Tag Archive: restaurants


Short Staycation Day 2

I got up bright an early on Saturday morning to head to Banff. I didn’t quite want to get out of that comfy bed and robe though…

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I headed down to breakfast in the hotel at the Rimrock dining room. It’s such a fabulous looking room. There are photos and artifacts all over the place to look at and how about this fireplace? DSC01701

I opted for the buffet as I can never turn down a buffet but I have to say – this one was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad but it was great. The staff though were great and it was a nice easy start to the morning.
I took just a few snaps of the hotel lobby as I waited for the valet to bring the car around.  I again just have to say the staff there is really excellent and so nice. I really enjoyed my stay.

And it was off to Banff! I’m lucky that I’m an early riser on the weekends so I was on the road just after 7am.

I haven’t been to Banff in 12 years so I was quite excited to go. I had also never driven myself there, so an adventure though the mountains was also something interesting.
Anyway, the drive itself is great. It’s so much fun to see the mountains get bigger and bigger the closer you get. And before I knew it, I had arrived at the Park gates. It’s still a bit of a drive until you’re in Banff proper but just being in the Park is great. I got to town and did a couple loops, it was fairly quiet being so early still. It still looked mostly like a remembered it. It has mountain village charm with a bit of commercialisation. Anyway, I decided my first stop would be the famous Bow Falls.

It was perfect, it was early and quiet and still a little crisp in the air. Part of my wishes I had just sat there all day. It ended up being 29 degrees so – a towel and picnic would have made for a lovely day. But as I said, 12 whole years means you have a lot to check out!

I made a quick trip over to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. I had been invited to an event at the hotel and I had never been before so I was looking forward to checking out ‘the castle’. Quick shoutout to Poppy Barely for inviting me to their special event at the hotel, I mean shoes and Veuve Clicquot – two of my favouite things in one of the most beautiful settings!
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After that and a snoop through the hotel, which includes the loveliest ballroom I hope to have my wedding in one day… if I ever meet a man that will marry me… I was off on the next stop. A different view of the Banff Springs. DSC03233

Another ‘must do’ in Banff is a stop at Surprise Corner. The trail that starts from Bow Falls does go all the way up there but I hadn’t considered hiking – so I never actually packed proper shoes – so I drove up there. It’s a fantastic place to stop and take some photos.

Once I was done there, I was able to check in early to my hotel. I stayed at the Rundlestone Lodge – Pallisar hotel it’s not. It’s certainly a no frills kind of hotel but it was clean, there is a pool and a restaurant and free underground parking. I quickly changed and decided to do a walk down the main street in Banff. This is all we did the last time I was there. There are so many little shops to go in – most of the souvenir stores sell the same tack but there are also some fun pieces to find, like jewelry or art. If you go and want to check out some great art, I suggest the The Banff Gallery featuring the art of Jason Leo Bantle. It was so hard to not spend all my money on all the photos in there! I do plan to order a couple to hang on my wall at home. I wandered in and out of the shops and stopped for some lunch. It was so nice and warm and everyone seemed to be enjoying – the line up outside the ice cream shop was quite long.

After my walk I had sorta done everything I had planned on doing, which sucked in a way. I ended up getting my swim suit and heading up the mountain to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Nothing like sitting in a 40 degree pool when it’s already 29 degrees outside.
It’s a bit smaller than some of the other hot springs but it was alright – though, like I said, not really a hot day activity. I only stayed for about a half hour or so.

There are no shortages of place to pick to eat in Banff but I couldn’t decide where to do. The biggest issue I had was my hotel was way at the end of the road and I didn’t feel like walking all that was, plus I was alone and while I believe Banff is quite safe, I don’t always feel comfortable walking alone in a place I’m unfamiliar with. I ended up at The Keg which was in a couple hotels down. The only thing that ruined my dinner was this – what I assume was mother and daughter – who were also sitting on the patio, talking as loudly as the could at each other. I can tell you pretty much everything about their lives, including the fact they had a whole jug of Sangria, which they pronounced sangree-AAAH. Two men joined them, who spoke at normal levels. The ladies ordered another jug and continued to tell all of us all about their lives.
That was pretty much the end of the night for me. I walked back to my hotel and sat on my great big king sized bed and watched TV. I mean, vacation is about catching up on rest and being a bit lazy sometimes too, right? I also wanted to go to bed early, knowing it would be a long drive to Jasper in the morning.

