Honeymoon Part 1: Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives

It’s been a while since my last post about my trip to Bermuda and so much has happened since then. I’ve taken on an additional role at work which has kept me rather busy although I have managed to keep up on Instagram. I’ve been wanting to write about this hotel for a while so I’m happy to finally have the chance to share our experience at the beautiful Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives.

If you recall from my Instagram posts in January, Sashien and I had our wedding reception at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka (wedding photos are currently being edited and I will share some once I receive them) and I’ve been a patron of this hotel since 2008. As we had our wedding in Colombo it made sense to start off our honeymoon in the Maldives one of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations in the world. Since we trusted and knew the Cinnamon brand of hotels we decided to choose a Cinnamon property in the Maldives and Cinnamon Dhonveli did not disappoint.

Getting There

There is one international airport in the Maldives located in the capital city of Male. Since we were in Colombo we flew Sri Lankan Airlines direct to Male however there are many other airlines that fly there from the Middle East, Europe and East Asia. Once you land in Male you have to take either a speedboat or a seaplane to your resort. Each resort is located on its own little island or atoll. Luckily for us Cinnamon Dhonveli was pretty close to Male and only a 25 minute speedboat ride away. I am a very strong swimmer and absolutely fearless when it comes to water but this speedboat ride even had me shakey! The Indian ocean can be very rough so it’s extremely important that you wear your lifejacket and hold on tight as it can get quite bumpy out there. If you do get motion sick I would strongly suggest taking your medication before you board the boat.

The Resort

Once we got to the resort we were greeted and welcomed with Cinnamon Hotels’ signature brand of hospitality. We were offered cold towels and drinks as we waited to be checked in. Since we were on our honeymoon we were upgraded to an overwater suite which is located on a dock built into the sea and the suites are freestanding on the water. We were in room 701 which was the furthest out into the sea and offered the best privacy and views of the ocean and lagoon.

There are other room categories at the resort which consist of bungalows and rooms. You can opt for a water bungalow which is the similar to a suite but excludes a living room area, a beach bungalow is located on the land and comes in a duplex style as well as a pool option. There are also simple beach rooms. A full list of all the room types can be found here.

Overwater Suite

Our suite was located at the end of the dock and we enjoyed walking along the dock to get to the main island for our meals. The suite was equipped with a spacious living area which included a coffee table that looked down into the ocean (yes we could see some fish swimming by).

The suite had a king bed and large sliding doors which opened out onto the spacious sundeck which included a seating area, overwater hammock and steps to go down into the ocean. I really enjoyed taking a dip in the Indian ocean first thing in the morning, it’s a great way to start the day.

Here’s a room tour:

There was also a large bathroom with a shower and tub, the sun deck could also be accessed from the bathroom. The suite came equipped with a mini bar, refillable branded water bottles and  sun care essentials courtesy of Spa Ceylon.

The Amenities + Dining 

Cinnamon Dhonveli is very much a luxury resort offering amenities such as a spa, pools, water sports, wellness activities and offsite excursions. One interesting feature at this resort is when you book directly through their website you can choose 2 complimentary activities as part of your stay. The activities consist of:

  • 4 course dinner by the beach
  • Malé city excursion
  • Dolphin watching experience
  • Kid Stays Free
  • 45-minute spa treatment

We chose the Dolphin Experience and the 4 course dinner by the beach and we really enjoyed both of these activities.

The resort features 4 dining outlets: Tex Mex, Beach Bar, Koimala and Raalu Bar. Depending on your room category and package type you may be assigned to one particular restaurant for your all inclusive meals and drinks. We chose the breakfast and dinner package and decided to explore the various options including in-room dining for lunch.

The Verdict

If you haven’t been to the Maldives before then you definitely need to check our this destination. The climate in the Maldives is extremely warm and humid so be sure to stay hydrated and use lots of sunscreen. I would definitely recommend checking out Cinnamon Dhonveli for its proximity to the airport, beautiful rooms and amenities and friendly staff. We stayed there for 3 nights and I felt that was sufficient; keep in mind each hotel is located on its own island so you don’t need to much time at a resort to get a feel for the place.

