Top 10 Hotels in Canada

Thanks to our friends over at TripAdvisor for their Traveller's Choice 2012 Best Hotels in Canada list - let's check them out!

  1. L'Hermitage HotelVancouver, BC
  2. Auberge Le Vincent, Quebec City, QC
  3. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Clinton, BC
  4. Sonora Resort, Sonora Island, BC
  5. Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, BC
  6. Opus Hotel, Vancouver, BC
  7. Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, Vancouver, BC
  8. Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, North Vancouver, BC
  9. Abigail's Hotel, Victoria, BC
  10. Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City, QC
For more information, visit Tourism British Columbia and Bonjour Quebec.

Auberge Saint-Antoine
Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Registered & Protected

Top 10 Hotels in the US

Thanks to our friends over at TripAdvisor for their latest Traveller's Choice 2012 Best Hotels in the US - let's take a look!

  1. Elysian Hotel, Chicago, IL
  2. The Grand Del Mar, San Diego, CA
  3. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Wailea, Maui, HI
  4. Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Highlands, NC
  5. The Heathman Hotel, Kirkland, WA
  6. Hotel Commonwealth, Boston, MA
  7. French Quarter Inn, Charleston, SC
  8. Fairmont Heritage Place Ghiradelli Square, San Francisco, CA
  9. Hotel Monaco Portland, Portland, OR
  10. Inn at the Market, Seattle, WA
Image: Four Season Resort Maui at Wailea Registered & Protected

Happy Fat Tuesday, it's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!!

Mardi Gras, hailed as the “biggest free show on earth,” begins its reign today throughout Louisiana and the city of New Orleans.  A combination of parties, celebrations, parades, and just plain craziness, Mardi Gras is an event not to be missed.

Krewes (an organized parade group) will ride high atop their flamboyant floats while throws (trinkets, necklaces, cups, and commemorative doubloons) in the traditional royal Carnival colors of purple, green, and gold, will be flung out into the flailing arms of the crowds.  Rex, the King of Mardi Gras Carnival, will be crowned; court ball royalty will attend various bal masque (masquerade parties); King cakes will be savored; and alcohol will be consumed (in mass quantities).
Here are some very cool facts about Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  • Over 500,000 King Cakes are sold during Mardi Gras
  • 95% of the areas 30,000 hotel rooms will be full
  • in 1991 alone, one carnival producer sold 41 million strings of Mardi Gras beads
  • during the Mardi Gras super parades of Bacchus and Endymion, 2.5 million doubloons will be thrown into the parade crowds
  • the oldest Krewe is Comus founded in 1857
  • Carnival colors included purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)
Mardi Gras 2012 celebrations will culminate with the grand finale today, February 21, better known as Fat Tuesday, when the non-stop parties on Bourbon Street will come to a prompt end at midnight.  Happy Fat Tuesday, it's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!!

For more information on Mardi Gras, visit New Orleans Tourism.

Photo Credits:
Mardi Gras Float Revelers by Jeff Strout/Courtesy of New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc. ~and~ Registered & Protected

Spring Music Festivals in New Orleans

There's always something going on the Big Easy and springtime in New Orleans doesn't disappoint.  Check out these top spring music festivals in New Orleans:
  • Rock 'n' Roll Marathon SeriesMarch 4, 2012.  Benefitting the American Cancer Society, the 26-mile route offers live music at every mile mark around the marathon course.
  • Foburg, A Music FestivalMarch 9-12, 2012.  This is the weekend to enjoy some of the area's best Indie bands with over 200 expected to play at 20 venues in Foburg Marigny.
  • French Quarter Festival, April 12-15, 2012.  This is the largest free music event in the state where visitors can enjoy authentic Louisiana southern cuisine and music galore.
  • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, April 27 - May 6, 2012.  This year's headlining acts include Florence & the Machine, Al Green, Feist, Bonnie Raitt, Neville Brothers, John Mayer, Foo Fighters, and old favorites like the Eagles, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and the Beach Boys.
For more information, visit LouisianaTravel. Photo Credit: French Quarter Musician by Mark Gstohl Registered & Protected

