation
- Full buffet breakfast for two adults in Herons Restaurant 
- Chef’s honey-themed welcome amenity 
- Herb Garden Tour including a visit to the beehives

Herb gardens, beehives, bees & honey, bird baths, herons restaurant… This is one hotel which is beyond redeem - gone to the birds and the bees.

Photo credits:- Homewood – 9News; Herb Garden – Fairmont

Related posts:-
Denver Botanic Gardens
Petcare Robot – Track your Pets, Even on Vacation

CLOSED – Win 2 Nights at the Hyatt Place AND a Personal Assistant!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Here are some official poll results that may surprise you, a new Hyatt Place study reveals that “the number of Americans struggling with work-life balance is 71 percent, nearly double what it was in 2006.” Actually, that may not surprise you.

However, this might:  While a struggle to achieve work-life balance is not new, the study did point to why that balance is no longer achievable.   Rather than compartmentalize their life, the average American is instead multitasking all day, every day.  A few supporting stats:

  • 83 percent of Americans state they often take care of work matters from home
  • 59 percent state they often handle personal matters at work
  • 62 percent say they are ‘constantly multitasking’
  • On average, someone working from home is doing five tasks simultaneously

I work from home and five simultaneous tasks seems rather low — maybe that’s on a Saturday.

Here’s the cool part, Hyatt Place wants to do something about their findings and they want to do it for you.  Yes, you. Hyatt Place has partnered with, a personal virtual assistant service, to offer two lucky UpTake readers two months (30 hours) of personal virtual assistant service and a two-night stay at a Hyatt Place. You read that right. It’s the Hyatt Place Helps Sweepstakes.

Here is what you need to know about Hyatt Place:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel
  • A staff of specially trained Hosts who can assist guests with all needs
  • Made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner entrées served around the clock; a complimentary continental breakfast served daily
  • Spacious guestrooms with areas to work and relax and including the an eight-foot couch, plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and ergonomic work center
  • An in-room media center that allows electronic devices to plug directly into the 42″ HDTV

Sounds nice, right? It is.

How do you enter? How do you win? I thought you’d never ask. In the comment section below please leave a short reason why you should win. That’s it. Easy, right?

What? You want a second chance to enter? Fine. If you would like a second entry you can place a link to this post on EITHER Twitter or Facebook and include a link to that posting in the body of your comment. Got it, one comment, two chances to win (see example in comments). You may have to open a new tab in your browser, it’s that crazy!

You can also enter the sweepstakes at the Hyatt Place website for yet another chance to win (this is where you will find the complete list of sweepstakes rules, and what’s a sweepstakes without rules?).

The contest ends at 5P.M. PST on Friday, April 9, 2010. Winners will be posted by April 20, 2010 on this UpTake blog (our two winners, Hyatt Place will list their winners separately).  Winners must claim their prize within one week of their being announced.

The contest is now closed. Stay tuned for our winners!

In compliance with FTC rulings please note that I will be receiving a copy of the prize listed.

Cambridge Suites, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

From Anne-Sophie Redisch of Sophie’s World

In Halifax, capital of Canada’s Nova Scotia province, Cambridge Suites provides convenient and very affordable lodgings. Situated across the street from the 18th century Citadel, almost everything else in Halifax is within easy walking distance as well: the compact city centre with shops and cafes and the lovely Victorian Public Gardens, the hands-on Discovery Centre and the waterfront walk with several restaurants, Pier 21 (Canada’s immigration museum) and the excellent Maritime Museum of the Atlantic with its poignant Titanic exhibit. (Halifax is where they ended up, the living and the dead. On the outskirts of town is Fairlawn Cemetery where many of the victims are buried.)

My daughters and I arrived in Halifax with a late plane from Reykjavik, and the staff at Cambridge Suites was very friendly, even with tired, slightly cranky kids. The next morning, they took the time to point out interesting things to see, give directions and generally answer any questions we all had.

The spacious suites (some with harbour views) are family-friendly as well, with ample room and large, comfortable beds. There’s free wifi in the rooms and a complimentary computer in the lobby if you don’t bring a laptop. Best of all (according to my 8-year-old), was the in-room Nintendo. Check-out at 1 pm is another bonus. Cambridge Suites does not have a pool, but you can show your room key at its sister property nearby, The Prince George Hotel, for free use of their pool.

