11 hotels with fascinating amenities


The view of Niagara Falls is one of the main attractions for guests staying at hotels in the popular tourist city. (Julia Pelish file photo/ has teamed with to create a series of articles highlighting the best hotel travel experiences in Canada. We have spotlighted romantic hotels in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, as well as destinations for families, single travellers and chocolate lovers. In this installment of the series, Deputy Editor Rod Charles looks at a few hotels that offer unique and interesting amenities.

Story by Rod Charles Deputy Editor

If you’re like me, you will decide whether or not you like your hotel within minutes after walking through the front door. The process of deciding whether or not you like a place is fully underway when you meet the person at the front desk for the first time.

It is here where the tone is truly set because it’s at the front desk where first impressions are truly made and more importantly, where you find out what amenities the hotel has to offer. Of course, odds are you’ve probably researched the hotel and are aware of most of the services, but nothing beats the personal touch of a friendly attitude and smile – at the end of the day these are the single most important amenities a hotel can offer. Head of Public Relations Taylor L. Cole says hotels that deliver interesting and unique amenities are often the most memorable, but added that it all begins with service and the willingness of the staff to go the extra mile.

 “You know what they say – the devil is in the details. I expect good housekeeping when I go to a hotel, but it’s also the amenities that can make a hotel stay truly exceptional,” says Cole. “Some hotels have done a great job creating a thoughtful, unique and bold experience that have guests spreading the word and coming back for repeat stays. More times than not, it’s one or two amenities – coupled with outstanding service – that make a hotel stand out from the pack.” offers the following suggestions for accommodations that provide some of the best added-value amenities. We also mention a few tips from our Top 50 Restaurants in Canada guide and Best Places To Visit in Canada in 2015 to help you while you’re on the road.




The shop inside the Spa My Blend by Clarins at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, which was named the best spa in the world by one publication. (Julia Pelish file photo/

THE RITZ-CARLTON, Toronto, Ontario
Main Amenities: At Ritz-Carlton Toronto you will find 263 smoke-free guestrooms, three restaurants and two bars/lounges, a full-service spa, indoor pool and a 24-hour health club
Amenity you will love most: How good is the spa at Ritz-Carlton? The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is ranked first on the Travel + Leisure 2013 World’s Best Awards list of Top Hotel Spas Overall (last year travel + Leisure readers also voted The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto among the Top City Hotels in Canada in the Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards survey). So following the announcement, we decided that we needed to check this spa out.
Well, somebody’s gotta do it were the words that came out of the mouth of Julia Pelish, Visuals Editor ,when told she would have to take one for the team and visit Ritz-Carlton Spa.
Pelish: Even though I had been to the Ritz spa previously, knowing it was now considered the No. 1 hotel spa in the world sweetened my excitement for my visit this week,” wrote Pelish in her article A visit to the ‘World’s Best Hotel Spa’. Going to the Ritz, no matter where, has always had a glitzy ring to it and upon entering the hotel lobby in Toronto you immediately feel dazzled. I love the contemporary Canadian-inspired décor with the beautiful chandeliers, but even more than that I love the openness and hospitality that greets every visitor. Luxury hotels have become quite adept at exuding down-to-earth warmth and the Ritz does it better than any other because the staff truly are genuine. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.8 / 5
Location: 181 Wellington St W Top 20 Places To Visit: This is the year to visit Toronto,’s top selection for 2015 because of the Pan Am Games, which are coming to Toronto (July 10-26), along with 6,000 athletes, international media and thousands of fans. The other major event for 2015 is the 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place September 10-20. Click here to read more. Top 50 Restaurants in Canada: Scoring second was Toronto’s Bar Isabel, run by Chef/owner Grant van Gameren and featuring Spanish cuisine. Prices range from $6-$59; primarily share plates. Be sure and order the grilled octopus ($34 for half; $59 for whole). They can be reached at 416-532-2222. Room Rates: As low as $400 per night. Click here.


