Toronto - TRAVEL & LEISURE
December 3rd, 2009
Trade winter’s chills for sunny thrills with our luxe (for less bucks) itinerary.
With up to 1,900 square feet, a new private villa at The Hyatt Grand Champions may be bigger than your apartment—only it's got butler service, an outdoor Jaccuzzi, and mountain views. Two bedroom villa from $409, www.grandchampions.hyatt.com
Explore the romantic grounds of La Quinta, a 1920s health ranch turned hotel (note the casita where Frank Capra wrote You Can’t Take It With You). Sit outside at the authentic Mexican Adobe Grill and sip one of their famous organic margaritas. It’s good for you, really. www.laquintaresort.com
Plan to spend the whole day at the Spa at Desert Springs, with its own outdoor saltwater lap pool and loungers overlooking the golf course and mountains. Listen to classical music and order a light lunch from the spa restaurant between trips to the two steam rooms and spa treatments using local dates and cacti. www.spa.desertspringsresort.com
Grab the girls and attend one of the daily $20 golf clinics at the soothing and scenic Westin Mission Hills. The strapping pros have the patience of Job as you hit dead air or divot their green, but it’s amazing how quickly you can improve with their simple pointers. www.westinmissionhillsgolf.com
Looking for more luxe for less bucks? Check out our recent Palm Springs itinerary.
November 26th, 2009
Grab your bikini and your besties, we’re off to Palm Springs for a retro retreat!
The Parker is where Angelina lays her head come film fest, noshing at French brasserie Mister Parker’s and perhaps bowling on the pea gravel boules court near the “adult” lemonade stand. Boasting a stately spa called the Palm Springs Yacht Club (PSYC) in Givenchy’s old haunt, this luxe, sprawling property feels more like the private estate it once was. “Parker Princesses” rate from $99. 4200 East Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, 760-321-4620, www.theparkerpalmsprings.com
Art Style Innovation is a brand new design store opened by the L.A. event design duo behind The Oscars and Grammys. Find stunning creations in every shade of acrylic imaginable (think transparent fluorescent trays and vases) plus custom chairs that turn your house into gala central. 668 North Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, 760-322-3344, www.artstyleinnovation.com
Stock up on Minnetonka Moccasins at amazing prices ($25-$50) but beware the Japanese girls buying 20 pairs at a time. This season’s hot style is the “Tramper.” 182 North Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, 760-320-2339.
Rent a beach cruiser from the new Bike Palm Springs and follow one of their free touring routes or explore the surrounding movie colony neighbourhood where mid-century star-chitecture abounds. Look for Frank Sinatra’s estate (now owned by Vancouver’s Jimmy Pattison). $25/day. 625 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-832-8912, www.bikepsrentals.com
November 12th, 2009
If your fantasy travels have taken you souk shopping in Morocco or strawberry picking in Denmark, you may be inspired by Jennifer Hill’s whimsical prints.
In her “Places I Have Never Been” series the artists draws on her research and imagination, and creates designs that capture the essence and mood of a given destination. Each print includes tidbits of information about the place such as its language, how far away it is and a line about the inspiration for the pattern.
• FLY 4,225 miles • EAT sugar dipped zeppole • DRINK sweet limoncello • mmm… EAT your fill of powdery goodness at the zeppole festival.
Now guess the destination.
November 5th, 2009
Ever since Michelle Obama flaunted her hula hooping skills on the lawn of the White House, women across the continent have decided to whirl their way to better bods.
Hooping can burn up to 600 calories in an hour, and as well as being a lot of fun, it tones the body in all the right places.
Wham-O, first released the hula hoop in the '50s, and it remains most enthusiasts' ring of choice. Pick one up in hot pink and neon green and get gyrating.
Check out Hoop Toronto for tips, tricks and classes in the GTA.
$9.95 at Swipe, 401 Richmond St. W., Toronto, 416-363-1332, www.swipe.com
October 29th, 2009
Sparkling blue waters, long sandy beaches and a laid-back attitude make Jamaica the perfect mid-winter getaway. Throw in some mouth-watering jerk chicken right off an outdoor grill and you have the recipe for paradise.
