Calgary - TRAVEL & LEISURE
May 23rd, 2013
Smack dab in the middle of Venice and Malibu, two of our favourite LA haunts, lays the Santa Monica oasis The Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows. We felt like a Hollywood starlet of old ensconced in one of its signature bungalow suites complete with a private entrance and a lush, bougainvillea-filled patio. Here’s how we managed to get the best of SoCal without ever leaving the hotel:
A-list favourite Exhale Spa is conveniently situated right next to the bungalows, which means you can roll over in your robe and slippers, Hollywood style. Do try the spa’s signature Flow massage where expert therapists roll and kneed (think detoxifying but pain free) with a mix of carrot and avocado oil that will leave you feeling rested and ready for dinner at Fig. www.exhalespa.com
Being big fans of small plates, local ingredients and relaxed rooms, we were thrilled to walk into Fig, Chef Ray Garcia’s farm-to-table restaurant located poolside. The wait staff is incredibly knowledgeable about the locally sourced wines and menu items and we couldn’t get enough of our mains – the Ocean Trout and the Short-rib Meatloaf. You know it’s a winner when more than half the clientele are stylish locals who are on a first-name basis with their waiters. www.figsantamonica.com
We fell in love with the chic décor of the incredibly popular Bungalow Bar (think your ideal beach house complete with requisite ikat pillows, softly glowing lanterns and lounge seating). We were lured in by the smell of Le Labo’s Santal candle exuding the perfect sexy, beachy scent that about sums up the vibe of the bar. Do try the house specialty— fruity sangria that packs a punch. Tip: get there early and camp-out, as it’s shoulder-to-shoulder come 8 p.m. nightly. www.thebungalowsm.com
See our Santa Monica photo album today on our Editors' Diary.
May 16th, 2013
Yes, Zurich's clean, organized and easy to get around – but there's plenty of creativity to go around, too. Try these stops on your next visit to Switzerland's financial capital.
Switzerland ain't cheap, so why pay for bottled water? Make sure to bring a purse-size bottle to refill in one of the city's more than 1,200 stylish fountains featuring the city's very drinkable water. (The exception? Any fountains marked with the sign "kein trinkwasser", which we in fact never spotted.)
To the Swiss, fondue's a winter food, but we say tourists get to break the rules. Head to Le Dézaley to get your fix and sample other local specialities like rösti (potato pancakes), spätli (dumplings) and Vaudois sausage.
Look for souvenirs with class at Schweizer Heimatwerk, which sells its selection of high-quality goods – think jewellery, home decor items and kids' wooden toys – both in the old town and at the airport. Off the beaten path, head to West Zurich's Viadukt shopping centre, a reclaimed area nestled in the arches of a working 19th-century rail viaduct, for more offbeat retailers; around the corner, stop by Frau Gerolds Garten to browse through several cute clothing boutiques.
Thursday evenings, take a 90-minute city tour in a classic tram complete with wine or champagne and snacks on the Apéritif Tram, which makes its way past some of the city's top sights. The rest of the week, head up early to beat the crowds to the Jules Verne bar with its panoramic views of the cityscape.
Pick up a 24- or 72-hour Zürich Card for unlimited access to the city's beyond-amazing transit system – that means trams, trains, buses, boats and even the cable car – plus free access to most museums and discounted city tours. Don't miss a guided walk around the historic and well-preserved Old Town.
May 9th, 2013
Skip the glitz and glam of Rodeo Drive, and hit up some of Los Angeles’ cooler spots.
