It’s the holiday season! My favourite time of the year. I love Christmas in Canada as we almost always get a white Christmas 🙂 This year I wanted to really get in to the holiday spirit so we went on a little pre-Christmas staycation. Sashien and I were so excited to be invited to check out Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello located in Montebello, Quebec. This hotel is breathtaking and a truly unique Fairmont property. I’m excited to share all the details about our stay!
Located in Montebello just 70km away from Ottawa, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is the largest log cabin in the world. Built in 1930 the hotel is a year round resort celebrating 90 years this year!
Chateau Montebello is a great celebration of Canadiana and each of the hotel’s 210 guest rooms pay homage to the local culture and Quebecois life. The hotel ambiance is rustic chic and this is seen in both the room decor and the overall layout of the hotel. In 2019 the hotel underwent a $17.5 million renovation which included 102 newly renovated more modern rooms. We stayed in one of their newly updated rooms but if you’re looking for more rustic charm the hotel has many other room choices as well. More information about the rooms and suites can be found on their website.
Our room was spacious and we were still able to experience the rustic feel of the hotel. We loved the sitting area and the large windows. We enjoyed some champagne before dinner in our room and relaxed in the sitting area.
The hotel is a year round luxury resort and offers a wide range of activities for any of our four seasons here in Canada. The hotel does charge a resort fee to cover these activities which includes a long list of fun filled adventures for the whole family.
When we visited the resort we were especially excited to visit the aquatic centre. We spent an afternoon by the pool and enjoyed the hot tubs. The hotel also includes a gym and tennis courts. There’s many outdoor activities at the hotel as well such as volleyball, canoeing and basketball in the Summer and dogsledding, skiing and snow shoeing in the winter. Walking and hiking trails nearby the hotel are open year round. Sahsien and I enjoyed taking a walk by the water and exploring the area surrounding the property. A full list of summer, winter and year round activities can be found online. In the summer months the hotel also features a yacht club.
The hotel offers a range of dining options. Some restaurants are season while others such as Aux Chantignoles are open year round. We had all our meals at Aux Chantignoles and we especially enjoyed our breakfast and the views from the restaurant.
Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is beautiful all year round but it is absolutely magical during the Holiday season. There’s no better way to get in to the holiday season than enjoying a glass of wine or hot chocolate by their six sided fireplace.Visiting Chateau Montebello really put me in the holiday spirit. The whole hotel is decorated for Christmas and it looks spectacular. Fairmont Montebello has a wide range of offers for the holiday season and beyond. I highly recommend checking out their Early Christmas, Country Christmas or Holiday Getaway packages.
We had a lovely time and a truly relaxing experience at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Thank you to the staff for hosting us and making our stay a memorable experience. We will definitely be back!
Have you joined the Club? I recently discovered a hidden gem just an hour and a half away from Ottawa. The Frontenac Club located in Kingston, Ontario is a beautifully restored and renovated boutique hotel. Once home to the Bank of Montreal in the 1840s the building itself boasts a rich history and stately architecture.
Since its origins as a Bank the Frontenac Club evolved to become a well known B & B in Kingston and although it was built in the 1800s the building has only had four owners in its 175 year history. The Club went through a massive two year renovation beginning in 2018. This Summer the next chapter of the Frontenac Club began as it reopened to the public, presented as a chic and sophisticated boutique hotel.
Sashien and I were invited to stay at the Club and we were so thrilled to visit this Kingston stalwart.
The Hotel – First Impressions
We arrived at the hotel on Friday evening and as soon as we turned on to King Street we couldn’t help but notice the majestic building that is the Frontenac Club. The grey limestone facade which is updated with modern and vintage elements coupled with accents of greenery around the edges make this building stand out from the B&Bs and period houses down the street.
We loved how convenient the parking lot and back entrance to the hotel were. Located at the rear of the hotel is a beautiful courtyard with outdoor seating and a water feature. This would be a great place to have a coffee in the morning.
When we entered the hotel we were impressed by the modern touches such as the lighting, decor and overall ambiance of the place. The Frontenac Club makes quite the first impression.
