GUEST POST: Hotel Stays Filled with Delightful Surprises

Intercontinental Hotel

I asked Michelle Dias what she had to say about travelling for work, and here’s what she had to say:

Before working in the hotel business, I thought that the “big-box” branded hotels were all the same: cookie-cutter versions of the same formula, like your neighborhood Best Buy or Target. Boy, was I wrong! I am now one year into my role as Marketing Manager, PR and Communications, with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and I have seen my fair share of hotels. From hotels in Vancouver to Atlanta to Nisku (5 minutes outside of Edmonton’s airport), the 13 brands we represent all have similar standards, but each hotel comes with a unique surprise waiting to be discovered. Typically when I go on a business trip, I have the pleasure of getting a hotel tour. It’s a great way for me to get to know the staff and the property. Although friendly smiles and great hospitality come standard, there have been surprise “WOWS” that I won’t soon forget. After a year of jet setting, here my favourite delightful surprises that I have stumbled upon during my hotel stays:

https://twitter.com/BrookeHenderson/status/771516053532864512

1. A bowling alley, arcade, and huge fitness facility at the Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo

Crowne Plazas are known and enjoyed for their upscale facilities (restaurants, meeting spaces etc.) and cool décor. When touring the newly renovated Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo, I was shocked to see their underground bowling alley and arcade – which was formerly a parking garage. This space looked like a gamers-dream, and a perfect space for business and leisure guests to unwind. LPGA Golf Professional and Canadian-favourite Brookie Henderson recently took a swing and got a hole-in-one (surprise, surprise!) while playing on the mini-putt course in this cool underground space.

 

2. Piece of the Berlin Wall at the InterContinental Hotel Montreal InterContinental Hotel

I kid you not! This section of the Berlin Wall was given by Germany to Montreal for the city’s 350th birthday. I’ve been to Berlin, Germany and have to say that the piece of the wall inside the InterContinental is so lively – it really brings that part of history to life. The graffiti looks freshly painted and the markers at the base give you an informative lesson into this grime piece of Germany’s history.

 

 

3. This amazing view!

One of my most memorable trips this year was to Vancouver. I was lucky enough to be there for Canada Day and was awestruck by the nature, the number of fit people (seriously, everyone hikes and jogs), and also the vast amount of green space. Coming from Toronto – I feel as though Vancouver has a certain Euro-style: everything is modern, the buildings are glass, and it’s so clean. After hosting an SEO workshop at the Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre, I was given a tour of the property and stopped for 5 minutes to play tourist while on the building’s highest level overlooking the Pacific ocean.

holiday-inn-vancouver, Intercontinental

 

I know most hotels are just a stopping ground for travellers – folks are more concerned with seeing the outdoor sites and neighborhoods, but I would encourage you to learn about your hotel on your next trip. Some hotels are historical buildings or conversions from old factories, while some house priceless art or have entertaining game rooms.

 

InterContinental HotelAUTHOR BIO:

Michelle Dias is an energetic, A-type traveler who doesn’t travel without a detailed itinerary. She is a known over-packer who enjoys taking photos and over-sharing on social media. In her role with IHG, Michelle is responsible for Marketing and Public Relations for all Canadian hotels.

Follow me as I travel @MichelleHotelLife

Photo Credit: [Hotel], [InterContinental Photos]


Preparing for Machu Picchu: 6 Helpful Tips

Preparing for Machu Picchu: 6 Helpful Tips

machu picchuMacchu Picchu was at the top of my travel bucket list for years, yet I was always making excuses as to why it was never the right time to go, often blaming factors such as weather, vacation time, or money. It was only nine months ago that I was able to tick Machu Picchu off my travel bucket list with a big, emphatic check mark. I decided to ditch the excuses and go for it – something that usually comes second nature to me, however I was a bit apprehensive this time around because I had placed the destination up on a pedestal for so many years. Read more

How to Travel on a Low Canadian Dollar

travel on canadian dollar

Canadian Dollar Getting You Down?

Yes, the Canadian Dollar is down in the dumps, but don’t let it put a damper on your 2016 travel plans! Here are some options that won’t break the bank this year:

Stay Domestic

  • Kiss the exchange rate worry goodbye and explore Canada by taking advantage of local deals created to entice American travellers to visit Canada. If you can’t find a good deal on flights, don’t fret – gas prices are ideal for road trips, which are often the best way to see this beautiful country!

travel to canada _ map

South of the Border: There’s Still Hope!