Located just below the picturesque West Hollywood hills and five minutes from the notorious Chateau Marmont, Andaz Hotel’s rooftop swimming pool and its indie soundtrack will put you in the right mood to feel like a hip Angeleno. 8401 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, 323-656-1234, www.westhollywood.andaz.hyatt.com
Forget Britney Spears and her bottomless Starbucks, the best coffee in Los Angeles is in Silver Lake. Everyone drinking and working at Intelligentsia look like they belong in some cool band about to make it big. Who knows? Maybe they are. 3922 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 323-663-6173, www.intelligentsiacoffee.com
Silver Lakers take their vinyl very seriously. As does Vacation, the neighbourhood’s acclaimed record store. Whether you are looking for original pressings of Smiths albums or the new Kurt Vile record, they’ll likely have it. 3815 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 323-666-2111, http://vacationvinyl.com
From Silver Lake, head over to the equally happening Echo Park, and stop by Mohawk Bend to taste one (or two or three) of their 72 local craft beers. This gorgeously retrofitted 100-year-old Vaudeville theatre also features modern pub fare using the finest local ingredients. 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 213-483-2337, http://mohawk.la
Echo Park is home to writer Dave Eggers, who is also one of the directors of 826LA, a non-profit kids’ writing centre. This adorable place is also home to The Time Travel Mart, where you can pick up the 826LA’s publications like From the Couch to the Kitchen, a cookbook written by high school students, as well as sharp-witted knick-knacks. 1714 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 213-413-3388, http://826la.org
Over on Mid Wilshire, you’ll find the painfully hip Pour Vous. From PYTs to older distinguished types (and we hear Robert Pattinson), this speakeasy features Parisian-inspired cocktails that will quickly go to your head, while you watch trapeze burlesque artists perform to moody Lana Del Rey songs. 5574 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 323-871-8699, http://pourvousla.com
May 2nd, 2013
This laidback California beach community combines boho chic and an artsy vibe. Here’s our must-see, must-do itinerary.
The newly refurbished Heisler Park winds up above the beach offering pretty views and great picnic spots. Fill your beach basket at nearby Whole Foods.
Want to dress like the locals? Ultra-soft T-shirts, drawstring pajama pants, Isabel Marant booties and baskets of gorgeous, Turkish hammam towels abound at Laguna Supply. 210 Beach St., Laguna Beach, CA, 949-497-8850, http://pinterest.com/lagunasupply
The Pacific Edge Hotel has just renovated its five beachfront cabanas, which can be rented daily for up to 10 people each. Massages, bottle service, pedicures, and even photography are on offer. Each one has been designed by a different creative group or store, with one resembling a surf shop with Hoby surfboard pictures, another with a fan made from sailboat sails, and another stocked with kids books and a chalkboard table. Each has a private deck with loungers and direct beach access. Rates vary by season/day. VIP cabana Host, 949-281-5720, www.pacificedgehotel.com
A refined surf-shack that is part of the California chainlet, Umami Burger is the go-to spot to refuel after surf and sand. Check out the plank walls, folding chairs and vintage surf posters, and order the Umami Burger with shiitake mushrooms and a parmesan crisp. Umami Burger, 620 Pacific Highway, 949-342-1210, www.umami.com
May 1st, 2013
Is your-legged BFF is due for some pampering? Herewith, three treats to get your pup's tail wagging.
Your uber-smart sophisticate pup will be looking sharp in this pet bow tie designed by Canadians Loyal Luxe. They’ll never want to go back to a regular collar ever again. Loyal Luxe Pet Bow Tie, $11.80, www.suck.uk.com
Petcurean’s Go! series of dog food was created specifically for the daily health of your canine friend. We spend a lot of time figuring out our diets and meals, why wouldn’t you do the same for Fluffy? This kibble contains only one meat protein – lamb and has absolutely zero beef, corn or wheat meaning you can rest at ease that your pet is getting the best nutrition ever. Go! Natural Petcurean Dog Food, $23.99, www.petcurean.com
The all-Canadian dog will jump high for these preppy colourful tennis balls from HBC. Not only will they be a hit in the backyard but they are also made using 100% azo-free dyes. Now go fetch! Hudson Bay Company Rubber Tennis Balls, $12, www.thebay.com
April 30th, 2013
Music and bicycles just seem to be inseparable these days.
Even more so for entrepreneur Zak Pashak, the founder behind the ever-popular indie music fest Sled Island and former owner of Broken City Social Club in Calgary and The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver. As part of the wave of creatives making their way to Detroit to create new projects, Pashak has founded Detroit Bikes. Utilizing an old factory and manufacturing a classically designed city bicycle, Detroit Bikes is making a connection to the history of the city like no other product could.