Places You Should Go – Whistler

So my last post was all about fun in the summer – hopefully you booked your The Yacht Week experience! But seeing is winter is just around the corner, I thought we’d focus on something a little more seasonal.

Whistler. Oh Whistler. It’s like a tiny fairy village full of twinkling lights and fluffy snow and and stunning mountains.

Your adventure begins as you travel the stunning Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver. The views are just ridiculous the entire way… I’m glad I wasn’t driving so I could just stare out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Depending on how fast you drive and whether you pull over to stretch those legs, breath in the beautiful mountain air and take a few snaps – it’s about a 2 hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler.

I stayed at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside and I can’t recommend it enough.

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It’s a stunning hotel located right at the base of Whistler Mountain. I was a bit early for check-in so my room wasn’t ready yet. But the kind ladies at the front desk gave me a free upgrade to a ‘suite’ meaning I could check-in right then and there! How nice is that?! My suite wasn’t exactly what I was expecting … I was thinking sweeping mountain views and a great big luxurious room. Well I got the mountain view…

I’ve never been in a hotel where the bed pulled out of the wall before! haha … It was a really lovely room in actual fact, it was just smaller than I expected. I would have hated to see what my original room looked like! The Murphy bed was quite cozy and I spent quite a bit of time cuddle up in front of the gas fireplace.

The outdoor pool was wonderful as well…it was just warm enough where you could still enjoy it. I also loved their eucalyptus infused steam room. I want one in my house! There are a few upgrades the hotel could make, I’m sure that can be said about almost every hotel but the pros far outweighed the cons.

One pro? Having a pub in the hotel. It’s called Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and it’s great! The food is good, they have a great selection of boozy drinks and live music. Plus it’s only a short stumble back up to your room. I ate a couple times here and enjoyed it. On my last night I spent hours sitting at the bar talking to some businessmen and the handsome bartender with an Irish accent. There was just a little bit of a wobble in my step when I finally left.

There is lots to see and do in Whistler year round. I was actually told you’ll probably find more to do in the summer than in the winter. I seriously couldn’t begin to name them all so I’ll just show you a few of the things I did. I need another trip to fit more of the activities in for sure. I wasn’t there long enough! For a list of all the activities you should definitely check out their official website here. I found the site enormously helpful while planning my trip.

There are no cars allowed right in Whistler Village so you can walk from one end .. where my hotel was.. clear right on to the other. I did this many times, definitely got my exercise in. I popped to all the different hotels just to see what they’re like, all the fun shops. Some sell the usual tac, others you can find unique treasures and of course the high end goodies!

A ‘must do’ is the Peak to Peak Gondola. It’s great even if you’re not a skier, you can head up the mountains, check out the views and have something to eat. I’m not a huge fan of heights. I don’t mind them but I do tend to get that fluttery heart, sweating palms thing going. So I was quite proud of myself for not having an absolute panic attack. I had my moments.. but I survived. Luckily once you start going up and you’re mesmerized by the view, you kinda forget your scared.

I was pretty excited to see the bear. Also glad I was too far away for him to get me.

And then… you get to the top.  I had lunch in the chalet and check out the neat little Olympic display before heading across on the Peak to Peak over to Blackcomb Mountain. It was a little less foggy over that way, could see right down to the village and even the bob sled/luge track from the Olympics.

Soon it was time to come back down. I enjoyed my trip but also wanted to get back to earth 😉 and put some dry socks on. I saw another bear – or maybe it was the same fella… either way. Those bikers sure hit the breaks when they came around the corner. And then I ran into a more friendly mama and baby bear in town. Cute eh?


I also visited the very quaint and very unique Whistler museum. I learned all about the area, how it was founded, the wildlife that call the area home. Tons of cool things to see and do. It is quite small and I was the only one in there. It was a real treat. Definitely worth checking out.

The favourite thing I did in Whistler.. I sadly didn’t take pictures of. I went to the Scandinave Spa . Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry. I want to go back to bad! It’s an amazing, amazing experience.
The hotel drove me up to the spa which is nestled in the side of a mountain. Of course. I was dropped off in a parking lot and then literally walked through the woods on a little path until the spa appeared before me. It was magical.
It’s peaceful from the moment you arrive. I was checked and taken downstairs for my massage. You know how most places play soothing music in the background while you’re having your treatment? Yah – they had a window open and I listened to the gentle sounds of real live birds, the breeze rustling the leaves and a babbling brook. Heaven.
After a blissful hour – it was time to head to the Scandinavian Baths… *gently weeps* … it’s a hot/cold/warm experience said to be incredibly good for your health. You first relax in a nice warm tub, then jump into a cold pool and then find youself back into a warming station. The website I gave above explains the experiences so much better than what I just said haha. And its not just hot tubs and cold tubs, there are different stations to try. My favourite was the dry sauna. I could have stayed in there all day long. I started to go a little stir crazy though. You can’t talk in the baths. Like at all. Me not talk? I think that was harder than trying to psych myself into jumping into the cold water! I only briefly saw one other woman while I was there so at least I wasn’t really tempted to talk to anyone. It was just me and the birds and the beautiful view of the trees and mountain fog that sat on top of us. It seriously was heaven… the whole entire day. I cannot wait to head back to Scandinave … I so wish it was closer!

