February 17th, 2012
Head a few hours north of San Francisco and you’ll find yourself smack-dab in the middle of Sonoma’s quaintest, chic-est little town: Healdsburg.
The Hotel Healdsburg is laid-back luxe fit for movie stars and visiting Vancouverites alike.
Barndiva is stylish, its outdoor space is gorgeous, and its chef can turn an heirloom tomato into an experience.
There are a gazillion antique shops in Healdsburg, but a 100-year-old wooden stool is tough to fit in your suitcase. Opt for the gourmet shops and bookstores surrounding the Town Plaza instead.
Wine tours! (Duh.) Chalk Hill Estate offers equestrian tours through the vineyard. And if that isn’t romantic, then, well… have another glass of wine. —Kelsey Dundon
February 7th, 2012
In Greek mythology, the Phoenix rises from the flames to be born anew.
This year, although we didn't light ourselves on fire, we visited the deserts of Phoenix to kick-start our own health re-incarnation.
At the vast The Boulders Resort, we rode bikes around the five mile desert circuit, played tennis on the clay courts, rambled up the hills to see the amazing 12 million-year-old boulder formations up close, and jogged the nature path, with sightings of bright red cardinals and families of cottontail rabbits.
A vitamin-C facial in the world-class spa facility had our skin glowing anew, and all that was left to do was to cozy up in front of the wood burning fireplace at our private casita and plan for the morning.
Sunrise yoga? Because tomorrow is a brand new day…. —Sarah Bancroft
The Boulders Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, 34631 N Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree, Arizona, 480-488-9009, www.theboulders.com
January 26th, 2012
A recent trip to the “West’s most Western town” uncovered a hot new hotel, sizzling kitchens, and fab food carts.
Does this outdoor fireplace look enticing? And so are the gorgeous pickled red and gold beets (served with whipped ricotta and crostini, $8) as well as the handcrafted classic cocktails at Old Town Whiskey, The Saguaro, 4000 N Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ, 480-308-1068, www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/saguaro
Overlooking a beautiful park, the patio at Distrito lures with the scent of barbeque from the smoker. Serving modern Mexican fare, the whimsical décor (like this wall of Mexican wrestling masks) compliments the fun, interactive tasting dishes. Tortillas are pressed inside the restaurant and delivered to tables still warm in baskets. Fill them with whatever is in the smoker and you will be one happy camper. Distrito, The Saguaro, 4000 N Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ, 480-308-1068, www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/saguaro
A play on “Food and Beverage,” FnB has been a hit with industry folks, serving street food dishes late at night on Sundays. But everyone will appreciate the chef’s hustle as she prepares delicious little dishes like braised leeks in mustard breadcrumbs topped with a fried egg ($14) in the salamander while grilling lamb tenderloin ($32) over charcoal in the middle of the room. It’s like dinner and a show, all in one. FnB, 7133 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ, 480-425-9463, www.fnbrestaurant.com
The new Saguaro Hotel is the place to stay so you can order the Old Town Burger ($12) with beef that’s coarsely ground in-house and tangy house-made Thousand Island, poolside or bedside, your choice. 4000 N Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ, 480-308-1068, www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/saguaro
Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. Beautiful produce (pink grapefruit for a quarter each) plus a row of food carts around the perimeter make it a great way to start the day. Go early for croissants from the French bakery stall, and coffee from this retro trailer called Shine. Saturday, 8am to 1pm, corner of Brown St. and First Ave, Scottsdale, AZ, www.arizonafarmersmarkets.com —Sarah Bancroft
For more photos from our Scottsdale trip, please visit our Editor’s Diary.
January 12th, 2012
“Travel more” appears on our to-do list every year, so maybe 2012 will be the year we finally dust off our adventure bags.
Instead of the usual Metropolitan or beach destinations, why not venture into a new kind of vacation: a volunteer one. GoVoluntouring is a new website that allows one to search over 900 volunteer vacations around the world, filtering the options by destination, program type, duration, cost ($0-$1500), fitness level, and age. So if your dream is to make friends with baby elephants in Thailand, bring out your inner Indiana Jones with an archeology team in the Grenadines, or get handy while building an orphanage in Guatemala—there is an option for that. — Anya Georgijevic
September 29th, 2011
If your girlfriend getaways are like mine, conversations range from stock tips to sex tips and activities include both trail runs and booze runs.
You'll appeal to to all the whims in your diverse group (Bridesmaids, anyone?) with the Pan Pacific Whistler's new Sporty & Spa Girlfriend Getaway. Propose a toast in your luxurious suite right in the middle of the Village, then fill up on comfort food at the Irish pub while the night is young (there's plenty of time to burn it off on the dance floor). Moving on to day two, we highly recommend biking the Valley Trail to the Scandinave Spa near Lost Lake where hot and cold Nordic bath experiences and steams will shake off any vestiges of the night before.
But your high school mishaps, dating disasters and brutal student jobs—those stories are still sticking, apparently. —Sarah Bancroft
The Sporty & Spa Girlfriend Getaway at the Pan Pacific Whistler package for two ($699) includes two nights accommodation in a two bedroom suite, daily breakfast, one day's bike rental, a Scandinave Spa Bath experience, dinner at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and complimentary valet parking. Until October 10, 2011, www.panpacificwhistler.com
September 22nd, 2011
Our latest visit to BC's capital city uncovered the best new places to, eat, drink….and shop.
