SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Georgie Vega conducts an effervescent private walking tour of the incredible street art of Santurce.
Author PageAll posts by Doug Wallace
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—The D.R. is offering a recovery plan that includes medical insurance to visitors in a bid to restart its tourism-dependent economy.
Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the world. Cosmopolitan and cultured, fun and fun-loving with an icing of unpredictability just to make things interesting, Toronto takes pride in being the dynamic, creative and safe sum of all its parts. The city’s … Continue reading Toronto
LESLIEVILLE, TORONTO—Expanding my international tastebuds, I have embraced the national condiment of Korea. You can do it, too!
WHISTLER, BC—Facebook thinks I need to order take-out Hungarian comfort food, even though it’s miles from my house and 35º in the shade.
Quebec City’s award-winning Relais & Châteaux gem Auberge Saint-Antoine is warm, charming, comfortable, beautiful, storied. Partially built over the old rampart, Auberge Saint-Antoine has worked archaeological treasures discovered on the site into its décor. Unearthed crockery, glass, hardware and household items, some dating back to the 1600s, punctuate cozy nooks, room entrances and lobby walls. … Continue reading Quebec: Auberge Saint-Antoine
The Lord Elgin is an Ottawa icon, one of the city’s grande dames, having opened in 1941 and maintaining a comfortable mix of old and new ever since. The actual 11th Earl of Elgin, Andrew Bruce, has visited several times. Vibe: Now almost 80 years old, with its Art Deco limestone exterior and chateau-like roofline, … Continue reading Ottawa: The Lord Elgin
Settled in the 9th century, the unofficial Capital of North Iceland at the bottom of Eyjafjörður Fjord is a little pocket of pure Icelandic flavour, with just an icing of kooky to make things interesting. With just 20,000 people, Akureyri is big enough to be bustling, but small enough to be cozy, the best of … Continue reading Iceland: Akureyri
Now that everybody is posting pictures of themselves kayaking and rafting and roaming the roads, it’s only natural to want to add an RV to the mix.
DOVERCOURT PARK, TORONTO—Deliciousness knows no bounds when it comes to rhubarb gin. Collective Arts Distilling launched its seasonal Rhubarb and Hibiscus Gin in 2019.
Wandering the twin towns of Comox and Courtenay in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island makes for a relaxing weekend of fun. With mountains and a glacier to the west and the Strait of Georgia to the east, this thriving lowland offers nature-lovers plenty of adventure. Well known for its air force base installed during … Continue reading Comox Valley
MANTA, ECUADOR—Kontiki Expeditions is launching this December with what they’re referring to as “neo-luxury” small-ship expeditions for the environmentally conscious.
Blue skies, even bluer waters, plenty of sand and surf, safe streets, magnificent food and a nuanced café society—the easternmost island in the southern Caribbean delivers all this and more. Mixing more than a dash of island whimsy with a the slightly button-down vibe due in part to the island’s British roots, Barbados gives you … Continue reading Barbados
The modern Mid West’s favourite boom town is still booming. Columbus is kind of like the overlooked middle child that never gets the attention it’s due. Slowly reinventing itself since the early 1980s, the 14th biggest city in the United States (with a population of just over two million) is a revitalized and relaxed weekend … Continue reading Columbus
TOKYO—Called sampuru, this fake food has been used outside restaurants to lure customers inside for more than 100 years. The practice pre-dates colour menus.
Here’s a little magic from my magic bean bag… a.k.a. how to make a travel first-aid kit. Well, it’s more pill-aid than first-aid. My doctor came up with it.
With volcanoes, rainforest and waterfalls, plus white, red, green and black sand beaches, Maui is a cross-platform, multi-culti eco-retreat. You and your Chrysler Sebring convertible can easily get lost in Maui if you want, finding Hawaiian villages that look the same as they have for decades, or dip your toe where the action is—or both. … Continue reading Hawai’i: Maui
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL—Pandemic-drinking our way through the liquor cabinet, which is actually two cabinets (maybe not for long), I came across a half-bottle of cachaca.
