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(2021 - Fall/Winter Issue)


An icon returns to Budapest. Guests who stay at the newly opened Matild Palace are sure to experience only the finest in service and amenities. The 130-room lavish hotel, part of The Luxury Collection from Marriott Bonvoy, is located in one of the capital’s exclusive districts. Footsteps to dining, shopping, sightseeing and the myriad of spas, guests will enjoy visiting the local sites or unwinding inside the exquisitely reimagined palace. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matild Palace has undergone a meticulous five-year transformation of the Belle Epoque landmark. Making his debut in Hungary, renowned chef Wolfgang Puck oversees the culinary offerings with a modern twist on traditional Hungarian cuisine. Matildpalace.com

Fly non-stop from Canada to the Hawaiian Islands this winter aboard Air Canada’s 787 Dreamliner. New flights from Toronto to Honolulu and Maui and from Montreal to Honolulu are expected to kick off between Dec. 12 and 18. They join long-standing AC services from Calgary and Vancouver, where you can also fly to Kona on the Big Island. Convenient connections are available across Canada and from Europe. By the end of the year, Air Canada expects to offer 16 direct flights a week from Canada to Hawaii. AirCanada.com

Every day on an Avalon Waterways’ Active & Discovery cruise there’s a new adventure tailored to your interests. Prepare French whipped cream at Chantilly Castle, learn about the Normandy Cheese Trail, wander the ruins of an ancient castle, hike through vineyards and much more. Avalon offers six Active & Discovery itineraries on the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Rhône and Seine Rivers in 2022 as well as the waterways of Holland and Belgium. Travellers can choose from a daily selection of Active, Discovery and Classic excursions, all included in the tour. Avalonwaterways.ca

Immerse yourself in the Windy City’s iconic architecture aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, named USA Today’s best boat tour in North America for 2021. The relaxing 90-minute tour up and down the Chicago River is led by highly trained and enthusiastic volunteer guides (docents) from the Chicago Architecture Center, who provide a detailed narrative of Chicago’s varied architectural styles and stories of the legendary figures who designed and built this fabulous city. Each boat features indoor and outdoor seating, a full-service bar and snack bar. For an extra $5, upgrade your ticket to include admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, valid up to seven days after your cruise. CruiseChicago.com

If you love travelling but feel guilty about the carbon footprint every trip generates, Costa Rica has you covered. Using a calculator located on the website of Costa Rica’s Fonafifo (National Forest Financing Fund), visitors to this lush green Central American country can now calculate the emissions generated by their flights and land travel, as well as their cost in U.S. dollars. You’re then invited to donate that amount to Costa Rica’s environmental program. The funds raised will be used to plant trees, protect the country’s water resources and encourage “greener” farming practices. It’s estimated that if just 10% of tourist emissions were offset, Costa Rica would collect US$3.6 million annually to support its environment.  fonafifo.go.cr/en

Explore Tuscany from historic La Chiusa, tucked into the romantic hillside town of Montefollonico, an hour from Siena. The former olive oil mill has been transformed into a lavish boutique hotel with 18 unique and luxurious rooms. Enjoy stunning views of Montepulciano and Monte Amiata as you stroll the rolling hills that lead to the estate’s olive groves and vineyards. La Chiusa is also famous for its cooking school, with classes offered in English. Inside a 400-year-old kitchen learn to make traditional Tuscan recipes, including pasta from local women rather than chefs. lachiusatuscany.com

On the west coast of southern Thailand, Krabi province and town boast more than 150 islands, massive limestone cliffs, dense mangrove forests, waterfalls and spectacular caves including Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave). Grab a long-tail boat at Ao Nang beach for the 30-minute trip to Koh Poda Island. Once there, relax on the palm-fringed white sand beach, snorkel in crystal blue waters and admire the cliffs around you from a kayak. An hour from Ao Nang, trek through the lush tropical rainforest of Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, surrounded by exotic wildlife to visit the Emerald Pool and hot springs. You can even leap from one limestone cliff to another. Krabi is also home to the kingdom’s most stunning sunrises and sunsets. Tourismthailand.org

Book a room at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa, located near Victoria’s inner harbour, then explore the beauty and bounty of Vancouver Island at your own pace. The Taste of the Island package includes an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s 64 beautifully-appointed rooms, a $75 nightly dining credit to the Courtney Room, access to a choice of Flavour Trail maps and complimentary use of the hotel’s cruiser bicycles. One curated trail focuses on the farm shops, apiaries and cideries on the Saanich Peninsula, a 15- minute bike ride north of Victoria, while another includes a self-guided tour of the wineries of the Cowichan Valley, an hour to the north. While there check out the new Malahat SkyWalk. magnoliahotel.com

The Museum of Vancouver’s new exhibition, A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia, explores historical and contemporary stories of Chinese Canadians, their struggles to belong and their contributions to British Columbia society. As restaurants and food are an integral part of the immigrant experience, the exhibition includes an interactive “shadow buffet” to explore Chinese food and the way these dishes connect to moments and places. Audiences are invited to create their own cut-outs of food and animate the work. A Seat at the Table runs until January. MuseumofVancouver.ca