  • Local businesses and hotels in Myrtle Beach teamed up to offer Canadians up to 60% off on accommodation, dining, and entertainment as an incentive to come down south and overcome the hardship of the exchange rate. See Visit Myrtle Beach for more information.
  • If Myrtle Beach isn’t your cup of tea, several airlines have launched major seat sales to the U.S., and many major attractions have also publicized great deals and reduced rates.

travel deals

 

International Travel:

  • Do your research. Airlines are currently offering awesome sales, such as WOW Airline’s deals to Iceland. Other major seat sales include round trip airfares to China from Toronto/Vancouver. Aside from flights, it goes without saying that key destinations to consider are those whose currency values can make the Canadian Dollar stretch, such as South American nations like Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. Any of the few European countries who do not use the Euro are other great options, with the exception of the UK, of course! For example, Poland has been topping the lists of top international destinations for Canadians.
  • Here are some resources to help with your research:

 

 

Photo Credit: [loonie][map][travel deals]

 

Looking for a hotel? Try HotelTravel.com!

Tight on Time? How to See Machu Picchu in Two Days

Tight on Time? How to See Machu Picchu in Two Days

machu picchuMachu Picchu has been at the top of my travel bucket list for years, but ironically, a long list of trips have preceded my recent visit to Peru. The idea behind my procrastination was actually a very poor attempt at convincing myself that I was saving Peru for a “better time” when I could be aptly prepared. Truthfully, there never was a better time because I’m a last minute traveller in nature. And for that very reason, the task of booking the infamous trek to Machu Picchu seemed so daunting. The problem was that treks from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town) get booked up months in advance because admittance to both the ancient trails and Machu Picchu itself is limited in order to preserve precious Incan infrastructure. I wanted to do the trek to Machu Picchu so badly, but the thought of booking any sort of travel more than two weeks in advance gave me serious anxiety – it was just not my style. To boot, tour companies recommend that trekkers arrive in Cusco approximately two days prior to the trek in order to acclimatize to the altitude. Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of time, and simply couldn’t afford to spend seven days in one place, so I had no choice but to find another way to get to Machu Picchu. After going on a whim and booking everything myself, I realized that it is possible to experience quite a bit of adventure in Machu Picchu doing the trek. Read more

How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights

How to Stay Healthy on Long Flights

air-passengers2Long flights, coupled with layovers and delays can often be the most taxing part of travelling. There’s nothing worse than having to take a day of recovery upon arrival just because of an exhausting flight itinerary.

To figure out how to stay healthy on long flights, I asked Dr. Melanie Lopes to share some of her wisdom. Here are four of her expert tips:

Choose your Seat Ahead of Time

To ensure you are well-rested by the time you arrive at your destination, consider choosing a window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep.  By choosing a window seat, you can also control how much sunlight enters your area, which can be helpful when trying to fall asleep. If you are a taller individual, it might be wise to choose an aisle seat, or even better: an  emergency exit seat to provide more leg room.  The additional space in this  seating area can help prevent any cramping or soreness in your legs.

Travel Pillows are an Essential Carry-On Itemneck pillow

I would highly recommend packing a travel pillow in your carry-on luggage for lengthy bus and car rides, and especially for long flights.  The purpose of a travel pillow is to support your neck, in order to prevent it from falling into awkward sleeping postures, which will eventually lead to uncomfortable kinks.

Travel pillow styles will depend on the type of travel that you have planned. Embarking on a backpacking trip might warrant an inflatable travel pillow, which will reduce the amount of occupied space in your backpack.  In contrast, you might want to splurge on a comfortably plush pillow for a slower-paced, all-inclusive trip. It’s best that you test the pillow in the store to assess it’s firmness. You want to ensure that the pillow is firm enough to support the natural curve of your neck, but not too firm that it limits the movement of your neck.

Motion is Lotion

I always remind my patients that it’s important to keep moving, whether you are seated at work, or on a long car, bus or plane ride.  By keeping your joints moving and using your muscles, you can help prevent the onset of stiffness and soreness that tends to occur after hours of sitting. Additionally, immobility can increase the risk of swollen ankles, and a possible development of deep vein thrombosis (aka: blood clot) in the legs.  By moving around, you can help improve your blood circulation.