Main Amenities: You will find 525 guestrooms, restaurant and bar, indoor pool and ski storage at this hotel.
Amenities you will love most: For people visiting the Calgary Stampede, this is party central! The other amenity that makes this hotel tops is the fact that this is where the tradition of the Bloody Caesar was born.
According to CBC: Bartender Walter Chell was asked to create a signature drink to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the Calgary Inn, which is now the Westin. “He’s Italian and a fantastic cook and came up with a concoction of mixing clam juice, with tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and vodka and because of his Italian ancestry, decided to call it Caesar,” recalled granddaughter Sheena Parker. “There was a British man at the bar at the time and he said, ‘That’s a bloody good Caesar’, and that’s where he came up with the Bloody Caesar.” Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.4 / 5
Location: 320 4th Ave SW
Why loves Calgary: Calgary will always be one of our favourites because of the Calgary Stampede (July 3-12). The Stampede welcomes millions of people every year and generates roughly $345 million within the province, in hotels, restaurants, and local businesses. Last year, writer Sarah Deveau had a chance to visit and wrote about her experiences. Room Rates: As low as $219 per night. Click here.




Temple Gardens Mineral Spa is one of the attractions that has helped Moose Jaw draw more than 400,000 visitors a year. (Shel Zolkewich/

TEMPLE GARDENS HOTEL & SPA, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Primary Amenities: Temple Gardens features 179 smoke-free guestrooms, a casino restaurant, bar/lounge, full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pool, laundry service and conference space.
Amenity you will love most: A geothermal pool that will keep you feeling warm all year long. Genuine Guest Reviews: 3.9 / 5
Location: 24 Fairford St E Great Place To Visit: writer Shel Zolkewich had a chance to visit Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa and found her time there very rewarding.
Zolkewich: The mineral-rich water bubbles out of the ground at 45 degrees Celsius and gets pumped into the vast indoor pool at Temple Gardens. Because it’s so high in minerals, the water magically relaxes muscles, eases joint pain and re-hydrates your skin. It just feels really good. The indoor pool leads to an outdoor pool, surrounded by lounge chairs and tables, twinkling lights in trees and a coffee shop. Room Rates: As low as $219 per night. Click here.


SPARKLING HILL RESORT, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Main Amenities: You will find a restaurant, full-service spa, outdoor pool, health club, 152 smoke-free guestrooms and terrace at Sparkling Hill.
Amenity you will love most: Sparkling Hill Resort in the Okanagan Valley has KurSpa, which has a minus-100-degree treatment. writer Jody Robbins wrote about her experience at KurSpa in her article “-110 degrees heals you at Sparkling Hill”.
Robbins: Even though we Canadians frequently moan about enduring some of the most frigid temperatures on the planet, the cryotherapy lab at Sparkling Hill Resort, just outside of Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, takes the concept of being cool to another new level. Set at minus-110 Celsius degrees (-166 Fahrenheit), North America’s only Ice lab offers sought-after treatment for those suffering from arthritis, depression, or muscle and joint pain. The cold reduces inflammation that causes those conditions. During the three-minute procedure, blood moves to the core of the body to protect vital organs, and brings other fluids like waste products’ lactic acid with it. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.4 / 5
Location: 320 4th Ave SW Room Rates: As low as $315 per night. Click here.