The neighbourhood of Oak Bay is home to a brand new women’s store Public, stocked with eye catching jewellery by Giles Brother (modeled after the designers’ grandmother’s estate collection), fine cashmere sweaters from England’s John Smedley, and Tibi New York. After, head next door to the new Vis-à-Vis winebar for a charcuterie plate. Public, 201-2250 Oak Bay Ave., Victoria, 250-590-6405, www.publicboutique.ca
(Let’s Hear it) For the Boys
Public’s sister store, Citizen, carries-carefully curated menswear and accessories like Filson bags, handmade shoes, reams of silk ties, Denham jeans and retro bicycles for the dapper man about town. Citizen Clothing, 2541 Estevan Ave., Victoria, 250-590-6716, www.citizenclothing.ca
Renting bikes from Cycle BC will get you to Oak Bay along the oceanfront in no time. Start at Beacon Hill Park, do the seaside route, and return via the Empress Hotel Veranda for a glass of rosé. Cycle BC, 685 Humboldt St. , Victoria, 250-380-2453, www.cyclebc.ca
What’s a getaway without a spa stop? The boutique-size Spa at the Grand does a top-notch pedicure (while you recline on a bed) and the RMT massages were both therapeutic and relaxing. Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St., Victoria, 250-386-0450, www.hotelgrandpacific.com
A surprising discovery was the Ocean-Wise Dim Sum at The Pacific with locally-sourced ingredients. Order off the Asian tea menu (we loved The Philosopher Brew) and start with the BC Seafood Congee ($12) which is light and delicious. Cowichan Valley Springrolls ($8) and Qualicum Scallop Dumplings ($8) are a modern spin on locavore fusion—and a great idea, we might add. Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St., Victoria, 250-386-0450, www.hotelgrandpacific.com
Open daily with no reservations, the new 200-seat Zambri’s is truly an international-level restaurant in the shiny-new downtown Atrium building. Would saying it was the best meal of our year be too much? I think not. Dish after sublime dish—vegetable-forward and ultra-progressively Italian—was a delightful surprise. House-cured meats pushed appies up (bread dumplings with ground salumi wrapped in spec, do you hear me?) and silky, egg-y pastas roll off the tongue like the romance languages. Zambris, 820 Yates St., Victoria, 250-360-1171, www.zambris.ca
Ulla’s proprietors are a young couple who honed their skills at Vancouver’s Cibo among other fine dining establishments. On the edge of Chinatown, it’s a loft-y space with a formidable cookbook collection (try the Momofuku chicken wings, an ode to New York’s David Chang). A $7 glass of Cava sets the tone for a fun evening and pairs perfectly with the octopus salad ($12). Ulla, 509 Fisgard St., Victoria, 250-590-8795, www.ulla.ca —Sarah Bancroft
Read more about our Victoria trip in our Editors' Diary.
August 25th, 2011
It’s not every day we ride in a private chopper.
Unless we’re hiking with the pioneers of the heli-adventure, that is. Canadian Mountain Holidays runs guided heli-hiking treks through the stunningly beautiful Bugaboo Mountains just outside Banff. There, we walked in the hoofsteps of mountain goats, summited thousand-foot peaks, and dipped our toes in alpine lakes before returning to the lodge for massages, whirlpools and the most gourmet fare we’ve ever been served in the backcountry.
Now that’s what we call roughing it. —Kelsey Dundon
From $2,490, www.canadianmountainholidays.com
August 18th, 2011
Every corner of this mountain town boasts breathtaking vistas, but there’s much more to see in Canmore than just mountain peaks.
Swine and dine. We think the TroUgh’s subtle pig theme gives us a green light to pig out on their award-winning fare.
Don’t worry about packing light—the massive suites at the Grande Rockies Resort will fit you, your friends and all your oversized luggage too.
Pick up some mountain-chic housewares at Stonewaters then grab some luxe Lollia bath products at Stella’s right next door.
It’s not just the fresh mountain air that’ll do you good. The Gaia Clinic offers everything from yoga to acupuncture to Shirodhara head massages.
Verde Day Spa just opened a new location at Grande Rockies Resort and an organic facial there is like a raw food diet for your pores.
August 4th, 2011
We trekked to a tiny mountain town in the middle of a national park and found no shortage of cosmopolitan experiences.
Check into Brewster’s Mountain Lodge for its just-off-Banff Ave. location and its very of-the-moment Navajo decor.
Try on a couple pairs at Bison Courtyard’s Avanti, a shoe shop that carries nary a hiking boot and instead offers stylish footwear fit for city slickers.
The Banff Springs Hotel is a stunning fortress in the forest so ditch the dudes on the golf course and head indoors for high tea with your girlfriends.
Feeling really creative? Apply for a residency at the Banff Centre. Or just revel in others’ creative genius and take in a performance there instead.
Nothing, really. Let your masseuse take on the hard work while you relax on the massage table at the soothing Red Earth Spa. —Kelsey Dundon
July 26th, 2011
Editor-in-Chief Sarah Bancroft’s France Packing List
This slightly rumpled chambray blazer from Anthropologie works with white jeans or shorts, and is perfect for the plane. $118.
My Italian linen deck towels will serve as tablecloths in Paris for impromptu picnics in the Parc Monceau with fare from Alain Ducasse’s Boulangepicierie.
This dress from See by Chloe’s Fall 2011 collection will be my go-to for evenings out with my husband.
But my K Jacques sandals from Misch (they look even better now that they are worn in) will come in handy for chasing my children through the Jardin du Luxembourg. I look forward to buying a new pair like these at the Atelier where they are handmade in St. Tropez.
The house we are renting in the south has a pool, so what better to read by it than The House in France, the witty new memoir by Gully Wells about the fabulous life of her parents, a celebrated American journalist and an Oxford philosopher set in New York, London and Provence.
And for reading attire, I just ordered a Vitamin A strapless black bikini (something about the name must have caught my eye) from their Gold collection which is super-luxe and soft.
I like a no-make-up look for the summer, so this tinted lipbalm in Nobody’s Baby from new Vancouver company Ilia beauty will fit in my carryon.
Bon Voyage! —Sarah Bancroft