Travel

Showing 22 posts tagged Travel

Toronto Eats

When traveling to a city as big as Toronto, food choices are overwhelming. Restaurants live on every street. The sound of cocktails being shaken vibrates out doors. And fogged up windows are damp with dinner conversation. If you’re only visiting a city for a short amount of time, a taste bud tingling feast isn’t something to gamble with. You can’t take chances by walking into just any restaurant with a grumbling stomach.

Here are our picks for dining in Toronto…

The Black Hoof

928 Dundas Street West

Their speciality is meat… Tongue on Brioche, Bone Marrow, and Pork Belly and Cappuccio are just a trio of items listed on the short menu. And they make their own rules… closed Tuesday and Wednesday, no credit cards.

Bar Isabel

797 College Street

Under heavily seductive red lights, Bar Isabel could be located in a small Spanish town. The din of College Street and the lights of Toronto are forgotten with each minute spent inside the intimate enclave.

Hudson Kitchen

800 Dundas Street West

Gaining notoriety for being the only restaurant to host both Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (separately, of course) during TIFF, Hudson Kitchen has made it their mission to reinvent food by making each dish an adventure.

Czehoski

678 Queen Street West

Serving the kind of meals that warm every inch of your body, Czehoski is the perfect place to hide on a winter’s night with friends or solo.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Images (left to right, top to bottom): Bar Isabel (via Toronto Life), Czehoski (via Blog TO), Hudson Kitchen, The Black Hoof (via Up Magazine).

International Cocktails

There’s more to a cocktail than vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. There are complex tastes and textures, sensations and savourings that accompany a libation. Flavours as intricate and pleasing as a gourmet meal. We compiled a selection of cocktails from around the world that will put hair on chests, curl tongues, and make your skin feel like nails are being dragged down your flesh.

Cocktails from top to bottom, left to right:

Smoke on the Water at Bar Centro, SLS Hotel, Los Angeles
Blackberries, Scotch, Islay mist and flames,

Image source

The Juliet & Romeo at The Violet Hour, Chicago
Gin, mint, cucumber, lime, bitters, and a drop of rose water.

Image source

The Versailles Experience at Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Tanqueray Gin, Absinthe, pear, lemon, apple, mint

Image source

White Negroni at Gin Palace, New York
Perry’s Tot Gin, blanco vermouth, Salers apertif

Image source

Serendipity at Bar Hemingway, Ritz Paris
Calvados pays d’Auge le Compte, mint, sugar, apple juice, champagne.

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~Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider


Hotels in Hollywood

Film has played an influential role on the scenarios we envision playing out in hotels. There are scenes that have made us teary eyed, lustful and desirous, pensive, or absolutely petrified. Here are some of our favourite clips filmed from the walls of a hotel.

The Tourist

The steamy dream sequence in the Danieli Hotel in Venice between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie’s characters ends far too soon…

Dirty Dancing

The first time this movie flashes before a girl’s starry eyes, she dreams of a summer at Kellerman’s.

Lost in Translation

Lonely woman meets lonely man and an unlikely friendship forges out of a chance meeting in a hotel bar.

The Shining

The tinkering music, the maniacal smile on Jack Nicholson’s face, and the eerily calm demeanor of Lloyd the bartender make this a pivotal scene in one of the creepiest films ever made.

28 Hotel Rooms

A salacious affair develops behind 28 doors over several years.

Thelma & Louise

This is the moment women everywhere fell for Brad Pitt as his character demonstrates to Thelma how to carry out an armed robbery.

Ghostbusters

And who can forget this memorable ball of slime who left audiences in the 80’s hoping for a ghostly encounter and an excuse to call Ghostbusters.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Miami Fever

The pulse in Miami beats to a Latin rhythm that’s harmonious with chic hedonism, while the city’s palm trees sway with the spicy creativity of music and art. Life is heated, hot, and glistening in this vivacious part of Florida.

We’ve picked a few of our favourite things in the city…

STAY:

SLS Hotel South Beach

A whimsical experience that will open up your curious eyes to details you never dreamed of.

EAT:

Cecconi’s Miami Beach

An effervescent Venetian dining experience.  

DO:

Wynwood: Treat your creative longings to urban art. The area is also home to over 50 galleries and several cafes and restaurants.

