Penthouse Stay at Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

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While searching for accommodations for the second half of our Vancouver trip, I came across the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa – a boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. What immediately caught my eye about the property was the classic charm and décor. The rooms are beautifully furnished with luxurious details including one-of-a-kind antiques and paintings, and a doorman (complete with top hat) even greets you at the door! After a long drive back from Victoria before check in, it was so nice to be met with such a warm welcome – our bags were promptly whisked away to be sent up to our room, and the crackling fireplace in the hotel lobby made us feel right at home.

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We were lucky enough to stay in one of the hotel’s 12th Floor Penthouses, which featured  a king size bed, separate living area with a fireplace, a jetted soaker tub, and my favourite part – a huge garden patio with an amazing view of Robson Square!

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Each of the hotel’s Penthouse Suites is decorated with a unique colour scheme and antique decor. Our suite had a beautiful, warm theme that felt comfortable yet still very luxurious. I loved all of the plush velvet and wood panelled touches! In addition to the soaker tub, the bathroom also featured L’Occitane toiletries, a walk-in shower and heated floors.

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We were treated to in-room breakfast from the hotel’s widely acclaimed French restaurant Bacchus each morning, which was truly a treat. We made a habit of sneaking our plates onto our private balcony to eat – there’s nothing quite like enjoying your eggs and bacon with a view of downtown Vancouver.

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What sets the Wedgewood apart is that it’s part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux, an association of independent hotels and restaurants across the globe with the highest standards in terms of culture and hospitality. This was by far the most luxurious stay I’ve ever had at any hotel, and it was the careful attention to detail, outstanding service, and extra touches that really made the experience special.

From turn down service each evening with a fresh baked cookie and bottle of water, to the delivery of the morning paper to enjoy with a freshly brewed Nespresso – we truly felt like royalty staying at this property. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to splurge and treat yourself, I highly recommend booking your next trip to Vancouver at the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa.

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48 Hours in Victoria, BC: Where to stay & what to do + Chateau Victoria Hotel Review

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Earlier this month, my boyfriend and I took a weeklong trip to British Columbia. This was our first ever visit to the province, and we were so excited to explore a brand new place (especially one we’d heard such amazing things about!). After some research, we decided to spend a total of six nights in Vancouver and one night in Victoria in the middle of the trip.

Victoria is BC’s capital, located on the southern end of Vancouver Island – meaning we had to take a ferry across from Vancouver to get to the city. We ended up renting a car which we brought with us on the hour and thirty minute long journey (you park it on the lower deck and then are free to explore the boat which includes a restaurant, shops and free wifi). The ride ended up being super scenic, and was definitely a highlight of the trip!

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Once we made it to Victoria we checked into our room at Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites*, a locally owned and operated hotel located conveniently in the heart of downtown Victoria. We stayed in one of the property’s One-Bedroom Suites, which included a king sized bed, living room area and kitchenette.

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My favourite part of the room definitely had to be the cute little walk-out balcony, which had an amazing view of downtown Victoria, including the British Columbia Parliament Buildings which are beautifully lit up and night.

One of the things I noticed while visiting BC is that many of the restaurants do awesome Happy Hour specials (which are harder to come by in Toronto). The hotel is home to a beautiful rooftop restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner called Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar, which has breath-taking views of the city. After a quick rest, we made it just in time for the end of the restaurant’s Happy Hour, which featured 2 for 1 Small Bites as well as affordable beer and wine options.

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We split sliders and shrimp, which were both tasty and a great value.

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The hotel also has a bar located in the lobby – Clive’s Classic Lounge – that serves up delicious cocktails as well as their own yummy menu of apps, charcuterie and more.

After spending some time exploring the harbour and streets of Victoria (which were full of tons of cute locally owned shops!) we decided to call it an early night and returned to our suite for some quality time relaxing on the couch and watching TV. Overall we were very happy with our stay at Chateau Victoria – the staff were friendly and accommodating, the room was spacious and comfortable, and the location couldn’t be beat! Even though we had the car, we ended up doing most of our exploring by foot as everything was within walking distance.

