Best Hotels in Canada

Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver // (c) 2013 Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver // (c) 2013 Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

U.S. News & World Report has released its inaugural ranking of the Best Hotels in Canada, and I was excited to see that my favorite hotel in Vancouver is at the top of the list — The Fairmont Pacific Rim. My family had an amazing time at the property and, while the downstairs lobby is bustling with stylish 20-somethings, the staff also catered to kids, bringing mine ice cream while my husband and I enjoyed glasses of champagne.

Out of the 218 luxury hotels across Canada evaluated for the 2013 rankings, 22 properties scored high enough to earn a place on the list of the Best Hotels in Canada. The top five are:
1. Fairmont Pacific Rim; Vancouver
2. Rosewood Hotel Georgia; Vancouver
3. Ritz-Carlton, Montreal; Montreal
4. Hastings House Country House Hotel; Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
5. Auberge Saint-Antoine; Quebec City

For the complete list of the best hotels in Canada, visit U.S. News and World Report list.


Halloween in San Diego

Celebrate Brick-or-Treat at Legoland // (c) 2013 Legoland
Celebrate Brick-or-Treat at Legoland // (c) 2013 Legoland

When fall comes to Los Angeles, I sometimes just want to escape L.A. for a short getaway to bring back the wanderlust of my summer travels. San Diego is an ideal weekend getaway and, if it’s around Halloween time, several spooky experiences await. The folks at Visit San Diego have a few suggestions:

  • Halloween makes a splash at SeaWorld San Diego during its Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld celebration. This family-friendly program features trick-or-treat stations for kids in costumes, a special Halloween-themed Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure sea lion and otter show, Penelope’s Pumpkinfish Patch, a variety of up-close animal encounters and photo opportunities at the Mermaid Grotto. The celebration takes place Saturdays and Sundays during Sept. 21–Oct. 27.
  • Legoland California in Carlsbad joins in the Halloween fun every Saturday and Sunday in October with its annual Brick-or-Treat celebration, featuring a one-of-a-kind, four-foot tall Lego jack-o-lantern. Children ages 12 and under can participate in fun-filled costume contests and trick-or-treat with a souvenir goodie bag along the park’s Brick-or-Treat Trail, featuring a kid-sized cul-de-sac of spooky Lego homes with fun and creepy creatures.
  • For parents, San Diego’s uptown community of Hillcrest offers devilish delights during Nightmare on Normal Street, an annual Halloween street party and costume contest on Oct. 26 at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Festivities include music, food, a beer garden and other ghoulish entertainment. This ticketed event is for guests ages 21 and older.

Poll: Tagging Your Own Bags – Faster?

Flyers can tag their own bags in Las Vegas // (c) 2013 British Airways
Flyers can tag their own bags in Las Vegas // (c) 2013 British Airways

British Airways (BA) has launched a new bag-tagging system at Las Vegas McCarren International airport that allows customers traveling from Las Vegas to destinations in the UK and across the BA network to print and attach tags to their own bags at a self-service kiosk. British Airways is the first international carrier with TSA approval for self-service bag tags from kiosks for flights departing the US and the airline has chosen Las Vegas as the first airport in the US to conduct its trial.

According to British Airways, the advanced self-help technology is designed to improve the speed and simplicity of traveling through the airport with the aim of giving customers more control over their journey. Customer service staff will be on hand to greet customers and offer assistance. Once the tags are printed and attached the customer simply leaves the luggage at the bag drop desk. The new process, combined with the option to check-in online and print boarding passes at home or the office, will reduce potential congestion at the airport concourse during busy travel periods.

The Walking Dead to Visit Halloween Horror Nights

Hollywood Horror Nights // (c) 2013 Universal Orlando Resorts
Hollywood Horror Nights // (c) 2013 Universal Orlando Resorts

As a fan of zombies and zombie movies, I’m thrilled that cable network AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead‘ will once again be resurrected at Universal Studios Hollywood And Universal Orlando Resort‘s’ Halloween Horror Nights.

Fans can walk in the footsteps of human survivors when Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort debut all-new terrifying mazes inspired by season three of the critically acclaimed television series beginning Sept. 20.

While not a good fit for families with younger children, teens who love a good scare will be terrified by the eerily authentic and disturbingly real maze experiences. Universal Orlando is also dedicating its entire “Halloween Horror Nights” street experience to “The Walking Dead” — making this the first time ever that all of the scare zones throughout the park will be themed after a hit television series.  Guests brave enough to walk the streets of Universal Studios Florida will encounter iconic scenes from all three seasons of the hit show — including the perilous city of Atlanta and Hershel’s dismal barn — and fleets of blood-thirsty walkers who are hungry for their next victim…

A Hotel Deal for Parents in San Francisco

Galleria Park Hotel // (c) 2013
Galleria Park Hotel // (c) 2013

Sometimes the family-friendly hotel deal isn’t all about the kids. At the Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco, kids can check their family for the weekend with the Kids ‘R VIP & Parents Stay Free package this summer.

Kids 12 and under will receive a travel backpack, a $10 Apple iTunes card to download popular music or games, a certificate for breakfast for two at nearby Bread and Cocoa, a chocolate amenity and inviting accommodations for the whole family.

Starting at $189 plus tax, Kids ‘R VIP offers a combination of value (50 percent off rack rate) and fun this summer. Based on availability, the package is available now through Sept. 2.

Everyone will appreciate the inviting new look of the historic hotel, complimentary wine and juice each afternoon and the hotel’s outdoor Park Terrace where children can play and parents can admire the San Francisco skyline.