Travel Check-in checkup and better search engines
ON ITS 375TH birthday, Montreal is having a renaissance moment. Famous for its infamous guests – John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in for peace was held here in 1969 – Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has reopened its doors after a transformation to the tune of $140 million ( www.fairmont.com/ queen-elizabeth-montreal), while Le Mount Stephen ( www.lemountstephen.com), a member of Leading Hotels of the World, opened this past May in one of the city’s historic mansions, the former home of Sir George Stephen, a.k.a. the money behind the Canadian Pacific Railway.
In Toronto, Ink Entertainment’s restaurant and nightlife entrepreneur Charles Khabouth is dipping his toe into the hotel world with Bisha Hotel & Residences Toronto. The property, in partnership with Loews Hotels, is billed as a cultural hub and sits on Blue Jays Way near landmarks such as the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. Khabouth has tapped the music-and-fashion star Lenny Kravitz, who also heads up Kravitz Design, a firm with hotel projects in Miami and NYC, to design an entire floor of the 44-storey building. Rock on. www. bishatoronto.com —Vivian Vassos
START YOUR SEARCH ENGINES
Timing is everything, so book now for Christmas Gone are the days when the best airfare deals for the holidays were 10 months out or at the last minute. Global flight comparison website, cheapflights.ca, has developed a tool using its search engine data to pinpoint exactly when prices are at their lowest over the holidays. For example, book the cheapest airfares to London, England, for Christmas in mid-August; if you’re planning Delhi, Mumbai or Paris, book flights the week of Sept. 10 (that’s about 15 weeks before Christmas) and for Bangkok the week of Sept. 17. For
more destinations and timing, go to www.cheapflights.ca/news/best-time-tobook-flights-for-christmas —VV
Where’s there’s a whim, there’s a way The premise for a new online goto whipped up by the website, Booking. com. Known as Passion Search, think of it as your personal concierge for your tailor-made interests when it comes to travel. Matching people’s unique enthusiasms – be it truffle-hunting or tango, cross-country skiing or couture – it puts the lust in wander via a search engine consisting of more than 850,000 places to stay in 220 countries worldwide. Better yet: the range includes 30 different types of accommodation – even igloos! —Shinan Govani