Destination: L’Hermitage Hotel

Being a tourist in the town where you reside can be a dream if you make the right connections.This charming boutique hotel is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver amid excellent shopping and dining. It’s luxurious with a relaxing ambiance.

Salt Water Pool

The large corner room was very clean with a huge bathroom and really comfortable beds.

Room with a view (sort of)

The efficient staff was very helpful in making recommendations on where to eat and places to see (even  though we were already quite familiar).  They have several bikes on site which you can reserve for four hours at a time so cruising through Stanley Park with a pitstop at English Bay Cactus Club was a breeze.

En Route, Air Canada magazine has this to say:

With kitchens equipped with Bosch appliances and staff that greet you by name in the hallways, L’Hermitage feels more like a chic European pied-à-terre than a hotel in downtown Vancouver. What we loved The hotel welcomes four-legged friends with Torre & Tagus ceramic bowls, cozy cushions and a walking service. If you only have one night Enjoy the sun while sipping a Nespresso in a velvet armchair in your suite’s private solarium overlooking the saltwater pool.

We think it’s worth spreading the word.

788 Richards Street, 778-327-4100

http://www.lhermitagevancouver.com/

 

 

 

 

Destination: Osoyoos, B.C.

I just had the pleasure of being a guest at the luxurious Walnut Beach Resort.Walnut Beach Resort is a waterfront haven overlooking Lake Osoyoos in sunny South Okanagan,  which is located in Canada’s desert wine country, about a five hour scenic drive from Vancouver.

Osoyoos from a distance

It was originally built to be private condos before deciding to turn the three-storey building into a resort which is run like a stylish boutique hotel.The lakeside rooms are all one or two bedroom designer suites with kitchenette and balcony.  And a most comfortable bed. Our suite was pristine, the service was excellent, the poolside restaurant had a variety of mouth watering dishes or if guests prefer to do their own thing, there are several barbecues set up alongside the pool area for them to use.

Normally there is a private sandy beach but at this time the water was high so most of the sand was covered.

Local things to do include wine tours, championship golf, water sports or just lying by the pool guilty or a swim in the lake.

It’s a chic, comfortable place.

My only complaint is that I wish we stayed there longer.  Which only means I’ll have to go back!

www.walnutbeachresort.com

Tell them I sent you.

Photos: d. king

 

Monday Mood Board #4

QUAINT – WINSOME – WILD

I always thought it would be great fun and somewhat adventurous to live on a houseboatafter knowing someone who did.  Then I decided it might be even better to live on a tugboat in the forest across from a lake.  Something like this would do.

Driving Above Christina Lake, British Columbia

Old fashioned fun

We like to keep on truckin

child size vanilla

Really good borscht at The Borscht Bowl in Grand Forks, B.C.

Really good Thai at Benja in Keremeos, B.C.  Good local fruit too.

 

 

Yes, we saw a big black bear close to the road.  Too close for comfort actually.

Then a curious moose we call a cow

Dogs just want to have FUN. And they know how to keep COOL on a HOT day.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Self Care Sunday: the Getaway

We all need to recharge.  Sometimes all it takes is just a change of scenery.  A couple days spent away is good for the soul.

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On Route

And you don’t have to travel very far to do so.  It could be an adventurous road trip within a day’s drive. Here in British Columbia we’re very lucky to have an abundance of places to visit; all unique and super natural.

Destination: Prestige Lakeside Resort, Nelson, B.C.

For this little vacay we chose Nelson Kootenay Lake and spent a few nights at the super relaxing Prestige Lakeside Resort with a room on the boardwalk overlooking the lake.  With two restaurants; West Coast Grill, sushi, a great little coffee shop called Junipers & an in-house spa, we didn’t have to leave the property at all.  Even a long off-leash dog walking area closeby.

nelson3

Our location

Although Nelson is a quaint town known for friendly people, good eats, cute little shops, hiking trails and a story.  It’s a calming part of British Columbia famous for its mix of culture, adventure, history and spectacular scenery.  A rare metropolitan mixed with mountain lifestyle. It has been dubbed the number one small arts community in Canada.nelson6

A brief history about Nelson: Kootenay is a  native word meaning “water people“.  Carbon dating provides evidence of a race of men and women who lived, hunted and fished along the shores of Kooteney Lake as long back as when the pyramids of Egypt were being built. These earliest inhabitants, drawn here for the abundance of fish, wildlife, berries and fruits, were later called the Kootenay Indians.