The Club boasts 20 guest rooms all of which have their own character and unique features. We stayed in the 1000 islands suite which was in the Cartwright Wing of the hotel. This was on the upper level of the building. This room has views of the 1000 islands and lake Ontario from the windows along with exposed limestone walls. The room was very spacious and had a large sitting area complete with a gas fireplace. One touch I found particularly special was the fact that the room came with a full bar complete with bar tools and glasses. You could definitely make yourself at home, mix yourself a drink and enjoy it by the fireplace in this room.
The Bathroom was spacious and modern with almost a European feel to it, complete with luxury bath products by Gilchrist & Soames of London
Some other notable spaces in the hotel are the Ondaatje room, named after Sri Lankan born author Michael Ondaatje which features a separate writing room with a bar. The Locomotive Suite which is the largest suite in the hotel is home to the largest bathroom in the hotel along with a generous sitting area and views of downtown Kingston. Another interesting space is the Backstage room that features a turn table and records from The Tragically Hip. All rooms at the hotel are modern, luxurious and give you major big city vibes.
The Frontenac Club is a pet friendly hotel with all pet rooms located on the first floor of the building. The staff love animals and your pet will be treated like royalty; with a special welcome, treats, a door sign that says Dog on Vacation and a bed reserved specially for The Dog. I would definitely bring my Yorkie Chloe on a visit to the Club I’m sure she’d love all the attention.
The hotel also has all COVID-19 precautions in place. Masks are required in all common areas such as hallways and stairwells. Amenities such as towels and glasses, and food orders are delivered to your door. Staff do not enter the room for room service however you can request any replenishments you need. We felt really safe and well taken care of at the Frontenac Club and had no concerns regarding safety measures.
The Bank Gastrobar is the newest space to open at the Club. This chic lounge makes you feel like you’re in New York City! The decor and ambiance at The Bank are the epitome of modern elegance combined with old world grandeur.
The hotel also serves its breakfast at The Bank daily from 8 am-10 am. Our first morning at the hotel we were served Eggs Frontenac probably the fanciest hotel breakfast I’ve had in Canada. The Club always offers a great starter with their breakfasts as well; on our second morning we were treated to poached pairs in syrup topped with greek yoghurt, what a delicious start to a meal.
In the evenings The Bank offers a great selection of cocktails and a host of fine dining dinner options. The cocktail menu is quite sophisticated and divided in to two parts; Club Classics, a selection of signature cocktails and The Vault Series, a cocktails curated to The Club’s ever-evolving list of unique whiskeys & gins to build their twist on the classics.
Our first evening at the hotel both Sashien and I ordered from the Club Classics menu, I was feeling quite adventurous so I ordered a drink called Something Sexy, the ingredients weren’t listed on the menu so I let the bartender surprise me. I certainly wasn’t disappointed as this drink was lovely and came topped with dried rose petals. Sashien ordered The Boulevard Split which was a heavier drink, definitely something I’d call a gentleman’s drink.
The Bank also features a private dining space called The Vault which actually was one of the vaults used when the building was home to the Bank of Montreal. This intimate dining space is perfect for a smaller group event such as a wine tasting or even a private date night. We got to dine in the vault for our Saturday night dinner and the Chef certainly delivered. The food was in a word amazing! I ordered the Confit Pork Ribs and Sashien had the Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin. Both dishes were cooked to perfection! We also ordered some drinks with dinner. The bartender listened to our preferences and created some great cocktails for us. My favourite cocktail is the Kir Royale so he created a drink for me with pomegranate liquor dubbed the Pom Royale. Sashien’s drink of choice is an Old Fashioned and he got to customize his drink with his choice of whiskey, the bartender also added in some Charcoal bitters for an added touch to the drink. Speaking of whiskey the Vault also boasts a grand whiskey cabinet which is both a design feature and a restaurant element.
