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The Best Destinations for 2015

January 23, 2015

Best Destinations for 2015 As we settle into 2015, we may be thinking about our travel plans for the year and our vacation plans or island escapes. Our list is based on destinations that have dominated travel magazine headlines; places that are newsworthy, have flown under the radar for the past few years, and are booming with new hotels, attractions, events or dining scenes.

Nashville, Tennessee
No longer solely the destination for starry eyed country musicians, Nashville has become a mecca for foodies; less honky-tonk and more Music City, home to popular musicians like the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Taylor Swift. Until the ACE Hotel comes along in 2016, try The 404, a hotel and restaurant hybrid, housed in a former garage (very similar to Chicago’s Longman & Eagle). Get acquainted with the burgeoning hip neighbourhoods and food scene with Walk Eat Nashville! tours. Don’t forget to get a reservation at the new outpost of Husk, from famed chef Sean Brock, who interprets Southern cuisine in a modern way. Late night? Check out hipster-themed Pinewood Social, where you can drink, eat, lounge by the pool, bowl and sing karaoke. If you’re looking for an alternative to Los Angeles or Charleston for a fun weekend escape, this is your ticket.

Toronto, Ontario
This year, your home away from home, Toronto welcomes the Pan Am Games from July 10-24. The metropolis is gearing up with the games with new facilities, including the Best Destinations for 2015 revitalization of the West Don Lands. Explore the Corktown Commons park (with a picturesque view of the city skyline) and a pit stop at new, upcoming cafe, Odin. New restaurants and bars are opening up at a rapid pace. Look out for Bar Isabel’s second outpost, Bar Raval on College Street and try the sleek Rush Lane if you haven’t had a chance. DelSuites has furnished apartment rentals in Toronto for short-term stays, including a review of our 300 Front Street West property. We also have guides to North York, Mississauga, and Etobicoke, if you need a place on the edges of the city. Here are ten photos and ways to get inspired to see the beloved T Dot.


Situated on the western edge of Europe, Portugal is a great country to explore independently and solo. Travelers are now taking advantage of its coastal delights (by the beach and on the table); its stylish hotels; and more affordable prices than its European neighbours. Ride the historic tram 28 through the city of Lisbon; take a day trip to the Unesco-world heritage site, Sintra, with its glorious mountains and architecture; or head north to Porto, with its golden beaches, its first Michelin-starred restaurant at the Yeatman hotel, or a wine tour of the Duoro Valley. Don’t forget to bring home some port!

Best Destinations for 2015 Taiwan
Off the radar of other Asian countries, Taiwan is a clean, active and filled with delicious and affordable eats. Taipei has experienced growth in the past five years and is expecting a few new hotels like the W, Mandarin Oriental, and Citizen M to open in the next two years as it ramps up to be named the World Design Capital in 2016. Taiwan is more than its capital. The ideal R&R can be found in the idyllic Sun Moon Lake. With its hot springs hotels and meandering bike paths, it’s a nice 1-2 day getaway. Take the high speed trains down south to the majestic Taroko Gorge (ideally, if you can get a guide to drive you there, it is a drive of a lifetime). Further south, you’ll find another food capital: Tainan. Tainan is known as the city of snacks and is as chock full of street food as it is Taipei, whether it’s tofu, chicken chop or those addictive steamed dumplings (xiaolongbao).

This country formerly known as Burma until 1989 feels like going back in time. That said, now at the helm of democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi and with a change in government in 2010, Myanmar is rising to the top of traveler’s wish lists. E-visas make the process to explore a little bit quicker too. As a result, travel magazines list Burma at their top destinations and consequently, a flurry of hotels, restaurants and other trappings of western civilization will result in places like Yangon and Bagan to meet tourism demands. Like any good traveler, do your research, and try to glimpse at this magical place and meet the locals while you can. There are quite a number of tours here including Woodland Travels, G Adventures, and Kensington Tours.

What are your travel plans for 2015? What would you include on your best destinations for 2015?

Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Mississauga, North York, Toronto Family Travel

Statutory Holidays in Toronto, 2015

January 15, 2015

Statutory Holidays in TorontoAs we begin the new year, one of our plans may be to organize our schedules to our statutory holidays. As most Torontonians get two to four weeks of vacation on average, stat holidays are a great way to maximize that time whether it’s buying new furniture for your apartment or suite or getting out of the city for the weekend. Here is a list of statutory holidays in Toronto for 2015:

New Year’s Day: Thursday January 1, 2015
If you’re not staying at one of our furnished apartments to watch the specials on television, New Year’s Day is a great way to lounge around and think of your goals for 2015 or plan to go take advantage of January’s winter festivals in Toronto if you have an extended stay in Toronto.