After check out the next morning, we headed to John’s Place for breakfast – a local favourite that’s been around for over 30 years, which I highly recommend! We then headed to the Royal British Columbia Museum to check out the exhibits – another must-see in the city – before hopping on the ferry back to Vancouver.

Victoria ended up being one of my favourite parts of our trip! Vancouver Island is full of natural beauty and is actually a lot bigger than it seemed on a map, so I’d love to return to spend a week dedicated to exploring more cities on the island. Two days in Victoria was enough time for us to feel like we saw enough of the city before leaving, but three days would have been perfect to have the chance to check off a few things we didn’t get around to – tea at the Fairmont Empress, whale watching and Butchart gardens (a perfect excuse to return!).

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*Thank you to Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites for hosting us during our stay.

Travel Diary: Exploring Jamaica with Air Transat

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I’ve recently taken an interest in travelling down south, thanks to the particularly chilly winter we’ve been having in Toronto. Nothing has been appealing more to me lately than the idea of turquoise waves lapping across stretches of soft sand! So when Air Transat reached out to me with an opportunity to take a quick 5-day trip to Jamaica at the end of last month, I jumped at the opportunity. I travelled with a group of seven bloggers/influencers including myself, our awesomely organized Transat representative, Debbie, and our guide to  exploring the beautiful country – Charissa, from the Jamaica Tourist Board. Our home for the trip was the Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach Resort, a modern, Caribbean-style property with a luxurious private beach and stunning ocean views.

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Shout-out to the inspiring ladies I travelled with, (from left to right): Jeanne, Alyssa from Random Acts of Pastel, Anna, Jess, Bella from xoxoBella, and Krystle from Dine & Fash

This trip was actually the first time I’ve ever travelled without the company of family or friends, and I was initially nervous to be visiting a new place with an entirely new group of people. I decided to take the plunge, and it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made! The people I met, sights I explored, and the experiences I had in Jamaica will never be forgotten. I challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and live a little (for once!), and will always look back on this trip as an amazing milestone in my adventures.

The Location

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We had quite a full itinerary for the trip, which allowed us to see and experience a lot within the relatively short time we had in Jamaica. When visiting anywhere new, I actually prefer to have a packed schedule so that I can see as much as possible of the destination! Here are the highlights of what we got up to:

Rose Hall Great House Haunted Night Tour: a chilling night time tour of a historic Georgian mansion in Montego Bay, retelling the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall. This was actually my first haunted house experience – and while I survived, I likely wouldn’t return unless it was in the daytime, lol!

Martha Brae River rafting tour: a scenic ride down the Martha Brae River on a handmade bamboo raft.

Hampden Estate rum tour: a great way to spend an afternoon – the beautiful grounds of Hampden Estate were established in the 1750’s, and have remained true to the original distilling process. We were able to see how the rum is made, and sampled some of their award winning labels – Rum Fire and Hampden Estate Gold.

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Visit to the coastal town of Falmouth: We were able to experience Jamaica first hand with a visit to historic Falmouth, once considered the most cosmopolitan city in the western world. I loved seeing the local people, colours and music on the streets! We were also able to stop at a few fruit carts for a taste of fresh coconut.

Tour & farm-to-table lunch at Zimbali Retreats: This organic farm grows over 500 fruit trees and provides a natural escape in a tropical mountain valley.

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Beach time at Negril Seven Mile Beach: Negril is a popular tourist area known for its amazing snorkelling and scuba diving. Our group had soaked up the sun with some much needed beach time, enjoying the beautiful, soft sand and calm waters.

Sunset at Rick’s Café: The famous Rick’s Café is a popular tourist spot offering live music, food and drinks, cliff-diving (!), and an unbelievable view of the sunset. A few of the other girls had a blast plunging into the ocean from the rocks above, while I kicked back and enjoyed the view.