The town of Nelson is renowned for its impressive scenery, lively events, vibrant and inviting downtown, big city dining, and collection of restored heritage buildings and has been voted best ski destination with award winning powder snow and top lake.  It boasts a tiny city with a big personality.

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Happiness can be a change of scenery

Where will you plan your next getaway?nelson4Photos: d. king

Monday Mood Board #2

The Destination

Photo: Fresh

UMBRIA, Italy

The Table Setting

Something bright for a Spring brunch

Ideal Ridemoodboard8Foot Jewelry

Nostalgia

Admirable characters, clothing, cars.

To Catch a Thief (1955) starring Cary Grant + Grace Kelly

Him: What do you expect to get out of being so nice to me?

Her: Probably a lot more than you’re willing to offer

Travel: Sedona, Arizona

Have you ever been to Sedona?
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The setting is pretty unreal.  It’s a perfect location for mountain biking (our crew covered some ground and some dirt) and of course hiking.  Or you can just….be.

If you’re looking for a quiet spiritual experience to usher in the changing of the seasons, tranquil Sedona provides the perfect setting. Many people believe that the Sedona area is sacred, and that it’s “the center of vortexes that radiate the Earth’s power.”

I’ve been there on a few occasions. I loved the red rock canyons so much that I tried to replicate the desert colours for the interior of my home.  I believe I succeeded.

What To Do: Stay at the Enchantment Resort, try Diamondback Rattlesnake cakes and Cactus Fries at The Cowboy Club, take a UFO Night Tour (for something different…c’mon where else can you find something like this?) and drink biodynamic organic wine at Chocola Tree. Depending on your interests, you can also sign up for a weekend of healing, like this one offered by Hope Yoga.

Temperatures (October): High, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Low, 52.sedona1

 Ahhhhhh   Have you been?  

Destination: RIO

Rio has one of the most spectacular settings of any city I’ve ever been to.rio1No matter which direction you turn it has the most magnificent scenery.  Dramatic and breath taking. It’s a city famous for its beaches but there is also plenty of culture, great food and of course year round mild temperatures.  The people are vibrant.

I was lucky to have had the opportunity to visit on several occasions while living in São Paulo.  The flight is less than an hour and it made a perfect getaway.

At the time I didn’t have Instagram on my phone so when I saw these photos published in Allure Magazine (a popular womens beauty magazine to do mostly with makeup & skincare) I found them well…alluring to say the least.

With the Olympics starting this Friday in Rio and a friend who has just left to volunteer I thought it would be perfect timing to share Instagram photos and a couple of my own of this fabulous city.

 Pão de Açúcar

Pão de Açúcar

1. Pão de Açúcar

Sugarloaf Mountain, as it’s known in English, gets its name from its shape and is one of the most iconic stops in Rio. You can start your day by taking the cable car up to the top of the rounded peak. But don’t wait until you get to the top to take out your camera—the panoramic views from the car are just as impressive (and Insta-worthy!). People have been enjoying this breathtaking ride since the bubble-shaped cable car opened in 1912—it was even featured in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

2. Christ the Redeemer

This landmark is one of the most recognizable symbols of Rio. Standing 125 feet tall, it’s practically impossible to miss. The sculpture is located atop Corcovado Mountain, and it’s listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This is definitely a place where playing with a camera drone pays off, allowing you to capture both the sculpture and the city at its feet. A view like this can definitely leave you feeling #blessed.