Statutory Holidays in TorontoFamily Day: Monday February 16, 2015
This Monday off is a great way to take advantage of a long weekend or a winter weekend escape just away from the city. You may use this time to get some sun on an island escape or take advantage of the staycation by soaking up local culture or seek out some new restaurants or cheap eats in Toronto.

Good Friday: Friday April 3, 2015
A Catholic religious holiday which extends into Easter Sunday and Monday (check with your employer to see if you get this day off) to extend into a long weekend.

Victoria Day: Monday May 18, 2015
Celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, Queen Victoria’s birthday is an unofficial way to mark the start of summer. The weekend is also unofficially known as “May 2-4.” This is the perfect time to go somewhere near the city (like Etobicoke, Mississauga, or Brampton), explore the city (like watching the fireworks), or planning your next vacation. We recommend these apps if you’re traveling.

Statutory Holidays in TorontoCanada Day: Wednesday July 1, 2015
Celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday in Toronto (maybe relaxing by our pool at 300 Front Street West), or in our Nation’s capital, Ottawa. July also marks the inauguration of the Pan Am Games in Toronto. If you’re embarking on a road trip, can we suggest our Great Canadian Roadtrip Playlist for the ride? It will be an exciting summer for Torontonians!

Civic Holiday: Monday August 3, 2015
Also known as Simcoe Day, which was to honour the first Lieutentant-Govenor of Upper Canada, John Simcoe, this statutory holiday is celebrated the first Monday of every August. August is prime time for a number of festivals in Toronto. Here are our must-dos in Toronto in August.

Labour Day: Monday September 7, 2015
Labour Day marks the unofficial last day of summer, the day before school starts and many companies go into their last quarters of the year. Perhaps, there is a need for corporate housing for executives who are coming into Toronto for an short term stay or an extended stay in the city. Or you want to spend as much time with your family to sStatutory Holidays in Torontooak up the summer rays. Here are our top ten family fun activities in Toronto. September is the lead up to fall and fall activities including our famous Toronto International Film Festival. Here is our guide to Toronto in Autumn.

Thanksgiving Day: Monday October 12, 2015
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally the day we go home to spend time with our families. It’s also a great time for a weekend getaway if you decide to eschew tradition. October is also the mark of low season in places like Europe and the Caribbean if you are planning to travel. Perhaps, it’s time to take that solo trip? Here are our tips.

Christmas Day: Friday December 25, 2015
Christmas Day is a popular statutory holiday. As it falls at the beginning of a weekend, you’ll have the week to prepare for the festivities. Here’s our guide to a hassle-free holiday and our guide to the top shops in Toronto for your Christmas shopping needs.

Boxing Day: SaturdaStatutory Holidays in Torontoy December 26, 2015
Whether you’re braving the crowds at the malls for shopping deals (or some discounted furniture for your apartment or suite) or just staying in to enjoy a day off post-Christmas celebrations, Boxing Day this year will be the ideal Saturday. Another year has come and gone and now is the time to start getting ready for New Year’s Eve!

How do you use your statutory holidays in Toronto? Do you use them as a way to tag on extra vacation time? Or do you use them to maximize a staycation?

Lifestyle talk, Sun Destinations, Vacation Travel

Sunny Getaways and Island Escapes for 2015

January 8, 2015

Sunny Getaways and Island EscapesWhen the Canadian weather gets cold, wet, and slushy, thoughts immediately scurry to soft white sands and eight hours of sunlight. Sunny getaways and island escapes vary from year to year. If you have a case of cabin fever in your temporary housing North York or Toronto, it’s time for an escape or some R&R this winter. Our sunny getaways and island escapes for 2015 are based on destinations that are a mix of those destinations that have been newsworthy but also offer the luxury you’re looking for on a vacation.

Cuba may be at the top of your list for that cheap and cheerful vacation since President Barack Obama’s decision to lift American trade embargo against Cuba, after 54 years. Though American citizens can’t legally travel to Cuba yet, it could happen sooner than you think. Whether it’s an all-inclusive getaway to Varadero, a historic trip to Havana, or less-visited spots like Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Trinidad, or Holguin,or tour more parts of the island via cruise, Cuba is having its moment. It’s your moment to bask in those beach glory days.

No longer a site for just the rich and famous, 2015 is the start of Bermuda’s moment in the sun. In October of 2015, it will host the America’s Cup World Series, the first stage of competition in the America’s Cup, a racing circuit which features the best sailors in the world. This competition is the lead up to when they host the America’s Cup in 2017. Though known for its sailing and its famous beaches, Bermuda needs to be known for its scenes in both food and culture. Check out one of the best collections of Bermudian art at Masterworks (and take that instagram-worthy photo of the John Lennon statue just outside); concoct your own scent at the perfumery; or take a bike ride (tour or solo) the historic Railway trail. If you can’t make it for the America’s cup, fly into town for the Rugby Classic in November. Whether you’re having a high end meal at local favourite, Port O Call, on bustling Front Street or just want a great sandwich like the sky-high fish-stacked one on raisin bread at Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy, you won’t go hungry!