The Frontenac Club features contemporary style mixed with old world elegance. One of the newer features of the hotel is a rooftop patio featuring water views and a great city scape. We loved sitting outside and enjoying some fresh air. You can also bring a glass of wine upstairs and enjoy the sunset as guests are encouraged to relax in this great outdoor space.
We absolutely loved our stay at this boutique hotel and can’t wait to visit again. I would highly recommend The Frontenac Club to anyone who enjoys the finer things in life in a warm and welcoming setting. Besides the beautiful architecture, modern style and renovations, what makes the Frontenac Club a true gem is the staff and the service they provide. The attention to detail and the care they extend to all guests is unparalleled; arguably the best service I’ve received at a hotel in Canada. I cannot say enough good things about the Frontenac Club but don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself! Room reservations can be made through their website and if you’re in Kingston just for the day you can also book a tour of the hotel and stop in for a quick drink at The Bank.
A big thank you to Sean and the team at the Frontenac Club for this unforgettable gifted experience.
Hello again! I’m back from my mini vacation in Florida and I’m excited to share a few posts about my experience there. The first post I’ll be sharing is all about the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida; a city located about 20 mins away from Miami. We visited Miami and Fort Lauderdale on this trip.
I came across the Biltmore Hotel by accident when I was looking for some nice restaurants for us to visit for lunch and dinner. I noticed Fontana, the hotel’s Italian restaurant while I was searching for restaurants on OpenTable. What first got my attention was the location and ambiance.
Fontana specializes in Italian cuisine and offers a service for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer a Sunday Brunch. The restaurant has an indoor and outdoor dining area, with a large fountain in the middle of the outdoor courtyard surrounded by palm trees. I put in a special request for a table outside and they accommodated us with a table right next to the fountain. It was so nice to enjoy a meal outside with the fountain in the background. The courtyard has a covered high ceiling and open arches that allow a cool breeze to waft in and out of the outdoor dining area.
The restaurant offers a large choice of items on their lunch menu but of course we opted for pasta, because who goes to an Italian restaurant and doesn’t try the pasta. The staff were really helpful and accommodating, allowing us to customize the dishes to our liking. For example if there is a certain type of pasta or sauce you enjoy you can mix and match off the menu.
As it was quite warm that day we decided to avoid alcoholic beverages and opted for some freshly squeezed orange juice, a Florida special. It sure lived up to the hype.
The Biltmore Hotel was constructed in 1926 and the building has a vintage tropical flare to it. I thought it was a spectacular property with sprawling gardens, numerous fountains and a golf course on site. The hotel premises span over 150 acres and is home to a 271 room resort. One striking feature of the Biltmore is the architecture which has Italian, Moorish and Spanish touches.
We took a walk around the hotel and got to see the pool and some of the gardens. The hotels boasts the largest hotel pool on the East Coast of the United States. This place truly is a tropical paradise. The interior of the hotel has a vintage luxury feel to it and is decorated in a classic style. I would definitely visit this place again and possibly stay there.
Although the hotel has numerous restaurants and dining options, one thing I’d love to try is the Afternoon Tea service in the hotel’s lobby.
If you’re ever in Miami then the Biltmore is definitely worth the short drive to Coral Gables.
If you’re following me on Instagram or Facebook you probably know that I was in sunny California two weeks ago. I’ve been so busy since I got back that I’m just getting to this highlights post now.
We had a great time in California and enjoyed a much needed break from the cold weather. It was my first time there although my better half had been there many times before.
We were there for 5 days so we decided to plan out each day and make an itinerary to maximize our time there. We were able to fit in so much in to our short time in California so I’ll only be sharing some of my highlights.
Our first day was set aside for travel and actually getting to Los Angeles. We stayed at a hotel on Sunset Boulevard which was a great location for us with many food spots and easy access to other areas of the city.
Day Trip to San Francisco
We decided to take a semi-private flight via a company called Jetsuitex and I really loved this experience. Jetsuite has its own hangar at Burbank airport so you skip the long lines and intimidating security checks that you deal with when flying commercial. You basically arrive about 15 minutes before the flight, sit in a lounge and board when the plane arrives. The on-board amenities are great too with a full bar services along with healthy snacks. After this relaxing flight we spent the day exploring San Francisco and headed back to LA in the evening.