Roof top patio with view of Halifax Citadel

If you go:
Cambridge Suites Halifax
1583 Brunswick Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3P5
Tel: + 1 902 420 0555


Photos courtesy of Cambridge Suites Halifax

Other great lodgings in Eastern Canada:
Luxury Lodging near Niagara Falls

Carless in Vermont – Burton Island State Park

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Rent a Lean-To!

Burton Island State Park in St. Albans Bay, Vermont is 253-acres of pure land in the middle of Lake Champlain’s “inland sea”. Yes, it’s an actual island. No, Tim Burton is not affiliated with it.

The Burton family owned the island and used it as pasture for cows, pigs, sheep and chickens.  There was also some farming of beans and peas.

The island was purchased in the 1950s by Randall Dimon before being sold to the state of Vermont in 1962.  Initially, there were plans to build a causeway, but the uniqueness of the island won out and it remains inaccessible by road or bride.

The island has 17 tent sites and 26 lean-to sites. There is a 100-slip marina with Wi-Fi, fuel service and dockside electricity. Rest rooms have running water and hot showers (fee).

Here are some quick bits of information:

Famous for: No bridges! No cars!

Admission: There is a fee for taking the passenger fairy (no vehicles) and day fees for park access ($2 children, $3 adults). Camping fees range from $16-$27 per night. There is a pet fee of $1 per pet per night.

Families with young kids will like: The nature center/museum and 3 miles of shoreline

Families with teenagers will like: Swim areas and boat rentals (rowboat and canoe)

Other travelers will like: Hiking trails and all of the above

Easy site seeing: It’s 253-acre island! All site seeing is easy.

Best months to visit for weather: The listed season is Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Best months to visit to avoid crowds: Outside of the listed season

Nearest major cities: Burlington, VT or Montréal, Canada, depending on your definition of ‘major’

For more information visit the Vermont State Parks website.

Related Posts:

Maple Sugar Making in Vermont

Factory Tours in Vermont

Photo from Vermont State Parks

Special Hotels for a Classy Mother’s Day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Unless you’re looking for a cold stare and a hurt silence powerful enough to reduce you to a shameful puddle, better get busy and fix up something good for Mother’s Day. Want to make it easy, let these special hotels do all the heavy lifting.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

Fairmont Frontenac - Old world luxury, the French connection and the ‘Pamper Mommy!’ special combine into an irresistible package designed to melt Mom and keep you in her good graces for the rest of the year.

Includes 2 nights stay, afternooon tea on Saturday and Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday at Le Champlain restaurant, a 15% discount on shopping at the hotel’s boutique store and a 20% discount on spa services. Details here.

Warwick New York - This hotel apparently has a time machine stowed away somewhere, because they’re offering, in their own words, “the gift of time.” The Warwick’s Mother’s Day package is called ‘Time For You’ and the promo code is MOM.

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island - Being at the historic Grand Hotel is by itself quite adequate to make Mom realize she didn’t do such a bad job raising you after all.

But the Grand then lays it on some more, with a 2-night Mother’s Day package that includes with family accomodations, daily breakfast and dinner, evening receptions, Mother’s Day Grand Luncheon Buffet, ferry discounts and best of all – no tipping.

Opryland, Nashville  - Celebrate a “Family Affair” at the Opryland, which includes admission to the Mom Prom and the Family Affair Dance with DJs, dance contests and refreshments, a Delta Riverboat ride inside the hotel, and a milk and doughnuts family breakfast on Mother’s Day with a special gift.

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado - Again, being at The Del is itself an excellent gift for Mother’s Day.

Add to this a Mother’s Day champagne brunch buffet, dinner with a view of the ocean and a 4-course Mother’s Day menu, and a six-pack spa treatment.

Photo credits:- Frontenac – Fairmont Hotels & Resorts; Grand – Scott Ellis (via flickr); Del – Hotel Del Coronado

Basilique Notre-Dame De Montréal

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Basilique Notre-Dame De Montréal in Old Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame De Montréal, located in the Old City, is a must-see sight when visiting Montréal. The architecture is stunning on both the exterior and interior of the grand structure. Guided tours are available.

Photo by Jason Roth

Hotel Le Germain opens this week in Calgary (that’s in Canada)

Friday, February 26th, 2010
The 650-square-foot luxury rooms at Hotel Le Germain in Calgary feature goose-down duvets and feather pillows.

The 650-square-foot luxury rooms at Hotel Le Germain in Calgary feature goose-down duvets and feather pillows.