Main Amenities: This hotel has 343 guestrooms, a spa, breakfast, free area shuttle, ski storage, 24-hour health club, airport shuttle and in-room childcare.
Amenity you will love most: Nature, all around you, everywhere. Great skiing made easy with shuttles from airports and ski storage. And when the day is over, a relaxing dinner at Eden Restaurant will leave you licking your lips and begging for more. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.5 / 5
Location: 300 Mountain Avenue Top 50 Restaurants in Canada: In 2015, Eden Restaurant finished 61st in our Top 50 Restaurants in Writer Jody Robbins wrote about her experiences at Eden, the only CAA/AAA 5-Diamond award-winning restaurant west of Ontario, where you’ll find this luxe establishment nestled in the Rimrock Resort Hotel, itself a 4-Diamond property in Banff National Park.
Robbins: Choosing an entrée is often fraught with indecision. But out west it’s hard to pass up fresh Nova Scotia Lobster (flown in three times a week). And just to remind you that you’re in the woods, it’s served with a mini campfire: Douglas fir and rosemary needles upon which the lobster was grilled are ablaze on the plate, producing a heavenly scent and major presentation points. Room Rates: As low as $219 per night. Click here.


Main Amenities: This property has 276 guestrooms, a golf course, restaurant, full-service spa, indoor pool, health club and valet parking.
Amenities you will love most: The golf courses – of course – at The Marshes (18 hole course) and Marchwood (9 hole, par 3). For tee times, book online or call 1-613-271-3530 or toll-free 1-800-417-8555. You will also love the exceptional Options Jazz Lounge, another favourite. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.5 / 5
Location: 525 Legget Drive Top 50 Restaurants in Canada: In 2013, picked Brookstreet’s Hotel’s Options Jazz Lounge as number 48 in our Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list. Room Rates: As low as $219 per night. Click here.




The Hyatt Regency overlooks the activity happening at the Montreal Jazz Festival, which takes over bustling Sainte-Catherine Street each year. (Adrian Brijbassi file photo/

Main Amenities: Enjoy a Restaurant and bar, full-service spa, indoor pool, rooftop terrace and 605 smoke-free guestrooms.
Amenity you will love most: You’ll love the festival atmosphere and the need for speed. Hyatt Regency Montreal overlooks the Montreal Jazz Fest site (June 26 – July 5) and is one of the main hotels for Grand Prix Montreal (June 5-7) Genuine Guest Reviews: 3.9/5
Location: 1255 Rue Jeanne-Mance Top 50 Restaurants in Canada: Maison Publique owned by chef/owner Derek Damman and co-owned by Jamie Oliver, finished third in our Top 50 Restaurants in Canada. The restaurant serves British-inspired Gastropub. When you go, be sure to order the Steak Delmonico for Two ($70) Room Rates: As low as $179 per night. Click here.


STRATHCONA HOTEL, Victoria, British Columbia
Main Amenities: Restaurant, night club, rooftop terrace and self parking are some of the features at Strathcona Hotel.
Amenity you will love most: One of the coolest rooftop patios in the country. Genuine Guest Reviews: 3.7 / 5
Location: 919 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 2C2 Great Place To Visit: Zambri’s received an honourable mention in our Top 50 Restaurants in Canada for 2013Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island was selected as One of Canada’s Best places to visit in 2015. No extraordinary events are planned for 2015. No great tourism attractions are being built. No luxury hotels or resorts are scheduled to open. What’s happening in the Cowichan Valley is the same thing that has been happening in this Vancouver Island destination for a decade or more. It ranks on the list of places to visit because — like much of the wine it produces — the Cowichan Valley is getting finer and finer. The culinary tourism offerings you will find here are true gems, many of them hidden away in secluded areas of this expansive region that is about a 45-minute drive north of Victoria. In 2015, what should be happening is a discovery of these restaurants, bakeries, wineries, cideries, meaderies, breweries, farms and cafes by far more people than the local residents. Room Rates: As low as $95 per night. Click here.


SHERATON ON THE FALLS, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Main Amenities: Casino, two restaurants, night club, a spa, indoor pool and nightclub can be found here. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.1 / 5
Location: 5875 Falls Ave.