Dinner at NobuMalibu
We spent our third day exploring downtown Los Angeles and headed to Malibu for dinner. We’d heard really good things about Nobu Malibu so we decided to check it out. We loved this Japanese restaurant. The view from the patio was great even at night. The service was amazing as well, probably the best I’ve had at a restaurant.
How could I go to L.A. and not visit Rodeo Drive right? I was totally having a Pretty Woman moment here. I absolutely loved this part of the trip. We had a great time walking down Rodeo and checking out all the posh shops. Throughout this trip we also treated ourselves to some stylish rides. For Beverly Hills we rented a Porsche using an app called Turo. It’s an affordable and convenient way to rent a car of your choice.
Another highlight of this trip was the food. We literally ate so much all the time. My favourites were fish tacos, happy hour treats and of-course a hamburger from In-n-Out! We also checked out the rooftop restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria. I really enjoyed this rooftop as it had awesome views of the city and the hills.
I hope you enjoyed our trip highlights. Have you been to California before, if so what was the best part of your trip? Leave a comment and let me know.
My trip Dubai was probably one of the most memorable adventures I’ve been on. The last post in my Dubai Diairies series is all about my High Tea experience at the most world’s most luxurious hotel the Burj Al Arab.
High tea at the Burj Al Arab was quite an experience. This hotel is probably the most opulent and luxurious place I’ve ever seen. In order to get inside the hotel you either need to stay there for a cool price of $1900 CAD a night (based on booking.com) or have a reservation at one of their restaurants. There’s security at the gate to verify your reservation, so sneaking in is not an option 😉 Once inside you can take some time to admire the lobby and the gold detailing on practically everything. If you wait long enough you can see the fountain show – the hotel has a large fountain on the second floor of the lobby which keeps a beat and periodically shoots a huge stream of water up the at ceiling. This ceiling is probably the highest I’ve seen in my life and the hotel is said to have the world’s tallest atrium.
I made my reservation for tea at the Skyview Bar but there’s also a high tea serving at a restaurant called Sahn Eddar which is located in the atrium of the hotel. The Skyview Bar is located on the 27th floor of the hotel. I’d highly recommend the Skyview Bar over the atrium restaurant as the view is spectacular. However there is a minimum age requirement and you have to be 21 to enter the bar.
The high tea consisted of 7 courses (pictured above) and came with glass of sparkling wine. I was happy to get a window table which needs to be reserved in advance. Aside from the food and tea offerings the Skyview Bar also has a list of signature cocktails. I opted for the Burj Royale as it was reminiscent of my favourite cocktail the Kir Royale. I really enjoyed my high tea at Skyview Bar and it was truly a unique experience. It’s definitely a once (or twice) in a lifetime thing and I would strongly recommend it 🙂
You can’t go to Dubai without going on a desert safari! On my fourth day in Dubai I decided to be really adventurous and go out to the desert! This excursion was so much fun! There are many different safari companies to choose from and you can easily book your excursion ahead of time, in fact I’d highly recommend it. I booked mine through a personal contact but you can find desert safari packages online.
My excursion started around 3pm in the afternoon, typically a desert safari can last about 6-8 hours depending on what activities you select. We were picked up at our hotel in a range rover and drove about a 45 mins to an hour to get to the desert. Our first stop was a well known tourist stop where you could try out some ATVs, buy a souvenir or get dressed in a traditional Arabian headdress. I decided against the ATVs as it was raining a bit the afternoon of my excursion so the sand was a bit wet. Can you believe it, I actually saw the rain in the desert?!
