October 4th, 2012
It would take years to explore one of the world’s largest cities, so this time we focused on Mexico City’s vibrant food and design culture. (For more on Mexico City, click here.)
Located in the ritzy Santa Fe business district, boutique hotel Distrito Capital occupies the top ten floors of a skyscraper, which means breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings, not to mention its trippy Tron-esque entrance. Both Lady Gaga and Bono have stayed there…what else is there to know? Distrito Capital, Av. Juan Salvador Agraz 37, Santa Fé, México City, 1-866-978-7020, www.hoteldistritocapital.com
Searching for the new and hip? You’ll find it in the city’s Condesa and Roma districts. Parque Mexico is a great place to start exploring and discovering beautiful art deco architecture, charming sidewalk espresso bars, local boutiques, and artisanal chocolate shops like Princesse Cacao (Fernando Montes de Oca 81, Condesa, 5211-0276), all while meeting at least fifty dogs and their hipster owners. End your stroll on the sun-soaked terrace of Hotel Brick (Orizaba 95, Roma, Mexico City, 5525-1100) for a margarita or two.
If you’ve already said hello to Frida and Diego, then give Rufino Tamayo a visit for a contemporary art fix. Along with the famed Mexican painter’s works, Museo Tamayo houses a permanent collection of his peers (he did live to almost a 100!) like Rothko, Miró, and Warhol as well as rotating contemporary exhibitions. The museum is located in the Chapultepec Park, which could easily rival NYC’s Central Park in its beauty. Museo Tamayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Paseo de la Reforma y Gandhi Bosque de Chapultepec, México City, 5286-6519, http://museotamayo.org
Mexico City’s food choices are abundant, from taco stands to fine dining establishments. One of the latest favourites is restaurant Azul Histórico in the Centro district, which has taken over the gorgeous courtyard of the newly opened Hotel Downtown. Surrounded by historic brick, lush trees and beautiful people, feast on Mexican specialties like organic hibiscus flower enchiladas and Tixin Xie fish. Azul Histórico, Isabel La Católica 30, Centro Histórico, Mexico City, 5510-1316, http://azulhistorico.com
It won’t be hard to find incredible things to buy in Mexico City, but local designer Carla Fernández caught our eye with her amazing draping and a fresh take on Mexican knitwear — yes, that includes the legendary poncho. Thank us when everyone asks you, “Hey, where’d you get that?” Carla Fernández, Molière 58-A, Polanco, Mexico City, 5912 8010, http://carlafernandez.com
September 24th, 2012
If it’s not about the destination, then we’re determined to make the journey as stress-free as possible.
jet/set/go, a new line of cheap and cheerful travel accessories, does just that. Over-packers will rejoice in the portable luggage scale ($24) that lets you weigh your bags before check in. Beauty junkies will love the travel container set ($9) that comes in a resealable bag to keep creams and potions pristine. Neat freaks will take comfort in the compact laundry bag ($6) that ensures worn clothes don’t mix with the unworn.
Hey, if we’re going to come with baggage....
At Superstore, www.superstore.ca
August 29th, 2012
Our Editor-in-Chief moves some of her favourite things to her new Palm Springs getaway.
The Elephant in the Room
For my girls’ shared bunkroom, this Elephant is the perfect mid-century kids décor. Originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames for their own family in plywood, it’s now reissued in glossy plastic. $320 at EQ3, www.eQ3.com
Other than my Nexus card, these made-in-Italy Roots sandals ($168) were the life-saver of my last trip. Breezy enough for the weather, yet sturdy enough to traipse through succulent nurseries. www.roots.com
Designer Trina Turk owns a home in Palm Springs, and has recently expanded her store there to include a swim boutique. I especially love the Palm Springs Block Towel ($58) in orange, inspired by the decorative “brise soleil” walls you see everywhere.