And if you want a little piece of the Detroit action you can order your own wheels today. Ride on. —Kait Kucy
The Bike, US$550 (plus shipping), http://detroitbikes.com
April 25th, 2013
Beach babes, long boards, and bellini bars - it’s all about Huntington Beach, California.
The Shorebreak Hotel’s front desk features a massive wave, there are surf films projected on the walls of the lobby, cruiser bikes and vintage surfboards in the rooms, all done incredibly stylishly. www.jdvhotels.com
Beach volleyball, all year round! And then, of course, there are the surfers (er, we mean the surfing) in and around the famous pier. It’s not called Surf City USA for nothing.
The Huevos Rancheros (pictured, $9) at Zimzala in the Shorebreak Hotel, with excellent coffee and a bellini bar in a breezy room was our idea of brunch heaven. The name of the restaurant means “peace with sand between your toes.”
Order one of the massive longboards from Huntington native Peter Hamborg a firefighter and father of 5 surfing, modelling, lifeguarding boys (why does this sound like a reality TV show in the works)? Cruise The Strand, 10 miles of paved track along the beachfront. www.hamboards.com
Lucky you if you get a sighting of one of the famous surf Woody’s like we did!
April 19th, 2013
The latest buzz in Calgary? We'll give you a hint: you'll need a veil.
Founded in 1960, The Calgary Beekeepers Association holds events and workshops (like the upcoming Bee-ginners Bee Keeping course) to teach amateur enthusiasts how to create a happy and healthy colony and even how to harvest honey.
Sounds bee-licious. —Kait Kucy
April 17th, 2013
With a road infrastructure revolution, navigating Calgary's busy city streets no longer requires nerves of steel.
And BikeBike is taking our love of the two-wheeler to the next level. We cannot get enough of its awe-inspiring collection of cargo bikes. Perfect for the downtown lady without a car, we picture a sunny-day bike ride with a basket filled with fresh flowers, baguettes and a couple bottles of vino.
We're pedal pushing converts, and proud of it. —Kait Kucy
BikeBike Calgary, 1501 17th Ave SW, Calgary, 403-457-2453, www.bikebike.ca
March 28th, 2013
With its black sand beaches, lush rainforest and natural hot springs, it’s no wonder we’re crushing on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. We took a trip to the “sleepy south” and found laid back resorts, natural beauty, and plenty of local flavour.
At Anse Chastanet no two rooms are alike but all include local art and a breezy Caribbean vibe. Ask for 14B, which has a tree growing through the rainfall shower (pictured). The hotel has four restaurants - including one that’s exclusively vegetarian - and two beaches with oceanside service. Make the trek over to Anse Mamin, the hotel’s more remote beach, for a Caribbean spice burger tucked between a Jonny Cake, a local bread grilled fresh to order. www.ansechastanet.com
Hotel Chocolat grows 10 per cent of the island’s cocoa. Tour the hotel’s Rabot Estate cocoa groves, pluck a pod, and craft your own dark bar with the Tree to Bar experience. Afterwards, reward yourself with a fresh cacao martini in the hotel bar. http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/home
Locals swear by the healing power of the sulphur springs, part of your entrance fee the Caribbean’s only “drive-in” volcano. Bring a dark swimsuit, cover yourself in volcanic mud, then dip into the natural (45 degree!) hot springs. http://soufrierefoundation.org
Guests at Jade Mountain benefit from more than just in-suite infinity pools and unobstructed views of the Pitons. At the Kai en Cielis spa the chocolate body wrap is good enough to eat but it’s the hotel’s own handmade chocolates, given at the end of the treatment, that really sweeten the experience. www.jademountain.com
Every Friday the town of Anse La Raye plays host to a fish fry dance party. Choose from snapper, mahi mahi, shrimp, box fish or spiny lobster then watch as your plate is piled high with homemade rice and peas, mac and cheese and coleslaw. (Sorry about the lack of photo, but were were too busy eating!)—Shannon Heth Vergette