Five-star luxury hotel will transform Toronto’s skyline

An $800 million-dollar skyscraper is set to debut at Adelaide and Duncan streets in Toronto.

Dreamed up by real estate developer Peter Freed of Freed Developments, the first-ever Freed Hotel and Residences tower will bring both Katsuya by Sam Nazarian’s Disruptive Group by sbe and artwork by renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to Toronto

Designed by Chicago-based tall building experts Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, renowned for the next world’s tallest and most luxurious skyscraper Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, as well as  Central Park Tower in New York, the project will feature 100 five-star luxury hotel rooms and 400 luxury condominiums with a world class Skybar/restaurant on the 63rd floor, boutique spa, and a 10,000 sq ft Katsuya Restaurant on the 2nd floor.

 

Key features & design elements

Key features of the Freed Hotel and Residences project include:

  • Freed Hotel Debut: Freed Hotel and Residences marks the introduction of the first-ever Freed hotel in Canada, offering an unparalleled blend of luxury, style, and sophistication through hotel-style living.
  • Multi-Functional Tower: The project will feature 100 luxury hotel rooms and 400 luxury condominiums with a world class Skybar/restaurant on the 63rd floor.
  • Katsuya, Contemporary Japanese Restaurant: The hotel will house the exquisite Katsuya Japanese restaurant by Sam Nazarian’s Disruptive Group by sbe on the second floor.
  • Takashi Murakami Art IntegrationTakashi Murakami will bring forward his famous artwork, “Together with the flower parent and child,” that will be featured prominently inside the lobby of the first-ever Freed Hotel and Residences.
  • Amenities include: 62nd floor Sky Lobby with grand staircase leading to 63rd floor restaurant and bar featuring 70 ft tall space below a sloping skylight, boutique spa, terrace and outdoor garden, private spaces for entertaining and dining, fitness and yoga studio, private theater room, valet parking and full-service concierge, and more.

The Freed Hotel and Residences is scheduled to begin sales in March 2024 and will be located at 240 Adelaide Street West. 

Potential buyers can expect a diverse range of units ranging from 270 sq.ft. to over 9,800 sq.ft. For further information on Freed Developments, click here

Hyatt Hotels is adding 35 luxury hotels for 2025

Hyatt Hotels has plans to open 35 luxury hotels and resorts globally through 2025 across the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Miraval, Alila, Andaz, Thompson Hotels, and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brands, as well as Inclusive Collection brands Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and Dreams Resorts & Spas.

Hyatt has doubled the number of luxury rooms, tripled the number of resort rooms, and quadrupled the number of lifestyle rooms in only five years.

With 70 per cent of its rooms categorized as luxury and upper upscale, the Hyatt portfolio has grown to meet increased demands for luxury and resort accommodations while upholding consistent, top-tier quality, personalized experiences, and bespoke service.

Keeping up with tourist demand

Travel and tourism are expected to increase by approximately 12 per cent of global GDP by 2033 according to a recent World Travel & Tourism Council report.

In turn, Hyatt’s luxury portfolio is expanding to meet that demand in new international markets.

This includes the debut of Park Hyatt hotels in the U.K., Mexico, and Malaysia; the Thompson Hotel brand’s expansion in Europe with the first properties in Austria and Italy; the Andaz brand’s growth in the Americas with its first hotel in the Caribbean; The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand’s first properties in the Nordics and India; as well as Hyatt luxury growth in the trending destination of Portugal, with the planned openings of Andaz Lisbon and Dreams Madeira Resort, Spa & Marina.

Hyatt hotels coming 2025

The following luxury Hyatt properties will open through 2025:

Timeless Collection 

Timeless Collection hotels deliver the comforts of a home away from home with a consistently elevated experience, with exciting openings including:

  • Park Hyatt
    • Park Hyatt Marrakech (early 2024)
    • Park Hyatt London River Thames (mid 2024)
    • Park Hyatt Los Cabos at Cabo del Sol (2024)
    • Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (mid 2024)
    • Park Hyatt Changsha (2024)
    • Park Hyatt Johannesburg (2025)
    • Park Hyatt Cancun (2025)
    • Park Hyatt Phu Quoc (2025)
    • Park Hyatt Taipei (2025)
    • Grand Hyatt
    • Grand Hyatt Kunming (2024)
    • Grand Hyatt Mexico City Santa Fe (2025)
    • Grand Hyatt Cancun Beach Resort (2025)
    • Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel & Residences (2025)
    • Grand Hyatt The Red Sea (2025)