Following the ATV stop we headed in to the desert for some dune bashing! This was the scariest and most fun part of the excursion. Dune bashing is like being on a roller coaster ride that lasts 30 mins or more! Here’s the part where your seat belt really keeps you from being thrown around the SUV. If you have a back injury or are prone to motion sickness then dune bashing may not be the best activity for you and you can choose to opt out of it when you book your excursion and choose a package that doesn’t include it. I typically never get motion sick or dizzy on roller coasters but this experience left me feeling a little disoriented. As some of my friends were feeling a little dizzy we decided to stop and take some photos in the desert. The fresh air really helped alleviate any discomfort brought on by the dune bashing. After that it was time to head to a nearby Bedouin camp for dinner.
Our third and final stop was the desert camp. There were a number of different activities at the camp including camel riding, dressing up in traditional clothing, shopping for souvenirs and henna tattoos. We settled in for a desert BBQ dinner followed by a Tonoura Show and Belly Dancing.
I really enjoyed my afternoon out in the desert and would recommend the desert safari excursion to anyone.
Pro Tip: You can opt for a private or shared safari excursion. I chose the private package and it was $300 USD which we split between 3 people. This price included pick and drop off at the hotel in a private SUV, dune bashing, camel rides and dinner.
I’d heard that the markets in Dubai were something I should not miss! On day three in Dubai I decided to check out the Old Souk or old market. I stayed at the Radisson Blu Deira Creek which is located across the street from the creek itself. I went for a walk in Creek Park and noticed that there were water taxis going across the creek. On a whim I decided to grab a water taxi (called an Abra) and visit the Old Souk. The taxis are very inexpensive and the ride is very pleasant. The trip over to Old Souk reminded me a bit of a water taxi ride along the grand canal in Venice. I enjoyed the architecture and the older buildings in Dubai.
Once I got the to my stop it was time to explore the market. Old Souk is truly an experience. There are so many people walking along the narrow streets lined with vendors and shops. It’s a busy place with many vendors calling out to tourists to come see their wares. You certainly get hawked at and shouted at but it’s all part of the experience. The market has many different kinds of shops ranging from spice and sweet shops to souvenir and clothing stalls. There’s also a few places to grab a quick bite to eat.
I decided to dress more conservatively on the whole while in Dubai. For my day at the market I chose a black jumpsuit from Forever 21 paired with this trendy pom pom bag. I found these cute block heels at The Bay which complemented the jumpsuit perfectly. Although it was the Winter in Dubai the sun was still out and rather strong so I decided to bring a sunhat with me 🙂
Signature Dessert- Sauteed Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Lava Cake
I arrived in Dubai on my birthday (Feb 28) and it was quite late so I decided to have my birthday dinner on March 1st. I wanted to go somewhere special. I discovered a restaurant called At.Mosphere through an internet search. Located on top of the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world, this restaurant is on the 122 floor and is the tallest restaurant in the world!
The view from the top is truly spectacular as you look down on the night lights of Dubai. At. Mosphere is a must do in Dubai (in my opinion). It’s literally the best view in Dubai. The restaurant contains a lounge and dining room and offers dining options for high tea, cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My birthday dinner was truly an experience to remember. The waitstaff at the restaurant are expertly trained and offer great recommendations regarding the menu options and things to look out for as you sit by the window. One thing to keep in mind is that the restaurant comes with a minimum spend. The prices are listed on the website and tables located near the windows have a higher minimum spend. A typical meal with cocktails and dessert will cost you around $300 but it is well worth the splurge. I chose a 3 course option for dinner but the waitstaff are very helpful in making recommendations according to your preferences. Our waitress had some great tips for us regarding the menu (you can choose from a 3, 5 or 7 course meal as well as a la carte options) options and even recommended a dessert that wasn’t listed on the menu. It was fantastic! She also took us around the front of the restaurant to see the dancing fountain show (located at the Dubai Mall).
At.Mosphere has a strict dress code of smart elegant and most diners were dressed in formal attire, although I did see a few gentlemen in short sleeved shirts. For my outfit I decided to go all out and wore this fabulous red gown 🙂 I figured it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed. The moment I saw this dress in the window I was reminded of Julia Roberts’ red opera dress in Pretty Woman 😉 I found the perfect necklace to complement this dress at Unique Accessories. It added just a bit of sparkle and didn’t overpower the dress. If you’re looking for a truly unique and elegant dining experience then be sure to check out At.Mosphere at the Burj Khalifa.
If you follow me on instagram you probably know I was in Dubai last week 😉 I decided to get away for my birthday this year and Dubai was a place I’d always wanted to visit. I was there for about 4 days but was able to pack in a lot of sightseeing. I’ll be chronicling my visit to Dubai and my outfits in this new series called Dubai Diaries.
My first stop in Dubai was the Dubai Miracle Garden. I’d heard so much about this place and was told it was a must-see in Dubai, and it did not disappoint. The garden was truly beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers. If you thought Mosaik in Ottawa was great well I’m sorry to say you haven’t seen anything until you see this garden. The exhibits were spectacular and there were plenty of places to grab a quick snack and rest as you toured the garden. One of the exhibits in the garden even set a Guiness world record. The exhibit in the shape of an Emirates Airbus A380 airplane is the largest flower arrangement in the world.
I decided to play it safe and dress conservatively while I was in Dubai. For my visit to the garden I chose a midi length ruffle skirt paired with my signature Weekend Fashionista t-shirt in white. I opted for a pair of Lucky Brand wedge heels as I would be doing a lot of walking and I wanted to be comfortable. I tied in the camel colour of my shoes with this Ellen and James rectangle bag. Although I visited during the Winter, Dubai can still get pretty warm during the day so I decided to bring a sunhat to keep cool during the garden tour 🙂
Pro Tip: The garden can get quite busy during the day so it’s best to go earlier in the morning if you want to get some nice photos free of other visitors. I visited the garden around 9:30 am right when it opened.
Admission fee: Admission to the garden costs 45 Dirhams which is about $15 CAD. Remember to keep your ticket as a souvenir.
It’s vacay time!! I’m going on vacation again so I thought I’d share some of my travel beauty favourites. I used to travel a lot for work so I’m quite used to packing my beauty products in a clear plastic bag 🙂
The recycled air inside a plane combined with high altitude can do a number on your skin so it’s important to moisturize when you fly. I like to pack some face cream, hand cream and lip balm with me. I find my face and hands get especially dry when I fly. My current favourite moisturizer when flying is Olay Classic Moisturizing lotion. I have combination skin so this works well for me. I haven’t been able to find a travel size Olay lotion so I usually just carry some in an empty container (hint: it’s in the circular Nivea container ;)). For lips I go with a generic lip balm like Blistex and for my hands I usually go with a generic hand moisturizer.
Pro-Tip: If you’ve ever been upgraded or traveled business or first class you usually receive an amenities kit which contains lip balm and hand lotion.
I don’t carry travel sizes of my makeup but I make sure all the makeup I take in my carry-on is 100ml or less. I usually take some foundation, my liquid eyeliner, mascara and a lipstick. I use MAC for my foundation, eyeliner and lipstick. I also like to pack some perfume with me just to freshen up between flights. Most perfumes come in travel sizes that fit perfectly in your clear plastic bag.
I carry some makeup removing wipes and a cleanser – for freshening up while in transit.
Pro-Tip: Most airports have paid entry lounges that you can use to grab a bite, take a shower and catch a few winks between flights.
After Flight Care
Getting some quality sleep on the plane always helps with jet lag so I like to bring an eye shade with me to block out extra light and help me sleep. A few years ago I discovered a product called Liquid Oxygen by O2Spa. Just a few drops under your tongue or mixed with water can help relieve jet lag and improve your energy. I purchased mine on Air Canada duty free but you can also purchase the product through their website. I also pack a gel eye mask to help relieve puffyness under the eyes as a result of lack of sleep. Gel masks can usually be used as a hot or cold option and they’re great for helping you relax post-flight.
Pro Tip: Drink lots of water while you’re in flight and try to avoid alcohol. The altitude combined with the alcohol will leave you feeling dehydrated and you’ll have a more difficult time dealing with jetl ag. Taking a quick stroll around the cabin (when the seat belt signs are off) will also help with circulation and leave you feeling more energized.