Sunday, December 2, 2007

Blue Mountain - Le Scandinave Spa

We had a weekend getaway at Blue Mountain resort. It is a long 2 hours drive from Toronto to Blue Mountain, but It is much better than wasting the whole day in the planes and airports like many other trips for sure. (Thanks LoPo, with you I don't feel bored at all.) The hotel room was pretty good, spacious and clean. What really impressed us was the outdoor heated jacuzzi pools. There are like 20 restaurants within the resort village, from the interesting Irish pub to your regular Starbucks. The ski season has not begun yet. Nobody was skiing. Just inhale the romantic atmosphere of the quiet ,snow covered blue mountain. The Le Scandinave spa is the main reason for this trip. The spa offers a unique Scandinave baths experience in the heart of nature, nested by the trees and under the blue mountain.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jack Astor's

Jack Astor's is quite an interesting restaurant. There are drawing paper tablecloth and crayons on the table. The sport bar has an impressive number of screens. Our favorite dish is the Chicago steak. The side dishes were good including their famous pan-fried mushroom. The caramel cheesecake was special covered with walnut and caramel, but might be a little bit too sweet to some guys. Address: 155 York Boulevard, Richmond Hill, ON, Canada. Phone: (905) 771-9191.

Michael Tong at Splendid China Tower

Michael Tong and Miss Chinese Toronto 2007 at Splendid China Tower (錦繡中華). Address: 4675 STEELES AVE. E. TORONTO.ON M1V4S5.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hilton Fallsview

In our last trip to Niagara Falls, we stayed in Marriot Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel which is closest to the Canadian horseshoe. This year, we stayed in Hilton Fallsview Hotel. The hotel overlooks both the US falls and Canadian horseshoe. This looks like a totally different falls to me. As they say, "The only thing that we overlook is the falls."

  • 1 King American fallsview jazzcui room. The room is huge. The in-room jaccuzi fits one person comfortably and two persons romantically. (LP, shall we have one more round?) The love seat by the ceiling-to-floor windows is very thoughtful. What is missing is a DVD player and HDTV, maybe for reviewing the wedding tape? We chose the room selected at check-in option and got the free upgrade. It is not hard to get upgrade in non-peak season.
  • Buffet breakfast in Watermark restaurant. Gold VIPs or above got cook-to-order buffet breakfast for free which is $20 per person in value. The romantic water theme design and decorum complete with two aquariums, wave entrance and soothing sounds. Just the view alone worths the dollar.
  • Casino buffet dinner. With the PAC card (available for free in the casino), it is just $20 per person. The hotel is connected to the casino through a glass walkway. One thing that the buffet restaurant impressed me again and again is the cake gallery. The two of us had 6 pieces of cakes!
Be sure to check out my Travelocity Good Buy Hotels post and select the Top Hotel Deals in Niagara link to browse for the off-season rate.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pixel 8

Pixel 8 lounge is a Japanese noodles place with bubble tea, great service and model decorations. Address: 50 Bur Oak Ave, Unit 08, Markham, Ontario L6C0A2. We ordered the Nagasaki Ramen and Osaka Ramen with complimentary drink and green tea ice-cream from the special combo menu. The noodles tasted great which is comparable to the famous Kenzo, and the portion was huge unlike many other noodles places. The only thing is that the BBQ pork was a bit tough. The ice-cream was a little bit too small too. Come on! Are you afraid of running out? It comes to $20 only for two tax and tips included. Here is a 10% off coupon for Pixel 8 from ccue.