Boundless Collection

Boundless Collection hotels that will make their debut and deliver best-in-class offerings and compelling experiences designed to excite and inspire, include:

  • Miraval
    • Miraval, The Red Sea (2025)
  • Alila
    • Alila Shanghai (late 2024)
    • Alila Dalit Bay (2025)
    • Alila Dongao Island (2025)
  • Andaz
    • Andaz Doha (mid 2024)
    • Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht (renovation unveiling mid 2024)
    • Andaz Miami Beach (late 2024)
    • Andaz Turks & Caicos at Grace Bay (2025)
    • Andaz Lisbon (2025)
    • Andaz Bangkok (2025)
  • Thompson Hotels
    • Thompson Houston (2024)
    • Thompson Palm Springs (2024)
    • Thompson South Beach (2024)
    • Thompson Vienna (early 2025)
    • Thompson Rome (early 2025)
    • Thompson Monterrey (2025)
    • Thompson Shanghai (2025)

Independent Collection

Independent Collection hotels are all unique – from storied properties and vibrant neighborhood locales to immersive retreats. New openings include:

  • The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
    • Hotel Toranomon Hills (2023)
    • Grand Hansa Hotel (2024)
    • Noor-Us-Sabah Palace (2025)

Inclusive Collection

Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt, resorts deliver immersive, elevated experiences where everything is seamlessly included, with expected new resorts including:

  • Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts
    • Zoëtry Halkidiki (mid 2024)
  • Dreams Resorts & Spas
    • Dreams Estrella Del Mar Mazatlan (mid 2024)
    • Dreams Madeira Resort, Spa & Marina (mid 2024)

For information on Hyatt’s existing brand portfolio, please visit www.hyatt.com.

This Canadian airline is now flying to 31 new European cities

WestJet guests will gain access to 31 additional cities across 11 European countries from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) through an expansion of WestJet’s codeshare agreement with Air France.

As a result of a successful 10-year partnership, the two airlines have connected millions of travellers between Canada and Europe with the convenience of one-ticket and the ability to earn WestJet Dollars throughout their entire journey.

Previously, WestJet and Air France’s code share agreement included 22 destinations through Charles De Gaulle Airport, all of which will be maintained as the number of onward destinations in Europe now grows to 53 which will be accessible as part of the WestJet network.

Due to exceptional demand for its seasonal service to the city of love, WestJet has extended service between Calgaryand Paris to now operate year-round. The once seasonal route will continue to fly on WestJet’s 787 Dreamliner up to seven days per week during peak travel periods and function as the ideal connection hub for our guests to seamlessly connect onto Air France to these additional destinations.

Stunning hotel opens inside a palace on island of Madeira

The Reserve is an exclusive luxury hotel concept set within the renowned Savoy Palace in Madeira, Portugal.

At The Reserve, every detail is carefully curated to create a truly exceptional stay. From the moment their booking is confirmed at this premier hideaway, they are connected with their own GEPA (The Reserve’s acronym for Guest Experience Personal Assistant), via email and WhatsApp, which tailors and prepares the stay to the guests’ specific requests and requirements prior to arrival.

To ensure a seamless visit, guests staying at The Reserve and Savoy Palace can enjoy the signature private car service (for an extra fee) upon their arrival and departure at Madeira International Airport, allowing for a smooth and hassle-free transition and being the perfect addition to the meet and greet service at the airport, which is complimentary to all guests at The Reserve on both arrival and departure.

Once guests arrive at the hotel, a dedicated private elevator will take them from the street-level lobby to the 16th floor of the Savoy Palace building where guests will find the Jacarandá Lounge & Club – the heart of The Reserve. Here guests will find a stunning rooftop pool, offering a panoramic view of Funchal, exclusive to The Reserve guests, which further enhances the already VIP experience. 

Contemporary suites

The Reserve presents an array of 40 elegantly appointed rooms designed to cater to various preferences. The spacious pool suites offer a private sanctuary, with a personal terrace and very own plunge pool; while the deluxe rooms provide a cozy retreat with serene sea views of the breathtaking Funchal Bay.

Every suite is thoughtfully furnished with lavish bedding and contemporary amenities, assuring the highest degree of comfort and relaxation within an ambiance of unmatched privacy and luxury.