The Maldives is a muslim country so be aware of cultural and religious norms when you arrive. I would suggest a more modest outfit for the airport. Beware of the rules concerning alcohol as no one can bring alcohol into the airport and it is not served at any airport lounges, although it is readily available at the resorts.

We really enjoyed starting off our honeymoon at Cinnamon Dhonveli and we look forward to checking out the other Cinnamon properties in the Maldives.

Live Exquisite at the St. Regis Bermuda

Earlier this month I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the beautiful island of Bermuda! It was my first time in Bermuda and it certainly won’t be my last.

I stayed at the exquisite St. Regis Bermuda Resort located in St. George’s which is just a short drive away from the airport. In true St. Regis tradition the hotel staff are warm, welcoming and treat every guest like family. The service at this resort was impeccable which made the breathtaking ocean views that much sweater.

The Rooms

The St. Regis Bermuda offers many different room types ranging from limited ocean views, partial ocean views and ocean front rooms and suites. I had the privilege of staying in a beautiful ocean view king room with sweeping vistas of the Atlantic ocean, the hotel pool and the historic Fort St. Catherine’s.

One thing I loved about my room was the bathroom. If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I’m pretty picky when it comes to hotel rooms and bathrooms and this one did not disappoint. The bathroom was huge with double sinks, a rain shower, a large soaker tub and generous closet space!

I loved listening to the sound of the ocean as I was falling asleep at night and waking up to a gorgeous sea view in the morning.

Dining

The hotel offers many different dining options from Lina Restaurant for breakfast and lunch, BLT Steak NY for dinner and the St. Regis Bar which opens at 4pm every day. I especially enjoyed the creative cocktails at the bar and the beautiful views from Lina at breakfast.

In addition to these dining options guests at the St. Regis are treated to a Champagne sabouring ceremony every evening as the staff celebrate the transition from day to night. I had the opportunity to experience this during my stay and it was a lovely way to kick off the evening. Guests are invited to the terrace where they are told the history of the St. Regis brand and how the sabrage came to be part of the St. Regis experience. It is said that the art of sabrage was popularized by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte who allegedly used his sword to open bottles of champagne and is quoted as famously saying “Always carry champagne! In victory you deserve it & in defeat you need it!”

Alexandra Mosher Collection

During my time at the St. Regis I was invited to attend a beautiful afternoon tea celebrating international women’s day and the launch of Bermudian jewellery designer Alexandra Mosher’s newest collection inspired by the St. Regis. This was Alexandra’s second collection in collaboration with the St. Regis Bermuda and was an homage to Caroline Astor; the mother of John Jacob Astor IV the founder fo the St. Regis brand.

The collection features jewellery that will take you from day to night. For example for  breakfast you can wear a delicate pair of studs and add on an intricate pendant for an afternoon by the pool. For evening sabrage add a beautiful bracelet and accent piece to your pendant. The studs also convert to hanging earrings for dancing the night away at the St. Regis bar. This is such a versatile collection influenced by the victorian era.

I truly enjoyed the afternoon tea as I got to meet Alexandra along with so many other lovely ladies. One of my favourite things about Bermuda is the people, they made me feel so welcome and at ease.

Excursions

Walk through St. George’s

 

The resort is located in the picturesque city of St. George’s. Everywhere you look is just so beautiful! The city centre is just a short walk from the hotel and features quaint shops, the town hall and many restaurants and dining options. I took a small trip into St. George’s and enjoyed walking through the city.

Crystal and Fantasy Caves

One of the hidden treasure of Bermuda and a must-do in St. George’s is a visit to the fantasy and crystal caves. You can take a short taxi ride from the hotel and purchase tour tickets to cover both caves. These caves are stunning and they truly are a natural wonder.

Lili Bermuda

I love perfume so a stop at Lili Bermuda was a must for me. This adorable perfumery is run by master perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone who is also Canada’s Honorary Consul in Bermuda and so the property doubles as the Canadian Consulate. Isabelle was gracious enough to give me a tour of her perfumery and I was pleased to learn they also offer classes where you can make your own scent. I enjoyed a walk through the charming gardens at Lili Bermuda and I was thrilled to hear they frequently host tea parties onsite as well. It’s such a lovely spot for a girl’s day out or even a bridal shower.