Note: "Not valid on discounted items" which includes the special combo.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Carnival Liberty - Shore Excursions

Carnival Liberty has a wide variety of shore excursions from fun adventures to romantic beach escape. In this trip, we had 3 ports of call: Key West, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. (Be sure to check out my Carnival Liberty accommodation, and cruise deal posts.) Sightseeing at Key West. I am told that there are over 100 points of historically interest in Key West. There are lots of cool museums and restaurants. It's still barely Florida. The weather was awesome, hot and humid. However, it can turn cats and dogs all in a sudden. (LP, don't worry. LG is here!) Wendy's was good enough to fix us a freshly brewed coffee. Stingray sandbar tour at Grand Cayman. A short ride took us to the Northern South to board a boat that we sail to the world's famous Stingray sandbar. A sandbar is a shadow region in the middle of the sea with fine sand. We enjoyed petting and swimming with the stingrays for an hour or two. Climbing the Dunn's falls and Dolphin Cove beach at Jamaica. The Falls is nothing compared to Niagara Falls, but this is how you can climb the falls. After visiting the Dunn's falls, it is a very good idea to relax at the Dolphin Cove beach. (LP, what about a romantic couples massage at the beach?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

How to get free hotel stays from - Best rate guarantee program

I like to book my cruise from as it has a real best rate guarantee program. If you find a lower rate, they will refund the difference AND give you a free 4-night hotel stay. Here is what you do:

  1. Go to to purchase a last minute cruise deal.
  2. Within 48 hours, go to travelocity to look for the same thing. Visit Travelocity for Cruise Deals
  3. Call at 1-888-407-2784 to price match. You'll be asked for your name, details of the cruise booked on the site (ship, sailing dates, and cabin category), price quoted, and the URL address for the Web site with the lower price.
  4. Receive the lowest possible rate AND free 4-night hotel stay in Florida.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Carnival Liberty - Dining

In my last post, I have shared our onboard experience with Carnival Liberty and the cruisedirect best rate guarantee (or free hotel stays) offer. What about the dining experience which is one major activity of cruising? As the cruise director said, "You paid for it. you eat it!" Both the fine dining in the Silver Olympics Restaurant and casual dining at the Seaview Bistro were definitely world-class! There were too many good dishes. Here is our favorite:

  • Rack of lamb. Tender and tasty.
  • Lobster tail butter melt. How many freshly broiled lobster tails can you eat?
  • Prime rib steak. This half-inch-think fatty prime rib steak definitely blow away Le biftheque steak house.
  • Grilled jumbo tiger shrimps with Berre Blanc. The shrimps are both fresh and huge. The signature sauce was what really impressed us.
  • Hot chocolate melting cake. Chocolate lovers may want to go to Carnival cruise again just for this. (LoPo, am I right ;P)
  • Vanilla soufflé. Chocolate soufflé is what I usually have. I didn't know that Vanilla soufflé is that good!
Other dishes are great too, just no surprise.
  • Sushi appetizer. It looks beautiful, but the rice is exactly the same as the frozen sushi at your cafeteria.
  • Fillet mignon. It is not quite medium rare as I ordered. The professional waiter fixed me a piece real quick. It is great steak but no surprise.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Carnvial Liberty - Western Caribbean cruise

My wife and I just come back from a Western Caribbean cruise by Carnival Liberty. Carnival is recognized around the world for quality with great value. Built in 2005, Carnival Liberty has recently become the #2 ship in the entire cruise line. Carnival makes it easy to find a stateroom that fits your needs - interior or ocean view, balcony, suite and penthouse suite. The suite stateroom includes a large dressing table, refrigerator, DVD player, spacious balcony, whirlpool bath and walk-in closet. It is much better than many hotel rooms. Ok, what is missing is a 40" LCD TV. By booking a suite (category 11 & 12), we were automatically enrolled as VIP guests. It is well-known that the cruise check-in can easily be a 100+ ppl line up, but VIP guests can proceed to Carnival's VIP check-in. Carnival Liberty is a 400 million dollar home. It is really an exaggerated display of luxury. The spa and gym were absolutely amazing. The facilities are better than all I've seen in Toronto. How often do you see steam and sauna rooms with ocean views? (LoPo, what about a romantic whirlpool under the blue sky?) Both the fine dining in the formal dining hall and casual dining at the seaview bistro were definitely world-class! The nightly stage shows were spectacular - great dancers, great costumes, great bands, and great singers! The cruise director even claimed that the shows are comparable to Vegas. CruiseDirect has Best Price Guarantee. If you find a lower price, they will refund the difference and give you a free 4-night hotel stay.