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Japan

TORONTO – I walk up a flight of stairs and emerge into a wonderland. Swirling, intricately carved arches of brilliant white stone dance around my head. Soft blue lighting infuses the room with a deep glow, then turns green and yellow and soft orange. The light seeps around corners and plays onto brilliant white pillars that rise towards a series of equally stunning ceiling panels. I’m not a religious person, but the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is what I imagine the halls of heaven must look like; with so much purity and soft yet brilliant light that bathes the body ... continue reading →

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Few parts of the world do luxury as well as Asia. And few hotels do luxury as well as Ritz-Carlton. Which is why fans of luxury travel and way-cool Asia experiences should be excited by news of two new Ritz-Carlton properties across the Pacific. One is a beautiful resort on the north shore of Koh Samui, a fantastic island off the coast of Thailand with fabulous beaches, glimmering waterfalls and wonderful snorkeling and diving opportunities. The other is a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Niseko Village, which is set at the base of Mount Niseko-Annupuri, the Japanese ski region. The Ritz-Carlton Koh ... continue reading →

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Welcome Rewards, the Hotels.com loyalty program, has just reached 10 million members and has redeemed more than one million free nights since its launch in 2008. In the program, customers can earn a free night at more than 100,000 hotels across the world for every 10 nights stayed, with no blackout dates. They issued a list today of where Canadians are using their points. And it’s mostly to stay close to home. Here’s the list of the top 10 redeemed destinations for Canadians in 2013: 1. Toronto, 2. Montreal, 3. Niagara Falls, 4. Edmonton, 5. Calgary, 6. New York City, ... continue reading →

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It’s not too late to book that last-minute Valentine’s Day trip. If you’ve got the cash, here’s a list of ten of the most romantic hotels I’ve stayed at outside of North America. Bon chance! Le Tahaa Private Island Resort, Tahiti: Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve stayed on the planet, with stunning over-water bungalows and a true South Pacific feel. A great Tahitian dance/fire show, too. See photo above. Park Hyatt, Sydney: Hard to beat the view of the Sydney Opera House from this luxury property. Great food and service in a sleek and sexy hotel. 137 Pillars House, ... continue reading →

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