Hotel Le Germain opened this week in Calgary (a big city in Western Canada that’s not hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics). And as part of its grand opening rates, Superior Rooms at the boutique hotel, usually $279, are $199 CDN per night. Try getting a deal like that on a luxury boutique hotel in Vancouver right now.

The hotel’s 143 rooms range from 435 to 1,100 square feet and feature wood accents, ample natural light and spa-like bathrooms. And–take note other hoteliers–Hotel Le Germain offers complimentary (that means free) high-speed WiFi. The hotel is also dog friendly (for an extra $35 a night).

Hotel Le Germain is located near some of Calgary’s major attractions, like the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, the Glenbow Museum (with its collection focusing on cultural history, ethnology, military history and mineralogy), the 627-foot Calgary Tower  and the Stephen Avenue pedestrian shopping area.

Hotel Le Germain
899 Centre St. SW
Calgary (Alberta) T2G 1B8

Photo: Courtesy Hotel Le Germain

Joanie Loves Quatchi – An Olympic Mascot

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Game(s) on!

Sasquatch is real and he has the Olympic Fever.  Joanie, however, is a work of fiction.

Quatchi is one of the pantless mascots for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, and along with his two partners, Sumi and Miga, he is representing all things unity and Canada.  But not pants.

Frankly, I hope Canada has a better hockey goalie than Quatchi or they may be in for a long winter.

For more family-friendly travel photos visit DeliciousBaby’s Photo Fridays.

Photo: Shape+Colour

Things are Looking Up! A Recap

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

UpTake on The Golden Gate

UpTake on Chinese New Year

UpTake on the US Capital Rotunda

UpTake on Temple of Olympian Zeus

UpTake on the Eiffel Tower

UpTake on the Empire State Building

UpTake on Hawaii

UpTake on Canadian Flag

UpTake on Indianapolis War Memorial

UpTake on Bourbon Street

Hello Readers! Here is a review of UpTake’s new blog series, ‘Things Are Looking Up!” We like to view the world with a little different perspective. Try it: Stretch your neck, gaze directly UP and TAKE a moment for yourself and all that is above you. It could be the Eiffel Tower, a flag waving in the air, a flock of birds or a light fixture. Whatever it is, literally and figuratively, have an ‘UpTake‘ today!

Better yet, if you have a camera, take a snap and send it our way, we would love to post it!

Find out more about the UpTakes above: Golden Gate Bridge; Chinese New Year; US Capitol Building; Temple of the Oympian Zeus in Greece; The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building; Hawaii; Vancouver, British Columbia; Indianapolis War Memorial; New Orleans

Hotel Vancouver – Where Celebrity Spotting is an Olympic Sport

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Hang out at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and you have a chance to go for the gold. If you have your technique down to perfection, you might even take home all the medals.

Hotel Vancouver

Hotel Vancouver

Bronze:- Watchmaker Omega has booked an entire floor of the hotel for the Olympics, and one celeb on their guest list whom you can spot is astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Also seen poking around the hotel’s lobby was VP Joe Biden.

Silver:- More celebs on Omega’s guest list include model Cindy Crawford, actress Kim Catrall, singer Keith Urban and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Gold:- The ultimate prize – score a photo-op and autograph from actors George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Clooney is one of Omega’s most visible spokesmen, and he’s staying in the hotel. Nicole Kidman is on the guest list.

Best way to score – Hang out at the 900 West Lounge in the hotel. The plush decor, the complimentary happy hour hors d’oeuvres, and the nightly jazz all make it an excellent spot to unwind after a hard day of Olympic events, and you’ll find no shortage of celebs here.

If you’re planning on staying in one of the 556 rooms the hotel offers, you’ll be treated like a celebrity gold medalist yourself. The cheapest room in the hotel offers a tub with shower, along with daily newspaper delivery, cozy robes, coffee maker with complimentary premium coffee and teas, iron and ironing board, and a refreshment center.

This is in addition to free and full access to a complimentary health club, indoor pool, Absolute Spa, aforementioned 900 West Lounge, and the Griffins Restaurant, if you’re fond of buffets.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer

Info: 900 West Georgia Street Vancouver BC Canada; (604) 684-3131; More info..

Related posts:-
Winter Olympics 2010, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Celebrity Hangouts in L.A.: Where Does George Clooney Go For Calamari?