Your retreat? Rosewood Hotel’s Tucker’s Point, complete with its own beautiful artwork at the Point restaurant; some of Bermuda’s best golf courses, and its own beach. That is if you’re not ordering room service in one of its spacious suites with a view of the Atlantic Ocean outside of your balcony.

St. Lucia
Listed as one of Lonely Planet’s top ten countries to visit in 2015, it’s our pick because it offers a mix of a luxury all-inclusive vacation and an adventurous element with its Sunny Getaways and Island Escapesscenic trails on lush landscapes. Whether you opt to stay at themed luxe resorts like the BodyHoliday by Le Sport or Boucan’s stunner, Hotel Chocolat, they’re both great resorts alongside activities like hiking the Tet Paul Scenic Trail or the adventurous trails of the iconic Pitons. Taking a family vacation? Coconut Bay is a great option with its waterpark and paintball facilities. Bonus: there is an adults only section to the side of the resort.

It has been five years since an earthquake rocked Haiti but it doesn’t still have to be off your radar. The western Caribbean island is set for a rebirth from the ashes. For you, the traveler, try a tour from G Adventures. Their cultural and sustainable tours will enable you to visit a foundation teaching arts to at-risk youth, learn about Vodou culture, savour creole cuisine and visit Basin-Bleu in Jacmel. If you wanted to partake in the voluntourism trend and help those still affected by the earthquake, there are a few organizations out there making that happen. Yoga Ventures has two retreats in July and October that will offer a mix of volunteering with daily yoga. Elevate Destinations combines a beach vacation with a volunteer trip and works with the Edem Foundation – a non-profit supporting the education of children in Haiti and the development of economic activities in Haiti by working with local communities and offering youth leadership programs. Not into volunteering? You can stay at a number of new hotels that have opened up in Port-Au-Prince recently like The Best Western Premier Sunny Getaways and Island EscapesHaiti and the new Marriott hotel to open early in 2015.

If you’ve been looking to go somewhere further afield, Indonesia may be your ticket to an island escape. Opt for popular Bali with its luxurious infinity pools and rice paddy fields, or booming Jakarta (Fairmont, Raffles, and the St. Regis are opening properties here in the next year). Our picks in Bali include the Chedi chain of resorts or the secluded One Eleven Hotel, offers pools and private yoga in each villa. Yoga retreats are equally as popular for the R&R you need away from your regular routine. Desa Seni and The Yoga Barn in conjunction with Bali Spirit offer holistic yoga programs and accommodations.

We hope our 2015 island escapes have given you inspiration for your 2015 winter vacation. Where are some of your favourite sunny getaways and island escapes?

Community Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

The Best Winter Getaways Near Toronto

January 5, 2015

When the snow falls during our long winters, your first inclination may be to stay warm underneath the blankets in your furnished apartment at DelSuites. But there is a winter wonderland out there for you to explore only a few hours away from Toronto. Here are our favourite winter getaways near Toronto for you to get outside and enjoy the snow (or stay somewhere else fireside).

Winter Getaways Near TorontoScandinave Spa, Blue Mountain
The Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain offers the best of both worlds: ski through the snowy hills with a chance to soak in a hot spring at the end of day. Minutes away from downtown Collingwood and Blue Mountain resort, the baths include thermal and nordic waterfalls, hot bath, cold plunges, a Finnish sauna and an eucaplyptus steam room (so you can smell just as good as you feel). Massage treatments are also available in addition to an onsite bistro with healthy options. Located in the heart of the Bruce trail, this is another relaxing option after a long winter hike (should you want to opt out of a ski adventure). The resort offers a number of creative weekend packages.

Deerhurst Resort
Muskoka is just as serene and relaxing for a weekend escape in the winter as it is in the summer. Deerhurst Resort, in the heart of Muskoka, is the place to rejuvenate. There’s plenty to do nearby such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating, included in your resort fee. For a true adventure, hop on a dog sled through Northern Ontario Wildnerness or take the family along on sleigh ride. Snowmobiling and snowboarding are more activities to choose from at the nearby Hidden Valley Highlands and Arrowhead Provincial Park. (Algonquin Provincial Park is also relatively close to the resort.) At the end of the day, cozy up by the fireplace in the renovated rooms, or look out out on to the icy lake from the comfort of your bed, an ideal time to sleep in.

