Weekend Getaway

A day in Vancouver

A Saturday in vancouver

[trip style = luxury + urban + spa + food & wine + active]

Eat, exercise, repeat. This is Vancouver. Steeped in nature with a cosmo flair befitting its Pacific Rim location, Vancouver is a city where Louboutins and hiking boots are equally welcome. For a well-rounded view of the Glass City I've included activities for both shoe types to your mountain-meets-metropolitan itinerary. Happy trails...

When I was asked to write about how to do a Saturday in my home city for Luxury Retreats Magazine, I went in this direction: The local's way, because that's the best way to taste a town's flavors, mais oui?

A Saturday in Vancouver {reader's digest version}
9am: Take your first bite du jour at Temper Pastry {just outside the city center} for a dose of coffee and croissants to fuel your urban adventure. Thankfully the rest of the day involves exercise, so order a few Charlie Bites—the shop's cult-following, lightly sweetened, cinnamon pull-aparts—and sit for a bit in the marble-clad and brioche-scented space. 

10:30am: Bike the Stanley Park Seawall. As part of the world's longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the seawall showcases the ocean city’s assets up close, taking cyclists and pedestrians on a tour around town past the park's 1,000 acres, beaches, seaside restaurants, marinas, and gourmet markets.

2pm: Laze the afternoon away at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Willow Stream Spa. At once contemporary and cool, the 8,500-square foot, glass-enclosed space goes beyond Canada-inspired treatments of the Maple-sugar scrub variety, offering a woodsy West Coast aesthetic, the crown jewel of which is the outdoor terrace with views over the waterfront, private Jacuzzis, an infrared sauna, and meditation pods.

7pm: Dinner at L’Abattoir (where you'll find me sitting at the bar in the photo gallery), Gastown's poshest address for dinner, blending an industrial-French physique with sexy cocktails and Euro-coastal dishes that look as though they are intended for a photoshoot.

[photo via @luxuryretreats]

 

BC Wine Country Weekend

[trip style = food & wine + weekend getaway]

Editor's Note: For more Okanagan wine country inspiration—or should I say inSIPration?—check out the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog for my article, A stylish guide to western Canada wine country.

Reader advisory: The winery photos below contain graphic images of yours truly frolicking through vineyards and modern tasting rooms that may cause you to book a last-minute getaway to British Columbia's premier wine region.

Home to over 100 wineries, BC's Okanagan Valley is a popular destination for western Canadians. Similar to Swiss wine, BC wine is still a relatively well-kept secret by a province that drinks nearly everything it produces. Why? You could blame our old-fashioned liquor laws, but I'd like to think that we drink it all because it's just that good.

Recently, the region has attracted more international attention from wine lovers and investors who heard it through the gravevine. Painted Rock's Red Icon blend sells for $55 at the winery, but in Shanghai goes for up to $500 in wine shops and $950 in restaurants. On a recent visit, I may have considered buying a few bottles, booking a trip to China and selling them to pay for my travels to the world's leading market for red wine.

The business of wine aside, BC's Okanagan is worth the trip to sip your way from Oliver to Lake Country on Pinot Gris, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cab Sauv, or one of the other 80+ grape varietals produced in the region. Because many wineries close up for the winter, early fall is a great time to visit. Not only will you sample some delicious wine without the crowds, you'll be right in the action during harvest season.

Trip Styler Tip: Wine tasting is haaaaard work, so don't forget to eat! Stop by Therapy Vineyards for a bite of wood-fired pizza from Howard at Lil's Kitchen, visit Poplar Grove's popular Vanilla Pod Restaurant, or grab some gorgeous cheese at Lock & Worth and hang out on a picnic bench overlooking Okanagan Lake.

A few of my favorite wineries and wine picks...

  Lock & Worth Winery , Naramata Bench  Wine pick: Merlot  This young, no-fuss winery is also home to Poplar Grove cheese, so your wine tasting comes paired with food. And really, what's better than wine & cheese? {Hint: Nothing}

Lock & Worth Winery, Naramata Bench
Wine pick: Merlot
This young, no-fuss winery is also home to Poplar Grove cheese, so your wine tasting comes paired with food. And really, what's better than wine & cheese? {Hint: Nothing}

  Painted Rock Estate Winery , Penticton  Wine pick: Syrah  This stunning, modern tasting room provides a beautiful setting for beautiful wine. Trust me — you'll want to spend an afternoon on the patio with a bottle of wine making all your friends jealous via Instagram.