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Visit to Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios: Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s most famed attractions and natural wonders. The stunning waterfall can be climbed from the bottom up and looks as pretty as a postcard. Most of the group tackled a series of seven ziplines over the falls, while I (being the chicken that I am) watched from the safety of the ground below.

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Of the experiences we shared, two definitely stood out for me. The Martha Brae River rafting tour was unlike anything I’d ever done, and allowed us to take in the beauty of the land first hand from a thirty-foot long bamboo raft. The Martha Brae is located three miles inland from the town of Falmouth, a serene river surrounded by towering trees and local vegetation. The rafts are guided by experienced Raft Captains, who are also responsible for building their vessels by hand. We were able to learn about the different plants native to the area, and had one of the most serene experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

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The other favourite of mine from the trip was our visit to Zimbali Retreats. The drive to this farm was an experience in itself, with winding dirt roads and plenty of potholes! The trek was well worth it however, when we arrived at the private retreat in the tropical mountains. After being given a tour of the farm, where all 500 species of plants are tended to by hand, we were treated to a delicious, farm-to-table culinary experience, made with ingredients grown right at the farm. I had the jerk shrimp, which was bursting with delicious flavour and spice.

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Jamaica offers the most beautiful combination of mountains, lush rainforest, lively cities, and white sand beaches. I’m so grateful that we were able to experience each of these different aspects during our trip, thanks to the awesome itinerary planned out by Charissa and the Jamaica Tourist Board.

The Resort: Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach

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Our stay at the Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach Resort was nothing short of exceptional. The beachfront property is conveniently located only a short, 10-minute drive from Sangster International Airport in the heart of Montego Bay. All 146 rooms of the resort feature a breathtaking ocean view, and include a terrace or balcony. Dining options include an impressive buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as two a la cart restaurant options offering Mediterranean and authentic Jamaican cuisine.

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We were greeted at check in by a musical performance in the lobby of the resort, and served the cutest tropical drink in a pineapple upon arrival. We were each provided with a private room that was equipped with amenities including free Wi-Fi, a fridge and a television, with a sleek and modern Caribbean design. The room I was assigned actually had two double beds instead of a king, which was perfect to help me lay out all my outfits and pack for each day’s adventure. My favourite aspect of the room was definitely the balcony, which provided an unreal view of the sunrise and sunset each day.

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A standout aspect of the resort – and one of the first things I noticed about the people when arriving in Jamaica – was the warmth and hospitality of the staff. The team at the Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach Resort went out of the way to ensure we were taken care of at all times and were more than accommodating when it came to any special requests!

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The Food

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I always need to make a quick mention about the food, wherever I visit! I went to Jamaica with high hopes for the food, and was not disappointed. The buffet at the resort had something for everyone (I especially appreciated the super crispy bacon served at breakfast), and switched up the dishes frequently for dinner. We had an epic breakfast spread one morning at the resort, filled with piles of fresh fruit, stacks of fluffy pancakes, and plates of yummy savoury eats.

 

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We also made a few trips off resort for food, one of my favourites being a visit to local hotspot, Scotchies. Our group dove into an amazing spread of authentic Jamaican dishes: jerk chicken and pork, sausage, wings, festival, roast yam, steamed veg, and rice and peas. We washed it all down with Jamaica’s staple beer: Red Stripe. We also made a point to stop on the way back to the resort for Jamaican patties – I had a beef and cheese patty that really hit the spot!

Before I knew it, our whirlwind trip had come to an end and we were on our way back to the airport for our flight home. Our group flew Option Plus with Air Transat, which provides special privileges in Economy Class including seat selection, extras on board, and priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling. It was such a breeze getting on and off the plane on the way to Jamaica, and on the way back. As part of our experience, we were also able to pre-order on-board meals for our departing and return flights off The Chef’s Menu by Daniel Vézina. I had a Spinach and Basil Omelette for breakfast on the way there, and Sweet Potato Gnocchi on the way home, both of which were very tasty.