I fear I have rambled on far too long now. I will add, if you’re a foodie, Whistler also has some truly amazing and award winning restaurants. I’m not going to mention and by name as I didn’t take any photos from any of them. But every meal I ate was exceptional and the service was also great. Except for the really, really creepy waiter at the steakhouse.

I highly recommend a trip to Whistler even if it’s just for the day. Winter or summer. Just go. Lots to do, lots to see. Things are a little expensive but hey that’s all a part of travelling.

 

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Bye Whistler!

 

Blah! This is so long over due and I feel really bad.

Nothing really overly exciting happened in Vegas this year. Thank goodness! I wasn’t escorted out of any pools this time. In actual fact we’re going to wrap up the trip in one swoop here.

We got in on Sunday morning and went straight to the hotel. We were put on the 51st floor of Planet Hollywood. I’ve never stayed at PH before but I’ve always enjoyed their casino. The room was alright. The hotel itself is in desperate need of upgrading. There are chips in all the furniture, the doors to the bathroom didn’t close properly, the paint touch-ups looked terrible ect. The best part about the room…? The view.

 

The View

The View

 

 

Our first day/night was pretty laid back. We walked around the hotel a bit and then down to almost the Flamingo before coming back. Other than that we just chilled and went to P.F Changs for dinner. I had never been. And I won’t go back. It wasn’t very good and two of us ended up getting quite sick after eating it. It was not fun!

The next day I was up bright and early to head down to the pool. This is all I wanted. I had been thinking about it for months. Alllllll I wanted to was to roast by the pool in the hot sun and relax. No shenanigans this time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed with a pool in my life. You’d think with all the space they have – they’d do something with it. There are two small pools on either side. One is 21+ the other is the ‘family’ pool. I swear the entire pool/deck area is smaller than my condo and they cram as many chairs as possible around it. Oh and the chairs … are old and dirty and falling apart. Yet they have acres of room on the lower level of nothing but chairs … nowhere near the pool. It seems incredibly dumb to me. Anyway I found a chair that wasn’t too bad and got cozy. It wasn’t too busy just let but it was still quite early. I was enjoying myself but then I noticed what appeared to be smoke drifting across from the one side. After taking a breath in, I realized this wasn’t smoke at all, instead it was a vent coming from one of the kitchens and it smelled disgusting. Soon this heavy cloud of greasy bleh hung over us.

 

 

 

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Before the ‘bleh’

 

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‘Sittin’ pretty in sun tan city, got the best view in the world … spendin’ my days, catchin these rays…. ‘

 

After a few hours I got too warm and decided it was time to go inside and do other things. I ended up just walking around the Miracle Mile shops and hanging out. It was quite dull. I did have lunch at Pinks the hot dog place. I was so excited to finally go – the last time I stopped by they were closed. Anyway, it was terrible. I’ve cooked better hot dogs in my microwave.

We all met up a few hours later and went to Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR for dinner. It was AMAZING! Totally made up for the awful dinner the night before. And it was totally worth the wait for a table.  The burgers, the fries, onion rings… everything was tremendous! And I love the fact that every one in the restaurant has a role and does it well. Their uniforms are all stamped with the GR, including the jeans. A table is never left unattended for long. And there are no salt and pepper shakers on the tables. Because as GR himself might say, if it’s cooked properly, you don’t need it.

Hot dog at BurGR

Hot dog at BurGR

BurGR

BurGR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we ate we went on a walk down the strip all the way to MGM and back. It was hot and there were a lot of strange people – even more than usual – out. No matter how many times you go to Vegas, you’ll always see something new that amazes you. Good, bad or otherwise.

