Summer Activities at Fairmont Montebello

I’m so happy that we are finally right in the middle of summer. As most of you know summer is my favourite season in Canada and it’s also a great time to travel and explore. I recently visited Fairmont Le Château Montebello which is just a short drive away from Ottawa in Montebello,Quebec. This was my first time visiting in the summer so I was excited to see what the hotel had to offer in terms of summer activities and excursions. I had visited Château Montebello before in the winter for a holiday staycation. If you’re curious about the hotel amenities and room types pleas check out the post linked here.

Not only is Château Montebello one of the largest log cabins in the world it is also Eastern Canada’s #1 family resort. There’s lots of summer activities for everyone to enjoy.

Water sports, Pool and Cabanas

If you love the water then this hotel is for you! Boasting a full marina where many guests park their boats, the hotel also offers water sports like water skiing, canoeing and kayaking. There’s also the outdoor pool where you can spend a day tanning or in the water. If you’re like me and enjoy lounging by the pool instead, consider booking a Cabana. This is a great option for groups as cabanas can accommodate up to 6 people. Each cabana comes with ample seating, a poolside view with towels and chilled water onsite. You can also order food directly to your cabana. Reservations for the cabanas must be made ahead of time and have an additional cost of $249.

Other Activities

If you’re in to more landlocked activities the hotel has a sports chalet where you can rent equipment for cycling, mini-golf, tennis, croquet, bocce, horseshoes, basketball and volleyball. Château Montebello also has its own tennis courts and if you’re new to the game you can also sign up for an onsite lesson. It’s recommended that you book 24h in advance for the lessons.

I like a more relaxed vibe when I’m on vacation so I stuck mostly to the walking paths and hiking trails around the property. In the evening there are also onsite bonfires where you can relax and roast marshmallows if you wish. In addition the hotel also offers carriage rides to visitors and hotel guests for a fee, this must also be reserved in advance.  Once specific point of interest at Montebello is Manoir Papineau which is the estate of Louis-Joseph Papineau, who was a leading figure in Canadian politics. Tours of Manoir Papineau are available Wednesday to Sunday from June 22 to September 5.

The hotel also offers its own historical tours of the property starting daily at 4:30PM. It is recommended that you book your tour 24h in advance. Activities, tours and restaurant reservations can be made by contacting the activity concierge at montebelloconcierge@fairmont.com.

While walking around the property I came across a sign about on-demand photoshoots. This is another interesting activity you can try onsite and of course book in advance. The property at Fairmont Montebello is lovely and a great location for a photoshoot!

Dining 

Throughout the year the hotel offers a number of dining options such as Aux Chantignoles Restaurant, Bar Le Foyer and in-room dining. During the summer months you can take advantage of Le Riverain Terrace and the outdoor Barbecue. I tried both and I really enjoyed the food! I would definitely recommend the Chiken Tikka wrap at Le Riverain for lunch and the Barbecue for dinner. The dinner menu comes in three courses which are delivered to your table, outdoors and overlooking the Ottawa river. This was a great experience. The Barbecue costs $65 per person excluding taxes and is an all-you-can-eat style offering with courses of salad, seafood and meat. If you’re a fan of one particular course you can always ask for more. I really enjoyed the beet and tomato salad and of course the meat course. Reservations are highly recommended as this is a very popular dining option at the hotel.

In addition there are also many outdoor seating areas and gazebos around the property. Aux Chantignoles offers outdoor seating in the summer and we enjoyed a nice breakfast there. At the moment Fairmont Montebello is offering picnics to go. You can order your picnic basket ahead of time, have it delivered to enjoy around the property. This service is available daily from 7am to 10pm and once again it’s recommended that you reserve in advance.

If you’ve been to Château Montebello in the winter or fall then be sure to visit again to check out all this property has to offer during the warmer months.

 

 

 

Things to do in Toronto this Summer

I’m back! It’s been a while since my last travel blog post and I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to. Summer is finally here in Canada and what better time to start planning some vacations or staycations! For those of us in Ontario we have an added incentive of the Ontario Staycation tax credit. I although I’m based in Ottawa I always try to get at least one trip to Toronto in each Summer. It’s definitely Ontario’s largest and most popular city with so many sights to see and things to do, there’s something for everyone.

I visited Toronto a few weeks ago and had such a fabulous time thanks to Destination Toronto and their ideas on just about everything you could possibly need to know about planning a trip to Toronto.

