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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
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.

Bermuda
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.

Haiti
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.

Indonesia
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, Downtown Toronto, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1970s

December 12, 2014

Toronto PanoramaSome Torontonians joke that many of the buildings in Toronto look like they are from the 1970s and it’s because they were. Toronto in the 1970s was one that set up its future, now a construction boom of modern glass and steel buildings.

Many of our most recognizable landmarks were built in the 1970s. The Eaton Centre, the CN Tower, Ontario Place (under a current transformation of revitalization), and the Toronto Reference Library (also recently renovated in parts) are the buildings we know and love from this era.

It’s hard to believe now but Yorkville in the 60s was the hippie capital of Toronto, where legends like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young were singing in coffee houses through those brick-laned alleys. Toronto in the 1970s ushered in its change to its tony status today with the introduction of high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen in addition to art galleries and cafes. High-rise office towers replaced the low-rise buildings at major intersections.Toronto in the 1970s

The Yorkville scene of folk music was being ushered out and the rising scene of rock and roll and punk on Queen Street West was gaining prominence. Bands like the Rolling Stones were playing at notable venues like the now historic venue, the El Mocambo.

As writer, Shawn Micallef, notes, “Torontonians generally like their public areas all on one level and in a straight line in contrast to Asian cities like Hong Kong, where street life can easily rise many floors above the sidewalk.” Despite our underground pathways and current consistent construction, this trend hasn’t really changed.

Check out this collection of photos of Toronto in the 1970s here.

 

Insurance Housing, Lifestyle talk

Insurance Housing Solutions

October 24, 2014

Insurance Housing SolutionsSometimes, emergencies happen. Your home could have been set on fire or damaged due to a natural disaster (such as a flood, snowstorm, or hurricane). If you are insured, you may be covered for temporary housing depending on your claim. If you are an adjuster (claims investigator), DelSuites can assist with helping your policy-holders with insurance housing solutions.

Delsuites will provide furnished apartments in Toronto during these unexpected delays.

In addition to the benefits listed below, our apartments located across the GTA are in central locations which enable you to get to work or around town easily. Here are a few of the advantages for both the insured and adjuster.

Advantages for the Insured:
Insurance Housing Solutions • Privacy and comfort of separate bedrooms, living room, dining room and fully equipped kitchens.
• A turn-key home, complete with all utilities, furnishings and linens.
• A location right in their/or as close to their own neighbourhood which provides some sense of familiarity.
• Complimentary ‘Kids Care’ Gift for children ages newborn to age 14 to help them get acquainted with into a new environment
• Pet Friendly Locations
• High speed, wireless internet, residential telephone and upgraded cable services to keep in touch with loved ones and to ease their comfort.

Advantages for the Adjuster:
• 24/7 emergency housing with an immediate move-in service.
• The insured is met personally to help them orient and settle into the apartment.
• Monthly set rate, which includes telephone, laundry and parking expenses, normally charged at regular hotels.
• Book for a minimum of 30 nights with the option to extend for longer as needed.
• Pre-Approved Credit for All Major Insurance Companies.
• Hotel tax does not apply.

Insurance Housing SolutionsLosing your home — for whatever reason– can be a stressful time. Del Suites aims to provide peace of mind during these emergencies so you can rest assured that you are secure and able to continue with your daily routines as seamlessly as possible.

Contact DelSuites Anytime – Anywhere at 416-319-8884 or insurance@delsuites.com

Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Tips for Travelling with Kids

October 8, 2014

Family TravelTravelling with kids can be an overwhelming experience, especially for the first time. However, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience to discover a new city with your family. Here are a few of our tips that will make the journey easier.

1. Prepare your child for the airport. As your kids may not understand the full experience of traveling, prepare them before the trip by reading books like “Airport” to educate and excite them about their upcoming journey.