Day three was an early one. We rented an SUV and headed out of Vegas to a little town call Primm. It’s less than an hours drive away and has an outlet mall. And that’s about it. We wanted to go some place new for shopping this time and we figured this might be a fun time. The drive there was a quiet one, two of us were still recovering from our P.F. Changs experience. We got to Primm just before the mall opened and went to the McDonalds in the parking lot. It was the most unusual McDonalds I’d ever been in. There was hardly any seating and you had to take a number and wait for your food. All I wanted was a hashbrown.
The outlet mall in Primm is connected to one of the hotels. The seemed a bit run down and dirty. The mall was alright but definitely not as good as the other outlets. I bought a few things but I really didn’t find any outstanding deals. Do you know what I did find though? A cockroach in Banana Republic. Do you know how much strength it took to internalize the scream? It was all I could do to not freak out. Ick.
I ended up being the only one who bought anything. We thought we’d check out a few of the other hotels in Primm. We went over to Buffalo Bills – it’s quite the place. Not nearly as run down as the other one. It has a roller coaster that runs along the outside and there is a log ride inside. It’s pretty neat. I found a restaurant named after me even! haha For some reason I can only find these two phone pictures I took. Sorry they’re so small.

 

 


We drove back to Vegas and went to the ‘indoor’ mall. It’s changed a lot over the years. It was quite busy as well. I bought a few more things but I was getting tired and I just wanted to go back to the hotel. Unfortunately … this wasn’t going to happen for quite sometime, much to my disappointment. We continued our road trip to find a place called Sam’s Town. It’s another resort just south east of the strip. I REALLY didn’t want to go but I didn’t have much of a choice.  I ended up having a pretty good time. It’s a really cool place! They have a ‘show’ with robotic animals and music and lights that plays in the lobby area, which is one of the most impressive lobbies I’ve ever seen. But their little show is one of the best I’ve seen in Vegas. We did a bit of shopping in the Sheplers Western Wear store before having dinner at T.G.I.Friday’s. I treated myself to a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts – a very American style donut to boot. After giving their casino a few of our dollars, we decided to head back to PH. In conclusion though, if you are going to Vegas and don’t want to stay on the strip .. I’d definitely consider Sam’s Town.

 

 

We got back to PH and unloaded all of our shopping. Then we headed down to the casino for some drinking and gambling! The whole plan was to get a little tipsy and enjoy ourselves and that’s just what we did. We ended up winning a few hundred dollars and had a great time. We were quite drunk toward the end of the night. My uncle got hit on by a hooker as he was sitting all alone. It was just after midnight and officially his birthday so we all thought that was quite funny… happy birthday! ha!

Wednesday no one else was quite well enough to get up and go to the pool, so I went alone. And it sucked. Again, the pool was a disaster and I found a somewhat manageable chair. But again the smell came up and there were kids splashing about. I found two cuties playing with a ruby ball and was going to ask if I could join them but it was so frickin cold on the deck, the last thing I wanted to do was go in to the freezing cold water. I gave up after about an hour. I went and had a quick shower and then decided to do one last round at the Miracle Mile – just to see if there was anything I wanted to buy last minute. The woman running the hair straightener stand cornered me and ended up doing my hair. I was not a fan of this but I couldn’t let her do one side and not the other … that’d look ridiculous. After that I made the excuse that I was meeting people for lunch and had to go. I ended up at La Salsa Cantina for some chips, salsa, a margarita and world cup soccer. I got bored and soon moved on. I walked around outside the hotel to warm up, debated getting one of those really, really big slushy drinks. In all time trips to Vegas, I’ve still never had one. I walked around the casino, did some gambling, watched the rest of the soccer game and then I went and napped. My crew was no where to be found so I didn’t want to venture too far with out them.

Eventually we all ended up back together. We went back to La Salsa for dinner, because that’s where the birthday boy wanted to go. He also wanted to go back to The Mirage to the Carnegie Deli for birthday cake. We had been two trips ago and loved their food. So we hopped in a cab and off we went. We even convinced the cab driver to sing happy birthday!! haha that was too funny.
After our cake we spent some time in the casino. I’ve always had luck at The Mirage and I did again that night. But the birthday boy was the big winner. After that we figured we better leave before our luck ran out. We walked back down to Bellagio and check out the garden feature they had. Their themes are always so nice. Then we watched the fountain show and cross over to the Flamingo. They’ve redone the Flamingo and the hotel beside it. It’s now called The Quad, it used to be the Imperial Palace. Behind it is The Linq which is that big Ferris Wheel. In between The Quad and The Flamingo is a new walk area that is fantastic. It’s full of awesome looking pubs and restaurants. I could have spent my entire holiday just down there. Of course given the crowd I was with, we didn’t get to go in to any of these places. I was bummed 😦