Why settle for a large resort when you can lounge in luxury at your own private villa? True to its name, Greatview Jamaica near Montego Bay has magnificent views of the ocean and the mountains plus a full-time staff dedicated to your every whim. Take a dip in the infinity pool or enjoy a coconut smoothie at the outdoor bar. With a personal chef, two butlers and a crew of friendly staff to look after you, you’ll never want to leave. Forget five stars—this place is off the charts. Prices start at $8,500/week for three bedrooms, www.greatviewjamaica.com
Take the plunge into a pool of mineral water as you explore the hidden pleasures of the Jamaican countryside at Mayfield Falls. Just a short drive from Greatview, the Mayfield Falls Riverwalk is the longest of its kind in Jamaica and its waters are said to have healing powers. If babies are on the brain, this might do the trick. Hey, it worked for Nicole Kidman. www.riverwalkatmayfield.com
For an authentic night out head to Scotchies Jerk House near Rose Hall, Montego Bay (876-953-8041). Dine under a grass thatch roof on spicy jerk pork, chicken, steamed fish, breadfruit and delightfully plump Festivals—Jamaican-style donuts. Wash it all down with a bottle of locally brewed Red Stripe beer.
October 22nd, 2009
The days are short and the air is crisp, but that’s no reason to turn into a hermit. Rally up the girls and head to the hottest city in La Belle Province for a weekend of food, fun and frivolity.
Spoil yourselves with plush duvets and Frette bathrobes at Hotel Nelligan. The perfect mix of traditional charm and modern convenience, this Montreal favourite is sure to please. Plus, the location, among the cobblestones of Old Town is ideal. 106 Rue Saint-Paul W., Montreal, www.hotelnelligan.com
Montreal is known for it’s playful street style, but if it’s your inner diva you want to indulge, head to Mona Moore. This glam shoe boutique boasts the sexiest styles in the city. Go gaga over Rick Owens black leather woven boots ($2595) or splash out on a pair of Dries Van Noten cognac leather pumps with black stamped crocodile heels ($745). Stepping into these on Monday morning will make the trek back to work almost pleasant. 1446 Sherbrook St. W., Montreal, www.monamoore.com
A day of hopping from shop to shop calls for a deluxe dinner. Pamper your taste buds with a trip to L'express, the ultimate French bistro. Kick off with a bottle of red and a jar of cornichon followed by its famous steak-frites topped with salty herbed butter. Save room for dessert. The rich chocolate tart is to die for. 3927 Rue St. Denis, 514-845-5333 (Reservations recommended).
Spend an evening watching the best in new French-language cinema at Cinemania Film Festival. The annual rendez-vous of film buffs takes place November 5-15. This year’s lineup is still under wraps, but previous years have featured works by both acclaimed filmmakers and up-and-comers. www.cinemaniafilmfestival.com
October 15th, 2009
With its hot climate and even hotter club nights, we had no problem getting friendly with Miami Beach.
Clad in red, white and baby blue, a stylish suite at the Townhouse Hotel puts you steps from South Beach at a sweet price. Its cool touches like mini beach balls on the beds, bicycle rentals and a spacious rooftop terrace for daytime sunning and nighttime revelry make it a hot home base. From $95 a night, Townhouse Hotel, 150 20th St., Miami Beach, 305-534-3800, www.townhousehotel.com
Once you’re done lounging up top, simply head downstairs to the BondSt Lounge. The Miami outpost of the lauded Manhattan resto by the same name serves up sushi and sashimi, like lobster tempura with yellow tomato dressing and chive oil, to satisfy your sea cravings. BondSt, 150 20th St., Miami Beach, 305-398-1806, www.townhousehotel.com/bond.asp
With an abundance of design stores, we’d advise bringing back something to adorn your own townhouse. At Jonathan Adler, one of our faves, score whimsical white pottery, or a witty pink piece from his new Barbie-inspired collection. Jonathan Adler, 1024 Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach, 305-534-5600, www.jonathanadler.com
Jump headfirst into the city’s opulent, glamorous nightlife at The Florida Room. The modern-day piano lounge designed by Lenny Kravitz, which boasts a Lucite Grand (a replica of the one Lenny has at home) and a roster of international DJs, kept us dancing till the wee hours of the morn (4 a.m. to be exact). The Florida Room at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-6152, www.delano-hotel.com
October 8th, 2009
The sand is tinged with specks of pink coral and the houses are painted lilac, yellow and aquamarine. With its lush green vegetation and crystal blue waters, colour reigns on the island of Bermuda.