The decor in the rooms consists of four different color palettes inspired by the colors and flora of the beautiful island of Madeira. 

Central to the concept of The Reserve is the dedicated GEPA available around the clock. As the single point of contact for all guest needs, the GEPA liaises with all hotel departments and external parties and manages, monitors, adjusts and adapts the different aspects of the guest’s stay and activities in the island to ensure a flawless and personalized visit tailored to each guest’s desires. 

With its soft opening scheduled for Dec. 1 and grand opening for Jan. 15, 2024, The Reserve is poised to become the ultimate destination for discerning travelers seeking an extraordinary experience in Madeira Island, Portugal. 

Nine new Nile river cruises available for 2025

Voyages on Viking Cruises’ newest Nile River ship, the Viking Sobek, are now available for booking. Set to debut in 2025, the Viking Sobek will join the company’s growing fleet as its sixth ship sailing the popular 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.

With Viking’s 2024 Egypt season nearly sold out and 2025 selling well, strong demand has led to an early opening of the Viking Sobek’s inaugural season and 2026 departure dates across the entire Nile River fleet.

Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, the new, state-of-the-art Viking Sobek is inspired by Viking’s river and ocean ships with the elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known. The Viking Sobek is the identical sister ship to the Viking Osiris, which debuted in 2022, the Viking Aton, which debuted in 2023, and the Viking Hathor, which will debut in 2024.

Other ships in Viking’s Egypt fleet include the Viking Ra and the MS Antares; with the addition of the Viking Sobek, Viking will have six ships sailing the Nile River by 2025.

Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids Itinerary

During the 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids  itinerary, guests begin with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where they can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Saqqara (also known as “Sakkara”) and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.

Guests then fly to Luxor, where they visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River, featuring privileged access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the High Dam in Aswan, and a visit to a colourful Nubian village, where guests can experience a traditional elementary school.

Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the ancient city.

For guests looking to extend their journey, Viking also offers pre and post extensions that provide privileged access to archives and exhibits.

Additional offerings include a new three-night Pre-Extension in Istanbul, where guests can visit the timeless city and important religious sites including the “Blue Mosque” and the legendary Hagia Sophia.

Before their voyage, guests can also choose to extend their journey in Jerusalem, exploring the ancient history and vibrant culture of Israel’s fascinating capital. After concluding the river voyage, guests can also extend the journey with a 4-night Post-Extension to Jordan – Petra, Dead Sea & Amman to view Roman antiquities at Jerash, Crusader-era castles at Kerak or Shobak and experience the lost city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Adults only hotel with 18 bars opens in Costa Mujeres

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has added the TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres to the Registry Collection Hotels brand portfolio.

The hotel, which is operated by Palladium Hotel Group, is located in Quintana Roo, north of the Yucatan peninsula, one of the most recognized areas of the Mexican Caribbean known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, along with its proximity to natural reserves and cultural attractions.

About TRS Coral Hotel

TRS Coral Hotel, a Registry Collection Hotel, is an all-inclusive, adults-only destination with each building equipped with an energy saving system built with sustainability in mind.

The hotel features 469 luxury suites with a furnished balcony or terrace, and offers guests direct access to the beach, an exclusive pool, gym and a private beach club. Guests can also enjoy the Zentropia Palladium Wellness & Spa, a space dedicated to relaxation and wellness. The spa is equipped with service booths, a magnificent thermal area, and therapists specializing in all types of beauty treatments. 

TRS Coral Hotel also offers spectacular cuisine across its 18 bars, five exclusive à la carte restaurants with five-star service, two international buffet restaurants, an Italian Mediterranean restaurant, a steakhouse, and three Asian restaurants, as well as a 24-hour sports bar and the “Chic Cabaret & Restaurant”, a space where gastronomy and entertainment share the stage. 

For sports-lovers, the hotel boasts the first “Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre” in the world, with a museum which holds official replicas of 4 Grand Slam trophies, Masters 1000 Trophies and the Davis Cup that was won in 2008.

The sports complex, listed by fans as “The New Paradise of Tennis”, has 8 tennis courts (4 outdoor and 4 indoor), a football field, a paddle court, a shop with sports products and a bar-cafeteria.

New international train ticketing platform launches in Canada

International rail ticketing platform, Rail Online, has launched in the U.S. and Canada.