Day trip to Hamilton

Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda and is located about 40 mins away from the hotel. A trip into town is a must when you’re staying at the St. Regis. Hamilton was so lively and colourful. I enjoyed walking through Queen Elizabeth Park and stopping by the Bermuda sign for a mandatory photo! When you go into Hamilton be sure to stop in at Flying Colours for some souvenirs and the English Sports Shop to pick up a pair of Bermuda shorts. I picked up a pair for my husband and there were so many colours and designs to choose from. Pro-tip: gentlemen make sure you size up and go up 2 sizes from your pants size as the shorts do fit a bit snug.

I also popped in at Alexandra Mosher’s flagship store in Hamilton and it was a pretty pink dreamland! If you know me you know that pink is my favourite colour so I was literally in heaven in this store. Be sure to check out her pink sand pieces and other jewellery inspired by the textures of Bermuda.

I truly enjoyed my time in Bermuda and I can’t wait to visit again. A huge thank you to the St. Regis Bermuda for hosting me and inviting me to be a part of such a lovely weekend!

 

The Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach

I’m back with another fun hotel review that I’m excited to share with you! Last month I visited Miami, Florida and stayed at the Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach. This was my second collaboration with Sonesta Hotels, if you recall I visited the beautiful Yorkville Royal Sonesta last year.

The Hotel

The Nautilus hotel is conveniently located on Collins Ave, a trendy street in Miami Beach. It’s close to restaurants, shopping and night life. The hotel has a wonderful vintage tropical vibe to it. As you walk into the lobby you’ll notice lush greenery, wicker furniture and lots of tropical prints. I love anything tropical so I immediately loved the aesthetic of this lobby.

At the end of the lobby is the elegant bar which seamlessly pairs vintage charm with trendy libations. The gold flamingos in the the centre of the bar really give the place a tropical vintage vibe. I really liked the colour scheme in this area too. They also offer a daily happy hour from 5-7pm, I’d highly recommend checking this out.

The Nautilus also boasts a vibrant collection of Art by notable artists like Any Warhol. The hotel regularly hosts an event called Whiskey, Wine and Warhol featuring a live jazz band paying tribute to the Gatsby Era of sound and lots of creative cocktails. Admission to the event is free and guest get to experience the hotel’s exclusive art collection.

The Rooms

The Nautilus is housed in a historic building on Collins avenue and has undergone an extensive renovation. The rooms offer views of the ocean or city but are a little on the smaller side. Our room had generous space in the sleeping and lounging area but the bathroom was a little small for my liking. I would recommend booking a junior suite or suite at this hotel, as they look lovely and spacious. Oceanfront balcony rooms sell out fast so it’s best to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Dining + Beach Access

The hotel offers ample choices for dining, there is a coffee shop located in the lobby, the lobby bar and the Nautilus Cabana Club which offers indoor and outdoor seating. We liked having breakfast outside each morning. The seating area was lovely with views of the pool, lawn and lots of tropical chic decor. Since the weather in Miami is hot I opted for an iced coffee each morning to start the day off.

One thing we loved about this hotel is the direct access to the beach. You can take the hotel’s famous walkway right down to the beach. Hotel guests have access to loungers and towels. You can also order drinks at the beach. If the ocean is not your thing the hotel also offers an outdoor pool with loungers and cabanas. You can rent a cabana for the day for approx. $250. This is a great option for groups, families and couples. I love being near the water so I enjoyed spending the day in the cabana and working by the pool. There’s also amazing music to listen to while you relax.

If you’re looking for a hotel that mixes retro style with modern luxury and is centrally located then the Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach is the hotel for you! There’s so much to see at the hotel and surrounding areas you will certainly enjoy your stay at this hotel. Thank you to the staff at the Nautilus Miami for hosting us.

