September 23rd, 2011
We love out-of-town guests.
Just not when they’re crashing on our couch. From now on, we’re sending our family and friends straight from YVR Arrivals to check in at the Burrard Hotel. The Vancouver staple has been a landmark since it first turned on its neon sign decades ago, but its brand new look earns it a spot in the hearts of the economically minded jetset. With an inner courtyard filled with palm trees and pastels, it hardly feels like Vancouver.
Huh. Maybe we’ll book a night there and leave our friends at our place instead. —Kelsey Dundon
The Burrard, 1100 Burrard St., Vancouver, 604-681-2331, www.theburrard.com
February 4th, 2011
The Golden State has been unseasonably warm in the south, so now’s your chance to snag some sun and star-sightings. Herewith, part one of our two-part winter time trip plan:Sup in Santa Monica
After an afternoon arrival at LAX, stop at the Santa Monica Pier and have a quick go-round on the Ferris wheel then watch the sunset over an early dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette. The spot serves up fresh, unfussy seafood. When Christian Bale ate there we imagine he enjoyed the cornmeal crusted calamari too. www.blueplatesantamonica.com
Bed in Beverly Hills
The sexy SLS Hotel is as stylish as quarters come. Award-winning restaurant on the ground floor (The Bazaar by José Andrés), pool tables on every floor and posh pool deck on rooftop, you could be content enough to never leave the building. Staring at all the stunning custom Philippe Starck furnishings is yet another activity to pass the time. From $327, www.kiwicollection.com
Feast in Los Feliz
The weekend before we brunched at Square One, Jake Gyllenhaal did, but if that’s not enough to sell you on the place perhaps brioche French toast topped with bourbon-soaked pecans and vanilla whipped cream will (like Jake, it’s to die for). Its coffee pot brew is some of the best and the sunny outdoor courtyard is the perfect place to read the morning paper (or pretend to read and keep your eye open for you know who). www.squareonedining.com
Empty Your Wallet in Echo Park
Amsterdam modern meets arty L.A. cool at the Mohawk General Store. Carrying Comme des Garcon accessories, Slow and Steady Wins the Race garments, Rachel Comey shoes and vintage homewares, you’ll want to put the whole shop on a flatbed and drive it back to B.C. www.mohawkgeneralstore.net
February 7th, 2008Hoping for the big O this Valentine’s Day? We have just the, er, spot.
The brand new Oswego Hotel in Victoria boasts huge decks on the 10th floor for watching the sunset over James Bay and the twinkling lights of the Legislature.
And if there are just too much politics in your life already, order juicy room service lamb burgers and a bottle of the excellent Fetish red from Salt Spring’s Garry Oaks and debate the merits of drinking local wine instead.
The large kitchens are perfect for whipping up a romantic breakfast before a blustery oceanfront walk in Beaconsfield Park, then back to your cushy suite for some afternoon delight.
Multiple Os might just be a possibility.
Special Valentine’s rates start at $129 per person including dinner and a bottle of sparkling wine. Read more and reserve at www.oswegovictoria.com
January 31st, 2008
Why wait for spring? We like Paris anytime.
For an affordable room steps from the Seine, we suggest Hotel Esmerelda. A listed monument, this 17th-century building is a little lopsided but oozes charm. Unfortunately there is no elevator, but the higher you go the better the views of the Notre Dame. From CDN$140/night, 4 rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre, 5th, metro St-Michel +33 1 4354 1920.
Romantic, ethereal and edgy, Moon Younghee is one of our favourite designers working in Paris. She only makes one of each piece and the shop is next to the atelier so you can pop next door to try on your clothes and see the patterns being cut. 62, Rue Charlot, +33 1 48 04 39 78.
Rising above the rooflines of the royal palace, Sainte Chapelle is one of the most exquisite churches in the world. On a sunny day, the colours of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass will take your breath away. http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/
January 23rd, 2008
Elizabeth Gilbert who?
You know you have your own Eat, Pray, Love somewhere within you and now you have the opportunity to start your very own opus.
There are both sleep-out ($50) or sleep-in ($288) prices—we do imagine a wine-fuelled pajama party as you and your fellow female scribes compare your racy bios.
See, you didn’t even need to divorce your husband, go on anti-depressants and flee to India!
“The Art of Writing Your Life,” Saturday March 8, 1-5 p.m. at the Listel Hotel, 1300 Robson St., 604-681-9161, www.thelistelhotel.com.
$288 price includes one night stay, ½ bottle of wine, breakfast at O’Doul’s, in-room French press coffee, notebook and pen, plus a copy of Vancouver Stories and a subscription to Geist.
For more info visit www.geist.com/life-workshop
December 27th, 2007
When one of our staffer’s husband had a business trip to Iceland (and a penchant for Uma Thurman), she did what any smart girl would do and tagged along. Herewith, the tour of Reykjavik.
You may as well break open the piggy bank, cash in the RRSPs and ask the boss for a raise as Iceland is anything but cheap. And since chances are it will be a once-in-a lifetime trip, do as we did and go all out with a stay at the gorgeous Hotel 101. We loved the balcony suites with perfect views of the bluer than blue sky and the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in.
Iceland isn’t exactly a foodie haven but the seafood is plentiful and fresh. Visit renowned local chef Siggi Hall’s quaint, residential restaurant and order the catch of the day.
Blonde, lanky Icelandic store clerks will guide you through the racks of Alexander McQueen, Preen and See by Chloe plus emerging Icelandic fashion designers at Trilogia. Prices are random so scour the racks for the best finds in this hipster haven.
