Christmas in Perth, ON

I’m back with another travel blog post and I’m so excited to share it with you! Last weekend I visited Perth, ON a small town less than an hour away from Ottawa. I first discovered Perth in the summer and have been back many times since.

This time I decided to check out some of their Holiday events, you know how I love Christmas! There’s something about small towns this time of year that’s just magical and Perth is no exception. Everything in Perth is so pretty, you feel like you’re living in a hallmark movie. The town itself is over 200 years old and there is so much history to see and appreciate.

Attractions 

Perth Museum

My first stop as I arrived in Perth was the Perth Museum. The museum is open to the public Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am-5pm. Tours are self guided and there is no admission fee but a donation is always nice. The museum is located at 11 Gore St. in downtown Perth, inside the Matheson House.  The house was built for Roderick Matheson in the 1840’s who was a wealthy merchant and eventually became a Senator in Canada’s first parliament. The museum consists of four period rooms; the parlour, drawing room, dining room and kitchen.

 Crystal Palace

I also checked out Crystal Palace which during the holiday season is home to a lovely collection of Christmas trees decorated by local businesses.  The palace is a giant glass structure which hosts events such as weddings and the Perth Farmer’s Market every Saturday throughout the summer. I arrived on a Friday and stayed for the market the following day as there was a special Christmas edition of the market on Nov 19th. The market is a great place to find treasures and homemade treats from local artisans.

Stewart Park & Town Hall

During the holidays Perth is lit! I was lucky to be in town when the Christmas lights were turned on. Stewart Park located in the heart of downtown Perth has a new light installation with red and green lights brightening up the trees. It looks truly magical. Don’t forget to check out the gazebo outside town hall, it’s all lit up as well and is a great spot for some holiday photos. During the day you can take a stroll through the park which offers views of the Perth Water Tower, the red bridge (another great spot for photos) and Code’s Mill.

 Shopping, Food and Accommodation

Shopping

Looking to get a head start on your Christmas shopping? Then Perth is the place for you. Their shop, stamp & win event is currently on and runs through to December 31st. You get a stamp card and a stamp for every $10 you spend at participating local businesses. It takes $100 to fill up a card and once full you’re entered into a draw to win one of three prizes!

I was in Perth on Friday November 18th, just in time for the Merry & Bright shopping event. This special event took place in the evening from 4-8pm and local businesses were open late. I had so much fun checking out all the shops in the downtown area. Many of them were offering holiday treats as well. One of the highlights of my evening was running into Father Christmas (Brent McLaren, the Perth Town Crier) who was walking the streets to greet shoppers!

Some of the stores I visited are:

There’s also many shops located in the streets surrounding the downtown area such as Spirit Children’s Boutique, Miss Penny’s Closet and of course Top Shelf Distillers if you’re looking for some alcoholic gifts. This local brewery is quite well known in Ottawa as well. I had the pleasure of attending one of their events in Ottawa at the Rideau Club a few years ago.

Dining

I checked out two restaurants in Perth. I had lunch at Gather ( their sandwiches are so good!) and dinner at Michael’s Table. Both restaurants are located in the downtown area and the food was amazing! I’d definitely go back. Other dining options include North Folk Cafe for coffee, paninis or cinnamon buns and Fiddleheads for a meal overlooking Stewart Park in the summer.

Accommodation

I stayed at the beautiful Best Western Plus Perth Parkside Inn & Spa. The hotel was so clean and really felt more like a boutique hotel. The staff were friendly and the breakfast at The Locks was great! Our room came with a balcony and some lovely winter views of Stewart Park and the Perth Water Tower. This hotel is perfect for a little weekend getaway any time of the year. It’s also located just across the street from Code’s Mill and many shops and restaurants are a short walk away.

Another option for accommodation in Perth is Nevis Estate Bed and Breakfast. Located on Drummond street it’s close to highway 7 and a short distance away from the downtown core.

Holiday Events

There is so much going on in Perth this holiday season! Mark your calendars because this Saturday November 26th is the Once Upon A Christmas event. There will be choirs, music, hot chocolate, wagon rides and fun for the whole family. There’s also some upcoming concerts, meet & greet with Santa and Mrs. Clause and Scrooge The Musical. A full list of holiday events can be found here on the Perth Tourism Website.

I had such a lovely time in Perth last weekend I can’t wait to go back and I might just visit this weekend as well. A big thank you to Perth Tourism for helping me plan my trip.

 

Fall Weekend in Toronto

I’m back with a new blog post and more travels to tell you about! I spent last weekend in Toronto exploring some Fall and holiday activities around the city.

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

As usual we flew in to Billy Bishop airport on Porter Airlines, it’s definitely the fastest way into the city. This time we stayed at the newly renovated Sheraton Centre Toronto. The hotel has a beautiful lobby with two bars(Dual Citizen and 43Down) and lots of space to sit, eat or work.

