Popular Articles

A look at the hotel options for wish-they-were travelers

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

The convenience, spas, shopping, and gorgeous natural settings made the two towns of Collingwood: Living Waters Resort worth a return visit last fall, Covid or no Covid. (Photo: Supplied)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

I have been working on this piece since the Pandemic began (for those of you not keeping track, that is over 2 years). 

Through all of the phases of planes being grounded and countries being closed to tourists, I held on to the belief that travel is healthy and life affirming. But there were times when incessant testing, travel advisories and lockdowns made planning a relaxing vacation nearly impossible. 

I decided to navigate the ever-changing Covid19 policies in order to experience ‘Staycations’ in my own province – Ontario. Along the way, the rules kept changing and getaways could be “complicated” but at least they were getaways. Various amenities came and went but with careful timing and a flexible attitude it was possible to have some rejuvenating time away.

Pools have been closed and opened with limited capacities. Gourmet restaurants have gone from dining in to take out. Patios have been created, expanded, closed and reopened. But I didn’t give up.

Previous
Next

I concluded that the goal is to enjoy yourself to the best of your ability, doing what is allowed at the time. I found things to entice me. A five star hotel. A lakeside AirBnB. A different city to explore. 

Throughout the Pandemic, I have isolated much of the time with my husband and two adult sons in the burbs. We still need to heal, reset, and rejuvenate during these times which have brought unprecedented stress and anxiety to all of us. But as a travel writer, I have been itching to get away the entire time. At this stage, a night at a nice hotel or nearby Ontario resort can be as refreshing as a one week vacation at a foreign locale (at least that is what I tell myself).

As a further enticement to stay local, trips taken locally in 2022 are eligible for a provincial tax rebate, creating an opportune time to share my recommendations for Ontario Staycations.

There is a maximum tax credit of $400 per family or $200 per individual, depending on your financial circumstances. So save those receipts. 

Here are some recommendations based on places that I have stayed:

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Collingwood: Living Waters Resort, June and September 2020

https://livingwaterresortandspa.com/

There is something about Collingwood that refreshes and soothes. As soon as things opened up in June 2020, I took a leap of faith and booked a three day getaway.

This four season resort area has two distinct town areas, Collingwood and Blue Mountain and both are filled with restaurants, shops and attractions. We rented a one bedroom condo in the Living Waters Property. It had a full kitchen and was so clean that I could smell the bleach on the sheets. In order to use the pools, advance sign up was necessary, as the capacity was strictly controlled.

This was my first encounter with the rules of traveling during the Pandemic. There were signs in the elevators telling you where to stand, and sanitizer became your best friend. Yet it felt like freedom compared to sitting at home and walking around the block.

I really like this resort because it offers access to both indoor and outdoor pools in different areas of the property and there is also a spa with relaxing hydrotherapy feature called the Aquapath. Add in the surrounding mountains, golf courses and the marina along with the lakeshore and you have one of Ontario’s most relaxing, natural getaways. We liked it so much we came back with friends at the end of that summer.

The magnificent walk through nature in full bloom at Collingwood: Living Waters Resort. (Photo: Supplied)

The Toronto Four Seasons Hotel, October 2020

https://www.fourseasons.com/toronto/

As it got colder, and winter was coming, I felt like I needed something special to keep me going. The five star Four Seasons Toronto Hotel fits the bill. I had an amazing stay, as their guest, in a gorgeous suite.

Unfortunately, the day before I arrived, the restaurants were closed due to whatever Covid crisis was happening at the time. My disappointment at not being able to go to the Cafe Boulud, which is run by the Michelin starred chef Daniel Boulud, was quelled by the lovely presentation of the food sent up by the management. There was a beautiful charcuterie board, champagne and later a couple of mains and a delicately glass encased dessert of macarons. We were able to enjoy the room service in the large dining area, as well as a fantastic view.