Travel + Accommodation

As I live in Ottawa I could have chosen to fly, drive or take the train to Toronto but I really wanted to maximize my time in the city so Sashien and I chose to fly. We flew Porter Airlines directly  to Billy Bishop Airport which is conveniently located in the heart of the city. Transportation out of the airport is quick and easy and you can either take the ferry, a taxi or Uber. We chose to Uber and used it to get around to most places during our weekend stay.

In terms of accommodation options Toronto has endless possibilities based on your needs and price point. On this occasion we were hosted by the Ritz-Carlton and we thoroughly enjoyed everything the hotel had to offer. This place is definitely worth the splurge! From the personalized guest key cards to the friendly and accommodating staff the Ritz-Carlton exudes five star service. We also had the chance to check out their onsite spa My Blend by Clarins. This spa was exquisite and offers so many high end services exclusive to Clarins, we both had the rebalancing massage and left feeling relaxed and ready to take on the weekend!

Sights + Attractions

Toronto has so much to see and do it’s impossible to see everything in one weekend but we did visit some really unique and interesting places on our trip. Of course there’s the traditional CN tower visit and the trip to Ripley’s Aquarium, which are great family friendly activities but as we had both seen them in the past we wanted to check out something different. One of our first stops was Little Canada which is an exhibit featuring animated miniatures of various cities and vistas around Canada. The exhibit is a work in progress as they build different parts of Canada. We enjoyed visit miniature versions of Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. This is a great family friendly exhibit!

If you know me in person then you’re quite aware of my shoe addiction, so this shoe-a-holic definitely couldn’t pass up a chance to visit the Bata Shoe Museum. This museum covers the history of shoes and features notable footwear from various centuries. At the moment there’s a brand new exhibit called Future Now which explores over fifty futuristic footwear designs from the auto-lacing Nike MAG to the virtual RTFKT x Staple Meta-Pigeon.  My favourite item at the museum were the Christian Louboutin shoes for Barbie, how cute!!

If you’re looking for something more on the relaxing side then you must check out Hoame Meditation Studio. They offer a number of different meditation classes and experiences. We took a breath work meditation class at Hoame, I must admit I struggled with this one as I’m quite the chatterbox and we had to stay quiet. But if  zen is your thing then you should definitely check it out.

Theatre + Shows

We arrived in Toronto on June 10th just in time for the National Ballet of Canada‘s opening night of Swan Lake. I’ve always enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s pieces so I was thrilled to get to see Swan Lake. The ballet runs until June 26th at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. If ballet is not your thing you can also check out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is playing throughout the Summer and into the Fall. If you’re in to musical theatre there’s also many other shows scheduled for the Summer a full list can be found here. I would highly recommend Singin’ in the Rain which plays this Fall. In addition to these there’s also concerts and other shows to check out.

Restaurants + Nightlife

We checked out a lot of great restaurants during our trip and Toronto definitely has so many choices to offer. On day 1 we had lunch at Oretta located on King St. West. I loved the decor and ambiance in this traditional yet modern Italian restaurant. They also have another location in midtown. This is a lovely spot for a casual drink and some gelato.

As we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton we got to check out some of the restaurants at the hotel, my favourite was Epoch which features indoor and outdoor dining spaces. This newly renovated restaurant features signature drinks a brand new menu and a patio with a great view of the CN Tower. I really enjoyed grabbing a cocktail outside, I would recommend the Lychee Queen cocktail. We also had breakfast at Toca which is located inside the hotel, Toca stands for Toronto Canada and the main attraction in this restaurant is their Cheese cave. It’s definitely a unique feature and a must see if you’re at the hotel.

Yorkville is one of my favourite areas of Toronto featuring high-end shops and unique restaurants. We stopped in for lunch at Bar Reyna which was totally worth the hype! We loved the mediterranean spin on traditional brunch dishes. I also really liked the ambiance and the decor on their patio. For drinks I’d recommend 7 am in Ibiza it’s a great take on an espresso martini!

One of the highlights of our trip was our dinner and evening at Lula bar. This was such a fun experience. Lula Bar is a latin resto-bar that features live bands and salsa dancing on the weekends. We enjoyed a three course meal, there is a set menu to choose from; followed by a salsa class and live music. I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re spending a weekend in Toronto.

On our last morning in Toronto we had breakfeast at OEB Breakfast Co. This restaurant is a great family friendly place that offers gourmet style meals at an affordable price. If you do go be sure to check out the Canadian Lobster and Shrimp Crepe. It’s such a fancy first meal!