One of my photos taken from a helicopter ride

One of my photos taken from a helicopter ride

 Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach

3. Ipanema Beach

Spend the afternoon sunbathing on the steamy shore of Ipanema Beach. This world-famous beach is located in one of the most affluent neighborhoods of Rio. Pack a big sun hat and a teeny bikini and get ready to sip coconut water while the hustle and bustle of the city melts into sea foam. All you have to do is wait for sunset’s magical light to capture the shadows of sunbathers and the mountains in the back.

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

4. Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

The Rio Botanical Garden is a tropical jungle you can get lost in and still easily find your way back to the city. The beautiful greenhouse, many gazebos, and flowing fountains are complemented by the lush nature that surrounds them. Find your way to the Avenue of Royal Palms located within the garden. This long road flanked by enormous palm trees makes it easy to spend hours taking amazing photos.

 Mirante Dona Marta

Mirante Dona Marta

5. Mirante Dona Marta

Who doesn’t love a good panoramic view? Located inside the Tijuca Forest, this lookout offers one of the most all-encompassing views of Rio de Janeiro, covering everything from Christ the Redeemer to Sugarloaf Mountain and the city in between. If sunset photos of this amazing skyline leave you wanting more, the observation deck also functions as a helipad, from which you can take thrilling helicopter tours of the city. Be sure to carry an extra set of memory cards for your camera just in case.

my photo

my photo looking towards Ipanema

Of course the city has its well documented down side with poverty and corruption which should not be forgotten amid the natural beauty and the thrill of the games.

Leave you wanting more?

Source: Julie Cid for Allure.com

Travel: On the Road Again – Part Two

Remember the post where I declared my love for the Vintage Airstream Trailer? vintage-airstream That was 10 days ago although it seems like months now. airstream_-_matt_4_500 - Copy

I found out that many travel companies are getting on board the vintage trailer bandwagon: In November, rental company Airstream 2 Go partnered with Texas boot-maker Lucchese (love them too – bought a pair in Nashville) on a custom itinerary through the Lone Star State, which includes a trip to the factory and a pair of custom boots.

mathewairstream - CopyAirstream says it’s selling five times as many trailers as it did in 2009, spent $6 million on a new office space, and recently hired 130 new employees. Sounds like the making of a major comeback story.

CHECK THIS OUT:

If you’re not the road trip type but want to experience the Airstream lifestyle for a night or two, here are five firmly planted and beautifully decorated hotels for your next vacation.

El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas

 El Cosmico Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico

El Cosmico
Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico

There is probably no place more appropriate to situate a trailer than Marfa, the art-centric, holistic desert oasis of the Southwest. El Cosmico offers tepees, yurts, and, most important, several models of trailers that are sparsely decorated but seriously cozy. There’s a minibar in each but, intentionally, no Wi-Fi.

AutoCamp, Santa Barbara, California

 Autocamp Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp

Autocamp
Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp

This tiny Airstream-based hotel is made up of five vintage trailers, some of which come equipped with flat-screen TVs, large bathtubs, and Malin + Goetz products. Each trailer also comes with two beach cruiser bikes for getting around the camp.

Hotel Daniel, Vienna, Austria

 Hotel Daniel Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel

Hotel Daniel
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel

Nestled in the garden just outside the boutique hotel, one silver Airstream trailer is available as a room option for guests. The 172-square-foot space was created by interior designers specializing in yachts and has a sleek, minimal feel. It nods to the experience of being out on the open road, but is in the middle of a busy urban center.

Italy Airstream, Venice, Italy

Italy Airstream Park Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park

Italy Airstream Park
Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park

The website touts this as “the first Airstream park in Italy,” and it’s certainly the first of its kind on the Adriatic Coast. Recently opened in April, the six Airstreams each sleep up to four people, with a shaded canopy bed outside. It’s 30 minutes to Venice by car, or you can take a longer two-hour ride to reach the Dolomites. There’s also a beach just outside the park.