I must say that just the joy of being somewhere different and much cleaner and classier than my own home went a long way. I was quite impressed with the warmth of the staff and their work ethic, especially as this before vaccines. Serene, luxurious, and confident is how I would describe the Four Seasons Toronto, which is located in the heart of Yorkville. This proud Canadian brand has spread all over the world.

This was during the early days of Covid-19. My husband and I were met outside and escorted into a small foyer which had the intimate feeling of entering a residence. After having our temperature taken by some fancy machine from a distance, we moved into the main lobby where we were offered a private check-in experience.

The spacious five star suite at The Toronto Four Seasons Hotel made socializing during Covid as comfortable and fun as possible. (Photo: Supplied)

A friend joined us for drinks at the long dining room table in the suite, maintaining a safe distance. The pool, even without the hot tub being open, was large and luxurious. Later on I enjoyed a soak in the deep freestanding tub of one of two luxurious bathrooms in the suite. The color palette of pale yellow and light gray were soothing and natural.

Although this is a classy five star hotel and the flagship for others across the globe–the Canadian Four Seasons – even during Covid restrictions – projects a modest and subtle sense of luxury which combines relaxation and service.

A hearty toast to Staycations! (Photo: Supplied)

The St. Regis Toronto, November 2020

The idea of another luxurious overnight getaway beckoned. I decided to try the St. Regis Hotel, which used to be the Trump Toronto. The day before I arrived, it was lock down time again, so pools and restaurants were abruptly closed. It meant that I was basically taking a break from my family and spending some time alone in a luxurious suite. At this point I needed a solo vacay.

The living room area was elegant, decorated with soft charcoal and touches of white and black. There was a giant TV that allowed me to use my streaming apps from home which was a nice touch. Also included were a fine selection of upscale coffees and teas and I received a chocolate treat and note from the manager. Still frustrated at not being able to enjoy any hotel amenities, I decided to take a quiet walk nearby. The hotel is at Bay and Adelaide, so I headed south.

A stroll around the St. Regis Toronto takes you past all sorts of statues and fountains, including installations designed as tributes to dogs and cats. (Photo: Supplied)

Toronto is my hometown but living in the suburbs has led to a softening of my memories from the years of working and playing downtown. It was nice to be out exploring. The stores and restaurants had changed and signs of the adaptation to Covid 19 were all around. Fran’s Restaurant had a tent outside with a sign that said, “we don’t have any heaters but we have warm hearts”.

There were signs of the holiday season approaching. A mama moose and her baby are lit up across the street at Scotia Plaza. On Front Street, I was delighted by a large fanciful fountain/sculpture with numerous dogs looking up at the one bone on top. Nearby a cat sculpture lingered. But the streets were almost bare, save for a few people eating lunch outside.

Even when a staycation – despite the best efforts of the staff – falls short of expectations, there’s solace in the fine desserts. (Photo: Supplied)

I returned to my suite that now felt like home. The gas fireplace under the television. The welcoming lighting and the soft gray sofa. I had an amazing sleep in the king sized bed with Frett linens, which kept me going after I returned to suburbia. The living area had a large window where I could look out and watch the twinkling lights of Toronto.

I found the hotel offerings of food to be overpriced but being downtown I took advantage of trying somewhere new through Ubereats. Even the most upscale hotels now accept that people will use these apps and will either ask you to meet the delivery person in the lobby or bring it up for you.

There were some glitches during my stay which surprised me, as my research shows that St.Regis hotels are supposed to be flawless. They forgot to leave my sanitizer kit in my room. The phone worked poorly and sometimes not at all. I missed the butler service and the evening cocktails that are offered in non-pandemic times. The staff that came to my room were eager and helpful but the phone issue was not resolved. I hope to be able to stay at a St. Regis again– in non-Covid times.

Next week in TheJ.ca: Part 2 covers AirBnB’s and home staycations (and one more luxury hotel).

Neilia Sherman is a social worker and a widely published freelance writer. She specializes in personal essays, travel, Jewish issues, psychology and health. She can be reached at [email protected]. Check out her Blog: socialworkertravels.blog,

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Previous
Next

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved