January 30th, 2013
Sticking to a 2013 resolution to take more time away is easy. First stop? Stowe Mountain Lodge.
Weekenders will fall in love with Stowe Mountain Lodge’s warm New England hospitality and rustic yet elegant look. Plus, the gorgeous 312-room timber lodge is located right at the foot of the hill so thanks to the ski concierge, there’s no need to haul gear or walk in ski boots.
Nothing is as comforting after a day on the slopes as the fresh, farm-to-table cuisine of Solstice, the fabulous on-property restaurant. With an open kitchen, furniture hand-carved by local artisans and a stunning view on Spruce Peak Mountain, it’s a picturesque spot to enjoy everything from a plate of local cheeses (from $16) to slow roast prime rib ($29).
After serious skiing comes serious spa-ing and the expansive 21,000 foot facility is the ideal venue for well-earned pampering. The Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge boasts access to the gym, year-round pool and outdoor hot tubs (accessible to all hotel guests) as well as a Healing Lodge in the locker rooms with two saunas (one wet, one dry) and a Jacuzzi tub. Services range from classic massages to ultra-indulgent peels, scrubs and wraps (from $95). Bonus: The boutique is stocked with some of the best beauty brands out there like Kai, Coola, Versante, Medik 8 and more.
1-802-253-3560, 7412 Mountain Rd., Stowe, www.stowemountainlodge.com
December 11th, 2012
‘Tis the season of weekend jaunts. Happily, we found the ultimate travel BFF.
Our trusty Lacoste tote ($140 for the XL size) is made from ultra-resistant PVC, meaning that it will gladly go anywhere from a sandy beach to under an airplane seat without ever getting damaged.
It is ultra-lightweight (before we stuff it with our laptop, purse, e-reader, scarf and other essentials, that is), zips completely closed and has a small interior pocket for valuables.
Oh, the places you’ll go, terrific tote. —Christine Laroche
1011 Ste-Catherine St. W., Montreal, 514-985-1212, www.lacoste.com
October 17th, 2012
Pure bliss is an easy 2-hour drive away.
Le Nordik Spa-Nature is a gorgeous gem tucked in the woods of Chelsea, Quebec, just 10 minutes outside Ottawa. Despite a relatively remote location, there’s nothing low-key about this spa: with the opening of a new section, it is one of North America’s largest.
It’s expansive – think saunas and hot tubs galore – but also boasts a showstopper called Källa. Unique to the continent (it’s one of two in the world – the other is in Switzerland), Källa is an underground pool carved in rock that is filled with Epsom salt-saturated water, perfect for floating your cares away with about twenty of your closest friends.
Belinda was right: Heaven is a place on earth. —Christine Laroche
16 ch. Nordik, Chelsea, QC, 819-827-1111, www.lenordik.com
July 20th, 2012
We like to escape the city, but we’re less willing to give up our creature comforts – that means no camping for us!
Our choice spot for serenity now is Côté Nord and the new Suites-sur-Lac (from $149/night). These modern rooms beat a tent any day: Think screened-in living room, gorgeous bathroom, tennis courts, a pool and access to kayaks and SUPs to explore the lake.
And though the suites also feature fully appointed kitchens, we’d rather let the pros at the 4-star rated Le Caribou restaurant do the cooking. Whether you go with surf (the halibut is fab, $24) or turf (hello, juicy bison burger, $16), this rustic-chic spot won’t disappoint.
The grand finale? Campfire roasted marshmallows by the lake. After all, some aspects of camping are A-OK in our book. —Christine Laroche
Côté Nord, 141 Ch. du Tour du Lac, Lac-Supérieur, 1-888-268-3667, www.cotenordtremblant.com
June 16th, 2011
When relaxation requires leaving the real world behind, a trip to beautiful Kamouraska may be just the ticket to total de-stressing. With just one main road, a few quaint shops and restaurants, and a stunning view of the St.Lawrence River, you’ll finally be able to focus on finding some inner peace.
There are a number of Bed & Breakfasts dotting the main road, but why bother with eggs and toast when you can wake up to the scent of melting chocolate? We stayed at the new Bed & Chocolate at La Fée Gourmade (from $120) and luxuriated in our suite’s fluffy bed, steamed ourselves into submission in the lovely hammam shower (complete with organic chocolate-scented soaps from nearby Le Quai des Bulles), and gorged ourselves silly on the chocolaterie’s delicious treats. Indulge in the one of the B&C’s sweet package deals to include a tasting workshop and box of 16 chocolates starting at $150. La Fée Gourmande, 167 Morel Ave., Kamouraska, 418-492-3030, www.lafeegourmande.ca
If you can’t stomach truffles first thing in the morning, you can easily jaunt over to the Auberge des Iles to sip coffee in the solarium, or start the day in true Québecois style at the Casse-Croute Co-sette. Definitely pick up a loaf of deliciously dense German bread at the Boulangerie Niemand and stock upon freshly smoked salmon at the Poissonerie Lauzier. Finally, relax with a bottle of wine and a seafood plate at the Café du Clocher (run by the most eligible bachelor in town, Jean-Pierre).
Auberge des Iles, 198 Morel Ave., Kamouraska, 418 492-7561, www.aubergedesiles.ca
Restaurant La Co-Sette, 53 Morel Ave., Kamouraska, 418-492-2675.
Boulangerie Niemand, 82 Morel Ave., Kamouraska, 418-492-1236.
Poissonnerie Lauzier, 57 Morel Ave.,Kamouraska, 418 492-7988.
Café Du Clocher, 90 Morel Ave., Kamouraska, 418-492-7365.
Not content to end our chocolate bender, we enjoyed a rejuvenating chocolate and coffee scrub ($70) at La Grand Voile Centre du Santé et Auberge. But don’t worry if you’ve maxed out on sweets, there are plenty of cleansing and refreshing massages and treatments to be had at this gorgeous mansion.
La Grand Voile, 168 Morel Ave, Kamouraska, 418-492-2539, www.lagrandvoile.ca
Keep an eye out for penguins, seals and a miracle pod of Beluga whales as you speed across the waves during this 1.5 hour Zodiak tour ($35) of the Kamouraska islands. Just be sure to wear your wellies and a windbreaker, as this wild ride can get chilly and wet!
Embark at the Kamouraska pier, 418-863-3132, www.zodiacaventure.com
See more from our trip to Kamouraska on today's Editors' Diary. —JN
June 2nd, 2011
Nothing says summer like sipping a glass of rosé with a beautiful view of the vineyard. Alas, not many of us have a backyard winery, so we’re heading out to the Eastern Townships to tour the wine route.
Kava Tours offers a variety of round-trips to and from the Townships (tours start at $89 per person), so you don’t have to worry about tasting too many. We started our day with a delicious ice rosé wine at the lovely Domaine Côte d’Ardoise, followed by a beautiful lunch, complete with strawberry gazpacho and rhubarb pie at Domaine les Brome, a converted cabane à sucre. Our final stop at the Domaine Vitis included a picnic-style snack of artisanal cheese and pain au lardons alongside their delicately fruity rosé. But for the perfect girls’ getaway we recommend celebrating Les Roses en Fêtes (until June 26).
Taste the world through rosé-coloured glasses. Wine glasses, that is. —JN
April 7th, 2011
We recently trekked out to Tremblant to get away from the dirty city snow and revel in the great white north. But our version of a “country getaway” has more to do with sipping wine by a roaring fire than roughing it in the wild.
We loved our stay in the luxury log cabin stylings of the four-star Côté Nord Tremblant Resort located less than 6 minutes from Tremblant’s north face. These stunning and spacious two to six room cabins (starting at $280/night) are fully loaded, with WiFi, iPod docks, a complete kitchen, ready-chopped firewood, and even a Jacuzzi in some cabins.
You can order champagne, a gourmet meal and a Swedish massage right to your door. But why stay inside when there’s skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and a Spa Scandinave so close by?
We loved our stay so much, we’re planning to return in the summer to enjoy some lakeside activities, like BBQing, leisurely flipping through magazines and sipping summery drinks on the deck.
Maybe we’re the rugged outdoorsy type after all.
Côté Nord Tremblant, 141 Chemin Tour Du Lac, Lac-Supérieur, QC, 1-888-268-3667, www.cotenordtremblant.com
December 23rd, 2010
Instead of fleeing to the beach this winter, why not face the flurries head on with a stay at the Jay Peak Resort. We recently stopped in for a weekend getaway that combined three of our favourite things: skiing, spa-ing, and sipping wine by the fire.ski
Even though it is just 6.5 km south of the Quebec border, Jay Peak gets the most snow of any mountain in eastern North America. There’s plenty of adventure to be had if you accept their invitation to head off-piste and into the Glades (you can take a lesson). Just remember to ski between the trees and not into them! 76 trails, lift ticket $69, www.jaypeakresort.com
We bunked into a 1-bedroom suite decorated with pieces by local artisans at the newly built Tram Haus Lodge (rooms start at $129, lift ticket included). With a view of the chairlift from our living room window, a fully stocked kitchenette, two flat-screen TVs, and a cozy overstuffed duvet on the bed, we felt like we were in our own private ski-in chalet, but with housekeeping service! Call 1-800-451-4449 or book online.