2. Consider What to Bring, Flying Times, and Keeping Your Child Entertained on the Flight.
Being prepared can make the flying experience for your family easier. Have a backpack prepared with everything for the flight so it’s easy to find. Bring snacks that will take your child a long time to eat (like raisins) since in-flight options are limited or cost extra. Time your flights to your child’s sleeping schedule or try the red-eye flight. Consider buying a seat for your child, especially on longer flights for ease and comfort. In addition to having portable electronics amped up with your child’s favourite apps and games, surprise your child. Buy a new book or toy for the plane and wrap it up in tissue.

3. Consider renting an apartment, suite or condo. Though hotels have their perks, rentals can give you more space as well as the amenities or perks you may not find in a hotel. For instance, you may have a better supplied kitchen, watch movies without the pricey hotel tag, or invite friends over to dinner in your dining room. DelSuites is a great option if you’re in Toronto. DelSuites will help make the transition easy by providing a FREE ‘Kids Care’ gift for every child ages newborn to 14. Items including bath toTravelling with Kidsys, children’s books, playing cards, itunes gift cards and more.

4. Stay in an area where there is lots to do within walking distance. Being in a central area will keep you close to the action but nearby your accommodation. This will be helpful for those scheduled nap times and dealing with jet lag. It also helps if you are having meals at your short-term rental apartment for lunch or dinner. Location is key when planning your family vacation.

5. Get your child involved in the planning process. When considering activities, show your little one pictures of what he or she might like to do in location. Being involved in the process makes them more excited about the decisions they made. Look at local playgrounds, parks, and outdoor spaces. Not only are these a great way to see a new city like a local but also free!

Traveling with kids can have its moments but it can also be revitalizing. What are your tips for travelling with kids and your family? We would love to hear!

References:
Joanna Goddard – 10 Tips for Traveling with a Baby
Joanna Goddard – 10 Ways to Entertain a Toddler on a Plane
Oh Joy – Traveling Abroad with a Toddler

Business Travel, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Top Ten Essential Travel Apps

October 1, 2014

Essential Travel AppsA smartphone can be your most convenient tool and resource, especially when you travel. Here are a few of our favourite travel apps to save you time, money, and frustration when you’re on the road.

Whats App Text anyone anywhere without having to pay for those pricey SMS charges. It works across different smartphones, and users can create groups, and send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

Hotel Tonight
If you’re booking a last minute trip, Hotel Tonight compiles hotel rooms that are available that day, starting at noon. Not only can you get a room at a curated hotel for less but the new “Look Ahead” feature shows availability for the week ahead in select cities. Those cities are: NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas.

Airbnb This popular home-stay travel apps enables you to save money on pricey hotels and stay in local neighbourhoods. Of course, if you are in Toronto for a longer stay, book our furnished apartments, suites, or corporate housing. Our guest services department can also give you local tips.

Icoon Picture Dictionary  Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. (Especially when you don’t speak the language!) Icoon’s Picture Dictionary takes all of the fuss out of trying to explain your message by categorizing pictures in sections such as body parts, foods, lodging, and more.

Maps.Me Search detailed maps from all over the world offline (translation: no roaming fees from other Map apps like Google Maps). Auto suggestions around your Essential Travel Appslocation and a bookmark feature for your highlighted places makes this a must-download.

Hop Stop This all-in-one app lets you get door-to-door transit, walking, biking, and taxi directions in over 300 cities worldwide. Some of its features enable you to find nearby subway stations and bus stops, estimate travel time and cost for a taxi, and find wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly routes.

VSCO An acronym for Visual Supply Co., this photography app has several filters which will make those scenic snaps more visually appealing and up amplify your instagram game.

XE Currency This currency converter makes it easy for you to figure out how much something costs immediately. It may come in handy when you’re negotiating with taxi drivers.

Curb (formerly Taxi Magic) Speaking of taxis, Curb is a good alternative to Uber if a car isn’t available or you don’t want to pay the Uber price. The app estimates the cost of your trip and you can pay from your phone. You can book a nearby taxi or schedule a ride for later. It is available in 45 American cities.

Word Lens This quirky app lets you translate those foreign signs via use of your phone’s video camera. A favourite among frequent travelers.

Tell us: What are your favourite travel apps?