I would recommend trying to stretch and move at least once every hour.  

If you’re stuck in the middle seat, don’t fret!  You can do some stretches in your seat, working from your head down to your legs:

 

camel stretch

  • Start by rotating your head in circles in both directions
  • Shrug your shoulders up and down 5 times
  • Round your upper back like a camel and bring your arms in front to stretch out the area in between your shoulder blades.
  • Grab onto your seat’s left armrest and twist your upper body to the left to feel a good stretch in your low back, and then do the same to the right.
  • Clench your butt muscles, hold it for 3 seconds and then release.  Repeat 5 times.
  • Bend and straighten your knees
  • Point your toes up to the ceiling and then down to the floor, repeat 10 times for each foot.
  • Trace out the alphabet (in capital letters) with your feet from A-Z to help promote good blood circulation.

If you are able to get out of your seat, walk up and down the length of the plane and try to stretch, as noted above.

Keep Hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated with water before, during and after a flight.  With low humidity and pressurized watercabins, you can feel very dehydrated. Low humidity can also put you at risk for catching a respiratory virus. Bring an empty water container in your carry on, and fill it up once you pass security.  You can then sip on some water throughout the flight. Try to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can prevent you from sleeping and also increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated.

Try these helpful tips to stay healthy on long flights and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to start your new adventure.

Happy travelling!

MELANIE LOPES

Sports Chiropractor  chiropractor

Dr. Lopes is a Sports Chiropractor in the Davisville area of Toronto.  She works in conjunction with her RMT to treat a wide spectrum of patients from babies to senior citizens and everyone in between. Dr. Lopes’ other passions include salsa dancing, travelling the world, keeping fit at the gym and photography.

You can find out more info on her site:  www.361clinic.com

Or on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/361clinic

 

 

Images: [water bottle] [stretches] [travel pillow] [airplane cabin]

Brazil Hotel Review: Iguacu Falls

Brazil Hotel Review: Iguacu Falls

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

Destination: Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

Hotel Name: Rafain Palace Hotel & Convention Centre

Type: Resort, Family Hotels

___________________________________________ Read more

6 Tips for Safety in Brazil

6 Tips for Safety in Brazil

Sugarloaf_edited-1Expressions of worry and panic are the types of reactions I got when informing others that I was going to Brazil. Once I went on to explain that I was going alone, the worry began to fade and utter confusion set in, because apparently, it was inconceivable that I could even do such a thing. In their defence, however, the notion of a young woman travelling alone to a notably “dangerous” country could be a bit mind-boggling. Although I’ve never been one to be easily influenced, the combination of the worrisome reactions and warnings from online travel forums began to make me apprehensive.

Concerns for my safety in Brazil were weighing on my mind.

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Banking in Brazil: Travel Tips

Banking in Brazil: Travel Tips

sugarloaf mountain, rio de janeiro, brazil

Common sense dictates that travellers should always be equipped with multiple means of accessing funds in case of emergency while abroad. However, as we travel more frequently and the occurrence of banking mishaps remains nonexistent, we tend to get overconfident and forget about the travel banking dos and don’ts. Take for example, someone like myself: I’m a Royal Bank of Canada customer, and have travelled to over 20 countries ranging from the comforts of the United States to remote villages in rural Cambodia. Everywhere I go, I take my RBC debit card, my RBC VISA card, and my “in case of emergency” $100USD in cash. Read more

6 Ways to Experience Rio de Janeiro

6 Ways to Experience Rio de Janeiro

brazil party2Brazil is a vivacious country bustling with energy, and it’s no secret that Rio de Janeiro is its pulse.

A visit to Rio is a great way to experience Brazil, and will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. The list of things to do in Rio seems endless, so here are six important “must-dos” to guarantee a true Rio experience:

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Don’t Let a Food Allergy Control You

Don’t Let a Food Allergy Control You

TAPAS IN SPAIN

Food allergies are not only a nuisance, but also a serious health risk. I’ve had a severe peanutpeanut allergy since childhood, and it has created many obstacles throughout my years of travelling. Eating in a foreign country can be quite risky with a severe food allergy. Through my travel experience, however, I have learned that there are ways to be prepared and stay safe while consuming food abroad.

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