The room was spacious and comfortable. One of the key features at the Sheraton Toronto is the Club Lounge located on the 43rd floor. Offering sweeping views of downtown Toronto the Club Lounge is open for breakfast, all-day snacks and cocktails in the evening. It’s also a great place to relax, work or have a business meeting. You can upgrade your room to include access to the lounge.

We really enjoyed the breakfast at the lounge, the staff were so accommodating and the food was great. I really enjoyed the cold pressed juice made fresh daily in-house!

The Sheraton also offers lost of space for meetings and conferences. The hotel was busy as there were quite a few events going on during our stay but the attention to detail and customer service was amazing!

Activities

This trip was a little more relaxed for us in terms of activities as we were arrived late on Friday evening. Toronto has so much to offer in general, especially around the holidays. I started off my Saturday with some shopping with Laura Ackermans from Your Shop Girl

Your Shop Girl offers personal shopping and image consulting services. There’s a number of different packages for women and men that you can choose from. It’s also a great service to use if you want to get some Christmas shopping done! Laura took me on a quick tour of the trendy Queen St West area. We visited some local favourites like Horses Atelier, The Latest Scoop and Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Toronto is known for its entertainment industry and being home to the Toronto International Film Festival, but the city also offers many other specialized entertainment events. One of them is the Reel Asian Film Festival which features work but filmmakers of Asian heritage. We got to stop by the festival and catch some short films which also included works by South Asian filmmakers.

My favourite activity on this trip was our candle making workshop at Kandl Artistique Yorkville. This trendy boutique offers an olfactory experience! You can shop their existing candles or sign up for a workshop and create your own. Sashien and I really enjoyed the workshop, it’s a relaxing experience that’s a great date idea as well. The workshop runs about an hour and you get to choose your custom scent and name your candle. Once the candles are poured it takes about 30-mins to an hour for them to be ready for pick up so make sure you have something to do while you wait. The store also offers a cafe with snacks, tea, coffee and wine! Can you guess what I named my candle? The Weekend Fashionista of course!

Lunch

We checked out two spots for lunch on this trip. On Saturday we stopped by Le Sélect Bistro, a cozy French restaurant. This restaurant offers a great brunch menu with some traditional french items. I tried the Croque Monsieur and Sashien had the Beef Tartare. Both were delicious! The cocktails and wine list was also extensive and I was impressed that they had my favourite cocktail, a Kir Royale on the menu.

After our candle making workshop on Sunday,  we stopped by Signatures Restaurant at the Yorkville Royal Sonesta Hotel. The restaurant offers a new menu with items such as grilled shrimp, tacos and ravioli for lunch. Signatures is also a popular brunch spot in Yorkville and offers an elevated dining experience.

Dinner and Drinks

We had two amazing dinners in Toronto. On Friday evening we stopped by 43Down which is located inside the lobby of the Sheraton Centre Toronto. This restaurant is a great high end spot for dinner and drinks and features a new winter menu. We tried their duck fat fries, angus beef tartare and smoked aurora duck drumettes. The food was delicious but the real stars of the show are their drinks.

We tried the Boulavardier In Ice which has a really cool presentation where the alcohol is injected into a globe of ice. Once this is done you get to crush the ice and drink it. This is such a special cocktail that only 10 of them are prepared a night, so go early if you want to try it. 43Down also offers great smoked drinks such as the 43rd which comes in a smoke chamber.

On Saturday night we had another amazing dining experience at BlueBlood Steakhouse located inside Casa Loma. This was on our list of restaurants to try so we were very excited to experience it. We both tried the Wagyu beef steaks and they were done to perfection! For sides we went with garlic mashed potatoes and lobster mac & cheese, both so decadent.

The drinks at BlueBlood were also divine and I tried their famous Once Upon A Time cocktail. This truly was a dining experience! Everything from the decor, the drinks, food and ambiance was just perfect! If you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply feel the need to get dressed up for dinner then BlueBlood is the place to go!

After dinner we also stopped by Parc Ave for drinks. This new luxury cocktail bar and lounge is located in the Yorkville area and offers high end cocktails. We got there around 8pm but some parts of the lounge opened only at 10pm. If you plan on going to Parc Ave I’d suggest saving it as a late night spot. The bar and lounge are also quite small so it is liable to fill up as the night goes on.

We really enjoyed this weekend getaway to Toronto. If you haven’t visited the city yet then perhaps add it to your holiday travel plans. There’s so much going on in the city this time of year and a full list of activities and attractions can be found at Destination Toronto. They can also help you plan your trip to the city. A huge thank you to the Destination Toronto team for partnering with us on this trip!

 

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.

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 🙂

Holiday Staycation at Fairmont Montebello

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!

The Hotel

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 Activities

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.

The Verdict

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!

Staycation at the Frontenac Club

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 Rooms

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 Food

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 Verdict

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.