Caravan Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Caravan Tokyo Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo

Caravan Tokyo
Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo

For those looking to skip the Ritz or the Park Hyatt for something a little more low-key, Caravan is the place to stay in Tokyo. It’s a single trailer that sleeps two, parked near the bustling Harajuku neighborhood in a mixed-use office complex. It’s a fantastic example of innovative, smart Japanese design, with a gray exterior, modern pendant lamps and paper stools inside, and a wooden outer deck and lounge area.

I know this is not the same thing but….

It's what I have for now

It’s what I have for now and it’s more easily transportable.  I’ve made many meals in this rig including once in Texas a fully-cooked Christmas dinner.  It’s true! Coffee anyone?

Source: Vogue Magazine Article (by Brooke Bobb) 5 Airstream Rentals That Trump Traditional Hotel Rooms

Modern Furnishings

Sleek, Modern, Comfortable Style

 

Lifestyle: Laguna Living

LAGUNA BEACH IS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S PREMIER COASTAL DESTINATION IF YOU LOVE SURF, ART, HEALTHY FOOD AND A LAID-BACK NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL ATMOSPHERE.laguna13

It’s where I met Aristotle, a handsome 34 year old native New Yorker who blurted out “I love you” within a minute of meeting me.  I immediately fell for him but he was living with someone else. Then, when I left hesitatingly he said “later baby.” Such is life. I saved his photo for last.laguna10laguna11

This seven-mile stretch of sand and surf is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.  It offers a year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beachgoers. 

A re-cap of my second visit to Laguna Beach and certainly not my last.20160111_151324
laguna5

Some Abstract

Some Abstract

Sign Posts

Artful Sign Posts

Sapphire's fine coffees, cheeses, wines & prepared foods.

Sapphire’s globally inspired fine coffees, cheeses, wines & prepared foods. They cater too.

Surfer dude. My drawing from a from photo I took.

Surfer dude. My drawing from a photo I took.

SHOP LAGUNA

The main shopping street

The main shopping street

Design mixed with surf and upscale boutiques

Design stores mixed with surf and upscale boutiques.  Lots of ART Galleries.laguna1

20160111_15342920160111_162715

The best salads, rice bowls & gelatos

The best salads, rice bowls & frozen yogurt.

This is Michael. He's the friendly official "unoffcial" greeter of Laguna.

This is Michael. He is the friendly official “unoffcial” greeter of Laguna.

Aristotle

This is Aristotle, my 34-year-old looker that talks back!

 

20160111_153535

Photos: d. king

Travel/LifeStyle: Holiday Hotel CLASSICS

TO TRAVEL WELL IS AN ART...part of which is knowing where to stay.  Some places become life long memories.

View from hotel room in Recife, Brazil. Photo: d. king

View from hotel room in Recife, Brazil.  Photo: d. king

Ipanema, Rio. Photo: d. king

Ipanema, Rio.  Photo: d. king

I have my reservations when booking places to stay for somewhere I’ve never been.  There’s always research involved as to the whereabouts, cleanliness of the place and of course, the price.  All in all I’ve had pretty good luck and have managed to stay in some very special hotels, Inns, and even B+B’s.  In fact some of them I’d even consider going back and staying as a holiday in itself, kind of like a staycation away from home.  I never thought about that before because usually they’re just comfortable places to sleep while enjoying the rest of the vacation scenery, restaurants, museums, etc.  There was one time I stayed in just a decent hotel in South beach, Miami and booked there for a second time because I liked the location and the price was under $300 per night (yeah, high priced South beach).  But to my horror the second time around was not so pleasant because they were in the process of making upgrades and the place was in shambles. Luckily for me I was able to get my money back and find a great cosy little art deco boutique hotel only a few blocks away and closer to the beach for only a bit more money.  You must do your homework and sometimes crying helps…but don’t count on it! But it has worked twice for me so….

This leads me to one question:

Is a hotel just a place to sleep and store your belongings, or a special retreat? 

Copacabana Palace, Rio

Copacabana Palace, Rio.  The pool is phenomenal even though the beach is right across the street.