I’m so thankful to have participated in this experience, and never in my wildest dreams thought I would have had the opportunity to go on a trip like this! A huge thank you to Air Transat, the Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach Resort, and the Jamaican Tourist Board for showing me all that Jamaica has to offer.

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All-inclusive Vacation in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

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This post is long overdue, but I still wanted to share a recap of my experience in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba at the end of December. This was only my second all-inclusive vacation (the first was in Playa del Carmen, Mexico in 2012), and I had heard mixed reviews about vacationing in Cuba prior to my trip. My boyfriend had been multiple times and wasn’t super keen on returning, but once we explored our options, we quickly realized it was the most affordable choice for the time of year. We were looking for an easy and relaxing beach vacation to unwind at the end of the year, and decided to book.

Here’s a summary of my experience for anyone looking travel to Cayo Santa Maria in the future:

The Location 

Cayo Santa Maria is a small island off of Cuba’s northern coast, known for its beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts. To get to the island, tourists fly into Santa Clara airport (the teeniest, tiniest airport I’ve ever travelled to – seriously, our departing flight from Cuba was one of two departures scheduled for that night) and then take a one hour bus ride to the resorts. Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017 caused considerable damage to this area, including to the highway that connects Cayo Santa Maria to the main island. The resorts were reopened in mid-November, but we weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived.

We were relieved to find that most damage had been repaired by the end of December, when we landed for our vacation. The weather was a perfect 25°C and sunny during the day, and cooled off at night to about 18°C. Hurricane season in Cuba is June – November, and after some pre-trip Googling I was convinced we would be met with swarms of mosquitos and sand fleas that appear after heavy rainfall. However much to my relief, this was not the case. We were lucky to steer clear of rain almost entirely, and were able to soak up the sunshine and avoid the harsh Canadian winter at home.

The beaches were beautiful, with soft sand and turquoise waters. Due to the hurricane, there were some minor debris still left along the coast, but nothing that took away from our experience. The water was calm, and shallow enough to wade into for a few hundred feet – great for a non-swimmer like me. 

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The Resort

We chose to stay at Ocean Casa del Mar, a relatively new resort that opened in 2016. I was attracted to the modern design, which was initially what drew me in when searching through different resorts to stay at online. When we arrived, my boyfriend was instantly impressed with the resort in comparison to some of the others he had stayed at before. I, on the other hand immediately zoned in on the stained linens, rugs and towels. After the initial shock, I was able to look past this, and accepted that this was a somewhat normal quality standard for a cheap, all-inclusive resort.

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I would rate the overall cleanliness of the resort a 7/10, but I did appreciate all of the modern touches – especially the pink walls outside of all the units. The air conditioner in our room worked well, which was important for staying comfortable in the heat, and we had convenient access to both the pool and the beach. The grounds of the resort had been affected by the hurricane, so it was bare in some areas, but I could tell that the landscaping would be beautiful in a few months time.

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The resort put on a show in a stage area by the lobby each night at 9:30 with live singing and dancing. We caught it a few times but spent most evenings relaxing in our room and binge-watching Ozark episodes I had downloaded to my phone before we left, lol! Other activities including dance lessons, pool games and Spanish lessons were also available, but we spent almost all of our daytime just relaxing on the beach.

The Food

This was what people had warned me the most about before the trip. Anyone I talked to who had travelled to an all-inclusive resort in Cuba did not have great things to say about the food. I think this almost worked in my favour, because my expectations were so low when I arrived that I was pleasantly surprised by the selection!

Ocean Casa del Mar had a variety of themed restaurants (that were located in the same spaces, but changed theme based on the night of the week – Italian, Asian, Seafood, etc.), and a main buffet that served breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were definitely a few unusual items on the menu, but for the most part we didn’t have any trouble finding things to eat each day (though we did consume a LOT of fries). We figured out early on  that the best food was at the beach. With a number bars spaced out along the sand, they had fresh whole grilled fish, burgers, and even paella on a few occasions.

