THE WINNERS' CIRCLE Jan. 14, 2020

Coast gets charitable

VANCOUVER —ALS Society of BC, VHEC and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. recently received cheques from Coast Hotels to support their programs and operations.

In July, Coast Hotels hosted the 17th annual Coast Hotels Shuhachi Naito Golf Classic. This tournament raised valuable funds for three charities this year: the ALS Society of BC, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. With the books now closed on the event, Coast Hotels presented donations to these three important groups.

“The values of these organizations align closely with those of Coast Hotels”, noted Takamasa Machiura, executive vice president. “’Living with Honour’ is something that we strive for, and the opportunity to support the valuable work of each of these organizations is a privilege.”

Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. indicated that the funds provided by Coast Hotels will support their Multicultural Early Childhood Development (MECD) program, where many families and their children will be able to access the much-needed services as part of their integration journey in Canada. Ms. Choo was joined at the cheque presentation by Brandon Hui, Chairman of the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.

Nina Krieger, Executive Director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre noted that the donation will help fund their ongoing commitment to educating school-aged children on the Holocaust, anti-racism and social justice.

Coast Hotels has a very personal connection to the ALS Society of British Columbia, as Shuhachi Naito, a former executive and long-time Coast ambassador, lost his battle to ALS in 2014. “It was through Shu that we came to know of the work that the ALS Society of British Columbia is doing to support medical advances, and to assist ALS patients and families with programs and services”, stated Mark Hope, Vice President Development & Revenue Strategy. “We know the difference that Wendy Toyer (Executive Director) and the whole ALS team are making.”

The 17th annual Coast Hotels Shuhachi Naito Golf Classic raised more than $75,000 and now has surpassed the $1,000,000.00 in funds donated to charities. Next year’s tournament will be held on July 9, 2020.


Gingerbread displays at Canadian Fairmont hotels

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Historic Hotels of America had the best historic hotels to celebrate the holiday season and saw the most spectacular (and delicious) gingerbread creations. From life size gingerbread houses to complete gingerbread creations with animation and sound effects, these historic hotels were the place to feel the holiday spirit. Four Canadian Fairmont Hotels ranked among the Top 25 Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays.

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (1915) Edmonton: This year, the hotel unveiled the largest standing gingerbread castle in Alberta (shown above). Soaring approximately 20 feet high and 18 feet wide, the colossal structure was brought to life by the hotel’s engineering and culinary teams with over 600 hours of time invested into the piece. The gingerbread castle pays homage to the hotel’s onsite honeybees where fresh honey harvested from the hotel’s hives were used as a key ingredient in the creation of the castle.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (1922) Jasper, Alta.: This gingerbread creation was Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s take on a life size classic gingerbread house. Weighing in at over 2,495 pounds fully decorated, it was a holiday masterpiece taking over 390 hours to construct, 100 hours of baking over 1,800 gingerbread “bricks” and 220 hours to decorate. There was a long list of ingredients and candy used to decorate this gingerbread creation, including 440 pounds of flour and 45 pounds of sugar. 

The Fairmont Royal York (1929) Toronto: This was the first year for a life size gingerbread display at Fairmont Royal York created by executive chef JW Foster and his engineering and culinary elves. Inspired by a New York Brownstone, the gingerbread creation stood more than 24 feet high and six feet deep. It held 4,500 bricks and 500 delicious pounds of royal icing.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (1958) Montréal: The Fairmont’s gingerbread house did not reproduce a famous building but rather a classic-style gingerbread cottage with icing decorations, chocolate characters and pulled sugar ornaments. A train circled the house for a traditional Christmas décor. It took one pastry cook to prepare the different shapes of gingerbread cookies and one person for assembly for a total of 55 hours of work. The base and frame of the house from 2018 was reused. The final decoration and garnishes were done by the executive pastry chef for another 10 hours of work.

Pan Pacific Whistler named Canada's best ski resort

WHISTLER, B.C. — For the seventh year in a row, Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside has been recognized as the best ski hotel in Canada by consumers and leading industry professionals. Held on November 23, in Kitzbühel, Austria, the World Ski Awards – regarded as “the Oscars of the travel industry” – honoured the all-suite, lodge-style hotel for its impeccable and personalized service, outstanding amenities, and unrivalled location steps from gondolas to both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

The World Ski Awards were created to elevate standards within the ski industry, recognizing, rewarding, and celebrating excellence in ski tourism across the globe. Awards span across the world's top 25 ski tourism nations, with categories that include 'Best Ski Resort', 'Best Ski Hotel', 'Best Ski Boutique Hotel', and 'Best Ski Chalet'. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourism professionals, skiers, and media cast their votes for their favourite ski tourism destinations and brands; and this year, winners were celebrated at the three-day awards gala that took place between November 22nd and 24th.

Pan Pacific Whistler overcame a strong mix of contenders from across the country, defeating properties such as The Fairmont Banff Springs, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, The Rimrock Resort Hotel, and Post Hotel & Spa. Neighbouring properties, including Four Seasons Resort & Residences Whistler, and The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, were also nominated for the national award.

Reetu Gupta among Top 100 Most Powerful Women

MARKHAM, Ont. — Reetu Gupta, president & CEO of The Gupta Group and the Easton’s Group of Hotels has been named by the Women's Executive Network (WXN)  as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, presented by KPMG.

“I am honoured and proud to be named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women and to stand beside this group of dynamic women. Together, we can advocate change, push boundaries and create opportunities worldwide,” said Gupta.

The list of Top 100 Winners, along with 10 Hall of Fame award winners, pay tribute to the outstanding women across Canada who advocate for diversity in the workforce and inspire the next generation of leaders.

Santas ski free at Blue Mountain

BLUE MOUNTAINS, Ont. — A sea of Santas sleighed the slopes this at Blue Mountain Resort on December 16 for the resort's first ever Santa Ski event. Skiers and riders were invited to kick-off their Christmas holidays by dressing up as the big guy to receive a free eight-hour lift ticket with pre-registration.

“Our hope was that the trails at Blue would be full of red Santa suits,” says Ashley Amis, manager of recreation marketing. “The holidays are a busy time for everyone around the Resort. We wanted to kick-off the start to the season with a new fun event for local and visiting guests.”

Over 700 Santas registered for the event which included free snacks and live music provided by the Marsh Street Rocks children's band. 

This is an inaugural event for Blue but the resort is planning to make Santa Ski an annual holiday tradition. 

Wyndham Rewards a winner with WalletHub

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The personal finance website WalletHub recently named Wyndham Rewards the best hotel rewards program for the fifth year in a row.

In WalletHub’s newly released 2020’s Best Hotel Rewards Program report, Wyndham Rewards came out in the top spot again because it is the best rewards program for travelers of all spending levels. 

According to WalletHub, the best hotel rewards programs provide a wide range of free perks and amenities for their members, including free Wi-Fi, late check out and credits. The finance site examined 21 key metrics, such as the average value of a point and point expiration policies, in order to determine the winners.