Of course there are so many dining and entertainment options in Toronto and you can learn more about them on the Destination Toronto website.

Other fun stuff

One thing I didn’t cover yet was shopping! Toronto has so many malls it can be overwhelming but my favourite is definitely Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Not only does it offer an assortment of stores and designer boutiques it also houses my favourite Macaron shoppe Ladurée. I’ve visited in the past and wrote about my high tea experience there, you can read all about it here.

If you’re looking for the city that has something for everyone then Toronto is definitely for you! We had such a wonderful time on our weekend stay, a huge thank you to Destination Toronto for helping us plan our trip. We’re already planning another trip back this Summer. Don’t forget to check out Destination Toronto to help you plan the ultimate Toronto vacation and see Toronto now!

 

 

Trip to Los Cabos, Mexico

It’s been a minute since my last post but I am so excited to be back! I recently went on an amazing trip to Mexico and I can’t wait to share all the fun stuff I got to do and try.

The whole travel experience was seamless thanks to Sunwing Airlines and their amazing team here in Canada and on the ground in Los Cabos. Sashien and I flew from Ottawa to Los Cabos via Toronto. Sunwing airlines flies to Los Cabos every Thursday from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

When we arrived in Mexico we were greeted by the Sunwing rep and whisked away to our private transfer which took us to our first resort. We stayed at two resorts during our 7 day trip.

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos

The first resort we stayed at was Secrets Puerto Los Cabos. This adult only resort is the epitome of luxury. Featuring swim out rooms and suites the accommodations at this resort really are fantastic. We stayed in the Master Suite Swim Out room with an ocean view. This spacious suite opened up in to a terrace and pool. It was truly magical taking in the sunrise from our own private pool.

The resort features two different classes of rooms, regular and Preferred Club rooms. The Preferred Club rooms offer  a private check-in/out area, upgraded amenities, butler service and access to the Preferred Club Lounge which also serves breakfast, hors d’oevures and features premium bottles of liquor.

Preferred Club (PC) guests at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos can also take advantage of an exclusive pool, the preferred pool which is ideal for a quiet day by the water. PC guests can also have their breakfast at Oceana Restaurant which overlooks the preferred pool and the ocean.

Aside from Oceana there’s lots of dining options to choose from at Secrets. We checked out Himitsu the Japanese restaurant and attended a Tapanyaki show, it was so much fun and the food was amazing. We were also treated to a romantic dinner in the wine cellar at Portofino the resort’s Italian restaurant. Another great restaurant at the hotel was El Patio which featured Mexican cuisine. In addition to the restaurants Secrets also offers a wide selection of bars from Manatees Swim Up Bar, to Barefoot Grill and Barrcuda bar. There are so many options to choose from. A full list of bars can be found here 

Besides the pools and restaurants there’s also many onsite activities to explore. We enjoyed the Sip & Paint experience and created our own painting to take home with us. We also liked the tequila tasting.

This resort was truly luxurious and magical! We loved the superior accommodations, dining options and most of all the service. A special thank you to our butler Leonardo for making our stay so rememberable.

Dreams Los Cabos

For the second part of our trip we stayed at Dreams Los Cabos. This family friendly resort is about 30 minutes away from Secrets and located closer to the more tourist area of Los Cabos. Dreams is a vibrant and lively resort with many of the same amenities as Secrets. As both resorts are owned by the same company AM Resorts there are many similarities between the two properties.

We stayed in a spacious ocean view Preferred Club level suite at Dreams which featured a furnished balcony overlooking the gardens and sea.  The views from the balcony were stunning and we enjoyed having breakfast alfresco. Although Dreams is a family resort it does feature an adult only pool in addition to the main pool which has a special kids area. An added benefit of the PC level rooms is the private beach reserved for Preferred Club guests.

Dreams also has many great dining options such as Bordeaux restaurant which features French cuisine. We were treated to a lovely dinner at this restaurant, a special thank you to our server Dennis who made this such a fun experience.  Another option for dining is the romantic dinner on the beach experience. This is something that you can arrange through the hotel when you arrive. We had an amazing dinner at sunset on the beach with all the fixings. A huge thank you to our server Manny who made this such a magical evening.

Aside from the many dining options, pools and special services the highlight of our stay at Dreams was the Bali bed experience. These luxury cabanas on the beach feature wifi, a big screen TV and amenities including wait service. The Bali beds can be reserved upon your arrival at the resort by contacting the concierge. There are three different packages for booking these cabanas and each offers different services and amenities.

