Sneak Peek: The Okanagan, British Columbia

I'm on a whirlwind, 36-hour trip to the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia, known for its beautiful lake, amazing wineries, and emerging restaurant scene - staying on the grounds of the most beautifully perched vineyard, Mission Hill. The bell tower lends a very European feel when it echoes through the winery.

Here's my view from dinner tonight at Mission Hill Terrace.

Bell tower at sunset

The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto

If I had to move to Toronto, I would want to live at the Hazelton Hotel, which is equal parts comfortable and upscale, relaxing and yet within walking distance of Yorkville's best of everything.  It's totally discreet and tucked away and a true retreat as soon as you walk into the lobby, which welcomes you with an art installation of silver luggage.

LobbyFresh, bright bouquets of yellow flowers mixed with yellow accents on the rug, with couches I wanted to sink into and shades of purple throughout.

A Starbucks right across the street!I saw the beautiful screening room where Ben Affleck and the cast of The Town screened the movie at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival (I loved...LOVED...The Town).  With buttery leather couches and plush purple walls, it’s easy to see why the Hazelton has become the center of action during the famous Toronto Film Festival.

Screening RoomEven the hallways possess a certain joie de vivre with black and white flowered wallpaper and cheery modern artwork.

The rooms, even the standard ones, are gigantic. When I stepped into the room, I was overcome by a desire to open a bottle of chilled champagne and use the state-of-the-art music system to turn on some Ray LaMontagne or Patty Griffin.

Standard RoomSuiteThe bathrooms...easily one of the most gorgeous I've seen (though here is my favorite ever!).  They are huge, with dark green granite counter tops that seem to literally glow, TV mirrors, and huge baths begging to be filled with bubbles.

The hotel’s restaurant, One, has an outdoor patio during the summer months and a cozy feel indoors during the winter. There’s also a small spa, The Spa at the Hazelton, with small but lovely pool.

Bar

Spa Pool

Back in Beautiful British Columbia

Do you ever experience intense travel disappointment after visiting a place you’ve been dreaming about for years? I didn’t love Italy until my fourth visit.  Coincidentally, it was also in the fall when my previous visits had been in the summer with limited A/C and no ice.  One cube floating in a warm Coca Light doesn’t do it for me.

There is ZERO travel disappointment with Vancouver.  I fell head over heels in love in 2008, cemented by a second trip in 2009.  Nothing can prepare you for the contrast of vibrant cityscape with shimmering blue water and green mountains. 

And now I’m lucky enough to be back in beautiful British Columbia! After a whirlwind trip to Toronto last week (hotel scoop to come!), I arrived at the Four Seasons Vancouver this afternoon.  The lobby is striking with clean, long lines in both the design and the furniture, cherry-hued hardwood and a beautiful gold Asian-inspired mural behind the front desk.  It has captured that glorious East-meets-West flavor.

To prep for dinner at YEW tomorrow night at the Four Seasons, I am most excited for my head of frizz to be tamed with a blow-out at blo four seasons vancouver.

Most of all, I'm glad to be back in the clean air of the Pacific Northwest, where I feel more wild and adventurous simply by landing.