 

 

 

Tropical Chic: Our Pre-Wedding Shoot

Hello! I’m back with my first blog post of 2024! A little later in the year than I’d planned but this year has already been so busy for me. The biggest news is that I got married! Sashien and I got married in Sri Lanka in January and then went on an extended honeymoon across three countries.

I’ll share more about the honeymoon destinations, itineraries, travel planning and accommodations in a series of blog posts soon. I’ve been sharing bits and pieces of our honeymoon on my Instagram account so feel free to check out the content there.

Our wedding was on the 18th of January but prior to that we had a pre-shoot included as part of our photography package. Funny story, we didn’t realize this until a few weeks before the wedding. We got to Sri Lanka around January 8th and had our shoot on January 14th. I wanted a tropical theme to the shoot and I really wanted an old colonial building for the setting. I’ve always loved the colonial style architecture in Sri Lanka. We were lucky to be able to secure 55 TG Suites for our shoot location, which is a boutique hotel in Colombo.

Since our shoot was on a Sunday we were also able to do some street shots right in the middle of the city of Colombo’s business and financial district. We had our favourite photographers from Dream Studio who also did our engagement photos.

I’ve linked my outfits or similar items at the end of the post.

I’ll be sharing more of our wedding when we have our official photos but stay tuned for some travel content!

My Outfits

The Yorkville Royal Sonesta

I’m back! And this time I’m sharing one of my favourite hotels in Toronto with you, the Yorkville Royal Sonesta. Yorkville is my favourite part of Toronto, its’s just so posh and chic. Whenever I’m in the city I always make it a point to stop by this neighbourhood. I’d always wanted to stay in Yorkville and enjoy a classy weekend getaway in Toronto so when I came across the Yorkville Royal Sonesta I was totally thrilled.

The Hotel

Located just steps away from stores like Holt Renfrew, Louis Vuitton and Harry Rosen the Royal Sonesta is the perfect hotel for a weekend getaway in Yorkville. This boutique hotel located close to Mink Mile offers chic and stylish guest rooms and suites with views of Queen’s Park and Toronto’s famed skyline. The hotel is also just across the street from the Royal Conservatory of Music and close by to the University of Toronto and the Rogers Centre.

Our experience at the Royal Sonesta was seamless and easy. We were able to take advantage of the onsite valet parking and text to have our car ready whenever we needed it. Check-in was smooth and we received a warm welcome from the front desk staff. Pro-tip you can ask for bottled water at the front desk on your way in or out of the hotel.

The Empress 

As you walk down the hallway to the elevators you will be greeted by the hotel’s mascot The Express of Yorkville. Her portrait can be seen hanging at the end of the hallway between the elevators and Signatures Restaurant, but just who is she? The Empress is a fearless lioness ruling over her kingdom of Yorkville with pride. Lionesses are symbols of elegance, strength and courage; and just as a lioness watches over her pride the staff at the Yorkville Royal Sonesta strive to work together to provide guests with an empressive stay at their hotel.

We stayed in a studio king suite which was spacious and featured views of Toronto’s skyline including the CN tower. There was ample space to work or even host a business meeting in this suite. The bed was comfortable and the room was also well lit. I loved the modern finishes in the bathroom and of course the multiple selfie mirrors!

In addition to two restaurants the hotel also features an indoor rooftop pool, business center and gym.

The Food

There are two restaurants located inside the hotel; Signatures Restaurant which offers upscale cuisine and a variety of dishes inspired by Toronto’s vibrant communities and Proof Bar and Patio which offers cocktails, light bites and the dining dome experience.

We had the pleasure of dining at Signatures for breakfast as the restaurant offers an a la carte breakfast selection with so many dishes to choose from. My favourite was the Yorkville Elite which is a great way to start the day! The restaurant also offers a lunch and dinner service, and is a popular spot for business lunches.

Perhaps the most prestigious offering the restaurant has is High Tea with the Empress. If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I simply adore afternoon tea and Signatures did not disappoint. The High Tea service is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm-5pm. The service features  a selection of black, green, herbal, white, oolong, and rooibos teas. The tea service also include a variety of savory pastries and snacks along with sweets and scones.