If you’re staying at Dreams Los Cabos be sure to take an excursion out to visit the Arch of Los Cabos. You can take a short taxi or Uber ride to Plaza Paradiso mall where you can board a glass bottom boat to take you to the arch. There’s many different tour packages that you can book but if you’re in the area I’d highly recommend venturing out to see this notable tourist attraction. We had such a great time on our boat tour and it was one of the most enjoyable activities we did. You can book excursions directly via Sunwing or the hotel concierge.

This was easily one of the most memorable vacations I have been on. Thank you Sunwing Airlines and AMResorts for sponsoring this trip.

Valentine’s Day Bar Cart

I’m back with more Valentine’s Day content and this time I have a home decor idea. If you’re like me and love decorating your home for any occasion then you’ll love this Valentine’s Day Bar Cart idea. It’s a fun and cute way to add some colour and joy to your home 🙂

Start with a bar cart you already have and if you don’t have one you can use a plant stand, book rack or any other stand. I got my bar cart 2 years ago from Linen Chest and I’ve linked it and all the items I used at the bottom of this post.

A bar cart typically has two levels so I decided to add some champagne glasses and a bottle of rose sparkling wine for the top layer. I added some cupcake topper harts to my champagne glasses for some extra Valentine’s Day flare. I also added some red roses, flowers are always a nice touch. If you don’t like red you can always go with white or pink roses or any other flower of your choice.

For the bottom level of my cart I added some heart shaped dishes I picked up and filled them with some Valentine’s Day chocolates. Heart shaped chocolates and candies can be found almost anywhere this time of year and they’re a cute treat for your guests or significant other. You can also try adding some cinnamon hearts.

I found some Valentine’s day decorations like a light up love sign and some heart garlands at a party store but you can find these on amazon or at your local dollar store. I’ve linked my bar cart and decorations below. I’ve also got more Valentine’s Day decor ideas and items on my Amazon Store.

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Are you decorating your home for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: For Him

Can you believe we are almost at the middle of January?! This year is going by so fast! With Valentine’s Day a month away I thought it would be helpful to come up with some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for men. I know we ladies often put together our own wish list but in recent years I’ve really struggled with finding items for men.

I’ve put together a few items for guys; Sashien has some of these items and he gets a lot of use out of them.

Herschel Duffle Bag – This duffle bag is great for a trip or the gym. It comes with double handles and a strap for easy carrying. There’s also an interior compartment to protect contents. This is a great gift idea that’s under $100.

Jack Black Skincare Set – If the man in your life is into skincare or even if he needs a little nudge in the right direction the skin saviours set by Jack Black is a great gift. This set includes a cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliating scrub and lip balm. At under $60 it’s a steal!

Valet Tray – Staying organized is easy with this functional yet masculine valet tray. It’s perfect to sit on top of a dresser or side table and comes in many different colours. This gift is under $50!

Cassis Noir Candle – This limited edition candle by Brooklyn Candle is a great gift to add to your gift bag. It’s a nice addition to pair with something else. It has a masculine scent that isn’t overpowering and can also double as a home decor item.

Canada Goose Vest – Water-resistant and perfect for a harsh Winter this vest is definitely a splurge piece! If you feel like spoiling him this Valentine’s Day then this is a great gift idea.

Secrid Wallet – Can he keep a secrid? Well now he can with this functional and chic walled from Secrid. Sashien has used these wallets for years and they’re so convenient. They come in many different styles and colours and are a great gift under $100.

Y Eau de Parfum – If you’re feeling scentimental why not treat him to a luxurious cologne. This particular one by Yves St Laurent offers a bold woody fragrance but you can really choose one that best suits his preference.

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The SoHo Hotel Toronto

I’m back with another hotel stay review! Sashien and I were so excited when we got the opportunity to check out the SoHo Hotel and Residences in Toronto. Having stayed at the SoHo Residences in Ottawa, I knew I was in for some great hospitality. Toronto is one of our favourite cities so we were more than happy to make the trip down.

The SoHo Hotel Toronto

Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district the SoHo Hotel Toronto is a 89 room boutique hotel. The property also features residences for long stay guests (over 14 days) and is divided into two parts; the hotel and the residences. We stayed at the hotel.

The Room 

The SoHo Hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation which included many upgrades to the property and guest rooms. The renovation resulted in 89 rooms by Gluckstein design. Post renovation all rooms include: 80 sq ft dressing areas featuring Canadian maple millwork, Italian Frette linens, a 55-inch LG TV, spacious Sahara Marble bathrooms with heated floors, a deep soaker tub, bedside controls for drapes and sconces and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light.