The Aria Hotel Budapest is both a glam refuge and a social hotspot, featuring 49 big rooms, a glass-enclosed courtyard and a year-round rooftop garden with 360-degree views, all underscored by breezy, comfortable whimsy and a solid commitment to a music motif. Vibe: One of six properties in the Library Hotel Collection, which includes Hotel … Continue reading Budapest: The Aria
SAN BLAS, MEXICO—My tequila has a friend that lives in the freezer and comes out on weekends. It’s called sangrita, a spicy mix of juices employed as a chaser for tequila, to cleanse the palate between sips.
The 977-room Westin Harbour Castle, with its two 34-storey waterfront towers, offers dreamy views of both Lake Ontario and the entire city. Built in 1975, it is the quintessential urban convention resort, with a giant gym and the largest hotel ballroom in Canada. Vibe: A brass-and-glass style pervades throughout The Westin Harbour Castle, toned down … Continue reading Toronto: Westin Harbour Castle
This sumptuous sanctuary draws an unsurprisingly diverse mix of international guests, many from the UK and Europe, including business travellers, bleisure travellers, families and special-occasion celebrants—and Ritz-Carlton brand loyalists with high expectations. Vibe: A grand style pervades at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, but never gets too showy. The hotel’s definitive global feel is evident via the … Continue reading Toronto: The Ritz-Carlton
The welcoming and well-maintained Hazelton Hotel hits all the right luxury, service and style notes to make it popular with the international chic-seeking crowd. This Trip Advisor favourite is anchored by Mark McEwan’s ONE Restaurant and ringed with one of the sultriest patios in town. Vibe: The independent Hazelton Hotel has the type of full-on … Continue reading Toronto: The Hazelton
Built in 2002 in what used to be a hat factory, this stylish boutique property run by the Quebec-based, family-run Le Germain chain of hotels is a cozy retreat catering to everyone from creative business travellers to weekend sporting-event staycationers. Vibe: Tucked away on quiet and unassuming Mercer Street, Le Germain is more hideaway than … Continue reading Toronto: Le Germain Mercer St.
The flagship property of the Toronto-based Four Seasons brand is pure five-star heaven. Built in 2012, it maintains a glowing reputation for service and opulence on all fronts, an urban retreat for business and leisure luxury travellers, special-occasion celebrants and incognito celebrities. Vibe: The Four Seasons Toronto is timeless, modern and sophisticated, warm and welcoming. … Continue reading Toronto: The Four Seasons
Formerly the home of Jilly’s Strip Club, this Romanesque Revival-style building constructed in 1891 as the social and retail hub of Toronto’s east end is now a dazzling 58-room boutique hotel. It anchors the Riverside and Leslieville neighbourhoods, both of which continue to gentrify at a dizzying speed. Vibe: The Broadview Hotel is hit with … Continue reading Toronto: The Broadview
With almost 100 rooms over five storeys—including an entire floor designed by rocker Lenny Kravitz—the stylish Bisha Hotel Toronto from Canadian hospitality impresario Charles Khabouth marries laid-back glamour with razor-sharp design, offering boutique-hotel intimacy alongside luxury-chain comfort. Vibe: Managed by Loews Hotels, the Bisha takes over the first eight floors of a 44-storey tower, which … Continue reading Toronto: The Bisha
GAdventures is introducing Virtual Travel Experiences: live, small-group tours that you sign up for and put on the calendar, like a travel webinar.
LESLIEVILLE—Imagine the mouth-wateringness when I came across this alleged hand-written recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now I don’t have to call Chicken Delight.
OTTAWA—This town never disappoints—particularly when there’s a cocktail to be shaken. Must be all those thirsty MPs giving all the bartenders ample practice. Here’s your next cocktail crawl.
Save your travel dollars, pounds, Euros, krona with a cash stash accordion, a file of the currencies you bring home from trips abroad. It’s like free money.
