Vancouver - TRAVEL & LEISURE
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
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 21st, 2012
Ford isn’t the only Harrison that has us smitten. B.C.’s Harrison Hot Springs provides fun in the sun for the whole family.
The little-known rustic cottages (if you can call flat screen TV’s rustic) book up fast, but are situated in the resort’s beautiful garden in close proximity to the nature trails. Plus, they are pet friendly. www.harrisonresort.com/cottages
The medicinal pools at Harrison Resort and Spa are the perfect compliment to a soothing facial from the Healing Waters Spa, which uses skincare products from France. www.harrisonresort.com/spa-treatments
These 5-seater pedicabs are a fun way to explore the quaint town (via bikelane) and the pretty lakeshore. Keep the kids away from the horn! $25/hour, Jamie’s Quadricycle Rentals, 604-703-8951.
If two-wheels are more your thing, sign up for the upcoming Slow Food Cycle Tour in neighbouring Aggasiz this July. www.slowfoodvancouver.com
Make sure to stop at Farmhouse Cheese to see baby goats and pick up their famous cheese, yogourt, and yes, ice cream. www.farmhousecheeses.com —Sarah Bancroft
For more information about the area and events, please visit www.harrisonresort.com
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 31st, 2012
1. A great present for Father’s Day. Take him white water rafting down the Elaho river, and it includes a salmon BBQ lunch on a private beach. Delicious, scary, and fun. ($155 per person.)
2. A great present for Grandfather’s Day. The safer boat trip includes a scenic float down the Cheakumus river. Doesn’t involve wetsuits, but keep your eyes out for bears, cougars, and coyotes. ($75-$95 per person)
3. Show off to your American friends. Take them down the eagle viewing float, in the bald eagle capital of the world, and show them how those magestic birds prefer it up here in Canada. ($65 to $100 per person, winter only.)
4. Because you need a weekend escape. Rent one of the riverside cabins at Sunwolf for $100 per night. Featuring hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings, with access to BBQs and hot tubs, this feels like a world away but is only 70 minutes from Vancouver.
5. Because you are hungry. Tired of the tourist-y restaurants in Whistler? Stop by Sunwolf’s Fergie’s café on your way to or from the mountain resort, and have lunch in a cosy café on the shores of the Cheakamus river. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Check out our Editor's blog for more photos of Sunwolf and our river rafting trip.
Sunwolf, 70002 Squamish Valley Rd., Brackendale, 604-898-1537 or 1-877-806-8046, www.sunwolf.net
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.
May 17th, 2012
Of course you can’t skip the Louvre and Ladurée, but these insider spots will have you feeling like a Parisian.
Avoid the crowds of Champs-Élysées and be a flâneur in Paris’s chicest neighborhood, Le Marais. Here you’ll find the city’s hidden gems, from Jewish bakeries to art galleries to independent designer shops, including the elusive Azzedine Alaïa. Keep an eye out for style-savvy Parisians as they stroll away on these cobblestone streets. Métro: Saint-Paul (M1).
Our fashion editor—a former Parisienne—recommended Didier Ludot, a high-end vintage and consignment store. It’s truly spectacular, with finds ranging from $200 costume earrings by Dior to several-thousand dollar Givenchy couture. Tip: if it looks closed, ring the doorbell. Didier Ludot, 24 Galerie Montpensier - Jardin du Palais Royal, 01 42 96 06 56, www.didierludot.fr
The French chef Pierre Jancou of Vivant is a trailblazer. This tiny 20-something seat spot serves traditional French fare, the greatest selection of natural wines, foie gras out of this world, and perhaps the finest bread in the right bank. Hip Parisians love this spot, so reservations are a must. Vivant, 43 rue des Petites Ecuries, 01 42 46 43 55.
People often skip Le Café de Flore, deeming it too touristy. But the truth is that this legendary café, once visited by the likes of Sartre and de Beauvoir, is just as beloved by locals. Its fashionable clientele includes Sofia Coppola and Inès de la Fressange. We spotted the illustrious Yohji Yamamoto enjoying his afternoon espresso! Le Café de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 01 45 48 55 26, www.cafedeflore.fr
In the city where one could go to the Louvre and Palais de Tokyo, it might sound silly—bordering on crazy—to be recommending a public toilet. If I tell you that the Toilettes de la Madeleine is the world’s most beautiful bathroom, we wouldn’t be lying. A throwback to the dreamy Belle Epoque era, its carved wood panels and stained glass windows will transport you to a different time, Midnight In Paris style. —Anya Georgijevic
Toilettes de la Madeleine, Place de la Madeleine
Check out our Parisian Street Style pics in our Editors’ Diary.
May 10th, 2012
While the Parisiens are anticipating the result of the Ritz's two year renovation due to be complete in 2014, there's a different, and more modern, hotel renovation just completed on our home turf.
Opus Hotel Vancouver has finished its technology renovation, and it has taken the hotel to new, digital heights. Featuring customized ipads with a digital concierge and Telus' Optik TV, the hotel not only provides you with guidance on what to do during your stay, but also ensures that even your bedtime TV experience is high tech and luxurious.
And did you know they allow pets? The only thing missing now is a pet concierge. Although we are pretty sure that probably already exists in Yaletown. —Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
Opus Hotel, 322 Davie St., Vancouver, 604-642-6787, www.vancouver.opushotel.com