The room was very spacious and had enough space for luggage and accessories. The his and hers dressing area was great with more than enough closet space.

I’m very particular about bathrooms, especially when I travel and this one did not disappoint. The bathroom featured imported marble and well equipped with a bathtub and separate shower. Molton Brown amenities imported from the UK, were on hand as well but the stand out feature for me were the heated floors. It was great stepping on to a warm marble floor just before a morning shower.

In addition to a spacious bedroom all suites include a sitting area and coffee/tea station. My room had an added bonus of an outdoor patio area. We really enjoyed this outdoor space in the middle of the city. The hotel also has a common courtyard area accessible to all guests.

Although we were in the hotel portion of the building it wouldn’t be fair to leave out one of the largest and most luxurious spaces at the SoHo Hotel Toronto. Located on the residence side the three story Presidential Penthouse is a hidden gem at the SoHo. The penthouse is comprised of two separate one-bedroom suites spanning over 4000 sp ft.

Photos supplied by hotel

This updated space includes a hot tub on a large rooftop terrace with views of the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. It is a favourite of celebrities and has been home to A-listers such as Will Smith! This space is great for a posh luxurious stay, a special occasion or even product launches.

The Amenities

The hotel features many added amenities which include a luxurious saltwater pool and steam room. In addition the hotel also houses a state-of-the-art gym designed and managed by  two-time heavyweight champion and trainer, Dalton Brown. Gym and pool access is managed via a sign up process to respect Covid-19 protocols.

Photos supplied by hotel

The hotel  also offers many new COVID-safe features, including touch-less check-in, room service and special requests via direct message using the new SoHo Hotel app.

Dining

The hotel offers two dining options for breakfast and dinner. Located on either side of the hotel lobby Moretti Cafe and Moretti Restaurant are great ways to start and end your day. We enjoyed a gourmet breakfast at Moretti Cafe. I loved the decor in the cafe which had a European flair to it. Moretti Cafe is a lovely place to meet for breakfast or to just work out of during the day. Less hectic than other Toronto cafes it has a both a street and hotel entrance. Stepping inside Moretti Cafe truly feels like an escape.

On the other side of the lobby is Moretti Restaurant a great spot for dinner or a late night cocktail. We stopped by for after dinner drinks and the ambiance was great. The decor was very classy and we really enjoyed our time there. The cocktails were delicious too!

The Verdict

The Soho Hotel is a great choice for luxurious accommodation in the heart of Toronto. Conveniently located on Wellington Street the hotel is close toToronto’s beautiful waterfront, Billy Bishop Airport, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium. King Street and Queen Street are just a short walk away and guests are close to numerous shops, pubs and restaurants.

We really enjoyed our stay at the SoHo Hotel Toronto. The rooms were spacious, the outdoor patio area was a great added feature and the heated bathroom floors were heavenly! The best part about a stay at the SoHo Hotel is the service! The hotel staff were welcoming and always ready to help. We even enjoyed a tour of the hotel lead by General Manager, David Kelley. Service is so important in the hospitality industry and the SoHo Hotel Toronto certainly doesn’t fall short! I would definitely visit this hotel again and recommend it to anyone. A big thank you to Mr. Kelley and the staff at the SoHo Hotel Toronto for hosting us and making our stay so memorable.

Thinking of booking a room at the SoHo Hotel Toronto? Use the code SOHOSOCIAL to save 12% off your stay!

 

 

Luxury Mountain Resort: Fairmont Tremblant

Summer is my favourite season to travel in! Now that restrictions are lifted within Canada I’ve been doing a lot of exploring. This past August long weekend Sashien and I were hosted at the beautiful Fairmont Tremblant, a luxurious mountain resort located at the foot of the Tremblant Peaks in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. I had visited Mont-Tremblant a few times but never stayed at the Fairmont Tremblant before.

The Hotel

Fairmont Tremblant truly is a luxury resort with its numerous pools, restaurants and activities. It’s situated in a prime location right in the heart of the pedestrian village and at the foot of the mountains. The hotel offers all the amenities of a world class luxury resort with its 314 guest rooms, including 62 suites. Many of the rooms offer breathtaking views of the mountains and are spacious and comfortable. I especially liked the rustic chic look of the room which offered a lovely mountain view.