On Saturday evening we had the pleasure of experiencing the dining domes at Proof Bar. The outdoor dining domes are heated igloo type domes which are just perfect for a cozy and romantic winter dining experience. Each dome has its own lighting, seating area, blankets and heaters. There are two types of experiences to choose from: the light lounge menu which features seasonal cocktails, shared appetizers and a selection of individual desserts for $65 per person plus HST and the prix fixe fine dining menu which features a three course meal with prosecco for $140 per person plus HST, perfect for a date night in Toronto.

The Verdict

We really enjoyed our stay at the Yorkville Royal Sonesta. This was a special weekend as we were celebrating our 5 year anniversary and the hotel staff went above and beyond to ensure we had a memorable experience. We are already planning our next trip to Toronto and I can’t wait to stay at the Royal Sonesta again.

What to wear to the King’s Plate

It’s that time of year again – the King’s Plate, North America’s oldest continuously run horse race is a week away!

The King’s Plate

If you aren’t familiar with horse racing around the world then you may not have heard of the this particular event. The King’s Plate is Canada’s most prestigious thoroughbred racing event and is aptly named after the reigning British monarch. Last year it was known as the Queen’s Plate however with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II it will now be known as the King’s Plate after more than 70 years.

If you’re not into horse racing you can still attend the King’s Plate as it is the social event of the summer in Toronto and features a day of high fashion, high stakes and lots of excitement! The event takes place on Sunday August 20th at Woodbine Racetrack. Tickets can still be purchased here:https://woodbine.com/kingsplate/tickets/

What to wear

So what exactly should you wear to such a prestigious event? I find the fashion trends seen at the Plate often mirror those at Royal Ascot, which takes place in June every year. 2023 was a great year for fashion at Royal Ascot. The main change we saw was longer hemlines! Typically ladies wear tea length dresses to racing event but this year the hemlines were definitely edging more towards a midi and maxi length. I’ve also observed longer hemlines in summer fashion overall with maxi skirts having their fashion moment this season!

Wardrobe wise ladies often opt for dresses, although you can go for a classic suit if you’re feeling up to it or a skirt and top. Generally most dresses are solid colour or feature very delicate feminine prints. Fun colours are always a winner. This year we saw the Princess of Wales in a bold red ensemble which was quite eye-catching! Gentlemen usually tend to wear suits to the Plate however since it’s not as formal as Royal Ascot ties are optional. At Ascot ties are mandatory.

No race day outfit would be complete without a fabulous hat! I have quite a few hats and fascinators in my personal collection but if you are new to the world of millinery then I would suggest first picking out a dress before you pick a hat. Picking a hat first can be done too bit it is best to match your hat to your outfit. While we are on the subject of matching you should also consider matching your shoes to your outfit or hat. In general ladies wear covered shoes to racing events although you can get away with a heeled sandal as well. You can also check out the fashion inspiration section of the King’s Plate website.

There is also a detailed style guide on the Ascot site which can also provide some guidance.

 

Will you be attending the King’s Plate?

How to have the Audrey Hepburn Experience in New York

If you love Breakfast at Tiffany’s then this blog post is for you! I recently visited New York City and decided to treat myself to a luxurious experience inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

A quick overview if you haven’t seen the movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn and based on the 1958 novella of the same name by Truman Capote. In the opening scene fo the movie an elegantly dressed Audrey steps out of a taxi in front of the Tiffany & Co. flagship store on 5th Ave in New York City in the wee hours of the morning. She then proceeds to eat a croissant and sip a coffee while staring at the display windows. She never goes in the store itself but the mere proximity to luxury makes her feel happy. It is also important to note that Audrey Hepburn’s now iconic black gown was designed especially for her by Hubert de Givenchy.

Where to stay

Audrey Hepburn stayed at the historic Warwick Hotel between 1960-1965. The Warwick New York is located at the corner of W54th Street and 6th Avenue just a short walk from Tiffany’s. The hotel was built by  William Randolph Hearst, a prominent newspaper baron of the early 20th century and completed in 1927. It is said that Hearst built the hotel for his then mistress Broadway star Marion Davies. Over the years the hotel has hosted many prominent old Hollywood stars such as James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, and Carey Grant who called the hotel home for 12 years.