Drinking Beaujolais in Beaujolais, lunching on quaint terraces, wandering through medieval townships—cruising the South of France reveals all this and more. I always knew the Baby Boomers would “de-geezer” the luxury cruise industry and make it actually cool. And while the big ocean liners are undergoing a certain “degrampafication” of their own, it’s the small-ship … Continue reading Rhone River: Cruise
A legendary river, quaint medieval towns, stunning scenery and five different countries—Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czechia and Germany—makes for a busy week on the water. With the famous Strauss waltz planted firmly in my head, like an ear worm, I close my eyes for a second and say a small prayer to the rain gods regarding … Continue reading Danube River: Cruise
WHISTLER, BC—I’ve been threatening to cut Tim’s hair for days now, as it grows shaggier and scoobier every day. He doesn’t think I’ll actually do it. Lots of time for lots of other detailed grooming, however.
Never pack anything you would be devastated to lose or have stolen.
Stop worrying about the kids. And you don’t have to call them every other day, either.
Don’t hang your purses on the restaurant chair back.
Dukoral really works. That said, always pack anti-diarrhea medications and carry them on the plane.
Spring for the upgrade. Your credit card will never know the difference.
Pack Tylenol 3s. You don’t need to pay a doctor to tell you you’ve sprained your ankle.
Ask your doctor about free travel inoculations before you pay money at a travel clinic.
No bat-eating. Also, don’t eat anything that isn’t already dead. Except yogurt and kimchi, etc.
It’s OK to just stand and stare at how beautiful something is for a few minutes.
Driving in a foreign land? Never take your eyes off the road.
If you ever find yourself feeling superior to someone who doesn’t speak English, fuck yourself off.
Never take photographs of children unless you ask the parents first.
Be kind to animals abroad. They may not have the best life.
Don’t be an asshole. Similarly, don’t call out others for being assholes, because you never know if they may be dangerous.
Who would have ever thought? Luggage actually on sale. And not just the crappy kind, but one you might actually use.
LONDON—Everyone pooh-poohed the Quarantine Cooking chain letter I forwarded, but then—the amazing recipes started to arrive…
On the southwestern tip of Panama City, adjacent to the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, sits the city’s picturesque old quarter, Casco Viejo, a historic district that is getting its groove back. And for good reason: significant injections of restoration money and UNESCO World Heritage status have made it the coolest part of town. … Continue reading Panama: Casco Viejo
Sure London is cool, but on your next trip, skip it’s crowded weekend ways and hop on a train west to Cardiff for full-on fun. You may have the perception that the Welsh countryside is a bit sleepy, and you’d be right. But it’s just so beautiful and, well, old (the oldest castles in the … Continue reading Wales: Cardiff
The Republic of Turkey has been pushed and pulled by the eastern and western worlds for centuries, absorbing influences and cultural attitudes from both Europe and the Middle East. Wherever you head, Istanbul, with 15 million people, will be your first stop. It has been the cosmopolitan centre of the region since it was founded … Continue reading Turkey: Istanbul
I’m currently advising people not to book anything that doesn’t come with a refund or some kind of financial safety net
Panama City’s very first hotel is recognized by UNESCO for its architectural significance within the Casco Antiguo, a designated World Heritage Site in Panama City. The Central Hotel was built in 1874 and reopened in 2016 after a major renovation restored its 135 rooms to their former glory. Developers stuck close to the original French-influenced … Continue reading Panamá: The Central Hotel
An oasis in the Eastern Algarve resort community of Tavira ticks all the right boxes. Portugal’s south coast is awash in the most fabulous beaches, and the eastern side of it is the country’s best-kept secret. Right in the thick of all this bliss sits the 77-room Ozadi Tavira Hotel, which was built in the … Continue reading Portugal: Ozadi Tavira
This serene retreat in the posh part of the northern province of Guanacaste delivers local culture with a side of smart style. Designed by noted Central American architect Ronald Zürcher, the stunning Andaz at Peninsula Papagayo is inspired by nature, buoyed by local art and crafts, and folded into its surroundings with a keen attention … Continue reading Costa Rica: The Andaz Papagayo
One of the best design hotels in Singapore is naturally one of the coolest. Built in 1895, The Warehouse Hotel was actually a spice-trade route warehouse, back in the days when this area of Singapore was filled with gangsters and their lackeys. Fast-forward to January 2017, when the loved-up version of this grand building opened … Continue reading Singapore: The Warehouse Hotel
Cosmopolitan and creative, fun and friendly, Melbourne is consistently voted one of the most livable cities in the world. From the eclectic northeast and thriving central business district to the riverside parks and chic bayside south, Melbourne hums with variety, sporting covert boutiques and bars, mind-blowing cuisine, unrestrained architecture and an all-around, great attitude. Make … Continue reading Australia: Melbourne
BERMUDA—Sure, we bring home tequila (Mexico), rum (Barbados), triple sec (Grenada) and Blue Curaçao (um, Curaçao), but for Bermuda, all you need is the recipe for the delicious Rum Swizzle.