Laugavegur 7, 101 Reykjavík, 354-551-1733, http://trilogia.is/
Soak away your worries (and flashes of your dwindling bank account!) in the soothing salt waters of Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool, The Blue Lagoon. Stop in the gift shop and snag a few of their famous products to recreate your own home spa. http://www.bluelagoon.com/
December 20th, 2007
Eye-popping architecture, eclectic boutiques and one of the best restaurants in the world—our kind of town, Chicago is.
A short skip away from the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park, The James is a slick, hip alternative to the Marriotts, Sheratons and Hyatts. Rooms are spacious and airy and feature a mini-theater room for late-night gangster movies. Rates from $259 per night, 55 E. Ontario, Chicago, 877-526-3755, www.jameshotels.com
Lie down underneath Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and take in the city’s skyline reflected against the polished stainless steel surface.
Located side by side, Wicker Park and Bucktown are a mix of luxe labels like Derek Lam and Rachel Roy and lesser-known lines such as Foley + Corrina. Don’t miss Hejfina, an inspired showroom of art, design and fashion. 1529 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-772-0002, www.hejfina.com
A trip to Chicago would be incomplete without a bag of Garrett’s famous caramel cheese popcorn. But leave room for dinner. Charlie Trotter’s exquisite tasting menu is culinary genius. From $120 per person, 816 W. Armitage, Chicago, 773-248-6226, www.charlietrotters.com. For Garrett Popcorn Shop locations, visit www.garrettpopcorn.com
December 7th, 2007
Who doesn’t love Paris in the spring? But the culture, cuisine, champagne and shopping are just as fetching in the shoulder season.
Until Shangri-La Hotels finishes the renos on the Bonaparte family mansion, we prefer to stay at the très friendly Hotel Nicolo, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. Doubles from $175 including tax and petit dejeuner. www.hotel-nicolo.fr
Rubbing elbows with your neighbours is part of the fun at Left Bank bistro, Le Comptoir. A revered gastro-pub that serves expertly prepared regional, seasonal cuisine. Le Comptoir, 9, Carrefour de l'Odéon.
Culture? Check. Sipping bubbles at the Centre Georges Pompidou’s stunning eatery Georges is art. Absorb the avant-garde, Space Odyssey design and all-male legion of gorgeous French waiters. Stop in at twilight when the city skyline explodes into sparkling lights. www.centrepompidou.fr
Get lost down fabled French streets as you pilgrimage to the surprisingly subtle shop of the red-sole master cobbler, Christian Louboutin. Victor, a virtual Prince Charming, will whisk a stocking upon your weary feet as you step into the world’s most beautiful shoes. Hello Cinderella. 19 Rue Jean- Jacques Rousseau, www.christianlouboutin.fr
Leave the masses at Notre Dame and walk over the bridge to quaint Ile Saint Louis for the best ice cream known to man at Berthillon (31, rue St Louis-en-l'Ile). Reminiscent of a 17th Century French village, the island features markets, bakeries, fromageries, cafés and adorable boutiques.
November 8th, 2007
Amsterdam isn’t just red lights and smoking, it’s a gorgeous little city full of style, sass and comely canals.
Eat & Drink
Order a koffie verkeerd (café au lait) among the locals at the Café de Jaren. This big, bright space has a full menu, free newspapers and overlooks the Amstel River.
Café de Jaren, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-62 55 771, www.diningcity.nl//cafedejaren/en/index.html
The city is a European design capital. Hop on a speedy tram to visit the shops, restos, clubs and hotels featured in the Amsterdam Design 2007 guide. www.amsterdamdesign.info
Head to fashion-forward De Negen Straatjes (aka the 9 Streets). LockStock & Barrel carries original finds by Scandinavian designers like FilippaK and Baum und Pferdgarten. Or pick up some vintage silk blouses at Zipper.
LockStock & Barrel, Hartenstraat 26, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-4123348
Zipper, Huidenstraat 7, Amsterdam, +31(0)20-6237302
Give peace a chance in the John & Yoko Suite at the Hilton Amsterdam. The couple held a bed-in here in 1969 and the lady herself designed the room (in peaceful white, of course). Order the perfect head rest from the hotel’s pillow menu (we like the Warm & Soft filled with kapok) or borrow a bike to explore the chic shops in the Zud neighborhood.Rooms start at 215 Euros. Hilton Amsterdam, Apollolaan 138, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-710 60 00, www.hilton.com
September 6th, 2007
You may never want to leave this resort town just west of Kelowna, where wine country is thyne country.
New on the lakefront, The Cove Resort offers huge suites, a private beach and pool, beautiful landscaping (think paths lined with lavender), tennis, Bikram’s yoga, a media room….are you getting the picture? www.covelakeside.com
Just up the hill is the legendary Mission Hill Estate Winery where you can dine amongst international dignitaries and business scions in its alfresco The Terrace restaurant overlooking the vines. Go for lunch or to catch sunset, and do order dishes from the terroir. www.missionhillwinery.com
Stroll through Canada’s oldest nut farm, now a regional park, and stock up on big brown bags of organic hazelnuts, heartnuts, and the coveted black walnut ($4/lb) harvested in September. Gellatly Nut Farm, 2375 Whitworth Rd., Westbank, B.C., 250-707-1042, www.gellatlynutfarm.ca
For more information on this fall’s Okanagan Wine Festival visit www.owfs.com