Painted Rock Estate Winery, Penticton
Wine pick: Syrah
This stunning, modern tasting room provides a beautiful setting for beautiful wine. Trust meyou'll want to spend an afternoon on the patio with a bottle of wine making all your friends jealous via Instagram.

  Poplar Grove Winery , Naramata Bench  Wine pick: Viognier  More than just a gorgeous wine label and tasting room, this winery is home to a lovely restaurant and excellent wines, including my picks, Viognier and Merlot.

Poplar Grove Winery, Naramata Bench
Wine pick: Viognier
More than just a gorgeous wine label and tasting room, this winery is home to a lovely restaurant and excellent wines, including my picks, Viognier and Merlot.

  50th Parallel Estate Winery , Lake Country  Wine pick: Chardonnay  This is also a relatively new winery with an impressive industrial tasting room-meets-production-facility tucked away in Lake Country. Don't leave without a bottle of Chardonnay, Riesling and Rosé!

50th Parallel Estate Winery, Lake Country
Wine pick: Chardonnay
This is also a relatively new winery with an impressive industrial tasting room-meets-production-facility tucked away in Lake Country. Don't leave without a bottle of Chardonnay, Riesling and Rosé!

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

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Wine Touring 101
Wine Touring 102
OK Wine Tasting
A BC Wine Country Escape at Hester Creek
Osoyoos :: The High Life

[images by @heatherlovesit & wineries mentioned, top image by trudelphoto.com]

Postcards from Portland

[trip style = urban + beach & sun + food & wine + weekend getaway]

Portland is one of our most requested cities for Trip Styler-approved recommendations. As I tend to visit the City of Roses between the fall and spring, I decided to venture down for a summer getaway in the Pacific Northwest. Known for its award-winning restaurant scene, easygoing lifestyle and friendly locals, Portland offers a guaranteed good time. Besides the usual brunches, happy hours, bike rides and tax-free shopping, I set my sights on two spots I'd been meaning to visit: Sauvie Island and the Multnomah Whiskey Library. Together they make the perfect Portland day. We all know about après-ski and the nineteenth hole—let's make après-beach part of our social practice!

Things to know: Hotel rooms and Airbnbs are pricey and hard to come by during the summer, so plan ahead, stay outside town or snag a last-minute room on Hotel Tonight. I booked the Ace in late April for a July stay, and the rate was twice what I've paid during the winter.

 Hot dogs or legs?! We chased the sun to  Sauvie Island  {pronounced  saw -vee or  soh -vee}, about 30 minutes north of the city, on a 37°C day. The most popular beaches, Collins and Walton, face the Columbia River. The northern end of Collins beach is clothing optional. Beware of sand so hot it will burn your feet ... etc. ;-)

Hot dogs or legs?! We chased the sun to Sauvie Island {pronounced saw-vee or soh-vee}, about 30 minutes north of the city, on a 37°C day. The most popular beaches, Collins and Walton, face the Columbia River. The northern end of Collins beach is clothing optional. Beware of sand so hot it will burn your feet ... etc. ;-)

 Pack a picnic basket and stop for berries at one of the many farm markets and pumpkin patches on the island. Looking for a hike? There are a several 2-3-mile trails on the island. Can't get enough? Plan your trip around one of several long table dinners over the summer or stay in this modern farm  cottage .

Pack a picnic basket and stop for berries at one of the many farm markets and pumpkin patches on the island. Looking for a hike? There are a several 2-3-mile trails on the island. Can't get enough? Plan your trip around one of several long table dinners over the summer or stay in this modern farm cottage.

Things to know: Purchase a daily parking permit {$7 usd} on the east side of the island from the Reeder Beach RV Country Store or just north of the bridge from the Cracker Barrel Store to park in all beach and wildlife areas.

 "I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." I couldn't help but quote Ron Burgundy while sitting in a tufted leather couch in the  Multnomah Whiskey Library . As I watched bar-backs climb rolling ladders like Belle in  Beauty and the Beast  to access one of the 1,500 bottles of liquor, including 900 whiskeys, I marveled at the attention to detail and spectacle of the place.