Barcelona in Pictures

These amazing photographs by Moyan_Brenn appear on Registered & Protected

5 Reasons to Choose A River Cruise

Cruising has always been a popular vacation choice but have you ever considered a river cruise over an ocean cruise? In the past few years, river cruising has been increasing at ten times the rate over ocean cruising so let’s take a look at 5 Reasons to Choose a River Cruise.
  1. With a smaller number of passengers onboard a river ship (usually under 200), this allows for a more intimate, casual, relaxing cruise without line-ups and crowds; it’s easier to mingle, partake in activities, and meet new friends
  2. A river ship docks in the middle of a town which is perfect for sightseeing;  this also allows passengers to get on and off the ship at their leisure, a very convenient feature when shopping and gathering souvenirs
  3. This central docking does not require taking a tender to go ashore, nor does it require additional time or money for transportation in order to get to the local town area
  4. All cabins on a river cruise ship are outside cabins providing beautiful river views; a river cruise allows passengers to visit destinations not normally visited by traditional larger cruise ships
  5. For those passengers prone to sea sickness on an ocean cruise, the shallow and calm waters of a river mean there’s no chance of getting the much dreaded illness

Viking River Cruises, “the world’s leading river cruise line,” offers sailings within Europe, Russia, and China; African Travel offers luxurious Nile cruises; Avalon Waterways provides river cruises in Europe, Egypt, China, and the Galapagos Islands; The Barge Company features amongst others a river cruise along the Seine visiting Normandy, Paris, and Northern Burgundy.

And, of course, don't forget the US and Canada - there's the Great American Steamboat Company offering Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee River sailings; American Cruise Lines offers Lewis & Clark themed cruises along the Columbia and Snake Rivers; Alaska river cruising and St. Lawrence River cruising with St. Lawrence Cruise Lines. Registered & Protected

Lowest Available Air France Fares

Haven't you always wanted to travel to romantic Paris, fabulous Morocco, or the enchanting Greek Isles?  I'll bet you didn't know you can fly there with Air France and their partner airlines including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines...

Travel with Air France and you'll be sure to get amazingly low fares.  Imagine 254 destinations in 124 countries at your fingertips.  Offering great fares to Europe and beyond, click here for the lowest available Air France fares.

And don't forget to check out Travel Writer's Paris in Pictures in case a trip to France is your destination with Air France ;) Registered & Protected

Get Away on Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, there's still time to book a getaway on Valentine's Day at these great properties from around the world...

Their Pacific Romance package includes a one night stay in a Deluxe King room with chocolate covered strawberries, a red rose, $50 breakfast credit plus a bottle of delicious BC sparkling wine along with those amazing waterfront views; rates start at CAD $289.

One night's accommodation in a king suite plus dinner for two, champagne, chocolate truffles and breakfast for two: rates start at $499.

This would be the ultimate choice for a Valentine's Day getaway, don't you think? Imagine 5 nights accommodation, 5-day Metro Pass, 1/2 day of sightseeing, a river cruise, wine, daily breakfast, airport transfers and more.  Heck, you don't even need chocolate in your room in you're in Paris!  Rates start at $618 per person.

With one night's accommodation, the Yours & Mine package at the L'Auberge del Mar includes dinner for two at Kitchen 1540 (up to $200), romantic rose petal turndown service, complimentary parking and a $40 breakfast credit for two; rates start at $599.

The Romance Package at the Ravel Hotel includes a one nigh stay, a pre-fixe dinner at Penthouse 808 and a bottle of champagne; rates start at only $149!

Including a one night's stay in a Waterside King Room, 3 course a la carte dinner with champagne, sparkling wine, Swiss chocolates, and a Bvlgari gift pack and a much needed late check-out; rates start at $599.

The Hazelton Romance Package includes one night's accommodation, welcome champagne, fresh fruit, flowers and rose petals, complimentary parking, breakfast for two and a $300 Spa credit: rates from CAD $775.

The Lip Locked Valentine's Day Package at the Liberty Hotel includes a one night stay, champagne, intimacy kit and lip gloss; rates start at $409.

The Hilton Chicago offers overnight accommodations, sparkling wine or cider, breakfast for two, plus use of the all health club facilities; rates start at $199.

The Sweet Valentine Room Package at Hotel Fort Canning includes one night in a Deluxe Room, breakfast buffet at The Glass House, Lover's Tiffin Set (nuts, dried and fresh fruits, cheese, with chocolate sauce), flower decoration, Prosecco or house wine, along with unlimited in-room coffee and teas; rates from $380.

With no less than five Valentine's Day Packages to choose from, Chateau Elan offers overnight accommodations, red rose turn down, dinner buffet or a 4-course menu at Versailles restaurant, plus breakfast for two; rates start at $319.

The Romance Inspired Package at the luxury Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach includes a one night's stay in an oceanfront room, daily breakfast, flower petal welcome, beachfront dinner and two spa treatments; rates from $875. Registered & Protected

Asian Geographic Passport: No. 19 Issue 2/2012 Western Asia Registered & Protected