The Fairmont Tremblant has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to stay active or just relax. The hotel offers four outdoor pools and an indoor pool, hot tub and dry sauna. We especially liked relaxing by the outdoor pools and enjoying a cocktail. You can also eat your lunch outside at the Veuve Clicquot terrace just next to the pool. The terrace offers beautiful views of the pools and pedestrian village. There is also an onsite spa that offers all the luxury treatments. If you’re looking to keep fit during your stay the hotel offers a 24 hour gym.

One thing that truly stands out at Fairmont Tremblant is the hospitality and attention to detail. All staff at the hotel were so friendly and welcoming, they truly made us feel special. This level of service is of course synonymous with the Fairmont brand.

The Activities

I wasn’t joking when I said there’s something for everyone at Fairmont Tremblant! The hotel has an extensive activities guide that changes with the seasons, as they are a year round resort. If health and wellness is what you have in mind you can of course check out their outdoor pools and nordic baths or opt for a massage at Moment Spa onsite.

If you’re in the mood for something more active the resort offers its own activities such as Yoga, Guided Nature Walks and the Studio Elmt training room. They also have activities for families like the tipi and bonfire experience and games room. For adults 16 and older there is a billiards room as well. With their location in the Laurentian mountains the hotel also offers lots of opportunities for hiking and biking. Not sure which activities to try first? Create your own adventure with Fairmont Tremblant’s Mountain of Activities offer.

In addition to the activities in the resort there’s also lots to do in the area surrounding the hotel. You can enjoy a 360 degree view of the mountains from the panoramic Gondola, check out the Birds of Prey show or even try out the climbing tower. During the winter months there are ample ski trails surrounding the resort and you can even ski into the hotel. We took a ride on the panoramic Gondola and enjoyed a lovely view from the top of mountain. The gondola ride was so relaxing and you can purchase a round trip ticket right at the hotel. Another relaxing thing to do is to take a walk around the pedestrian village, we took a few morning and evening strolls around the area.

Dining

One thing I love almost as much as fashion is food and Fairmont Tremblant did not disappoint! There are many dining options to choose from. If you would like to dine at a restaurant the hotel offers options such as Ricochet Cafe and Terasse which is also home the the Veuve Cliquot terrace and champagne bar during the Winter and located close to the ski-in ski out access to the pool. For more formal dining you check out Choux Gras Brasserie Culinaire which offers a dinner service Wednesday to Sunday. The hotel also offers in room dining.

Sashien and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Le Comptoir, which is also open for dinner daily. The restaurant boasts beautiful views of the gardens surrounding the hotel and the service and food was impeccable! If you’re looking to unwind with a cocktail or in the mood for apres ski drinks then you must check out Axe Lounge Bar! Located on the same level as Le Comptoir, this lounge is open every evening and offers lovely views of the pedestrian village and the pools. It’s a great place to relax and take in the sights of Mont Tremblant. We had a relaxing evening there and I would highly recommend it. The lounge bar does not take reservations so I recommend going in a bit earlier in the evening.

The Verdict

We really enjoyed our time at Fairmont Tremblant. It was such a relaxing getaway, we felt like we were in another country. The hotel and scenery were so beautiful and picturesque. It was a truly luxurious stay. We will definitely be back! If you haven’t visited Mont Tremblant before then this is a must visit destination. The Fairmont Tremblant is the perfect place to stay in Mont Tremblant as it’s close to attractions, activities and the pedestrian village. I would gladly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to visit Mont Tremblant. The location, service and accommodations are unsurpassed and it is a true testament to the Fairmont brand. A big thank you to the team at Fairmont Tremblant for hosting us on this stay, we had such a lovely time!

Summer Staycation:The Westin Ottawa

Can you believe we are halfway through Summer already? I’m back with a new staycation destination! I’ve lived in Ottawa for over 25 years and the Westin Ottawa has always been a notable landmark. I stayed at the hotel for the first time earlier this year to celebrate my birthday, and I was delighted when we were invited back for a weekend staycation.

The Hotel

Centrally located on Colonel By Drive in downtown Ottawa, the Westin Hotel is close to many great attractions in our nation’s capital. The Parliament of Canada is just a few steps away from the hotel and so is the vibrant Byward market, full of restaurants and boutiques.

The Westin Ottawa is also connected to the Rideau Centre shopping mall and guests can access the mall without ever having to go outside. Also located close-by is the Shaw Centre, which makes the Westin a popular choice among business travellers and tourists alike.

The Rooms

The rooms at the Westin are quite spacious and comfortable and offer ample room for relaxing as well. The hotel features traditional guest rooms, deluxe rooms, junior suites and suites. I was so excited to stay in a Deluxe King room with a Parliament view.