"I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." I couldn't help but quote Ron Burgundy while sitting in a tufted leather couch in the Multnomah Whiskey Library. As I watched bar-backs climb rolling ladders like Belle in Beauty and the Beast to access one of the 1,500 bottles of liquor, including 900 whiskeys, I marveled at the attention to detail and spectacle of the place.

 One of the most unique features of the bar is the personal touch. Your cocktails are mixed and your whiskey is poured right in front of you by a bartender who wheels over a bar cart. I started with a 12-year-old Ezra B single-barrel bourbon that my bartender selected for me after I told her what I liked and my price point, followed by a delicious cocktail. Their most popular cocktail is the Old Fashioned, which my friend called the best she's ever had. Two drinks and a few hours later, we pulled ourselves off the leather couch and into the warm evening, passing dozens of people waiting to get inside.

One of the most unique features of the bar is the personal touch. Your cocktails are mixed and your whiskey is poured right in front of you by a bartender who wheels over a bar cart. I started with a 12-year-old Ezra B single-barrel bourbon that my bartender selected for me after I told her what I liked and my price point, followed by a delicious cocktail. Their most popular cocktail is the Old Fashioned, which my friend called the best she's ever had. Two drinks and a few hours later, we pulled ourselves off the leather couch and into the warm evening, passing dozens of people waiting to get inside.

Things to know: Anticipate a long wait for this popular, seated bar. Put in your name and wait in the new Green Room bar below the Library as you sip on a low-proof cocktail designed to open your palate while you wait to be seated upstairs.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Oregon Travel Diary :: Feasting on Portland
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Pant-Stretching Portland
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[images via @heatherlovesit & dana avila photography]

Victoria :: A TS Guide

victoriaguide

[trip style = weekend + urban + food + steals + luxury]

Tucked into the southern end of Vancouver Island in a protected harbor, Victoria, Canada, is a small city of fairy tale proportions. Setting the scene with ships bobbing in the bay, street performers strumming a tune, and grand, ivy-covered buildings watching over the waterfront, every angle feels as though it has been imagined by Broadway set designers.  

If this description seems a tad too ideal; it’s real, and is the reason we're smitten with Canada’s mildest city. Case in point: Any time we meet travelers on the road and mention we're Canadian, they tell us with their lips and their body language how much they adore Victoria {read: their heads tilt to the side, their lips lock into a smile, and they breathe a little more deeply}.

Here's a TS Guide to the petite city with grandiose charms; enjoy.

Eat
Jam Café - Victoria is a breakfast town, where Saturday mornings spent lining up in the cold for pulled pork pancakes is a right of passage. My shared dishes this weekend included pan-fried oatmeal with blueberries and lemon curd and a blackstone avocado benny. Jam's morning cocktails, which include gin cucumber lemonade and bourbon caesar, take the edge off after a wait outside.
Red Fish Blue Fish - Set in a converted storage container, there's something to the Ocean Wise fish and chips served on the boardwalk hugging Victoria's waterfront. With line-ups often 50+ people long, it's become both an institution and a spectacle, featured on the Food Network's Eat Street.
Fishhook - If you don't want to wait in line at Red Fish Blue Fish, walk up to the chef’s newest venture, where a more intricate menu of tartines and salads means your dockside fish fry just got elevated.
Sutra - Located in the Victoria Public Market, Sutra is a new addition to Vij’s family restaurants, take-home food and cookbooks, offering ready-to-eat Indian dishes served at large communal tables.  
MEAT & BREAD - Started in Vancouver, this lunchtime institution survives {and thrives} on four type of sandwiches, the most popular of which is porchetta: Slow-roasted overnight for juicy perfection.
fol epi - A local bakery by the sea that grinds gains on-site for its loaves of artesian bread.
OLO - Focusing on BC-fresh ingredients served in a wood- and brick-built setting, OLO pays homage to the region’s trade roots as a cultural melting pot.
Tacofino - From Tofino taco truck to West Coast taco empire, Tacofino's newest Commissary location is shaking up the downtown dining scene. You can never go wrong with the fish taco and chocolate diablo cookie.
Kid Sister - Victoria's newest ice cream shop on the block, actually opened three years ago as a fruit pop shop serving paletas, until the family-run business expanded into new territory with flavors like roasted rhubarb and vanilla creamsicles. 