South Beach: Watch the scene pass you by before stepping into the self-indulgence yourself.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Vancouver Pride Weekend!

As a devoted supporter of the LGBTQ community, OPUS Hotel couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming Pride festivities in Vancouver. For one weekend each year, people from around the world come to our city to celebrate at a variety of colourful parties that culminate in one of the largest parades in the world.

Here are a few events to catch over this long weekend that marks the 35th anniversary of the Vancouver Pride Parade…

Friday, August 2nd

Davie Street Party: From Broughton to Burrard Streets, cars are barricaded and pedestrians are given free rein to dance, cavort, and revel in their uniqueness.

Saturday, August 3rd

Vancouver Dyke March & Festival: The 10 year anniversary begins at noon at McSpadden Park, followed by the festival at Grandview Park at 1pm.

Sunday, August 4th

The Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival kicks off at noon. Follow the winding parade as it marches from Robson to Denman to Pacific.

OPUS Bar will be hosting a live music night with Ali Milner and DJ George V from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

Wrap yourself in colour, douse your body in glitter, and dance away the weekend celebrating diversity.

Find more events at www.vancouverpride.ca and www.mydavievillage.com.

Images via The Vancouver Sun.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Best pools for a dip

Pools have long been a draw for summer travelers. Sizzling sun. Bare bodies. The coconut scent of sunscreen hanging in the air. Local surroundings are neglected when there’s a pool to dip in and recline beside. The whole scene sends bathers into a hazy, dazy state where time stands still and days slowly extend into nights.

Where is your favourite hotel pool?

(From top to bottom, left to right)

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (Black lava bathing)

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, France (French Mediterranean views from the lap of luxury)

Hotel Roosevelt, Los Angeles (Pool-side dancing is encouraged)

One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives (Tranquility in a sea of blue)

San Alfonso del Mar, Algarrobo, Chile (The world’s largest and deepest pool)

Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali (Each room has a private pool)

Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy (Where Greta Garbo found seclusion with a lover)

Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy (Both you and the pool float on the waters of lake)

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Fashions in Yaletown

Checkered amongst the deliciously scented restaurants and desirable bars of Yaletown, there lie a selection of boutiques carrying treasures for your body and trouble for your wallet. Window displays will lure you in against your will and clothes will leap off the racks and into your hands.

You may find yourself leaving one of these fabulous Yaletown boutiques juggling a cluster of shopping bags:

Basquiat

Upon entering this spacious and bright store, your head will become woozy with fashion intoxication. Beautiful items from A.L.C., Barbara Bui, J Brand, Jenni Kayne, Line, and Preen will want to be yours as you float from hanger to hanger and shelf to shelf.

1189 Hamilton Street

Fine Finds

When in need of a gift, it is known across the city that one will snap up that perfect trinket at Fine Finds. Shiny jewelry, unique clothing, baby accessories, and quirky cards fill the shop. Warning: You’ll leave with more than a gift.

1014 Mainland Street

The Cross

Once you cross the threshold of this décor boutique, you may not emerge for hours. There are too many items of fancy and picturesque books to fondle and eye… ideal for satiating your curiosity.

1198 Homer Street

Brooklyn Clothing Co.

Men (and girlfriends) will have all of their denim dreams answered at this trendy store on the edges of Yaletown. If it’s made of denim or goes with denim, you’ll find it here. Don’t be scared by the huge selection of brands and styles… the staff will pull out exactly what you’re looking for.

418 Davie Street

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Let OPUS Hotel spoil your furry friends

For most pet owners, pooches or felines are counted as family members and most loyal companions. Let’s face it, besides the occasional bark or meow, pets can be the drama-free versions of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and spouses. In other words, the perfect traveling partner.

At OPUS Hotel, we welcome all members of your family, including your furry ones, and we don’t charge extra. Your dog will be welcomed with a water bowl, a bag of treats, and Modern Dog Magazine.

After Lassie has indulged in treats in the room, take him or her exploring outside. In either direction, the Seawall is a puppy’s dream, but head east to reach doggie-friendly Coopers’ Park and let your pooch run amok with the dogs of Vancouver. Your dog isn’t the only one who can socialize at the park… perhaps you’ll find a man or woman to join you for a cocktail when the dogs have been put to bed.

