Travel Digest – July / August 2012

Chelsea Beach on Toronto Island (CNW Group /Delta Chelsea Hotel)CANADA
Now please don’t accuse us of being Toronto-centric, but if you’re thinking this year might be a good time to have a city break with the kids (‘new’ dinosaurs at ROM, fun on Toronto Islands, zoos big and small, and so much more) you may like to hear about the Cottage in the City package on offer from the Delta Chelsea Hotel.  For ten summer week-ends, from 1 July to 4 September, the hotel is offering 3 nights’ accommodation in a deluxe room (must include a Sunday), valet parking, ‘Camp Chelsea’ on the beach on Toronto Islands for 2 children, transportation on the Chelsea Beach shuttle, 20% off all food and beverage outlets, a pizza party and four admission tickets to an attraction such as Canada’s Wonderland and the Ontario Science Centre. The Chelsea Beach area has change rooms, a snack bar, life guards, bike rentals and a Blue Flag rating – an international eco-label awarded to beaches for excellence in water quality.  Added attractions for children in the hotel itself include Family Fun Zone, Camp Chelsea, Kid Centre, Club 33 Teen Lounge and downtown Toronto’s only indoor waterslide – the “Corkscrew”.   In the evenings, the whole family can enjoy scheduled activities such as Family Fear Factor, Bingo Bonanza, Chelsea Challenge and Moviemania, while those who wish to book tickets for entertainment in Toronto, this can be done at the same time as room reservations are made.  There’s also an adult-only area on the 27th floor of the hotel featuring a pool and sundeck and a fitness facility. Delta Hotels prides itself on being family focused, that’s why across the chain they provide free accommodation for children 17 and under when staying with a parent or guardian. Kids eat free from the special children’s menu for children 6 and under, while children ages 7 to 12 years old, eat for half price from the regular menu.  And if a pet is part of your family, you can bring him/her along too!  For more information or to make reservations, please call 1 800 CHELSEA (243-5732) and ask to speak to our specialty reservations department or visit www.deltachelsea.com/cottage

DENMARK
If your travels are taking you to Copenhagen this fall and you are an art lover, make a date to meet some artists!  From 14 September 2012 to 13 January 2013, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located in Humlebaek, just a short train ride from Copenhagen, is turning the focus on 20th and 21st century self-portraits.  Nearly seventy artists will be represented, including Francis Bacon, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, David Hockney, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera and Andy Warhol.  How fascinating it will be to see so many artists’ representations of themselves in one setting.  And what a lovely setting it is too … beside the Øresund Sea with sculpture-decorated parklands and the Louisiana Café which claims to have one of Denmark’s most beautiful panoramic views.  (For those of you who saw the David Hockney iPad art exhibition in Toronto recently, the video of Mr Hockney at work was taken in this café.) It’s a wonderful excursion out of Copenhagen.  Details of this exhibition and many others can be found at www.louisiana.dk

ITALY

Setting out to explore Italy by train?  If so, you may like to know that ACP Rail has introduced e-tickets for Italian rail journeys with that country’s national railroad, Trenitalia.  Travellers merely enter their journey details and select a ‘Trenitalia Ticket on Departure & Reservation’ in order to obtain an e-ticket reference.  First or standard class is available and on popular routes – Milan to Rome for example – there are more specific seat sections such as second standard or premium, first business, first business ‘quiet’ or first business ‘lounge’.  Trains offer WiFi, restaurant carriages, trolley service, power outlets and more.  Trenitalia’s trains run every hour to and from Rome and Milan, while frequent service is available to such places as Florence, Naples and Turn.  www.ACPRail.com 

KOREA

Editor Ann says Korea is a wonderful country to explore with fascinating sites and cities, colourful traditions, lovely people and great food.  And now there are two new tourism programmes to help the independent traveller enjoy some unique experiences away from tourist hotels.  The new  “Korea Stay” and “Hanok Stay” programmes give visitors the opportunity to experience Korean life from both a new and old perspective with stays with a Korean family or in a traditionally-built Korean house.   For travellers wanting to get a first-hand experience of Korean life and culture there is no better way than a home-stay.  A “KoreaStay” is a home-stay programme certified by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) which offers international visitors to Korea a unique opportunity to experience life with a Korean family.  Host families are carefully selected after undergoing strict assessment of such criteria as residential environment, guestroom and house cleanliness, food, service and convenience.   Starting from $30 per night, rates vary depending on host and location.  By visiting the “KoreaStay” webpage on the official KTO website http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/korestay visitors can search information on home-stay accommodation by city or region and the suitability of accommodation, reviews and much more.  “Hanok Stay” offers the opportunity to  stay in a traditional Korean house.  These houses, constructed of all-natural materials, provide a unique view into the culture of Korea. Through www.hanokstay.or.kr  visitors are able to look for available “Hanoks” countrywide.  Both programmes are an excellent alternative to a hotel and a wonderful opportunity to experience both a modern and traditional lifestyle in Korea.

TIBET

Now there’s a new heading!  Tourism in Tibet is a relatively new industry, although recent years have seen a rapid increase in travellers with accompanying concerns about lack of environmental awareness and cultural preservation.  Enter the Tibet Travel Co-op – a group of Tibetan travel agencies and tour operators working together to promote authentic travel experiences in their country while contributing to the sustainability of host communities and their culture.  Check out their website and be tempted to explore this unique corner of the world: www.tibettravelcoop.com 

SWITZERLAND

Montreal-based Tours Chanteclerc is happy to announce that they are now offering their popular tours of Switzerland to English-speaking travellers.  Working with Swiss International Air Lines, Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss Travel System, the company promises this unique destination at affordable prices throughout the year.  Choose from a wide selection of train tours, or arrange a rental car.  Travellers can extend their chosen tour by adding additional hotel nights and other services.  The company’s brochure is on line at www.swissmoments.com or call 514 398 9393 or 1 800 361 8415.

Europa Village, California VineyardsU.S.A.

  • We hope our Northern New York State news published earlier this year has encouraged some of you to visit the Adirondacks.  If so, you may like to research news of the region’s many summer arts festivals to be held in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. There’s a wide variety of cultural events for all: plays, musicals, films, concerts, art exhibitions and crafts. 
  • The friendly tourism folks from California were in Toronto recently, hosting media and tour-operator types to some good California wines and sharing lots of news about their State.  How large and varied it is, with its famous coastal drive, wineries, small funky towns and flashy cities.  There’s so much information at www.california.com.  If you plan to drive, the publication California Road Trips 2012 will be a good starting point.  Then each county has its own website.  Check, for example, www.VisitTemecula.org to discover how seniors 50 or better can enjoy Sunday through Thursday special hotel rates and packages, or be tempted to see three of California’s National Parks – Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite – by logging on to www.visitvisalia.org and www.DiscovertheSequoias.com.   And for those wonderful wine tours, visit www.discovercaliforniawine.com … a tempting site if ever there was one!