At this point I was also ready to come home. I’m used to being alone all the time so it’s hard to not only be travelling with other people, sharing a room, constantly around hoards of stranger and it being hot… it makes a girl a little psycho after awhile and I didn’t hide that at all… I was getting pissy and everyone was made aware. And of course when someone asks you why you’re in a grump mood, that only makes you more grumpy! Oh and to another end – why do people bring their kids to Vegas? WHY???? The side walks are crowded enough as it is, then you have a family and their two push chairs and one kid that’s walking. It drives me nuts!! In my little rant I said that the strip should be 21 plus only. I’m sure there are lots of people who agree and disagree with me. Anyway, the group wanted to keep walking after that, I went to the hotel and drank alone. That was nice.

Thursday came around and it was time to bid adieu to Las Vegas once again. I spent most of the day in the room watching TV. I didn’t want to get all sun screened up and sit at the pool only to have to come and shower, or be greasy on the plane. I think I could have stayed longer after that bit of a break from all the people and noise.  Oh well.  There is always next year.

 

 

See ya later Vegas

See ya later Vegas

First off, I just want to say congratulations to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. How very wonderful and exciting! I really wish I was in London still to partake in all the festivities!

Was a bit of a slower start to the day – I was so tired after my evening with ‘the boy’. I went and had breakfast and then came back up to my room to pack just so I wasn’t having to do it all last minute. I didn’t want to go out too far because I had a reservation at Harrods for 1:30. I just walked down to the train station to get some glossy magazines for the plane ride and then came back. It was so boring just sitting around waiting so I went down to Harrods and shopped haha! It’s bad news when there is a massive sale on! I managed to escape without spending too much money but believe me – I could have. I would have had to buy a whole other suitcase to come home with!

I had High Tea at the Harrods Terrace Restaurant. I didn’t get the chance to do tea on my last trip so this was going to be something special. I kind of considered it my birthday present to myself (just a few days early). The restaurant is beautiful! I had really wanted to go to The Goring but it was completely booked so I ‘settled’ for Harrods haha! I was very glad I ended up there. The seat I sat in (yes, seriously) was the most comfortable, squishy seat ever. Seconds later I had a glass of champagne on my table and my tea was on its way. They even made a special sandwich for me because I cannot eat salmon. The staff was just fantastic. I wasn’t sitting there for very long before my beautiful tray filled with sandwiches, scones and desserts came out.

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It really was one of the best meals I have ever eaten! Everything was so delicious. You know that scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’? You know the one – with Meg Ryan in the diner? Yup, I had to control myself from not pulling one of those. Who knew a sandwich could be so good?! The scones were still warm on the inside and the butter and jam  just melted right in to them. Then there were the desserts! I have no idea what most of them were but wow. There was this little pink thing with a red jam type substance in the middle. Tasted like candy. I had to stop myself from eating every last bit of everything on that tray. I was so full after I left, I felt disgusting. I seriously felt huge and like I was waddling. I encourage anyone who wants to do High Tea in London to consider the Harrods Terrace. If you’re not in to tea, they also have a full menu which also looked really good.

After my wonderful tea, I waddled  through Hyde Park again – it was so hot, it was great. I took my time and enjoyed it because I knew this was the last time I would be there for a while. It was then reluctantly back to the hotel. I got changed and went just up the road to the Nell Gwynne pub (super small and cute!)  for a pint and to watch the start of the men’s semi finals at Wimbledon. After the first set I went back to the hotel and watched a bit more in the bar there, unfortunately there were no good looking men there this time hah! After a little while I decided just to watch the rest of the match up in my room so I could order some dinner – so much for my fancy last dinner in London. After my toasted ham and cheese sandwich, I cracked open the  mini bottle of Harrods champagne I bought that afternoon to toast myself & my wonderful time in London. Ended up chilling in a tea cup on ice because it was warm. Very resourceful!

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I woke up to a documentary about Wings. Totally missed who won the match! I was so gutted that I didn’t get to see it all, couldn’t believe I fell asleep haha! I had to go online to see Andy Murray had won, yay! The movie ‘Notting Hill’ was on TV – I thought that was a bit fitting as well after meeting ‘the boy’ and him reminding me so much of Hugh Grant. I watched that as I finished up my packing – in less than 24 hours I’d be back in Canada.

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