The room featured a sweeping view of downtown Ottawa against the backdrop of Canada’s Parliament buildings and a spacious seating area to sit and enjoy the view. The room also included comfy terrycloth robes and complimentary wi-fi. All deluxe rooms are located on higher floors as well.

The Amenities

The Westin Ottawa offers guests many amenities in addition to their generously sized guest rooms. The hotel features an indoor saltwater pool and outdoor terrace featuring views of downtown Ottawa. There is also an onsite gym called the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio which includes Peloton Bikes.

Don’t feel like working out indoors? No problem, the hotel has a RunWESTIN program and can provide you with a running map to guide you through downtown Ottawa. Don’t want to run alone? You can join a running group led by a RunWESTIN Hotel Running Concierge who will lead you through a three-mile group run. The group run takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning at 6:30am from April to October. To join just meet the concierge in the lobby.

The hotel also has two squash courts that guests can take advantage of. If you’re like me and forgot to pack your workout gear there’s no need to fret, the Westin has partnered with New Balance to provide athletic shoes and apparel during your stay, for a small fee. I believe the fee was just $5 during our stay.

If swimming, a gym and running are not your thing you can explore Ottawa on a bike through the BikeWestin program. Guests can rent BWM bicycles for $10 each at the front desk. This is a great way to explore Ottawa and give back to the community as all proceeds are donated to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Dining 

The Westin Ottawa offers two restaurants for dining options. For breakfast guests can check out Daly’s restaurant located on the third floor of the hotel. This restaurant is currently open as a grab and go option during the week and open for seated dining on the weekend. Their Sunday brunch is a popular favourite among Ottawa locals.

We enjoyed a lovely a la carte breakfast at Daly’s and enjoyed the view of downtown Ottawa along with our food. The portions here are generous and filling, so remember to bring your appetite.

For dinner or drinks, the Shore Club restaurant is located on the ground floor of the hotel. I’ve visited this restaurant many times and it’s a family favourite for cocktails!

The Verdict

Whether you’re living in Ottawa or just visiting the Westin Ottawa is a great choice for a staycation or vacation! It’s centrally located and close to many Ottawa attractions and offers great amenities and guest services. Sashien and I really enjoyed our staycation and we actually felt like we had left the city, it was so relaxing.

Right now the Westin has a Staycation package that includes the following:

  • $20 meal credit at Daly’s Express per night
  • Upgrade to Parliament View Room
  • Valet parking

Reserve your staycation here.

Thank you to the Westin Ottawa team for hosting us on this gifted staycation. We’ll surely be back 🙂

The Soho Experience

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post, but I’m back with a great new recommendation for you. Life has certainly been busy with lots of changes and updates, I’ll post about those later but first it’s time for some relaxation.

I recently discovered Soho Residences. They offer luxurious fully furnished suites in central locations in both Ottawa and Toronto. Locations in Ottawa are Soho Lisgar and Soho Champagne. The Soho Hotel is located in Toronto. I had previously stayed at Soho Lisgar, which is a great downtown location just steps away from restaurants, grocery stories and many Ottawa tourist attractions. This past Victoria Day long weekend Sashien and I had the opportunity to check out Soho Champagne, located in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy and featuring beautiful water views of Dow’s Lake and the Tulip Festival.

The Suites

The suites at Soho Champagne are spacious and provide ample room for rest and relaxation. Soho residences have one and two bedroom suites which feature separate areas for living/work and sleeping. Having traveled extensively for work I really appreciated the larger suites and designated areas for work and relaxation. I found the Soho suites much larger and more homely than a traditional hotel suite. Our two bedroom suite had a fully equipped kitchen including plates, glasses and cutlery. With Soho you have the option of making a home cooked meal while away on business or a vacation, I really liked this feature. The suites are also great for business meetings and entertaining.

Our suite had one master bedroom and one smaller bedroom. The master bedroom had a large closet and an ensuite bathroom. I loved the marble finishes in the bathrooms. All Soho suites feature carefully curated interiors by Gluckstein design. The high end features and finishes in these suites really speak for themselves. The master bedroom also featured a second walk in closet which could double as a home office area, so useful with most of us working from home these days! The smaller bedroom was also spacious and featured a great water view of Dows Lake.

