02/26/2013 03:35 EST | Updated 04/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Westin Harbour Castle; A Home Away from Home


To find a good hotel that suits your family's needs is like looking for a second home. For our family the winner hands down has been the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Once a month my husband travels to Toronto for his work, every few months we as a family try to accompany him, so that we can have a short vacation. We started staying at the Westin in 2010, and since then every time we visit we learn something new about our wonderful home away from home.

No matter which hotel we visit, the first thing my three kids do is check out the pool. My kids were amazed by the pool at the Westin, because it wasn't just a pool, it was a lounge area for families to enjoy. There were multiple tables and chairs, and a play area for little kids. If we wanted to bask in the sun, there was an attached outdoor basketball court and tennis court. Being a hotel that serves a lot of corporate clients, the Westin Harbour really allowed its guests to be able to bring their families, and comfortably tend to their business needs.

During March break we were pleasantly surprised to find activities set up for kids free of charge. There were movie nights and snacks that were available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm in the Kids Activity Centre. And the best part was the encounter with reptiles every Saturday and Sunday from 10-11am in the main lobby. My three kids were over the moon, and my husband and I were thrilled to have such activities available to us without leaving the hotel or paying for the cost of the activity.

During this March break - there will be a scavenger hunt - kids get stickers at every activity they attend and are entered in a draw to win another weekend for 4.

But the fun doesn't stop there, one of our trips happened to be around the Easter weekend. We discovered that there was an egg hunt at the hotel in the lobby for all the visiting kids! My kids were exhilarated, and I was very happy because the kids got to run around and discover different parts of the hotel.

You know you've entered a family friendly hotel when there are arts and crafts so you don't have to bring your own supplies. The kid's activity center was open at all hours with a wii console and a karaoke machine. And I hear they are converting one of their guest rooms into an arcade game room (a little birdie told me).

For families that love the outdoors the Westin has a special offer with the Harbourfront Centre - 2 for 1 skate rental for any guests who show their room key at The Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre. How awesome is that?

So the only reason you might need to leave the hotel during your vacation might be to grab a bite to eat. But Westin has thought this through, they have been considerate enough to come up with the SPG Kids Pass program: for $14 a day, kids can enjoy Westin's 'all-you-can-eat program'.

Check in to help a cause!

Not only are they courteous and caring as a hotel, but the Westin Harbour Castle staff, partake in giving back to their community. I was amazed to learn about their charitable contributions.

Here are some charitable activities that the Westin Harbour Castle takes part in:

Westin Wishes Charity to support associates in need.

20 minutes to clean Toronto.

Tree planting at the local Toronto zoo.

Their sales team goes to the Toronto food bank to distribute meals Starwood charity of choice for the year is UNICEF

Throughout the year, they sponsor various events (individual auctions or galas) in support of local or national charities.

Their team participates in the Ride to Conquer Cancer race every year.

Their culinary team goes to the Toronto island every year to support Set Sail for Hope.

This March break, I was thinking of skipping my family trip to Toronto, but after writing this post, I changed my mind. A hotel that allows you to enjoy a completely comfortable family experience, is not to be miss out on. But a hotel that gives back to its community is one that makes your vacation an investment into a company that does social good. Every time I stay there, I feel like I contributed to their charitable causes just by checking in.

 Some perks that I didn't mention above that I must:

Were you wondering why there was a picture of me with Jason Priestley from Beverley Hills 90210?  I ran into him while the Genie Awards were taking place at the Westin Harbour Castle. I've bumped into quite a few celebrities during my multiple stays.

Floor to ceiling windows in the pool and hot tub room. Fancy for a late night swim.

The gorgeous view of the Harbour and Toronto's skyline from your hotel room.

Starbucks coffee in your room.

A beautiful port that allows you to take the ferry to Centre Island right behind the hotel.

And if you're an environmentally conscious person, you can opt out of the daily housekeeping and either earn 500 towards Starwood points, or get a $5 voucher that you can use in café at the hotel, for every day that you don't get housekeeping. That's amazing. 

Oh! Did I mention the Starbucks coffee in your room, or brewed fresh at the café in the lobby? Yeah, that's an awesome hotel.

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