Main Amenities: Hilton also has a casino, four restaurants, two bars, breakfast and a fitness center. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.1 / 5
Location: 6361 Fallsview Blvd Room Rates For Both Hotels: As low as $135 per night. Click here for Sheraton. Click here for Hilton.
Amenities you will love most in these hotels: The view of the falls from your room is the other amenity you just can’t miss. If you really want to be blown away, enjoy the view  at night when the falls are illuminated by lights.
If you’re feeling lucky Niagara Falls is a great place to be. Casinos are not really my thing, but even if you’re not a huge gambler (or an incompetent one like me) both casinos offer entertainment and wonderful musical performances and comedic acts. This year, Fallsview Casino Resort will host Hall and Oates (July 23), Patti Labelle (July 10 — July 11) and Norm MacDonald (July 16). The Niagara Falls Hotel Sheraton, located directly beside Casino Niagara, features fun and laughs at Yuk Yuk’s every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Top 20 Places To Visit: In 2015, we selected Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara Region as one of our top places to visit in 2015, and a big reason for that was the Niagara Icewine Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Besides the falls itself, wine – especially icewine – is a large reason to visit. Another wonderful reason to visit the region is the famous Shaw Festival Theatre, which just kicked off the season and will feature several wonderful plays including Sweet Charity, Pygmalion and Top Girls. If you would like to read my preview of the upcoming season, click here. Room Rates: As low as $95 per night. Click here for Sheraton and click here for Hilton.


THE FORT GARRY HOTEL, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Main Amenities: Fort Garry Hotel features a restaurant and bar, full-service spa, indoor pool and 240 smoke-free guestrooms.
Amenity you will love most: Getting scared half to death is what will keep you coming back to this hotel. When writer Shannon Leahy took part in a Muddy Water Tour Fort Garry was one of the stops. In her story “Winnipeg’s spooky Halloween secrets” Leahy wrote about the Fort Garry. Built in 1913, has hosted superstars like Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney and Brad Pitt. But it’s the invisible spirit stars — some friendly, some fierce — who’ve transformed this ornate chateau-style hotel into one of Canada’s most spectacular haunting grounds.
Leahy: There’s the female ghost who likes to climb into bed with guests. Sometimes she stands at the foot of the bed and just stares. Until you wake up screaming. There’s another ghost, maybe the same woman, who appears in the closet. When you open the door, she stares back at you, unblinking, from the end of a rope. Cleaning staff, when they’re not mysteriously locked out of the room, have seen fresh bloody footprints on the bed and blood oozing from the room’s walls.
If that isn’t one of the coolest amenities of all time, nothing is. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.3 /5
Location: 222 Broadway Room Rates: As low as $123 per night. Click here.



Alt Hotel-toronto

The ALT Hotel brand, owned by Groupe Germain, has an ideal location for Toronto airline passengers. (Julia Pelish file photo/

Main Amenities: ALT Hotel Toronto Pearson has 153 guestrooms, breakfast available, free airport shuttle, 24-hour fitness center.
Amenity you will love most: Direct link to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport via the LINK train, the only hotel that has one. In an article by Writer Karen Burshtein called “Canada’s new wave of airport hotels
Burshtein: The ALT Hotel, connected to the airport via the LINK train, is one of several airport hotels that are becoming destinations much like their hip sister properties downtown, loaded with the kind of gizmos you crave on the road, talented chefs in the kitchen and design conceits to spare. At the ALT, I entered a lobby full of playful, colourful furniture, including a swinging hammock chair. There’s also a large board that displays flight arrival and departure schedules. Making myself comfortable on an overstuffed couch in front of the fireplace, I ate the meal I purchased from the hotel’s self-serve restaurant — gourmet carrot salad, crusted tilapia on couscous, and a treat from artisinal Quebec chocolate-maker Genevieve Grandbois — then logged onto my computer, feeling great in the spot that would be my home for the next hour. Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.5 / 5
Location: 6080 Viscount Rd, Mississauga, ON Room Rates: As low as $149 per night. Click here.

You can also give the gift of travel this year with a Hotels.Com gift card.

Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

One Comment


    January 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm

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