Most of our décor is coming from the amazing consignment shops in and around Palm Springs, but this stunning poster for my friends’ architecture documentary, Coast Modern, will take pride of place in the Master. $150 at www.coastmodernfilm.com
Keep Calm and Carry On
When the reno stress gets to me, I’ll simply spray on my Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist, which also hydrates and reduces redness from heat, sunburn, waxing, or, I hope, concrete dust. $45, www.dermalogica.ca
August 2nd, 2012
On a recent trip to Southern California, we were blown away by the beachy-chic lifestyle of Santa Monica—so we’ve decided to drop everything and move there.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the luxury Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows used to be the private mansion belonging to Senator John P. Jones, the founder of Santa Monica. With that history lesson in mind, it’s easy to see that this 123-year old SoCal staple is one lavish and classy stay. Work up a sweat (for real) in a barre class at Exhale Spa, and reward yourself later with a dip in the outdoor hot tub and a nightcap at FIG Restaurant before returning to your elegant suite and freshly turned-down bed. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-576-7777, www.fairmont.com/santamonica
Apart from the obvious beach appeal, Santa Monica is a bike lover’s paradise, spanning just 8.3 square miles. The city’s new Bike Center is the largest in the U.S., and has two downtown locations for rentals, valet parking, and tours (we did a self-guided exploration of the excellent vintage shops). In the next few years, look for the light rail system that will connect to Los Angeles and Hollywood. Bike Center, Unit A 1555 2nd St., Santa Monica, 310-656-8500, and one other location, www.santamonicabikecenter.com
West Coast hot spot Michael’s Restaurant, just a few blocks up from the Fairmont estate, has a romantic garden patio, mind-blowing seafood dishes, “California Cults” wine list, and another equally successful restaurant New York. (Anna Wintour is rumoured to be a regular, and allegedly likes her steak blue-rare). Michael’s Restaurant, 1147 Third St., Santa Monica, CA, 310-451-0843, http://www.michaelssantamonica.com
In this town, beach is the new black, but that doesn’t mean they’re short on clothing. Stroll Third Street Promenade for classic American retailers and the first West Coast Converse store, where you can customize your own souvenir-pair of kicks à la Santa Monica, complete with palm trees and the infamous pier. At the end of the strip, get lost in Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Barneys Co-Op at Santa Monica Place.
… for celebrities. While our brush with fame happened in our hotel lobby with funny man Adam Sandler, the Fairmont Miramar has a history of welcoming celeb guests (Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Kennedys, to name a few). Outside the hotel, the place to see and be seen is Montana Avenue. —Caroline Gault
Booking info at visitcalifornia.com
August 1st, 2012
We like our wilderness without too much wildness.
So we were in our element at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge on the Sunshine Coast. Its most recent addition – six ocean-view rooms perched on top of a cliff – is so new, this editor was the first person to stay in her room. But you won’t want to spend all your time in your suite. Hop in a kayak and explore the islands outside your window. Or take a hike to the Skookumchuck Narrows and treat yourself to a Skookum cinnamon bun at the Green Rosette Bake Shop at the trailhead.
It’s a walk on the not-too-wild side.—Kelsey Dundon
From $175 a night. Westcoast Wilderness Lodge, 6649 Maple Rd., Egmont, 604-883-3667, www.wcwl.com
July 26th, 2012
The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland and so are our dreams of a great weekend escape.
It doesn’t get any more quirky – or more Portland – than a night in a McMenamins hotel property. Their flagship, the Kennedy School (pictured), will have you sleeping in a converted classroom, but the Chrystal Hotel is right downtown.
The fact that it’s well outside downtown makes St. Jack that much more charming. It doesn’t hurt that they serve French cuisine, like gratin de macaroni, that would satisfy any gourmand.
The Alphabet District in Northwest Portland is lined with small boutiques slotted between the likes of Restoration Hardware and Urban Outfitters. When you’ve worked up an appetite with all that shopping, stop into the unassuming Red Onion, which serves killer Thai food.
Stroll through the Portland State University Farmer’s Market on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll find all the organic, local produce you’ll need for a lunch al fresco Portland-style. —Kelsey Dundon
July 19th, 2012
Our Editor-in-chief Sarah Bancroft's recent tour proves Montrealers do everything in style.
Its central downtown location and stellar views are one thing, but that we met the Scissor Sisters in the elevator and ended up at their show, well, that doesn’t happen just anywhere. Marriot Chateau Champlain, 1 Place du Canada, Montreal, 1-800-200-5909, www.montrealchateauchamplain.com
Only in Montreal would a top chef get to put a sleek, modern shipping container on the sidewalk and serve horse tartare. The signature salmon with shaved fennel is sublime, and, in keeping with the aesthetic, The Contemporary Art Museum is just steps away. Brasserie T, 1425 Jeanne-Mance St., Montreal, 514-282-0808, www.brasserie-t.com
Old Montreal is one of the prettiest places to walk in the city. We suggest getting your bearings with the 18-minute multi-media show Yours Truly, Montreal (designed by the all-female Montreal team Moment Factory, who work with Jay-Z and Madonna). Lunch at its rooftop restaurant (pictured) with view of the Old Port is highly recommended. Point à Callière Museum of Archeology and History. 350 Place Royale, Montreal, 514-872-9150, http://pacmusee.qc.ca
If you are an all-natural spa junkie, you need to get yourself to Dr. Hauschka’s only Canadian outlet for an incredible facial with healing ingredients like rosemary. They use tiny brushes to perform lymphatic drainage so your visage will be toned and lifted, too. 1444 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-286-1444, www.spadrhauschka.com
After the spa, pop into the garden of the nearby Maison Bouloud at the newly refurbished Ritz Carlton Hotel. We suggest a glass of rosé in the just-opened Glass House overlooking the duck pond. But don’t worry about the ducks ending up in your dinner: Canard Confit is not on the menu. Le Jardin du Ritz at Maison Boulud, 1228 Rue Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 514-842-4212, www.danielboulud.com
Our Montreal editor Christine Laroche took us to Editions de Robes, run by a former Jacob executive with an eye for high quality vintage. We loved the look of a new pink dress based on a Balenciaga, but left with a covetable Yves St. Laurent vintage clutch. 178 St-Viateur St. W., Montreal, 514-271-7676, www.editionsderobes.com
July 5th, 2012
Turquoise lagoons, adrenaline-pumping activities, cultural landmarks… all served with a side of rum punch and Bob Marley, of course.