The Warwick is centrally located in a safe area of Midtown Manhattan however it is a historical building and has much of the original architecture form the elevators to the chandeliers. Some of the rooms such as the premier suites or rooms are interior facing and there is very little natural light coming in. If you decide to stay at this hotel make sure to book a city view room for natural light.  There are a few terrace and signature suites with more modern decor and amenities.

If you’re really feeling adventurous you can try to book a stay at Holly’s apartment from the movie. Located at 169 E. 71st Street the brownstone that was used for the exterior shots of her apartment building is now fully renovated and available to rent. The stylish Upper East Side townhome is part of the Inspirato collection, which is a chic members only alternative to airbnb. Appropriately name the Hepburn, you can get a 3D tour of the space here.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

No Audrey Hepburn experience would be complete without a visit to the Tiffany &Co. flagship store on 5th Avenue. Just a short walk from the hotel and you can enjoy a gourmet breakfast at the iconic Blue Box Café by Michelin star chef Daniel Boulud. Located on the 6th floor of the Tiffany building dining at this cafe is a must-do!

Yes! You CAN actually have breakfast at Tiffany’s now! The Blue Box Café offers a daily Breakfast, Tea and a seasonal menu. Full details and menus can be found here. This cafe is on the pricey side when it comes to their menu and breakfast will cost you around $59 per person while the tea is $98, so it really is an investment in the experience. Although reservations at the Blue Box Café are rarely available there a few hacks you can use to make sure you get a table:

  • Search for reservations directly from their site:https://blueboxcafenyc.com/
  • Sign up to be notified if your preferred reservation date and time become available. They usually notify you on your preferred date or the day before.
  • They always open up reservations a few days in advance; for example if you’re hoping to go on a Wednesday check on Monday and Tuesday for any openings for that specific Wednesday. Sometimes the cafe blocks reservations and opens them up a few days before or even on the very day.
  • You can always walk-in Monday-Friday, the restaurant saves 6 tables for walk-ins: line up by 9:45am outside the store (the store opens at 10am) and register with your name and number. You can go shopping on 5th Avenue and come back when your table is ready.

What to wear

Audrey Hepburn was known for her impeccable taste in fashion and always looking so put together. If you’re going to have breakfast at Tiffany’s then you must dress for the occasion. I chose to add a modern spin on her classic black gown, pearl necklace and gloves. I’ll be sharing more about my outfit on my Instagram page. However I choose a monochrome look with some glittery accents.

It’s best to go for a more classic chic look if you’re really looking to have that authentic Audrey experience. Many women love to wear Holly Golightly inspired outfits to Tiffany’s and I even spotted one lady who dressed up and brought her own croissant for photos outside the windows of the store. If you don’t feel like splurging at the Blue Box Café snapping some photos outside the store is always a great alternative.

Will you be treating yourself to the Audrey Hepburn experience?

 

Quiet Luxury: A chance for everyone to look wealthy?

I’m back with another post and this time I’m finally getting back to what this blog is really about, fashion! It’s been a while since I’ve done a purely fashion centred post though I’ve been quite active fashionwise on Instagram. I have so many thoughts about a not so new trend that has made a resurgence; quiet luxury and the old money aesthetic. The old adage says money talks, wealth whispers and this couldn’t be more true of the quiet luxury trend that’s been flooding our social media profiles of late.

So just what is quiet luxury and the old money aesthetic? The quiet luxury trend focuses on quality rather than quantity and is largely logo-less. Gone are the days of the Kardashians toting their designer logo ridden apparel; they are for the most part known as the nouveau riche or new rich. While loud luxury focuses on bling, fur and visible designer labels, quiet luxury seeks to curate a more sophisticated, streamlined and polished look. This trend focuses on fabric quality and the make of the garments. To the naked eye a quiet luxury outfit may look plain or ordinary but to those with a more refined and discerning taste the logos are there, the designer label is there but only if you know where  to look. This trend screams if you know you know, and if you don’t well, you just don’t.

