The final Toronto installment and in some ways going back to the beginning and getting there in the first place. Up until quite recently direct flights to Toronto from Dublin were hard to come by, running only seasonally and not very often. Fast forward to now and there’s a plethora of choice, Aer Lingus, Air Canada and Air Transat all offering direct flights, as well as WestJet with a service via Newfoundland and many others via London / US.
For this trip we decided to fly Air Canada Rouge as on the balance of things they were offering the best option in terms of flight times while also having a ‘premium’ option. Air Canada Rouge Premium gives you some nice benefits – extra luggage allowance, dedicated check in, fast track security, priority boarding. On board you are seated at the front of the plane; seats are in a 2-2-2 formation. Seats are slightly wider, with more legroom than normal but they only recline a little, definitely not fold flat or anything like it so don’t have any expectations there! The crew on both flights were wonderful, generally young, enthusiastic and friendly, nothing was too much trouble and overall we felt really well looked after. Food is good – there’s a choice on mains. It’s still airplane food though!
Air Canada Rouge don’t have seat back TVs… they have an app that you can install on your own ipad or tablet. Alternatively they have ipads available on board – free of charge if you’re seated in premium (€10 in economy). Great movie & tv selections available and we found it worked perfectly and didn’t miss the seat back screens.
The Hilton Toronto Hotel is an ideal base from which to explore Toronto. Located in the Downtown area its well positioned for shopping, eating, drinking and sightseeing. There’s a great outdoor pool and terrace area so you can soak up some sunshine too after a day exploring Toronto. The lobby and reception area is large, modern and sleek and there’s a nice lobby bar to enjoy a pre or post dinner drinks. With a full Starbucks just off the lobby making it very handy to grab coffee when you head out in the morning.
Our room (911) while not being too high (there’s 32 floors), still had great city views including of the CN Tower, and looked down to the pool and terrace (handy when you want to see if there’s sun or shade, and how busy it is). Valet parking at $40 per night is ok too, considering the downtown location. No doubt next time we are visiting Toronto, The Hilton is where we will be staying, it fits so much of the brief of what we look for in a city hotel and is quite affordable for the excellent quality.
Being downtown is great for exploring, all modes of transport are at your disposal – subway or streetcar are both good ways to get around and you can get most places from here. If you have a car, Toronto is relatively good for driving around, there’s definitely traffic downtown at peak times and the highways can get clogged at times but in general its manageable even when you’re not used to driving on the other side!
Couple of other things to mention here, a great little pizzeria near the Hilton called Pizzeria Libretto which we visited on our last evening, we were checked out of our room and stored our luggage for a couple of hours before our car to the airport. Delicious authentic pizzas, nice wine and just a good spot.
If you are visiting at the right time, try to catch a baseball game. Toronto is home to the Bluejays MLB team and the Rogers Centre Stadium is about a 20 minute walk from the Hilton. Its a really great afternoon or evening out. You don’t need to follow baseball or know too much to enjoy the game, with a beer and a slice of pizza!
We are Toronto bound again in August and I can’t wait! Flying Air Canada Rouge as it was so good last time and we will be staying in the Hilton again also for a few nights when we are there. Oh and also going to a ball game – Go Bluejays!
So that’s my Toronto… I hadn’t intended there to be 4 blogs on it and yet there’s still aspects of the city and our visit that I haven’t blogged. It’s easily one of my favourite cities and summer is the time to visit!
There is a final post in this holiday series to come about the wineries and vineyards of the Niagara on the Lake and Bench regions… look out for it next week!
Hilton Toronto | 145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2L2 | 416-869-3456 | Hilton Toronto Website