Holiday Inn

Since 2009 I have stayed 42 weeks at a Westin in Toronto. I was really hoping to get a full year there before it was removed from the list of officially approved hotels.

Your first instinct might be to say, “What the hell do you do Peters?”. The other may be, “That’s a lot of points.” The truth is, it doesn’t matter what I do, only that you know I didn’t get any points for staying there. It was for pure joy.

My motivation was that it was close to the office, and the people there are really nice, a higher degree than your traditional “Canadian nice”.  The staff of this location knew who I was, recognized me, talked to the lonely traveler, didn’t ask what type of drink I like, just served it…. It was a good place for me to stay.

So my new location is not as nice. Its an older Holiday Inn. And I am not being a snob here, there are many good and enjoyable Holiday Inn’s. This one is a bit long in the tooth. The elevators smell like that strange family vacation mixture of pool chlorine and pee. My 4th floor window is at the same level as, and looks over, the vast sixteen lanes of Highway 401, the busiest highway in the world.

Here is the kicker, and the redeemer of this new location. Next to the pool, under the enclosed atrium constructed after the two hotel towers were in place, is the restaurant. The food is moderate. It is easier to grab a bite here than to find a place to park in this part of town and has better choices than fast food. This restaurant has an amazing attraction, a sushi bar. This is no ordinary sushi bar however. The man and woman who carefully select and slice your California Roll, will step over to the white grand piano between food preparation and entertain the guests. Similar to the story of Arnel Pineda (the Filipino lead singer of Journey) this couple are very talented. With covers from Billy Joel, Sinatra, Herb Albert and a mix of classic standards, you would think you were at a live performance.

I don’t often recommend a place to eat or stay with lumpy beds and average food, but this time I will make an exception, just for the musical styling’s of the people making your sushi.