Bermuda is a connect-the-dot maze of 180 bits of island in the Atlantic Ocean, on the same latitude as South Carolina, about a two-hour flight from New York. With a temperate climate, as opposed to tropical like many of the Caribbean islands, this little paradise is calm and cool, with no income tax, no unemployment … Continue reading Bermuda
The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa near Royston on Vancouver Island is many great things rolled into one tidy package—boutique beach resort, destination spa, yoga retreat and top-rated restaurant. Guests can sink into soothing hands at the spa, realign with a yoga class, take a dip in the outdoor pool, breathe in the lavender-scented sea … Continue reading Courtenay-Comox: The Kingfisher
Yes, we’re glued to our computer screens at the moment, but here is a chance to learn something cool (sorry) with a Polar Learning Channel Hub.
It’s hard to think about skiing when it’s not even summer, but this is a bonus.
No B&Bs for me—I’m bunking at the castle. Lübbenau Castle anchors the tourist town of Lübbenau in the district of Brandenburg, about an hour southeast of Berlin. Redecorated in the 19th-century Renaissance style, the castle features 44 rooms and suites over three floors in two wings, plus 20 family-sized suites in the renovated stables. Vibe: … Continue reading Germany: Lübbenau Castle
Once part of relatively untouristed East Germany, the Spreewald is one of the Brandenberg region’s best-kept secrets. The pickles aren’t bad, either. I could barely pronounce Spreewald, but I knew I was going to like it here. And this wasn’t just any canal. It was one of the 300 natural, ice age-created canals weaving through … Continue reading Germany: The Spreewald
Copper Mountain, home to a fabulous 148 trails and 24 lifts, plus the only full-length, early-season training venue in the world, the U.S. Olympic Ski Team Speed Center. Ski! The 2,500 acres of pristine slopes of Copper Mountain steepen naturally from west to east, with the elevation topping out at 3,800 metres (with a 835-metre … Continue reading Colorado: Copper Mountain
While the west side has enjoyed the lion’s share of the tourist trade since the 1970s, the Eastern Algarve of Portugal, stretching from the central city of Faro to the Spanish border, is far more relaxing and infinitely more cool. The Eastern Algarve is where the smarter Europeans are buying (and renting out) their summer … Continue reading Portugal: Eastern Algarve
Perhaps due to the fact that the population is one-tenth that of England, Scotland feels a bit more small-town, even in the city. People tend to actually converse with you rather than just talk and you get the straight goods without having to fish for it. With the Scottish, there always seems to be a … Continue reading Scotland: The Highlands
GRENADA—What’s better than a day at the beach? The supper that follows it, of course. The food scene in Grenada is relatively robust for an island of just 110,000. Let the food journey begin.
The tri-island paradise of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique at the bottom of the Grenadines, is gearing up to lure loads of high-enders to the white sand, azure shorelines, hidden waterfalls, unspoiled nature and now, increasingly more barefoot-chic situations to find yourself in. Grand Anse Beach, just south of the main city of St. George’s, … Continue reading Grenada
OBERARTH, SWITZERLAND—Kirsch is my new best friend. Lucas Fassbind, also my new best friend, sums up his very special schnapps like so: “Cooling, warming, burning, contracting, silky, round.”