The living area was comfortable and the wall to ceiling windows and gorgeous views of Dow’s lake from the couch. The balcony in this suite was quite extensive with access from the living room and master bedroom. I thought the private balcony off the master bedroom was a really nice design feature. The kitchen in our suite was fully equipped and we were able to enjoy a few meals at the counter. I’ve always loved a white kitchen so I especially liked the design of this one. Having a fully stocked kitchen really helped us feel at home and not like we were at a hotel. I love the fact that Soho Residence offers guests a luxurious boutique hotel experience that’s still homely and comfortable.

The Amenities

No luxury experience is complete without amenities right? Soho Residences certainly doesn’t disappoint. Soho Champagne features a gym, private movie theatre, coffee lounge, executive meeting room and rooftop terrace. The rooftop has a BBQ and a hot tub, perfect for Summer relaxation. The Champagne location also features The Champagne Club which is a great event space featuring a lounge, library, catering and fireplace. I attended an event at the Soho Champagne Club and the space is great for entertaining.

Photos courtesy of Soho Residences

In addition to these amenities Soho properties feature a personalized concierge, housekeeping facilities and parking garages. Our check-in was really smooth and easy. We were provided with a lockbox number and code where we found our suite keys, parking pass, welcome letter and garage access fob.

The Experience

Soho Residences provide guests with a luxurious hospitality experience. From the glamorous interiors, to their spacious suites and enticing amenities Soho Residences is an experience to be enjoyed. I fully recommend checking out either their Lisgar or Champagne locations if you’re visiting Ottawa or if you just need a staycation. Both locations are great for business travel as well featuring complementary high speed internet and smart TVs with cable and PVR connections.

Looking to stay longer than just a few nights? No problem! Soho Residences features extended stay suites as well. Special pricing and savings can apply for longer stays. This is a great option for anyone who is relocating.

We really enjoyed our staycation at Soho Champagne, thank you to Anna and the Soho team for hosting us and making our stay such a memorable and relaxing experience.

A Day of Relaxation at Koena Spa

Have you been to the newest spa just 5 minutes from downtown Ottawa? Koena spa opened last Fall and Sashien and I were so excited to check out this new nordic spa.

Koena spa is located in Gatineau, Quebec on the grounds of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. Koena is the Hawaiian word for balance. The whole spa has a Hawaiian relaxation theme to it with pools and saunas spread across a 40 000 sq ft facility including indoor and outdoor space. The entire spa experience is inspired by the four elements: air, water, fire and earth.

Here’s a breakdown of the Koena experience:

Air

The spa houses two dry saunas called Mahana and Wela. These are great places to relax and the heat on a Fall or Winter day is just lovely. The spa also offers five relaxation rooms some of which are outdoor.

Fire

There are many fire elements in the form of fire places and fire pits located throughout the spa. Fireplaces can be found in the garden pavilion, the Ahi Room and at the KŌENA Bistro. The spa also contains outdoor lounging space with natural sunlight, you can sunbathe in the Ho’o.la room or lie down on a deckchair on the spa’s terrace.

Earth

A hidden treasure at the spa is the ‘A.pona room. Here you can grab a handful of salt and exfoliate your skin or head straight in to the Eucalyptus steam room. We decided to try the steam first to relax and finished off with the salt exfoliation. This room is located in the lower, basement area of the spa. The spa also has a Himalayan salt room called the Pa’akai room, which is located above ground.

Water

Koena offers 3 hot baths and one cold bath. We especially enjoyed the warm baths, I could literally spend a day in the water. My favourite part of the hot baths was the Pohina Bath Cave located in one of the  baths. It was so relaxing with the hydromassage jets.

In addition to the steam rooms, baths and saunas the spa also offer massage therapy and aestethic treatments. You can choose from massages such as the Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Lomi Lomi or Mom-to-be massage. For aesthetics Koena offers a wide range of facials, mani/pedis, body wraps and waxing services.

The Food

The Spa offers a selection of food, soft drinks, wine and cocktails at their restaurant Bistro Koena. The food choices are healthy and filling. We shared the Hoisin Barbecue Chicken Wrap and it was more than enough for us. We tried some Riesling and Chardonnay,  as well as some Prosecco, because no trip to the spa is complete without some bubbly!

The Experience

We really enjoyed our day at Koena. The staff were warm and welcoming, the facilities were brand new, clean and the experience was so relaxing. I highly recommend treating yourself or a loved one to a spa day. Koena is now open for massage therapy treatments and the thermal experience. Don’t feel up to a spa just yet? You can always purchase a gift certificate.

Thank you to the staff at Koena for hosting us.

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