Do
Browse Chinatown - Once the main entry point for Chinese miners and railway workers, Canada's oldest Chinatown is at once steeped in tradition and today, juxtaposing tea emporiums and herbalists with organic juice shops and bamboo markets. Covering only two city blocks, it's easy to spot the signature red and yellow lanterns suspended over the street, vintage neon signs signalling Szechuan and dim sum, and the world-famous Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada {so small you need to step aside for other passersby}.
Bike the Galloping Goose Trail - As the cycling capital of Canada, Victoria takes two wheels to the next level with its network of bike lanes and the conversion of the "Galloping Goose" railway into a 60-kilometer cycling and walking trail. Easily accessible from downtown, the bike routes can be conquered for one hour or an entire day with a bike rental from Cycle BC (just behind The Fairmont Empress). Everyone from Lance Armstrong wannabes to young families can "gallop" on two wheels under a canopy of trees, over wooden bridges, and through paved residential trails.
Watch the Water Ballet - A tradition spanning a quarter century performed by a quintet of Victoria Harbour Ferry skippers who maneuver their boats like ballerinas every weekend {Saturdays at 10:45 a.m., July-August; Sundays at 10:45 a.m., May-September}.
Afternoon Tea - One of Canada's most iconic hotels has been welcoming guests and serving tea on its very own Royal-appointed china since 1908. Feast on a tiered tray of cucumber finger sandwiches—crust off, of course!—raisin scones perfected over the past century, and treats such as rose crisps.
Beacon Hill Park - Stroll Beacon Hill Park's gently rolling hills and bridged streams. Don't miss a morning or evening walk along Victoria's multi-kilometre waterfront.

Drink
Hey Happy - The city's newest caffeine hot spot brews single-cup coffee in gorgeous ceramics by Mazama Wares with beans from Phil & Sebastian (Calgary), Ritual Roasters (San Francisco) and Heart (Portland). The hipster factor is high, with baristas in toques, a Gremlins thermos for cream and A Clockwork Orange screenplay for perusing.
Habit Coffee and Culture - Sip where the coffee is smooth, the decor minimalist and the staff is cool.
Bodega - From the owners of the always-hopping Tapa Bar comes bar-next-door Bodega. Open from lunch till late, this tapas, wine and sherry bar boasts friendly service, delicious cocktails and gorgeous charcuterie boards.
Bengal Lounge - Drink cocktails and eat curry on tufted leather chairs under the glare of a Indian tiger, cooled by the breeze of vintage brass and tasseled fans.

Shop
Reunion - Formerly known as Rebel Rebel, this shop is stocked with some of our favorite brands like Cheap Monday, Pendleton, Levi's and Malin + Goetz. 
Still Life - With a ladies boutique on one side of Johnson Street and a men's boutique on the other, try on the curated and casual clothes in a teepee dressing room. Sorry men, you'll have to settle for a traditional changing room.
Sitka - This local success story/surf shop/café is a must-visit for anyone looking for super-soft sweatshirts, waxed-cotton outerwear and locally roasted coffee.
Victory Barber & Brand - OK, OK, this is a barber shop, but they've got an incredible selection of grooming products in store and they're the nicest guys in town {OK, OK, they're Sis Styler's friends}. 
Rogers' Chocolates - You can't visit Victoria without being lured into Rogers' Chocolates for at least one coveted treat. It's no wonder the chocolate is so good, they've been working at it since 1885. 
Paboom - A playful home goods and accessories store that's impossible to browse without buying something. 

Stay
The Fairmont Empress {Gold Floor} - Nicknamed “Castle on the Coast” for its prime piece of real estate fronting the Inner Harbor, staying at the Empress makes you feel like you're suspended in another era, hanging on the cusp of history.
Inn at Laurel Point {Erickson Wing} - Also blessed with a prime location hugging the Inner Harbor, the Inn at Laurel Point skews zen and contemporary featuring a seaside Japanese garden, a gallery-level art collection, and sea views from every room.

