grand hotel

Vancouver Summer Sizzlers

[trip style =  sightseeing + spa + staycation] I don't want to jinx it, BUT, we've had a dreamy summer in Vancouver: warm and sunny seasoned with sea breeze. While Sun-couver is hot to trot, I spend a lot of time at home. I mean, who would want to leave one of the world's most gorgeous cities when it's like California outside?!?

Aside from "Vancouvering" by way of hiking the Grouse Grind, riding the Aquabus or lounging at the beach, here are a few more reasons to give the City of Glass a big hug while school's out:

Pop-Up Pianos vancouver pop-up pianos Coined the keys to the streets, four pop-up pianos are gracing the streets of Vancouver from July 1 - Aug 24. Painted in polka dots and rainbows {literally}, these music makers are giving dabblers and concert pianists a casual, alfresco stage for their craft. There are two installations near my running/walking route, and somebody is tickling the ivories every single time I pass by. Aside from the occasional heart and soul medley, I've witnessed some serious tunes about town, many times with an audience that grows by the note. Visit; it's worth it for the photo opp alone. Beethoven-level music is a bonus.

Food Cart Fest vancouver food cart fest Hanging out in an uber-urban, concrete lot near The {Olympic} Village, Food Cart Fest is making its second annual summer appearance from June 23 - Sept 22. Forming a circle of cuisine around a concrete box, aka the DJ's digs, 20 trucks set up camp from noon - 5pm every Sunday. It's a tasty way to sample Van's street food without roaming the city in search of each truck, like Holy Perogy, The Juice Truck, Mom's Grilled Cheese, Yolk's or Roaming Dragon. There's also a flea market for browsing between bites, and a bouncy castle for kids {bounce first, eat second}. Cost of admission is $2 {VanCity members and children under 13 are free}.

The Spa west coast lifestyle package chi spa shangi-la CHI, Shangri-La's spa has just launched an uber-Vancouver spa package, perfect for recharging your sun-drenched batteries for fall. To date, it is the most exquisite spa I've visited in Vancouver, from the cashmere robes and sheets {so luxurious you want to rip them off the bed and wear them as a scarf} to the spa suites sporting infinity soaker tubs with embedded light therapy. The discreet service is also on another level. The four-hour West Coast Lifestyles package starts with a private yoga class {so Vancouver!}, and is followed by sea kelp soak, body wrap with mud flown in from China and a seaweed facial {or massage}. From $355 for the 'lite' version and $485 for the full version. Bonus, this runs into Spring 2014. {See my Instagram snaps for recent photos of the experience.}

Vancouver Chinatown Night Market chinatown night market Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm - 11pm, Chinatown's Keefer street shuts down to perform a quick-change into a standing room-only market. Vancouver has the largest Chinatown in Canada, so it's only fitting! Think of it like a summer vacation to the Far East, plus, most of Vancouver's hottest restaurants are a stone's throw away {if you're still hungry, which is unlikely}. You've got until Sept 8th to pick up dumplings, deep-fried snakes {ok, they're just sugar-topped pieces of dough shaped like a snake}, orchids or cellphone cases.

Trip Styler Tip :: If you want to venture just beyond Vancouver's borders, check the Richmond Night Market, open every weekend and holiday night until Oct 14. Admission is $2.

Grand Hotel grand hotel vancouver art gallery I wrote about Grand Hotel at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the Spring, but it's worth mentioning again since it's only on until Sept 15, and the exhibition was nearly SEVEN years in the making. To say I liked GH is an epic understatement, in fact, it left me on a hotel high—higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Chronicling game-changers like the 1887-built Raffles hotel to the 2010-built Marina Bay Sands {where people book a room for the sole purpose of perching atop the surfboard-shaped SkyPark’s 150-meter infinity pool}, the multimedia show acts as a lab into hotel life. An adult ticket is $21, but admission is by donation every Tuesday after 5pm.

[photos by @tripstyler, except for CHI where I was a guest of the spa]

Grand Hotel - An Affair To Remember

grand hotel exhibition vancouver art gallery[trip style = staycation]

Pop Quiz: where in the world can you travel, and stay in multiple iconic hotels at the same time? Answer: The Vancouver Art Gallery, at its just-launched Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life, April 13 - September 15, 2013.

Do yourself a favor; run, fly, sail, drive---or use any transport at your disposal, moped maybe?---to reach Vancouver, Canada this spring-slash-summer.

As the Vancouver Art Gallery's newest exhibition still had a figurative Do Not Disturb sign on the door, I peeked in last Thursday at the show's pre-open. To say I liked the exhibition is an epic understatement, in fact, it left me in a hotel high---higher than Dubai's Burj Khalifa {pop quiz #2...which contains the Armani Hotel}!


Nearly seven years in the making, the exhibit charts the evolution of the hotel from its origins as a utilitarian structure to a cultural phenomenon, tracking hotel trends through four lenses: travel, social, design and culture.

grand hotel exhibition

Chronicling game-changers from the 1887-built Raffles hotel to the 2010-built Marina Bay Sands {where people book a room for the sole purpose of perching in the surfboard-shaped SkyPark’s 150-meter infinity pool}, the multimedia show acts as a lab into hotel life.

vintage pan am poster grand hotel vancouver art gallery

Anyone obsessed with vintage or modern travel memorabilia will be like a kid in a candy store. {Dare we say it’s better than Pinterest travel porn?} Artifacts are everywhere, think: vintage travel trunks, an original Pan Am Airways poster {above}, or Richard Hutten’s Tokyo popup hotel room {below}, to name a few.

richard hutten tokyo popup hotel grand hotel vancouver art gallery

Speaking of artifacts, one of Trip Styler's FAVE hotel groups, Ace Hotels, is not only showcased in every major area of the expo, but they also have an Ace-exclusive popup shop featuring some in-room faves like the grey jersey Wings + Horns boxing-style bathrobe, or the near-iconic Pearl+ soap bars, plus some Vancouver-only products. Here's a six-second video I shot at the popup: {Can't view this video?}

Visiting Grand Hotel is a travel taster of international proportions. Warning: every step will extend your bucket list.

The Details
  • The exhibition runs from April 13 - September 15, 2013
  • An adult ticket is $21, but admission is by donation every Tuesday after 5pm
  • If it’s sunny, take a break from hotel-spotting and sit on the Gallery’s cafe patio, a gorgeous urban space complete with marble tables and euro flair
  • Find insider tips via the exhibition's blog, active since 2011

holidayinn grand hotel

[photos by @tripstyler]