Zurich is many things, but stiff certainly isn’t one of them, contrary to its reputation—and lucky for you. An international meeting place with four official languages (none of them English), the city is captivating mix of cultures, cuisine and attitudes. Save and splurge. I remember arriving in Zurich first thing in the morning via a … Continue reading Switzerland: Zurich
With four official languages, Switzerland has always been a healthy mix of cultures, cuisines and diplomatic points of view, drawing influences from its neighbours for centuries. But while Zurich, Geneva and Bern pretty much run the place, it’s Lucerne everybody heads to for a week off. And so should you. This charming little town where … Continue reading Switzerland: Lucerne
What happens in Weggis—well, you should actually share it with everyone. This little town just a short jaunt across the river from Lucerne is a springboard to your down-time up where the air is fresh and clean: Mount Rigi. Take a break. Mere steps from the ferry dock is the Post Hotel Weggis, a great … Continue reading Switzerland: Mount Rigi
Sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands deliver pockets of pure opulence and camera-ready topography in Queensland, Australia. The first thing you notice after hopping off your flight into Hamilton Island are the immaculate golf carts—dozens of them waiting to whisk you to your villa. The second thing are the cockatoos, winging their … Continue reading Australia: Whitsunday Islands
The rocky hills, valleys, waterfalls and caves of northern Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina National Park deliver a feet-on-the-ground, head-in-the-clouds adventure. Take the waters. A happy little stray dog latches onto us one afternoon hiking the trails near the village of Lençóis (population 5,000) in the state of Bahia, Brazil. She is our unofficial tour guide, following … Continue reading Brazil: Chapada Diamantina
Kayaking through East Greenland’s Scoresby Sound, the largest fjord system in the world, offers up pure Arctic adventure—glacial bays, calving icebergs, muskox and more. From the tiny airport of Nerlerit Inaat, a.k.a. Constable Point, we walk to a flotilla of Zodiac boats that sweeps us out to the Ocean Nova, and a Quark Expeditions East … Continue reading Greenland
GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND—In the grand scheme of analogies, I’m one of those people whose glass is always half full. And quite often, it’s half full of Champagne. I like to think I can will good things to happen to me.
BARBADOS—I made a pact with myself recently to do more recipe-following and cookbook-reading. And when my culinary masterpieces overlap with a travel angle, I post them on Instagram, one of the more successful being this cou-cou and flying fish, the traditional dish of Barbados. It’s an okra-cornmeal concoction. OK, so I used haddock, and apparently sea bass is a better substitute, but it was awesome.
COLUMBUS, OH—I love watching Americans order in restaurants—three beverages in front of them, asking a dozen questions, asking for substitutions, more sauce-less sauce, ordering extra side dishes only to barely touch them.
VICTORIA—Empress 1908, one of my favourite gins, is pink. It’s actually lavender, but really, it starts off being blue. Confused yet? Made by Victoria Distillers for the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Empress 1908 Gin is infused with the now-trending butterfly pea blossom, a perennial herbaceous plant, native to Asia.
CHICAGO—Trader Vic invented the Mai Tai, you know. True story. I’ll always remember throwing back Suffering Bastards at the now-gone Trader Vic’s in the basement of the Toronto Hilton, long after the Polynesian culture fad of the 1950s and ’60s had dissipated.
TOFINO, BC—Salmon candy. It’s like a carrot on a stick. You dangle that in front of me and I will walk for miles. When I’m lucky enough to get my hands on these sweet and salty smoked-salmon morsels, I ration them for weeks, savouring every molecule.
KEY WEST—The answer? Pretty stuff, that’s what. After a rather surreal couple of days combing the streets of Key West looking for trouble and pretty much finding it (three words: naked pool party), we finished up a road trip through the Florida Keys with an hour stroll through the famed Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. So gorgeous!
BRITISH COLUMBIA—Every so often I abandon my aversion to Clamato juice (too much MSG) and order a Bloody Caesar, usually just to go with the flow. Or to make morning drinking OK. Bloody Mary’s seem to be more my style in my dotage, I’m finding.