Soothe your mogul-marred muscles with a deep tissue massage ($129) at the Taiga spa. We booked with shiatsu –specialist, Aubrey, who taught us the meaning of the phrase “sweet pain” as he kneaded our knots into submission. After adding in an individualized facial using B. Kamins products, we left feeling relaxed, revived, and ready to get back out on the slopes.
The breakfast buffet at Alice’s Table, piled high with pancakes, two kinds of sausage, bacon, fruit smoothies, omelettes and pastries, is all you need to prepare you for a full day on the slopes. Head back at night to dine on locally sourced ingredients, including the grilled porkchop stuffed with caramelized onions, cranberries, pecans and a Vermont maple cumin glaze. Jay Peak, 4850 VT Route 242, Jay, Vermont, 802-988-2611, www.jaypeakresort.com
November 25th, 2010
The recently gentrified Quartier Saint Roch district of Quebec City offers travellers an off-the-beaten-track taste of urban cool. We stayed for a weekend and barely had to leave the block.
We lay our weary heads on fresh, white linen at the loft-style Hotel Pur (rooms start at $139/ night), listed in Condé Nast Traveller’s Red Hot List, 2009. Minimalist in appearance but not in amenities, we took in the stunning view of the Saint Roch church through our room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, enjoyed a leisurely soak in the deep Japanese-style tub, and relished our post-swim morning smoothie made from fresh strawberries and Thai basil. Hotel Pur, 395 de la Couronne St., Quebec City, 418-647-261, www.hotelpur.com
Indulgence is on the menu at Versa Restaurant. A decadent appetizer of foie gras with homemade donuts ($19.95) had us licking our forks clean, followed by a saintly (in comparison) olive oil poached swordfish ($38.95). We returned to hedonism with a duo of veal topped with bacon ($39.59) followed by a positively pious mini lemon tart ($9.95). Lemons are fruit, right? Versa Restaurant, 432 du Parvis St., Quebec City, 418-523-9995, www.versarestaurant.com
Sip on creative cocktails (we loved the Pear Ale with gin, pear puree and ginger ale, $8.50) and choose to chill upstairs or dance downstairs at Le Boudoir Lounge. Le Boudoir Lounge, 441 du Parvis St., 418-524-2777, www.boudoirlounge.com
Pick up beautiful French-from-France lingerie from Flirt, including Aubade, Simone Perele and Chantelle. Or you can support our local French designers, like Mélissa Nepton and Eve Gravel by shopping at Boutique Novo. Flirt, 525 St. Joseph St. East, Quebec City, 418-529-5221. Boutique Novo, 708 St. Joseph St. East, Quebec City, 418-614-8098, www.boutiquenovo.com
For Jenn Nachshen's photos from her weekend in Quebec City, please visit the vitaminwater canada blog.
November 5th, 2010stay
Whistler’s best kept secret—till now—is Nita Lake Lodge. New ownership has brought in a killer kitchen brigade, an Ayurvedic spa, a rooftop garden and has stocked the lake with trout (they’ll even loan you a rod and tackle at the front desk). The large and luxurious rooms with lakefront views are just as inviting as ever. Rooms from $189. Nita Lake Lodge, 2131 Lake Placid Rd. Whistler, B.C., 888-755-6482, www.nitalakelodge.com
This serene part of the Valley Trail calls for biking or cross-country skiing, and once the lake freezes over, look for ice hockey games organized by the Lodge. In summer, the pretty Alta Lake park and playground with boat launch is just steps away. In November, it's wine-tasting time at Cornucopia.
Nita Lake’s Aura restaurant serves up locally foraged mushrooms, Pemberton-grown heirloom beets and artichokes from the Lodge’s own rooftop. Bison flatirons, Sloping Hills porchetta and side-striped prawns are the smartly-sourced support staff to the vegetable-forward menu.
Cozy up by the fire in the Cure Lounge at Nita Lake where the thick-cut buttermilk onion rings ($5) are not to be missed. On tap is France’s Kronenbourg 1664—a match made in heaven. Or Whistler. It's all the same to us.