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While overall I was okay with the food situation, I did notice a few questionable practices happening at the resort. For example, the same spatula was used to portion out, cook and serve the raw chicken, beef and pork at the grilling station. I had also received a few warnings to avoid eating the produce, as it could be washed in tap water – which often contains bacteria our digestive systems aren’t accustomed to. We made it through the week without any stomach issues (thankfully), but once we were home both my boyfriend and I were sick for a week. I’m not exactly sure what the culprit was, but it could have been one of the above.

Tips for travelling to Cayo Santa Maria

  • The plugs in Cayo Santa Maria are different than North American plugs. Bring an 220v compatible adapter to be able to use and charge your appliances.
  • Cell service is rare, if not impossible to find. Wi-fi must be purchased at most resorts and is spotty at best, so plan accordingly – or better yet, plan to go off the grid!
  • If you have some extra suitcase space, gently used clothing, cosmetics and gifts are great to bring to Cuba to donate to hotel staff and locals, who are super appreciative of anything you give them.

I personally love the carefree nature of an all-inclusive vacation, and would love to go on more trips like this in the future (hint: there may be another one coming up very soon!). If your thing is sitting on the beach, unplugging and having a few cervezas in the sand, Cayo Santa Maria is definitely an affordable option to consider.

Valentine’s Day Staycation at One King West

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My boyfriend and I were looking for a special way to celebrate Valentine’s Day together this year, as it’s the first time in three years we could spend it together in person (we were long distance for two years while he attended school in London, UK). With both of our hectic schedules, it seemed like a weekend staycation was just what we needed. After researching a few hotels, we settled on One King West, and were lucky enough to be invited to collaborate with them to experience one of their Romantic Getaway packages.

One King West is located in the heart of downtown Toronto at Yonge Street and King Street West in an Ontario Heritage-designated building. Formerly the head office of The Dominion Bank (later The Toronto-Dominion Bank), the building is architecturally stunning, with all of the historical charm you would expect of a 100-year-old landmark. Amenities include a full concierge, limo service, valet parking, a business centre, and a newly renovated rooftop fitness centre. One King West actually doubles as a hotel and residence, with suites divided between two buildings: the historic Dominion Bank Building, and the “Silver” Condo Tower, which we stayed in.

The Room

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We were upgraded to a Tower Premium Suite, which was located on the corner of the building, offering incredible views of Lake Ontario as well as the CN Tower. On a clear day, this would have been one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever had of the city – unfortunately, we were hit with some terrible weather during the weekend way stayed, and the top half of the CN Tower was engulfed in fog! Luckily it cleared up at night, just in time to see the pretty city lights.

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The suite itself was cozy, with a separate bedroom containing a king sized bed, and a little living area with a kitchenette, couch, and desk area. The bed was one of the comfiest beds I’ve ever stayed in – we actually had a quick nap after checking in after failing to resist the soft, squishy siren song of the mattress and pillows.

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As part of the package, we were greeted with a bottle of white wine (custom bottled for the hotel) and a plate of gorgeous chocolate covered strawberries – one of my all-time favourite treats! I love that we were also provided with plush robes and a pair of slippers, which really added to the rest and relaxation theme of our weekend.

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The washroom had both a tub and a shower, and luxurious toiletries by BYREDO. A few things to note about our experience if you’re planning a stay at One King West in the future – I did notice that the Wi-Fi signal in our room was quite weak, which could be a bit tricky for those travelling for work. It wasn’t as much of a problem for us, as we could use the data on our phones, but could be frustrating for longer stays.

The hotel also offers valet parking at a cost of $49 a night on a first come, first serve basis, but spots seem to fill up quickly – we arrived around 5:30 pm with the car but unfortunately were turned away and had to park in a public garage nearby. If you’re located in the city, you might want to consider other transportation methods, since the hotel is located very conveniently on the subway line.

The Food

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The hotel offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in their lobby bistro, as well as a bar named “Teller’s Bar” that serves snacks and drinks in a casual setting. We were ecstatic to have breakfast included in our stay, which was buffet-style and served in the lobby until 11:30 am. This gave us ample time to sleep in, and we were thoroughly impressed with the selection available when we arrived at the buffet.

In addition to every kind of breakfast protein you can imagine (bacon, peameal bacon, sausage, turkey sausage, and eggs cooked any way you like them), they also had a selection of pastries, pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, parfaits and fruit. It was truly a spread fit for royalty! The best part? They let us take our food back to our room, where we could eat in the comfort of bed, and enjoy a little more quality time before a late checkout.

Location

In my opinion, one of the best features of One King West is the awesome location. Just steps away from major landmarks including the Toronto Eaton Centre and the Hockey Hall of Fame, there’s never a shortage of things to do and see in the area. Another key feature is that the hotel actually connects to the Toronto PATH, the underground tunnel system that provides optimal access to public transportation and many downtown Toronto destinations. This was particularly handy during our stay for avoiding the cold and slush when walking to dinner for the evening at Jump restaurant, located just across the street.

The only complaint I have about our staycation experience at One King West is that it was far too short. We had such a relaxing stay, and were treated with such friendly, accommodating service that we’re sure to return!

If you’re looking for a last minute way to spend February 14th with your special someone, the hotel is offering a Valentine’s Day dinner/getaway package featuring a four-course prix fix dinner menu set to live music. I definitely recommend a stay at One King West if you’re looking for an affordable hotel in Toronto for a weekend of sightseeing, or simply to relax and enjoy some time off.

A Weekend in Montreal: Loews Hotel Vogue Review

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Making an annual fall trip to Montreal has become somewhat of a tradition for my boyfriend and I that I hope we’ll be able to continue for years to come! Only a five and half hour drive from Toronto, Montreal makes for the perfect weekend getaway, with historic charm and a thriving arts and food scene that we love to explore. I feel like we never have enough time to fully see everything we want to, which just means we have an excuse to return.

As we didn’t have much time in the city, we wanted to stay somewhere as centrally located as possible – close to everything we’d want to see, and with a good selection of restaurants and sites near by. We landed on the Loews Hotel Vogue, a chic luxury hotel situated in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile. After a long drive on Friday evening we were relieved to arrive at the hotel, which provided us with complimentary valet parking (regularly $35/night). We were checked in by the friendly front desk staff and notified to our delight that our room had been upgraded to a Luxury King Suite! The hotel also provided luggage service to help us bring our bags to our room, which was a nice touch, especially after the long journey.

The Room

I was greeted with the sweetest gift when we got to our room from the Loews Hotel Vogue staff – a cosmetics bag, nail polish, and a bottle of their signature scent (that I’m absolutely obsessed with!), which they also use to make the lobby smell divine. The suite was more than enough room for our party of two, with a king sized bed, multiple desk spaces, a living area, two closet/vanity areas, and the best part, two full-sized washrooms with whirlpool tubs! I should also mention there were a total of four TVs in the room, with two of them located facing the tubs in the bathrooms – a dream come true for a Food Network fiend like myself.

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For me, the most important part of a hotel room is the bed – as I’m likely spending the day out and about exploring the city, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say the bed at the Loews Hotel Vogue was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. The pillows and mattress were marshmallowy soft, and the sheets always seemed to stay cool. The curtains also did an amazing job of blocking out the light in the mornings, when we wanted to catch an extra hour or two of sleep.

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Other aspects of the room that I loved were the complimentary robes, the relaxing whirlpool bathtub, and the little vanity area that was perfect for doing my hair and makeup in the morning. I also adored the vintage Vogue Magazine covers hung as artwork above the bed, paying homage to the hotel’s name. During our first night, I also received a text message from a member of the staff making sure that everything was perfect with the room – something I’ve never experienced at another hotel and really showed an extra level of care.