Le Mount Stephen is a reworked Montreal mansion radiating both the storied grandeur of an earlier time and the chic glamour of the modern age. Opened in May 2017, Le Mount Stephen is a modern 11-storey, 90-room hotel built behind and anchored to historic George Stephen House, a Renaissance Revival mansion built in 1883 in … Continue reading Montreal: Le Mount Stephen
FOGO ISLAND, NL—My mother would have laughed like a fool—I ate turnip greens for breakfast. To be more specific: braised turnip greens, lamb belly, black garlic and a fried egg. This at the stunning Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re spending three glorious days wandering over the rocks, hiking the trails, hot-tubbing on the roof, watching for whales, listening to stories—and eating.
Singapore virtually sizzles with a fascinating mix of sophisticated, multicultural fusion, fun and flavour. With everything under one roof so to speak—city, state and country all rolled into one island—Singapore is a very unique Southeast Asian enclave, its history as a trading settlement influencing all aspects of modern life in profoundly original ways. The population … Continue reading Singapore
SINGAPORE—There are really no words other than: “spoiled for choice.” Singaporeans truly have it easy when it comes to homemade traditional food: You can find it everywhere, it’s absolutely incredible and you can have a complete meal for about $3. No wonder nobody has to cook at home!
SINGAPORE—While every nation has its own unique caffeine scene, no one does coffee quite like Singapore. The tradition of kopitiam or coffee-shop culture is both an excellent example of the blend of Eastern and Western cultures in this melting-pot region of South East Asia and a taste sensation that’s worth writing home about.
At the Andaz Singapore, the vibrant and multicultural flavour of the city is played to the hilt, revealing a sexy, service-oriented luxury retreat in the sky. The first Andaz in southeast Asia, the Andaz Singapore takes over the top 14 floors of a dazzling honeycomb-like skyscraper, with its reception on the 25th floor. The hotel … Continue reading Singapore: The Andaz
There’s a fine line between cushy cruising and adventurous sailing, and Star Clippers manages to walk this well. This tall-ship cruise company gives modern luxury a heritage twist, taking passengers on true-to-life tall-ship adventures. Launched in 1991 and based in Monaco, Star Clippers operates three ships—Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper. Just right for … Continue reading Mediterranean: Tall-Ship Cruise
With Toronto’s two main sports venues, plus the iconic CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium at its doorstep, the Delta Toronto has seen its fair share of sports fans, concert-goers, families and tourists, all drawn to the hotel’s “bare maximum” motto, which focuses on the essentials with very little fluff. Vibe: The interesting mix of guests—from … Continue reading Toronto: The Delta
The arts-oriented, 19-room Drake Hotel, originally a derelict apartment block, still maintains the high hip quotient it has enjoyed since it opened. A hit with both local and international creative types, it is a true Toronto cultural hub, covering all the travel basics—art, music, food and shopping. Vibe: It doesn’t get much cooler than this. … Continue reading Toronto: The Drake
More like a residence than a hotel, the midtown Kimpton Saint George is a melting pot of boutique luxury style. The homey feel flows from the smiley staff to the living room-like lobby and up into spacious, tasteful retreats done in a mix of unconventional colours and distinctive design details. Vibe: Formerly a Holiday Inn, … Continue reading Toronto: Kimpton Saint George
Half hour east of Salt Lake City, the town of Park City, population 8,400, is best known as home of Sundance Film Festival. The borough anchors Park City Mountain and the more posh Deer Valley Resort (which doesn’t allow snowboarders). Park City Mountain was purchased by Vail Resorts in 2014 and combined with nearby Canyons … Continue reading Utah: Park City
Spanning nine acres of waterfront land in a corner of Exhibition Place, home to Canada’s largest event venues, Hotel X Toronto is the main hub for all the nearby trade shows, conferences and fairs, with more than 400 stylish rooms delivering an incredible view. Vibe: The look is modern and intimate. A lobby bathed in … Continue reading Toronto: Hotel X Toronto
The St. Regis Toronto—formerly The Adelaide Hotel and before that the Trump International—is Canada’s first and only St. Regis hotel. It boasts the largest rooms in the city (from 550 square feet). There is a rather rarified air; those seeking top service, the best location in town and marble everything should be more than satisfied. … Continue reading Toronto: The St. Regis