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great sleeps...

Pacific Sands Beach Resort

Tofino, B.C.

Out on the rugged west coast, this is the kind of place to take for a week of relaxation. An eco-friendly property, built with reclaimed wood and using clean, sustainable geo-exchange technology for heating and cooling, you won’t have to worry about the planet while you’re here among some of the last best bits of it. Wander the spectacular old growth rain forest, walk for miles on incredible Long Beach, then retire to one of the Pacific Sands’ uber chic villas - complete with spectacular ocean views, gourmet kitchens to cook that local crab or shuck your Fanny Bay oysters, and master suites where you can see the waves crashing, and the fire crackling, from your big soaker tub.Their mission: “Creating extraordinary experiences for everyday people.” Perfectly done.



Villa Ganz

Guadalajara, Mexico

There really isn’t a photo that describes how incredibly warm the welcome is at Villa Ganz, a charming hotel in Guadalajara where I stayed this spring. This is the patio in the garden of the converted mansion, where guests gather for a glass of wine in front of the fire. It’s a Mexican Boutique Hotel with great food, elegant decor and service - as comfortable as staying with friends.

Monachyle Mhor Hotel

Callander, Perthshire, Scotland

This is a small but chic hotel set in the Trossachs between Edinburgh and Glasgow, overlooking mountains and lochs, and just up the road from the quaint churchyard where legendary Scottish rebel Rob Roy is buried. You’ll see shaggy Highland cattle grazing in the glens enroute to this hidden country hotel,  but the  14 rooms are very contemporary and urbane, and there’s a great restaurant, run by chef and owner Tom Lewis who serves the local Scottish blackface lamb on his menu, forages for mushrooms, fishes for local brown trout, and raises chickens for eggs and heirloom Tamworth pigs for his own bacon and ham. He also has Mhor Fish in nearby Callendar, a fish shop, cooking school and  “the best chippy (for fish and chips) in the UK”, which makes a stop here perfect for any locovore foodie.



Hotel Premiere Nations

Wendake, Quebec

For an authentic First Nations experience - complete with a Hudson’s Bay blanket and fat, furry beaver pelt cushion on the bed - visit the  Hotel Musée Premiere Nations in Wendake, 10 minutes from the heart of Old Quebec. This architecturally-stunning boutique hotel is modelled after a traditional Huron-Wendat longhouse and the decor is modern, minimalist but definitely Native. The authentic menu at upscale La Traite restaurant draws on the Huron traditions of hunting and gathering, with indigenous ingredients in dishes like red deer osso bucco with bog myrtle,  squab glazed in spicy birch syrup and seal rillette.

Read my full story here or in the Globe and Mail.



featured destination:

Scottsdale, AZ

The 2011 Arizona Balloon Classic goes Nov. 18-20 and it’s time to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s art and architecture at Taliesin West.

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I’m still feeling a wee bit jet lagged from my whirlwind tour of the organic and biodynamic world of fine wine and food in Germany. This is a place that’s on the cutting edge when it comes to all things environmental - whether it’s wind and solar power or other sustainable subjects, Germans can teach use a lot. From the certified  biodynamic vineyards of Angela and Peter Kuehn to the twice-weekly outdoor organic food markets in the pretty city of Mainz, it’s a great place in summer. And did I mention the more than 1,000 outdoor wine festivals every summer weekend? More on that later....