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The Hotel

The Loews Hotel Vogue is elegant and modern, with subtle art deco touches. The lobby is decorated with beautiful hanging chandeliers, soft gold touches, and plush velvet couches, making for a truly luxurious experience. Amenities include a 24 hour fitness centre, knowledgeable concierge, as well as a complimentary coffee bar in the hotel lobby, as well as complimentary coffee and tea in the hotel rooms.

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La Société (which coincidentally has a Toronto based location that we’ve visited before) is the hotel’s restaurant, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options, as well as 24 hour room service. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to try the food, but we would have loved to order breakfast to the room if we had a few more days in the city.

We actually really loved the valet parking, as it made it super easy to jump in the car and go when we wanted to drive to other parts of the city. The parking came with complete in and out privileges, and only required we call ahead by 5-10 minutes when we wanted to use the car. Checkout was quick and painless as well, with options to check out via the phone or through the TV available.

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Location

The hotel was located next to both high-end (Tiffany’s, Holt Renfrew, Anthropologie) and affordable (Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville) stores, which was perfect for us as we love to shop! If you’re an art lover, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal is only a five minute walk away, which features some awesome sculptures outside. There are also tons of restaurants close by – we dined at LOV located just up the street on Sunday morning for a healthier brunch and loved it. The only thing I wish there had been more of nearby were little cafes and bakeries. We only had one option to grab croissants and macarons from, which are a necessity for us, lol!

In terms of its location in relation to the rest of the city, we really couldn’t have asked for a better, more central hotel. It was a short 10-15 minute drive to other popular areas including Old Montreal as well as Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Loews Hotel Vogue the next time you’re planning a trip to Montreal. The top-notch service, attention to detail, and heavenly beds definitely get a winning grade in my books.

 

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm Header

Back in the summer, my sister and I drove out to Terre Bleu Lavender Farm in Campbellville, Ontario after I had noticed a steady stream of stunning photos at the location popping up on my Instagram feed. A quick drive from Toronto, it was the perfect summer day trip and we had a lovely time exploring the fields and snapping photos. We arrived on the earlier side to avoid the crowds and were lucky to catch the farm on an unusually busy day for a Saturday.

Terre Bleu Exterior 2

Terre Bleu Baby Lavender

There’s a $15 fee to enter the farm during peak season (June – August), which gives you access to a free guided tour and to the grounds. Upon entering, you’re greeted with a gift shop that sells lavender-infused gifts, including the baby lavender plants above. Other products on display included lavender oils, bath products, macarons, and even cheese! Definitely a cute spot to pick up some unique gifts for the lavender-lover in your life.

Terre Bleu Lavender 1

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm Outfit 1

Terre Bleu Lavender Portrait 1

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One thing I’ll mention which I was not aware of prior to visiting – bees love lavender. Within the first 15 minutes of walking through the fields, I ended up getting stung in the backside (for the first time ever!) while trying to get a photo sitting in the grass. Luckily, one of the uses of lavender oil is treating bee stings, and the shop was more than happy to lend me some to treat my ouchie. The pain subsided within a day, but I’m definitely more wary of being stung after the experience!

Outfit details: Dress and western belt – Forever 21 / Espadrilles – Winners

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm Outfit 2

Terre Bleu Lavender 2

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Terre Bleu Lavender Farm Outfit 3

All in all, the experience was definitely worth it, bee stings and all. The farm was so breathtakingly beautiful, and I loved the luscious purple colour and fragrance of the fields. I seriously felt like I was on location shooting the cover of my breakout country album lol! In addition to the main field near the entrance, visitors could also follow a trail through a forest to an additional field, featuring the famous yellow door you might recognize from Insta.

Terre Bleu Lavender Farm Instagram

To end the day, I sampled one of the farm’s lavender ice cream cones. Not only was it one of the prettiest cones I’ve had, it was surprisingly yummy – not overly floral like you’d might expect. I’d definitely recommend making the trip to Terre Bleu next year, and I hope to return as well!