Find out where all those loonies and toonies jingling in your pocket come from with a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. Both Ottawa and Winnipeg locations offer family-friendly tours that celebrate Canada’s mint history and coin craftsmanship. If you can’t make it in person, the Winnipeg Mint offers 35- to 45-minute virtual Zoom tours Monday to Saturday in English and French with your own personal guide. Get a bird’s-eye view of the production floor and learn about the skill and precision needed to design coins for Canada and up to 80 countries around the world. To reserve a Winnipeg tour visit reservationswinnipeg@mint.ca. To reserve an in-person Ottawa tour, visit reservationsottawa@mint.ca

Santa Rosa may be Sonoma County’s biggest city, surrounded by 400+ wineries, yet it’s as charming and welcoming as a small town. Located just 90 km north of San Francisco, its quaint residential streets reveal amazing farm-to-table kitchens, world cuisine restaurants and vintage buildings resurrected as art galleries. There’s a new coffee roaster, Land and Water Coffee, while new craft microbreweries include 3 Disciples Brewing. When you’re not wining or dining, visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. Santa Rosa is close to California’s famed redwood forests, and just 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. visitsantarosa.com

Tofino Resort + Marina, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, has a new culinary duo from Toronto helming its 1909 Kitchen. Executive chef Terry Somerville sources his ingredients from the ocean, land and shore around Tofino. He’ll even prepare your personal catch of the day in his wood-fired oven. Enjoy your meal on the stunning waterfront patio or inside the island resort against a backdrop of mountains and coastline. For dessert, sample the artistry of his wife, executive pastry chef Kristine Morrow, who also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role. tofinoresortandmarina.com

Hollywood in Los Angeles is bigger and better than ever. Journey through nearly 100 years of film-making then tour the lot, arriving at Stage 48 where Sheldon’s apartment awaits from the Big Bang Theory. Dine at the studio’s own Central Perk Café from Friends then experience the universe of DC super heroes and super villains. View the original Batmobile in the Bat Cave, take a photo with the Lasso of Hestia from Wonder Woman 1984, test your wizardly wand skills and take part in a sorting ceremony in the Great Hall from the Harry Potter series. Tours operate Thursday to Monday, departing 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for guests, ages five and older. Reservations required. wbstudiotour.com

The Shilla Seoul, flagship of Shilla Hotels & Resorts, has retained its five-star rating with Forbes Travel Guide for the third year. Described as a “luxury powerhouse,” blending traditional Korean charm with modern luxury and state-of-the-art technology, The Shilla overlooks scenic Namsan Mountain and downtown Seoul. For decades, its superb service and attention to detail have made it the preferred lodging for royalty, heads of state and celebrities. La Yeon, a three-star Michelin restaurant on the 23rd floor, is famous for its superb Korean cuisine. Be sure to check out the top-floor Executive Lounge. shillahotels.com

Sleek and clever Tile trackers, powered by Bluetooth, help keep track of your most important belongings while travelling and at home. These slim discs can be used for everything from keys and wallets to passport holders and laptops. When you misplace something, tap Find in the app to make your Tile ring. If you’re away from home and leave something behind, check the app to see its most recent location on a map. Or mark “Notify when found” to leverage Tile Network’s secure and anonymous help to aid in your search. Choose from the Pro, Mate, Slim or Stickers format. With a built-in two-year battery life, the Sticker, which is the smallest Tile tracker, sticks to almost anything and has a 46-metre range. Thetileapp.com

Along with celebrated historic sites and sweeping vistas, Virginia is promoting its growing wellness scene, giving visitors a chance to relax, re-centre and reconnect. The Lansdowne Resort & Spa near Leesburg, 50 minutes from Washington, D.C., has combined Eastern and Western health principles to create a new Harmony wellness program incorporating the spa, golf and cuisine. While there, explore Northern Virginia’s nearby wine region. Another popular resort, the tranquil, historic Blackburn Inn is opening a new wellness facility. The Inn is set in the Shenandoah Valley minutes from downtown Staunton. blackburn-inn.com; virginia.org/Canada

Nantucket’s iconic White Elephant Resort has a new sister property in South Florida. The White Elephant Palm Beach is a complete “reimagining” of the historic Bradley Park Hotel from the 1920s. Located on Sunset Avenue, less than two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, the new property in Palm Beach boasts 13 rooms and 19 suites spread across four storeys, making it feel like a private residence. A two-metre-high white elephant statue welcomes guests to the property. The signature Lola 41 restaurant, a Nantucket staple, promises global fare and local seafood specialties right in the heart of historic Palm Beach. WhiteElephantPalmBeach.com

The French side of St. Martin has it all, from beautiful beaches and relaxing villas to authentic French food and wine. Add to that a showcase of outdoor wall art from the French Caribbean island’s most talented artists. Located in the capital, Marigot, this pandemic project showcases the island’s creative spirit in large paintings and vibrantly-coloured frescoes. One of the newest canvases is the wall art gracing the five white towers of the Hommage Hotel & Residences, which happens to have a Canadian connection. st-martin.org

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