Growing up, family holidays meant packing the car up to capacity, loading everyone in and heading out on the open road. There is something special about uninterrupted family time together on a road trip, exploring all of the beautiful spaces our diverse country has to offer. As a photographer, a road trip also provides the best ‘in-the-moment’ photo opportunities, pulling over on a dime to capture that perfect photo of what I found inspiring at that moment.
Our family had never hit the open road outside of Western Canada before and when American Express Canada presented us with the incredible opportunity to road trip on the other side of the country, we jumped at it! As an American Express Platinum Cardmember, before our family ventured out on our ‘Great Canadian Road Trip’, I tasked our Platinum Concierge and Travel teams to recommend the best eats and places to stay.
After a few short calls with our Platinum Concierge and Travel teams, all the planning from hotels, car rental and flights were taken care of and we had our itineraries in hand. It was our first time travelling with our American Express Platinum Card and let’s just say , we won’t be travelling without it again!
Day 1: Toronto
Our first stop on this trip was Toronto! Upon arrival at Toronto Pearson airport we hopped into our rental car booked by the Amex travel team (a fun red Buick Encore) and headed to the Four Seasons hotel in Yorkville. What’s even better is that the Four Seasons is one of Amex’s FINE HOTELS AND RESORTS properties. Since we booked the hotel with our Platinum Card, we knew a room upgrade could be available but we did not anticipate that the Four Seasons would graciously upgrade us to a luxury suite! We were excitedly checking out the welcome goodies and admiring the spacious suite and beautiful design features, when we realized it was already dinner time. Luckily there was no need to fret over where to dine, as our American Express Platinum Concierge made us dinner reservations at the 360 Restaurant at the top of the CN tower a few days prior.
The CN Tower was an unforgettable experience with 360 views of Toronto; the views only made more beautiful by the setting sun! After dinner, we enjoyed complimentary access to the outdoor viewing area of the tower and laughed as the strong winds made us walk lopsided. When we arrived back at the hotel that evening, we were welcomed back with another little gift from the hotel, popcorn and drinks to enjoy while watching a complimentary movie. It was the most thoughtful touch; the Four Seasons Yorkville is all class!
Day 2: Toronto and Montreal
One of the best things about a holiday is not having to set an alarm in the morning (am I right?!). However, on check-out days this is usually necessary to ensure we’re up, packed and out of the room on time. Luckily for us, another perk of having an American Express Platinum Card is late check out, so we were entitled to a 4:00 pm check out. While I was up early catching sunrise photos, Jessica and Sydney enjoyed a relaxing sleep in without having to check the clock. Another great benefit of the American Express Platinum Card is complimentary breakfast, so when I returned from my photo adventure and my sleeping beauties did rouse we enjoyed an amazing breakfast spread in our suite.
The Four Seasons has a great indoor pool, hot tub and spa area, complete with great views of the city and loads of lounge chairs for relaxing in robes. Swimming just happens to be Sydney’s favourite past time, so my girls enjoyed the pool while I met up with friends for lunch. The American Express Platinum Card also includes a $100 hotel credit, which can be used towards food and beverage. However, the Four Seasons being extremely generous allowed this credit to be used towards the spa and Jessica enjoyed an afternoon pedicure while I caught up on some work.
A one-night stay at any hotel goes by pretty quickly. We were so sad to leave the Four Seasons Yorkville, although our stay felt so much longer since we didn’t check out until 4:00 pm!
Our next stop was Montreal! We drove from Toronto to our next destination, booked by our American Express Platinum travel team, the Loews Hotel Vogue in downtown Montreal. We again enjoyed complimentary breakfast both mornings at this hotel since it was another FINE HOTELS AND RESORTS property. On our first day in Montreal we enjoyed coffee in different cafes, including Leaves Café, a vegan café that made amazing coconut milk lattes! Sydney was a huge fan of their steamed coconut milk – it was the perfect babychino! We enjoyed some shopping and then headed back to the hotel after a great day in the city.
That night we had special plans – it was our first time using a hotel babysitter, booked by our American Express Platinum Concierge! It was an ideal option allowing us to enjoy the dinner reservations our concierge made, while allowing Sydney to enjoy a cozy evening in the room and an early bedtime. The hotel babysitter has worked with the Loews Hotel in Montreal for 20 years so we felt really comfortable leaving Sydney in her care and it was awesome to enjoy an adult dinner at Barocco, a fine dining establishment in the heart of old Montreal that doesn’t allow children under 18. With the Grand Prix held on the upcoming weekend, the area was extra festive with a special outdoor grill that cooked a steak so good it would put a smile on any man’s face!
Day 3: Montreal
The next morning we walked around the gorgeous Mont Royal area, which showcases epic views of the Montreal skyline! We enjoyed this family time in the beautiful green space and laughed as Sydney collected clusters of leaves that had fallen from the trees, not worrying about the time as we were again entitled to a late checkout of 4:00 pm with the American Express Platinum Card! When we arrived back at the hotel, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant, La Société Bistro, and enjoyed the most delicious chicken and roast vegetable lunch. The best part was we enjoyed this lunch at no cost, thanks to our $100 hotel credit we got for booking with our Platinum Cards!
With all of these Cardmember perks, our family had a blast on the road without worries and in complete relaxation. The fun didn’t stop there for us! Head here for the second blog post in our travel series and find out what to see and eat in Charlevoix and Quebec City.
Are you planning to head out on a great Canadian road trip of your own? With the Amex travel team and Platinum Concierge supporting you along the way, it's so easy to relax and unwind. Learn more about the breadth of Amex’s offerings and the benefits of being a Cardmember here.
This post was sponsored by Amex Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.
An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.