The new Tucker’s Point Resort oozes colonial charm. Large, airy rooms are decorated in bold florals, soft stripes and pastel ginghams. Sip Rum Swizzles poolside, play crocket or have your fingers and toes painted pink at the spa. From US$300 a night, 60 Tucker’s Point Dr., Hamilton Parish, Bermuda, 441-298-4000, www.tuckerspoint.com
Rent a scooter and explore the island’s glorious beaches; Horseshoe Bay, Elbow Beach and John Smith’s Bay are the best along South Shore for powder-soft sand and stunning waters. Tobacco Bay near St George’s is good for snorkelling.
The Lobster Pot (6 Bermudiana Rd., 441-292-6898) is a local institution with a nautical décor and some of the best seafood in town, while the elegant Seahorse Grill at Elbow Beach (441-239-9303, www.mandarinoriental.com) is perfect for a romantic dinner à deux. Tip: Bermuda is pure old-world charm and locals love to get dressed up when they go out. Some restaurants have a dress code so pack a pretty frock or two.
October 1st, 2009
Christened Europe’s new Riviera, the former Communist Croatia’s central Dalmatian Coast is hopping. The spectacular island of Hvar, known for its lavender, is a sun-blessed oasis with Venetian architecture, a rich history and a bustling nightlife.
Away from the bustle of the Old Town (but still less than a 10-minute walk), Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort is the ultimate escape. For a dip, hop between the hotel’s cascading pool or opt to float in the adjacent Adriatic (tip: the sea is usually warmer) and sunbathe at the Bonj les Bains with the likes of Ivanka Trump. From $280 a night, Hotel Amfora, Majerovica bb, 21450 Hvar, +385 (0)21 750 750 .
The fresh seafood options are endless but Restaurant Bounty, near the entrance to the Old Town and along the harbour, is a must. Always packed, stay near and you’ll eventually snag a table outside. Try the selection of fresh white fish (tip: it’s priced by the kg so ask for smaller portions) and the seafood spaghetti is divine. Restaurant Bounty, 21450 Hvar, +385 21 742 565.
The booths set up at the entrance to the Old Town are packed with souvenirs like lavender oils, honey and other trinkets, but a piece by jewellery designer Vanja Mijac is a striking souvenir. Find Mijac's pieces at Bijou Art near the cathedral, Trg Sv Stjepana, 21450 Hvar, +385 (0) 21717 740.
September 24th, 2009
Paris is best enjoyed one neighbourhood at a time, so we settled in the charming pedestrian area of Montorgueil, once painted by Monet, for a week of pâtisseries, bistros and boutiques.
You won’t find many hotels in this quaint Parisian quarter, so opt for the cute and cozy Carroussel rental apartment and its quirky mix of old and new. Up above, old wooden beams, down below, new hardwood floors and a cherry red kitchen that stows a handy washer/dryer. The spot is so quiet, you might be fooled into thinking you’re living outside city limits. €91 per night for seven nights, through Paris Hideaways, http://studio.provaction.com
Your morning ritual must include pain au chocolat from the best bakery on the main market street, La Maison Stohrer (pictured), est. 1730. Its pastries are so good, you’ll seriously consider mortgaging your home to have the pâtissier FedEx you a dozen every day. 51, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, +33 01 04 13 01 61, www.stohrer.fr
The area is brimming with trendy bars inhabited by Paris' young and restless, so make it your aim to stumble into a different establishment every night. At the simply named 2éme Arrt, you find good drinks, tasty tapas and a friendly owner who’ll join your table and chat you up. 49, Rue Montmartre, Paris, +33 01 40 26 75 51.
Down rue Montmartre and its side streets, you’ll find French favourites Cotélac and Zadig & Voltaire. But for those with a shoe fetish, step into 58m for gorgeous soles by French designers Avril Gau, Sartore and Michel Vivien, and soft, sumptuous bags by Jerome Dreyfuss. 58, rue Montmartre, Paris, +33 01 40 26 61 01, www.58m.fr