Another aspect of quiet luxury and the old money aesthetic is colour. While loud luxury is well, loud and colourful; boasting bling and even neon, this aesthetic focuses on the opposite end of the colour spectrum. Neutrals, classic pieces timeless that never go out of style and high end fabrics like cashmere, linen and silk are all part of this trend. While the concept of quiet luxury may seem unattainable to most and might come across as discouraging, I see it as an opportunity. The logo-less aspect of it gives everyone an opportunity to look wealthy, by adopting aspects of the trend and perhaps investing in some high quality pieces but without the need to display overt luxury.

An easy way to achieve this look is to focus on neutrals and timeless pieces. The good news about this trend is that brands from high end to fast fashion are catching on and offering items that align with the old money aesthetic. I’ve even noticed one of my favourite Canadian retailers Suzy Shier offering a brand new linen collection that features classic neutrals and structured pieces for summer. Other brands that truly embody old money style are Club Monaco and Banana Republic. If you’re on a tighter budget even H&M has some neutral pieces and linen items for summer.

Some of my favourite quiet luxury items for summer

 

What are your thoughts on this aesthetic? Will you be wearing any old money style outfits this summer?

 

 

124 on Queen

Last weekend we had the pleasure of being treated to a wonderful stay in Niagra-on-the-Lake. I was so excited to check out 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa. I had seen this hotel online, it looked lovely and seeing it in person; it did not disappoint!

Here’s a recap of our luxurious weekend in NOTL.

The Hotel

124 on Queen is a 72-room hotel offering a variety of luxurious guest room options ranging from deluxe rooms to fully-appointed two bedroom villas. The room I stayed in was modern, spacious and felt more like an apartment than a room. The hotel spans over 6 adjacent buildings which is important to note if you’re staying in a different part of the hotel.

My room was on the first floor of the main hotel building and had  an updated bathroom (with two sinks) featuring L’Occitane  amenities, totally luxurious. The bed had ample room and was so comfy! I’m a morning person and I’m usually up very early but I did sleep in at this hotel! The room also featured a sitting area, huge tv and gas fireplace. Another feature we enjoyed was the min-bar area which had a sink and nespresso machine. This made our mornings that much more enjoyable.

The Spa

In addition to its guest rooms 124 on Queen also features a 12000 square foot spa. The Spa at Q is Niagara’s newest destination spa. We tried out the hydro therapy circuit which included hot and warm pools, pools, a dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room and sensory showers. The most unique feature in the circuit is the snow room! This was the first time I had ever heard of such a concept and I was so excited to check it out. It actually snows on you in this room!

The Spa also offers many different beauty and wellness treatments such as massages, facials and mani/pedis. There is a great lounge for relaxing and a therapeutic salt room. If you haven’t visited the Spa at Q yet add it to your list!

The Food

124 on Queen features three options for dining, the Q lounge, Treadwell Cuisine and Gate House Pizza which opens this summer. We had the opportunity to check them out. If you’re looking for sophisticated cocktails, bites and food in a relaxed atmosphere then Q lounge is the place for you.

We tried out two of their cocktails, I opted for The Royal Treatment and Sashien tried out the Rolex. I am loving the names of these cocktails. We also enjoyed some light bites and got a chance to take in a hockey game on the tv.

The following evening we were treated to an amazing culinary experience at Treadwell Cuisine, a notable farm-to-table restaurant. We had a 4 course tasting menu and got to see the chefs in action. If you do visit Treadwell I’d recommend sitting by the bar so you can interact with the chefs and watch your food being plated. The restaurant has won many awards and was named one of the world’s best restaurants for wine by Wine Spectator Magazine. Treadwell has  one of the largest collections of Ontario wines in the world and boasts a large wine cellar in the basement. We really enjoyed our dinner there, a special thank you to Chef Gavin for making our experience one to remember.

The Verdict

If you haven’t been to NOTL or just haven’t visited in a while then I highly recommend staying at 124 on Queen. Not only are the staff so welcoming, the service is impeccable and the food is divine! The hotel is also very centrally located and close by to shops, parks and walking trails. One thing I forgot to mention is the Starbucks that’s in the hotel. Located close to the lobby, you don’t t even have to go outside to grab a coffee. When you’re in there be sure to check out the signature mugs featuring the hotel.