Thinking back on all of the places I’ve been, I thought it would be a good idea to let you in on some of the more special hotels I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in along the way.  Some are classics and some are lesser known but equally extraordinary discoveries.  Should you plan to be in any of these locations, dreams are made of this:

In no particular order (because just like ordering a special from Wilensky’s in Montreal, some things don’t change over time):

Maison Boulud, Ritz

Maison Boulud, Ritz

Speaking of MONTREAL, the RITZ-CARLTON is the place.  I’ve always loved it and remember having many brunches here by the garden pond watching the swans swim by.  This is the romantic hotel where Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton married, I was a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding and the rooms come equipped with Hermès soaps and lotions.  This Ritz is a more intimate little Montreal gem.

Ritz-Carlton, Montreal

Ritz-Carlton, Montreal – a landmark

Blame it on the COPACABANA PALACE in RIO for spoiling me for all other hotels:

Copacabana Balcony

Copacabana Balcony

Fit for a KING. You don’t have to be a connoisseur of hotels to know that it’s hard to top this one.  Two words: Rolling Stones.  Yeah, Mick and the gang have stayed here too.  I think this place was partly responsible for his final breakup with Jerry Hall but I had nothing to do with that and don’t quote me.  I wanted to live here.  The Copacabana beach view, the staff, the pool, the food (particularly the brunch by the pool except I thought they said $17; not $70).  Outstanding!  Rio itself though, just be wary.  Don’t park anywhere you’re not supposed to for more than 15 seconds otherwise a cop might wave a gun in your face and try to extort thousands of dollars from you….just because they can.  I worked it down to $50 without one tear and a phone call to the concierge at the hotel.

Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires

Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires

Alvear Palace Dining, Buenos Aires

Alvear Palace Dining, Buenos Aires

ALVEAR PALACE, BUENOS AIRES –  this 5 star luxury hotel is located in the heart of  upscale La Recoleta  and combines European elegance with cutting edge technology.  Even if you don’t stay there make a reservation for high tea and it will make your visit to the Empress in Victoria seem like.. just toast.  Plus there is live music (harp anyone?) while you enjoy.

Nile Hilton, Cairo

Nile Hilton, Cairo

NILE HILTON, CAIRO –  sits right in the heart of the city and offers all the refinement of an old world Hilton hotel but on the banks of the river Nile.  Our balcony was facing a panoramic view of the Nile and our suite and the rooms in general are huge and elegantly decorated. This one is a popular meeting place for business travelers, tourists and locals alike.  It’s right next to the Egyptian Museum and close to the Khan el-Khalili market and Old Cairo. It’s also only eight miles from the pyramids. The on-site restaurants serve Lebanese, Egyptian, Italian and international cuisine in fantastic locations like a romantic terrace on the Nile and a rooftop deck overlooking the bustling city. Leisure options include a gym, sauna and swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, a disco and a casino.  I lived here for almost one month while on business.  I got to know the staff quite well, the business centre and the tea room on the roof with time to see all of the Museum across the street.  Okay, maybe I wasn’t really working much. Word of advice: don’t wear shorts even if it’s hot out which it will likely be.

OUT & ABOUT in AFRICA:hotel8

SAROVA STANLEY, NAIROBI fit for a QUEEN.  In the early 1900s when the Sarova Stanley opened its iconic doors, Queen Victoria presided over the largest empire in history, Conrad penned Lord Jim, Picasso painted Le Mouline de la Galette, and American R.A. Fessenden transmitted human speech over radio waves. The first luxury hotel in Nairobi, it has launched itself into Kenyan history.  The gracious host of prominent world leaders, renowned authors, and international celebrities – a beacon of luxury and unrivalled hospitality.  And they had a famous Thorn Tree where people including Hemingway used to leave notes for each other.  We saw it. It was there for over 30 years but sadly It has been replaced by a small sapling and there are bulletin boards surrounding it.  This sits smack in the middle of the Thorn Tree restaurant. The mystique is no longer.