Winter Getaways Near Toronto

Niagara Falls Icewine Festival
Niagara Falls wine (and icewine) region, Niagara-on-the-Lake, is extra special in the winter when it celebrates its icewine festival, now in its 20th year. Throughout three weekends in January (January 9-11, 16-18, 23-25), tour the wine route with a discovery pass. The pass lets you explore the best of eight different wineries where you can sip and savour on local icewine, table wines, and cuisines, without paying the $10 surcharge at each winery. There are lots of activities during the festival including gala evenings, ice Street Villages to explore, and finding a fire to roast marshmallows along the wine route. In Twenty Valley, don’t miss the dinners with famed chef, Michael Smith.

Hockley Valley
Located less than two hours away from our furnished apartment rentals in downtown Toronto, Hockley Valley near Orangeville is an ideal ski and stay escape plan. A perfect weekend winter getaway near Toronto. Ski or snowboard the different terrains (four day packages for holiday lessons are available). Not a ski bunny? Try the varied spa services on site, which include packages for men as well.

Prince Edward County
The “other” wine country located near Belleville, Ontario is a quick two hour drive away from Toronto. This year’s big draw? The Drake Hotel’s stylish county outpost, The Drake Devonshire Inn. Complete with a stylish Canadiana farmhouse theme, this is the perfect place to cozy up over Hudson Bay blankets on Muskoka chairs and look out over the lake. The inn has two packages this winter: the Winter Warrior Package (including a seat at chef Matthew De Winter Getaways Near TorontoMille’s table) and the Indoor Indulger Package, which includes a $100 credit towards in-room spa services or a Drake Devonshire wine tour. Speaking of wine tours, if you like to do-it-yourself, check out the Taste Trail, where you can sip and nibble throughout some of Ontario’s best wineries. Our picks are: Norman Hardie, Closson Chase, and Karlo Estates.

You don’t have to go far to feel far away from your suite or apartment in Toronto. Winter is just as fun outside of the city!

Downtown Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Top Shops in Toronto for Christmas Shopping

December 23, 2014

Top Shops in TorontoWhether you’re a corporate traveller or a local, finding that perfect present for your loved ones can be a challenge. You may want to find a unique shop that isn’t in the mall or an excuse to explore the different neighbourhoods to support local businesses. Here are our favourite top shops in Toronto customized for your Christmas or holiday shopping needs.

Drake General Store
As an outpost of the Drake Hotel, the Drake General Store set the trend for shops where you could find quirky treasures with a Canadinana twist and has since expanded to locations at the Hudson Bay Company across Ontario. (Also known as the ideal store for holiday shopping.) Vintage Canadian postcards and engraved key chains with popular song titles like “That’s the Way Love Goes” are perfect stocking stuffers; the Areaware Harry Allen piggybank is a design item worth the splurge; and Canadian brands –from Drake’s own signature cross items to Share and Aborist– factor heavily into the Drake’s eclectic and curated selection. These novelty goods are ideal for the playful, curious person in your life.

Kid Icarus top shops in Toronto
For the person who loves paper, Kid Icarus offers a selection of quirky handmade cards and paper products. Want to make your own? Screenprinting and linoleum carving workshops are available. This is a great option for someone who wants an experience. Shop and explore in two locations: Kensington Market and now, Parkdale.

Love the Design
Located in the tony Summerhill neighbourhood, no-one has a better selection of vintage decor finds that will add that extra flair to your home. That perfectly weathered cabinet, kooky light, or second-look accessory is all available in the equally gorgeous set-up of the store. Owner Christine Flynn also makes her own customized artwork and custom stationary, some with a Toronto twist (the linoleum streetcar piece comes to mind or list of Toronto street names and subway stops come to mind). A destination in itself.

Cambie Design
If you’re looking to add flair to your furnished suite or apartment rental or a piece that you can take home with you, Cambie’s home accessories are good options. Cambie is famous for their coloTop Shops in Torontourful, hand-spun alpaca wool and acrylic-made blankets sourced from Peru. Beyond the blankets, rugs, housewares, and vintage furniture are available for purchase. It is a great way to support local shops and local communities around the world.

Advice from a Caterpillar
Located in the tony Summerhill and Rosedale neighbourhood, this children’s store has everything your family needs. Designer clothes, decor, toys, nursery, travel, and lifestyle products for the parents are all available in this curated and sophisticated shop. Our picks include:Janod Story Box Farm, Hansa deer bambi and the Hoppop bato child plastic bath.

BYOB Cocktail Emporium
This cool and eclectic emporium to cocktail and bar resources is your one-stop shTop Shops in Torontoop for your home bar needs. Also ideal for a unique holiday gift, stock up on funky glassware, DIY beer and wine making kits, hard-to-find Japanese cocktail shakers, and much more. If you need to host a party in your furnished suite, this truly is one of the most niche shops in Toronto.

Though these are incredible stores for your holiday shopping needs, they are great stores to visit year-round. So if you are in Toronto for a short term stay, these are some of the most unique top shops in Toronto. It’s also a great way to explore the different areas of the city from Parkdale to Uptown.