Kick back in style at the timelessly elegant yet warm and cozy Jamaica Inn, a favourite of celebs ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Kelly Rowland. With zero distractions (read: WiFi or television), grab a Planter’s Punch and soak in the views of the hotel’s private sandy beach. The toughest decision we had to make? Choosing whether to watch the sunset from our room’s private deck, the beach, the al fresco spa or one of outdoor dining spaces. 1-800-837-4608, www.jamaicainn.com
For a little bit more action, it’s all about the Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay. Besides the Nantucket-esque vibe (rooms were refurbished by Ralph Lauren, so pack those nautical stripes!), there’s a slew of on-site activities to choose from, ranging from a coffee and sugar body scrub at the spa (housed in what was a plantation house during the 18th century) to deep sea diving and tennis. Kudos if you manage to ever tear yourself away from the stunning double-edged infinity pool. 1-800-972-2159, http://www.roundhill.com
Ocho Rios, the city where Christopher Columbus is believed to have first set foot in Jamaica, is home to some of the country’s most exciting, not-to-be-missed attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin’s Cove.
Take a trip back to colonial times with a visit to Greenwood, a house built by Richard Barrett (Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cousin) in the 1800s. It is filled with fascinating artifacts from both Europe and Jamaica and the view from the breezy veranda is more than worth the slightly treacherous trip up into the hills.
There are patties aplenty (look for Juici or Tastee, the two most popular shops), but Jamaica is jerk country, so grab an outdoor seat at one of several Scotchies locations and enjoy some authentic jerk chicken, pork or fish The combination of jerk spice and grilling on wood planks produces the deliciously addictive flavor. Add some Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce – a.k.a. one of the world’s hottest peppers! – at your own risk but don’t skip the yummy sides (think fried dough balls, pumpkin rice and a Red Stripe).
Ja man! —Christine Laroche
For snapshots of our trip to Jamaica, visit the Editors’ Diary.
June 7th, 2012
There’s so much to see in Seatown, these are just a few of our favourite places.
We love a good luxury boutique hotel and Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco puts us blocks from the downtown shopping district and the rapidly changing Capitol Hill. www.monaco-seattle.com
We could spend hours in Totokaelo’s airy – and exceptionally well-curated – new space. http://totokaelo.com
From the team that brought us How to Cook a Wolf (the best restaurant name of all time) comes Anchovies and Olives, an open-kitchen restaurant that puts a modern twist on Italian fare. http://ethanstowellrestaurants.com
The Seattle Art Museum (or SAM, if you’re on a first-name basis) is worth a visit anytime. This week, a brand new exhibit, Ancestral Modern, opens. www.seattleartmuseum.org
Spice rack looking a little bare? Sugar Pill Apothecary carries all sorts of cutely packaged salts and herbs, some of which we’ve never even heard of. www.sugarpillseattle.com —Kelsey Dundon
May 24th, 2012
It’s our annual Okanagan hot sheet!
As if it weren’t enough that Church and State has built an architecturally spectacular tasting room (witness the glassed-in barrel room), it is soon to open a patio with an ice bar to keep you (and your glass of Cuvée) cool this summer. www.churchandstatewines.com
At Spirit Ridge, perched in the hills just above Lake Osoyoos, it’s not unusual to see people on their balconies for hours, gazing out at the stunning mountain, lake and vineyard views. Even better with glass of N’Kmip Pinot Noir in hand. Oh, is it only 10 a.m.? www.spiritridge.ca
The new Mica restaurant at Spirit Ridge brought in a stellar team to create “wine country comfort food” using high quality local ingredients: a round of Butcher’s Burgers on the patio sounds good to us. www.spiritridge.ca
The family-owned organic Covert Farms has just launched a new wine label featuring the dramatic McIntire Bluff and the Nighthawk – both features of the bucolic property. With an on-site casual restaurant with patio, organic fruit and veggies, plus kids activities and organic farming camps, it’s the perfect answer to wine tasting with wee ones. www.covertfarms.ca
The remodeled Silvery Sage winery is a popular spot for weddings and it is easy to see why: beautiful landscaping, rose-lined walkways, and weeping willows. We do! www.silversagewinery.com —Sarah Bancroft
For more highlights from our 48 hours in Oliver/Osoyoos Wine Country, visit our Editors' Diary.