Rail Online is a new rail booking platform, offering fairer fares for American and Canadian passengers, with carrier fare price matching, instant refunds on e-tickets and, most importantly, no foreign currency transaction fees, with customers able to book in local US or Canadian dollars.

About Rail Online

Founded in 2019 by Australian tourism and transport expert, James Dunne, Rail Online allows North American travellers to book UK, European, and North American rail travel via one single platform.

Customers can currently book tickets with Amtrak (US), VIA Rail (Canada), National Rail (UK), and SCNF (France, including Eurostar), with further networks to follow, including Trenitalia (Italy), which will be introduced to the platform in the coming weeks.

Eurail passes, for travel itineraries across Europe, are also currently available to book via the Rail Online website.Rail Online is committed to maximising convenience for customers whilst also eliminating the paper waste associated with rail travel, delivering e-tickets for both domestic and international travel direct to the customer within minutes of booking.

Air Transit offering year-round service to Marseilles

Air Transat is expanding its operations in the French market, most notably on two exclusive direct routes departing from Montreal.

Following the annualization of its service to Lyon announced earlier this winter, the airline is also adding Marseille and the region of Provence to its roster of year-round destinations.

In addition, the non-stop service to Nantes will also be extended. Flights that initially ended in the fall will now be operated until 24 January, 2024, in order to offer travellers more flexibility when travelling to western France.

Air Transat is the only airline to offer direct flights from Canada to the airports of Marseille and Nantes. A total of seven French cities will be served non-stop this year, including three on a year-round schedule, namely Paris, Lyon, and now Marseille.

The route will mainly be operated with new generation Airbus A321LR aircraft featuring spacious cabins, state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment systems and the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 and NOx) in their class.

Luxury cruise line Cunard announces 2025 winter program

Luxury cruise line Cunard’s winter 2025 program includes more than 133 voyages, with stops at 159 unique destinations around the globe.

Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, flagship liner Queen Mary 2 and the brand’s newest vessel Queen Anne will call at 57 countries, with six maiden calls for the fleet in Alaska, Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Japan. Cunard’s highly anticipated Queen Anne will be the only ship to offer a full World Voyage in 2025.

Cunard also revealed details of the Queen Elizabeth’s 2024 summer program in Alaska where she will sail 10 roundtrip voyages out of Vancouver, ranging from nine to 11 nights. The ship will visit the immense Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park along with calls at Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, and more. She will also make two maiden calls at Misty Fjords and Wrangell.

Scheduled sailings

Queen Mary 2 will divide her time between sailing in the Caribbean and Transatlantic Crossings from January through May 2025, with additional voyages in the Mediterranean. Itineraries range from seven to 35 nights and depart from New York, Southampton, and Rome. The liner will offer four overnight calls at Curacao; Funchal, Madeira; Lisbon; and New York, with three late evening departures in Bridgetown, Barbados; Vigo and Malaga, Spain.

Queen Anne will set sail on her first-ever World Voyage on January 9, 2025, visiting five continents and stop at more than 30 ports on this 107-night voyage, roundtrip out of Southampton, England. She will offer nine overnight calls in enriching destinations such as Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai, as well as three late evening departures, giving guests time to explore each city to the fullest.

Queen Victoria will offer eight voyages in South America in early 2025 which can be combined for the 85-night South America Discovery from Hamburg which includes sailing around Cape Horn, the southernmost point of Chile’s Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Queen Victoria will offer five overnight calls in Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Callao and five late evening departures.

Queen Elizabeth will spend June through September 2024 amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of Alaska with roundtrip voyages out of Vancouver. After a stop in San Francisco, she will offer itineraries in Australia and New Zealandthroughout the fall with voyages ranging from two to 38 nights. In February 2025, Queen Elizabeth will sail to Singaporeand stay in East Asia through May, with calls at Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. Seven overnight port calls are available on Queen Elizabeth including, Hobart, Hong Kong, and Osaka with a whopping 25 late evening departures.

Four Queens Back-to-Back 

For adventurous guests who want to remain seeking the utmost in pampering, there are two opportunities to sample all four queens in one journey. The experience starts on Queen Victoria in June 2024 on Queen Victoria where guests will sail the Mediterranean calling at ports in Croatia, Malta, and Italy.

After spending a few days in Rome, guests will join Queen Anne to visit Spain and the sun-kissed islands of Sardinia and Majorca before disembarking in Southampton. There, guests will join Queen Mary 2 on a westbound Transatlantic Crossing and fly from New York to Vancouver. Queen Elizabeth will host the final leg of the journey into Alaska. A similar experience can be taken in reverse beginning in Alaska, with an eastbound Crossing, sailing the Norwegian Fjords and then ending in the Mediterranean.