Once you’ve made your mark in the fashionable boutiques of Yaletown, spoil your four-legged love at Barking Babies located just around the corner from OPUS on Homer Street. Everyone deserves a souvenir when they travel.

Next time you stay at OPUS, we hope to meet your pup too.

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

Best Brunches in Yaletown

Brunch should be a food group - one of those essential components of nutrition that make our bodies function at the most optimal level. A weekend brunch reignites us after a long week and prepares us for the work days ahead. They are luxurious meals that condone sleeping in, socializing with friends, and cocktails before noon. Honestly, what’s not to love?

We’re lucky at OPUS Hotel to be surrounded by an abundance of delicious restaurants in Yaletown that cater to this decadent meal hour.

La Pentola: Located just an elevator ride away for guests, this Italian eatery is rich with a variety of brunch delicacies, including the traditional Northern Italian pancake, Kaiserschmarrn, colourful three egg omelets, and the refreshing Aperol Spritz cocktail.

350 Davie Street

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Kaiserschmarrn at La Pentola

Glowbal Grill: If you’re a sucker for mini donuts and bustling patio people-watching, this is the dining spot for you. Drink mimosas and pick from one of four Eggs Benedict options.

1079 Mainland Street

Provence Marinaside: With the sight of boats bobbing in the marina visible over your Baked Eggs Florentine, it’s hard to leave this idyllic brunch spot even after you’ve finished eating.

1177 Marinaside Crescent

Elbow Room Café: The best cure for a hangover after a fabulous night in Vancouver resides at this tasty greasy-spoon diner. Not only will the staff berate you for not finishing all the food on your plate, but they will collect a donation to support the AIDS charity A Loving Spoonful.

560 Davie Street

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider

ART+IDENTITY+TRAVEL at OPUS Hotel

Everyone’s wedding should be a unique experience – an event that stands out and splashes across unblinking eyes with brilliant colours and captivating imagery. Heads should continue to turn long after the remarkable day.

Contemporary artist Alana Rothstein, a self-professed lover of hotel rooms, is recreating moments of celebration for brides, grooms, wedding parties, and anyone else staying at OPUS Hotel with the ART+IDENTITY+TRAVEL package. Think dashes of rock and roll, sprinkles of Studio 54, zests of decadence, and flavours of seduction fused together into a freestanding art creation of memories.

Using a collection of images, taken either by the group or by her, she captures a morsel of the guests’ lives to digitally transform onto Plexiglass. After collaboration with guests to ascertain style and vision, she layers the pictures with artfully-placed, vibrant colour.

The chic keepsakes are contemporary and personal, ideal for guests or as cool gifts. Show off a provocative boudoir side, dance off single life with girlfriends, or bond with a best man over scotch.

And if it’s not your wedding, celebrate you and life with an original piece of Plexi-art by Alana Rothstein. We’re so excited at OPUS to be working with her on this unique project.

Q&A with Alana Rothstein:

OPUS: Where did you find inspiration for ART+IDENTITY+TRAVEL?

ALANA: ART+IDENTITY+TRAVEL is the result of traveling and taking pictures that never saw the light of day. My work is usually large format, colourful, high-concept art combining multiple images and transforming them digitally onto Plexiglass. I came up with the idea of PLEXI-ART, a mini version or travel size, for the person that loves hotels. It is a souvenir, if you will, that is personal and attractive enough to keep on display in your home or office – not your average snow globe. I immediately knew that OPUS Vancouver was the perfect hotel for the project.

OPUS: What do you love about the project?

ALANA: It brings me in contact with people from all over the world.  In interviews with the guests, I get to experience their time in Vancouver through their eyes.  Their personal photos give me a glimpse into their world through their lens, and, in turn, it opens my eyes wider.

OPUS: What has been your favourite moment?

ALANA: One of the best projects was a bride-to-be from Vancouver and her bridal party of eight that came in from all over the world. Each one decided to dress as a favourite icon and we created a Vanity Fair-style cocktail party for the shoot in the DEDE suite. It was a night to remember…  And yes, there was champagne.

Find more info on the package here!

~ Sandra O’Connell, OPUS Insider