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January 2016

WHISTLER, B.C. – I’m approaching my sixth decade on this planet. I haven’t been on skis in 10 years. And I’ve never skied in the west, let alone on a mountain that was part of the Olympics. But, I’m determined to get out there, so I find myself in a lesson with Leanne Bartlett, a young Scottish woman who tells me she learned to ski on the driveway of her home in Glasgow when she was three. An unusual resume, for sure. “Keep your hands in front of you and keep your knees bent,” she tells us. “You want to ... continue reading →

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Starwood several years ago came up with Aloft Hotels, aimed at millenials with casual, colourful lobbies, snack stations, tons of solid and free Wi-Fi and more. They’re nice properties. I stayed at one in Orlando on Thursday night last week and loved the lobby area (great drinks at the bar and local art work) and the overall feel of the place. So that’s fine. Then today I read that Hilton is developing the “Tru by Hilton” brand, also aimed at millenials. Good idea, and I’m sure Aloft is flattered. But check out the photo I saw on a press release ... continue reading →

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Some say Canada is a real blend between North American and European styles. You might say the same thing about Canada’s most successful – and sexiest – boutique hotel chain. I recently spent a night at Hotel Le Germain Toronto on Mercer Street. I’d stayed before, but I was told they’d done some substantial work on the rooms and wanted to see what they’d done to one of my favourite hotels. Luckily, the lobby is pretty much the same; with a lovely fireplace on two levels and high ceilings and plenty of polished wood. There’s a massive bookcase on one ... continue reading →

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Woe is the Canadian dollar, eh? Hovering below the 70 cent line, and causing many of us who like to vacation in the U.S. no end of worry.The price of oil is seemingly to blame, what with barrels going for an unheard of $30 or so these days. As oil prices have cratered, so has the loonie, sparking all sorts of business headlines about what the government should do. At the risk of repeating an age old mantra of mine, I’m disturbed by the lack of talk about tourism. Oh, sure, there’s the odd story about how our dollar is ... continue reading →

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The Canadian dollar is in freefall, dropping below 70 cents the other day for the first time in more than a decade. It’s great for the Canadian tourism industry, but not so wonderful for snowbirds who’re looking for greener pastures in winter. Luckily, there are ways to soften the blow. Here are some tips from a guy who’s been a full-time travel writer for the better part of 10 years and has spent a good many nights on the road in his lifetime. 1. STAY HOME: I don’t mean build a man (or woman) cave in your basement and pry ... continue reading →

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