Dine 'n Dive

Dine ‘n Dive – Sarova Stanley, Nairobi

The verdant location for numerous films over the years, the Sarova Stanley welcomed classic Hollywood luminaries such as Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, and Gregory Peck, and offered them a quiet repose under the shade of the acacia trees that frequent the outdoor gardens. A lavish oasis in the undisturbed Kenyan desert, the hotel entertained royal guests, including the resplendent ball for their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Gloucester in 1928, and a regal luncheon banquet for Prince Philip and, then, Princess Elizabeth during their world tour in 1952, shortly after which Princess Elizabeth succeeded to the throne to become queen.

ROYAL LIVINGSTONE HOTEL, VICTORIA FALLS, ZAMBIA – a dream vacation.

Royal Livingston charm. Photo: d. king

Livingstone charm.  Photo: d. king

hotel10

Overlooking the spectacular Victoria falls, is where 5-star luxury meets nature’s majesty. Easily accessible from Johannesburg, South Africa, The Royal Livingstone feels like it is a million miles from ordinary. Offering guests a once in a lifetime experience right on the banks of the Zambezi River overlooking the thundering Victoria Falls with lots of zebra and monkeys on the property. Renowned for its colonial-inspired décor, The Royal Livingstone owes its existence to its named in honour of the explorer David Livingstone.   Who’s that knocking at the back door? Oh, a monkey – how cute!  Word of advice: do not feed the monkeys candy.

Zebras on the Royal Livingston property. Photo: d. king

Zebras on the Royal Livingstone property. Photo: d. king

Hanging out with a monkey on the R. L. grounds. Photo: d. king

One of many monkeys on Livingstone hotel grounds. Photo: d. king

SEA CLIFF HOTEL, Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA

Sea Cliff Hotel, Tanzania

Sea Cliff Hotel, Tanzania

A privately owned hotel with unmatched personal service, immaculate grounds, great staff, excellent food, pampering atmosphere close to amenities and  you can watch them roasting coffee beans in the little shopping mall  right next door.  The aroma is amazing.

 A little closer to home:

INN AT THE OPERA, San Francisco

Inn at the Opera, S.F.

Inn at the Opera, S.F.

 Located just steps away from the city’s civic centre, Opera House, Symphony hall and a great little trendy neighbourhood called “Hayes Valley”.  A place for foodies and performing arts lovers.  But I booked this on a whim when I had to find a place when I was running the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco.  I made sure to stay here for the second run.  Rooms are small but comfortable and the boutique hotel has a luxurious French-style and antique European ambiance.  It was built more than half a century ago to house visiting opera stars.  The illustrious opera house is just outside your door, and the diverse charms of the city are all within your reach.   It took us about a 20 minute walk from here to Union Square where the start of the run takes place (not to mention all fabulous shopping you can ever imagine).  Can you imagine?

The Algonquin Resort St. ANDREWS BY THE SEA, New Brunswick

St. Andrews by the Sea, N.B.

St. Andrews by the Sea, N.B.

This hotel for the second year in a row has made Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Top 20 Resorts in Canada: Readers’ Choice Awards 2015!  It’s a beautifully located resort complete with golf course.  The town is lovely and very quaint.  We stayed in a room on the 4th floor where Joan Collins previously stayed in.  When we went out for dinner the radiator in the room exploded. I can’t remember the room number but found this out:

According to the website “Haunted North America”, Room 473 is haunted by a jilted bride who died in the room in the early 1900s.  Hmmmm

WICKANINNISH INN. TOFINO – stormy weather!hotel16Super, Natural British Columbia – like the ads say, this is it!  Experience total relaxation too.  Enjoy island nature at its wildest during storm watching weather while enjoying the comfort of this world class Tofino hotel with ocean views, cd player & library in each room, Pacific Northwest Cuisine (in the restaurant with piped-in live ocean sounds) and Ancient Cedars Spa (used to be Aveda) services in a smoke-free natural environment.

The Spa

The Spa – every room has a VIEW

Alright,  there seems to be many more unforgettables than I recall. heart I have left my heart in so many of them

More to follow…