Trip Styler Tip: Want more of Victoria? Read my latest piece in the Expedia Viewfinder: 48 hours in Victoria

Related
Wintery Weekend in Victoria

Roam+Board :: The Goodland

TheGoodlandLobby

[trip style =  sun + food + wine + weekend getaway]

What
Ever since The Goodland, a Cali-cool Kimpton Hotel, opened in late 2014, I've had my eye on the property. Because I have a thing for thoughtful hotel updos, a thing for good design and a thing for California, staying here on my recent trip to Santa Barbara seemed like the right thing to do. 

The Goodland does hotel'ing right, and then some, celebrating obscure and fabulous fêtes such as "national chocolate-covered raisin day" {when guests can swing by the lobby and fill up a cup of candy}, or offering a nightly social hour fuelled by spiked agua fresca. 

Channeling the Pacific Coast's easy-breezy beach vibes in every spacethink: rope-adorned lights, driftwood tables, surf artI'm struck by the '60s-surf-cabin-meets-art-gallery aesthetic, which makes me breathe a sigh of calm, as if I'm walking in the sand at a retro beach club.  

This vintage-mod vibe is carried over into the hotel's 154 rooms outfitted with woodsy floors, dark ceiling beams, chic tie-dye chairs, Barrington Blue pillows sourced from vintage rugs and artisan graphic-print tapestries hanging above each bed.   

At night, you don't even have to leave to find a bev or a bonfire. The good folks at The Goodland have got you covered with a poolside bar serving the likes of habanero-infused el Jimador tequila and pineapple tipples beside fire pits surrounded by Acapulco chairs. 

Trip Styler approved.

Where
Santa Barbara, California. A 10-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara, or a 7-minute drive from the Santa Barbara Airport.  

When
Year-round. The endless summer is alive and well in Santa Barbara, where temperatures hover between 20-30 degrees C. I visited in March, and for a few days, the mercury rose to 26 degrees C. 

Who/Why
You surf (or aspire to) and hope to one day have your own beach retreat. Until then, you'll stay here. 

Cost
Rates start at approximately $200/night + $25 resort fee. Rooms include WiFi, parking, Crosley record players with a selection of vintage vinyl, in-room yoga mats, daily fitness classes, morning coffee and tea in the lobby and a nightly spiked agua fresca hour. Bark woofpets are welcome for no charge.

Photos

 The pool

The pool

 Along with pool loungers, there are free daybeds for guest use {most hotels up-charge for this}.

Along with pool loungers, there are free daybeds for guest use {most hotels up-charge for this}.

 Lunch at the pool, thanks to a beach-bites menu curated by the hotel's on-site Outpost restaurant.

Lunch at the pool, thanks to a beach-bites menu curated by the hotel's on-site Outpost restaurant.

 Baby Styler chillin' at the pool surrounded by a mountain of pool pillows and towels.

Baby Styler chillin' at the pool surrounded by a mountain of pool pillows and towels.

 The rooms

The rooms

 Crosley record players in every room. Want more vinyl? Ask the record concierge to curate a new mix.

Crosley record players in every room. Want more vinyl? Ask the record concierge to curate a new mix.

 The coolest lobby I ever did see

The coolest lobby I ever did see

 One of The Goodland's art installations: An entire wall of beach umbrella photos {only a few shown here} by Keegan Gibbs, who was raised near the ocean and inspired by its influence on humanity.

One of The Goodland's art installations: An entire wall of beach umbrella photos {only a few shown here} by Keegan Gibbs, who was raised near the ocean and inspired by its influence on humanity.

 Au courant alfresco dining at Outpost, the hotel's restaurant helmed by Chef Derek Simcik, who was born in Greece and sharpened his culinary skills around the world before landing in California to cook and skateboard. 

Au courant alfresco dining at Outpost, the hotel's restaurant helmed by Chef Derek Simcik, who was born in Greece and sharpened his culinary skills around the world before landing in California to cook and skateboard. 

 Oupost: More of the stunning dining scene

Oupost: More of the stunning dining scene

 Outpost: Drinks

Outpost: Drinks

 Outpost: Build your own guac

Outpost: Build your own guac

 Outpost: Pan-seared halibut in an Israeli couscous

Outpost: Pan-seared halibut in an Israeli couscous

 Outpost: Steamed chocolate cake with roasted marshmallow and vanilla gelato

Outpost: Steamed chocolate cake with roasted marshmallow and vanilla gelato

 We were here :)

We were here :)