You’re probably thinking there’s something else that Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for, and you’re right! Wine! We asked the concierge about nearby wineries and he was able to provide us with a great list to check out. We had some time on Sunday before dinner so we stopped by a few of our favourites during the day. You can also ask the hotel for their recommendations or even assistance with booking a wine tour.

A huge thank you to the staff at 124 on Queen for making our stay luxurious and relaxing! We will definitely be back!

Why I joined a Private Members Club

The Rideau Club

Last Fall I decided to re-join the Rideau Club. Many people in Ottawa may not know about the Rideau Club but it has been around before confederation. The Rideau Club is a private members club located in Ottawa. It was founded in 1865 by Sir John A McDonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier.  Over the years the club went through many changes and expansions, including permitting women to visit and later join the Club as members. The Rideau Club has been located at 99 Bank St. since 1983 and sit atop the building on the 15th floors, offering what are arguably the best views of Ottawa and the parliament buildings.

Why I joined the Rideau Club

I mentioned my decision to re-join the Club; Sashien and I originally joined the Rideau Club in 2018 however with our busy schedules and the pandemic that followed we didn’t have much time to frequent the Club. We left the club in 2020. Throughout the pandemic as most work was remote or online I found my network was slowly declining. It was increasingly difficult to make new business and professional contacts, let alone new friends. As  I went back to teaching in-person and on campus I realized I really didn’t have the connections I needed to support my students with their requests for more insight on international trade. I had always enjoyed the Rideau Club and the business and personal connections I made there. I decided to renew my membership as I was seeking to grow both my professional and personal networks.

Networking Opportunities

Networking has never been more important and as an author of a book on how to network I found seeking out my own networking opportunities very difficult in a post pandemic world.  I really enjoy the weekly networking events hosted by the Club along with monthly luncheons, conferences and seasonal events. The Rideau Club also has a monthly Femme Nuit, or ladies night event which features notable speakers and also has a charitable component. I’ve enjoyed attending these events and made a host of new friends and professional contacts as well. Most clubs also have their own little groups or clubs within the club that you can join. I recently joined the Book Club and I really enjoyed the themed dinners. Clubs are also a great way to give back and you can volunteer to join committees within your home club as well; volunteering is another great way to network and meet new people.

A Place to Work

Private Members clubs often offer meeting rooms and workspaces to their members. On days that I’m not on campus I’ve enjoyed spending some time working at the Club. The change of environment is both healthy and motivating. These Clubs are also a great place to host meetings and events if you are indeed in a home-based or remote job.  Some Clubs also rent out meeting rooms to members for a fee but it depends on the club itself. Most clubs also come with restaurant and banquet facilities onsite and are also convenient for business lunches, dinners or more formal events such as fundraisers and even weddings.

Reciprocal Clubs

Most private members clubs are part of the IAC, international associate clubs network. For example members of the Rideau Club have access to over 200 clubs worldwide as associate members. Sashien and I had the pleasure of visiting some reciprocal clubs on our recent trips to Vancouver and Toronto earlier this year. I visited the Vancouver Club and the Terminal City Club in Vancouver and we visited the Granite Club in Toronto.

If you love to travel then you must take advantage of the reciprocal clubs as some fo them even offer onsite accommodation in addition to their meeting, dining and leisure facilities.

Investment Required

All private members clubs have a membership fee and sometimes a joining fee. These charges vary by club and also depend on the type of amenities the clubs offer. Many people view private members clubs as elitist or out of reach, but as a member of one I can tell you it’s quite the opposite.  What they really are is a space to work, network, socialize and enjoy with like minded, driven individuals. I find there are many misconceptions when it comes to these clubs which are just that, misconstrued. If you’re looking to elevate your network, learn new skills or even make new friends then private members clubs are a great option. There also different types of membership based on age and location, and most clubs offer spousal memberships for your partner as well.

 

 

 

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