Here’s a look at some of National Geographic’s best 2024 trips

National Geographic Expeditions, which offers travellers unparalleled access to global destinations through the lens of knowledgeable National Geographic Experts, launches the first phase of its 2024 travel portfolio, including the complete river cruise lineup.

In collaboration with AmaWaterways, three National Geographic Expeditions-chartered departures will offer an in-depth exploration through Europe’s historic waterways, all with the ease and leisure of luxury river cruising.

Additionally, the guided travel company announced early 2024 dates for its Signature Land category, as well as the lineup for 2024 Private Expeditions.

European River Cruising 

National Geographic Expeditions invites travelers to become immersed in the beauty, charm and rich history of Europe with a cruise showcasing the highlights and hidden gems along the Danube River, Rhine River and scenic waterways of Hollandand Belgium.

With knowledge at the heart of the experience, both a National Geographic Expert and a National Geographic Photography Expert accompany travellers on each departure. These experts are renowned storytellers with a close connection to National Geographic whose specialties include writing, photography, history, geography and more — and their unique insights help form a travel experience that enlightens and inspires like no other.

The 2024 lineup features three sailings:

  • Holland and Belgium in Springtime by River Cruise (April 15): This art, floral and architecture-focused departure sends travelers on a journey through the iconic waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, with stops at the famous windmills of Kinderdijk, a Floralia flower show at a historic Belgian castle and the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh.
  • Rhine River Cruise: Basel to Amsterdam (Sept. 12): Offering bike rides, walking excursions and even tasting tours, this itinerary explores the romance and timelessness of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy a taste of Germany’s Rheingau wine region, and photographers will learn from the National Geographic Photography Expert during a special on-deck photo workshop to capture images of the scenic Rhine Gorge.
  • Danube Christmas Markets River Cruise (Dec. 7): This sailing invites cruise passengers to explore charming Christmas markets from Budapest to Nuremberg. Travellers will also discover lesser-known holiday marketplaces within Vienna and Salzburg and visit Vienna’s Museum of Natural History. There, visitors will meet with National Geographic Explorer Ludovic Ferriere for a behind-the-scenes look at the meteorite exhibit he curated.

Throughout each sailing, travellers will also enjoy regionally inspired meals, complimentary wines with every lunch and dinner, wellness facilities, Wi-Fi and spacious suites that are part of every National Geographic Expeditions river cruise experience.

All available departures are listed on the River Cruises page of NatGeoExpeditions.com.

Early 2024 Signature Land Departures 

Offering endless opportunities to explore the world, National Geographic Expeditions Signature Land trips provide premium, fully planned itineraries that give travellers special access to extraordinary places around the globe, paired with unique opportunities to experience a destination through the eyes of the storytellers from National Geographic.

The early 2024 Signature Land portfolio will span North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and will feature a blend of tried-and-true traveler favorites and recently debuted itineraries with strong National Geographic connections, including:

  • Inside Japan
  • Costa Rica: Wildlife and Conservation
  • Borneo Wildlife Adventure
  • Palau: Snorkeling and Kayaking the Pristine Seas

The latest Signature Land departure dates are available on the Signature Land page of NatGeoExpeditions.com.

Private Expeditions 

Private Expeditions are unique itineraries designed for 1 to 10 travellers in their own private party. These trips are hosted by a private guide, offer more flexibility in travel dates and feature premium accommodations.

In 2024, 27 Private Expeditions are offered, including:

  • Belize and Tikal Private Expedition
  • Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde National Parks Private Expedition
  • Australia Private Expedition
  • Greek Isles Private Expedition
  • Sicily Private Expedition

All 2024 Private Expeditions are listed on the Private Expeditions page of NatGeoExpeditions.com.

Experiencing meaningful travel 

A portion of the proceeds from every National Geographic Expedition supports a global community of National Geographic Explorers.

Each year, the National Geographic Society awards more than 575 grants to scientists, educators, storytellers, conservationists, technologists and many other changemakers who help define some of the critical challenges of our time, drive new knowledge, advance new solutions and inspire positive, transformative change.

Bookings open to the public on Jan. 12, 2023. The new 2024 travel dates are available on NatGeoExpeditions.com.