The Fairmont Vancouver Airport

At the recent World Airport 2011 in Copenhagen, airport hotels were recognized for the first time and Fairmont Vancouver Airport was awarded “Best Airport Hotel – North America”.
On a recent overnight at the hotel the reason for this award was evident, it’s a great property – a blissful oasis within the hustle of busy YVR!
This AAA/CAA Four Diamond luxury hotel features 392 sound proof rooms just minutes from the baggage carousel or airline check-in desk. Even a standard Fairmont Guest Rooms are spacious, quiet and comfortable, designed to meet the needs of both the leisure or business guest.

Health Club featuring indoor mechanized lap pool

Hotel amenities include Jetside Bar, Globe@YVR Restaurant, Absolute Spa at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport plus for those who need to stick to routine; a health club and business centre.  If you have time before, between or after your flight, drop-in access is just $15.00, for non-registered guests, to the Health Club, saunas and showers.

 

Fairmont Gold Guest Room

 

I stayed on the Fairmont Gold level, this “a hotel within a hotel” features it’s own check-in desk and team of dedicated staff who anticipate every guests needs.  The state of the art environmental controls within the rooms also anticipate your needs automatically dimming/raising lights so you can feel good about not wasting electricity. Lighting, temperature, entertainment and even the blinds are controlled from a unique touch-screen telephone.

Plane-Spotting with breathtaking views of Vancouver & North Shore Mountains

In the Fairmont Gold Lounge guests can enjoy complimentary evening hors d’oeurves and in the morning, continental breakfast while reading a newspaper or checking their email on the free wi-fi or just sit back and enjoy a bit of plane-spotting on the runway from the floor to ceiling windows.

 

Whether it’s pre or post flight or just for a relaxing night away, Fairmont Vancouver Airport is the perfect place to getaway!

The Fairmont Empress – April is “Royal Month”

I recently had an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of royalty as I spent the night at the historic Fairmont Empress in Victoria.
In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales danced until dawn in the Crystal Ballroom and in 1939 parents of our current Queen, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a luncheon at The Empress. In addition, countless Hollywood royalty have graced the storied corridors since the hotel opened its doors in 1908.
In recognition of this connection to the Royal Family,  The Fairmont Empress, along with sister property Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, has proclaimed April “Royal Month” leading up to the historic nuptials of future King of Canada; Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th.  Break out the hats and gloves and take part in some of the ‘Royal’ events and festivities taking place all month long. One of the highlights, I’d love to do is the Royal Empress Room Dinner, served on The Queen’s China, only ever used by Her Majesty, until this dinner!
Even though I don’t have a pedigree and paparazzi isn’t chasing me down, I was treated like royalty at The Empress.  As soon as I walked in the doors I felt welcome, this century old property is prime place to spend a relaxing break in Victoria.  Although the Inner Harbour, the hub of most Victoria activities lay just across the expansive front lawns, one can find plenty of activities to keep engaged within the walls of this castle, which was perfect on a rainy overnight stay as I experienced.

The Bengal Lounge

Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Empress provides first class spa services, stop in for curry and a cocktail at in the cool, colonial environment of the Bengal Lounge, lounge on a chaise with wine & oysters while overlooking the harbour on The Veranda and the ‘must do’ for everyone – Empress Afternoon Tea is renowned around the world.  Those are just a few of the experiences you can find in The Empress without even checking in!  Stay overnight and get the full Fairmont treatment, soak up the history

Fairmont Empress Guest Room

as you relax in your room and stroll the wide corridors, maybe even bump into one of the hotel’s supernatural guests.  There are a least a couple of ghost stories passed on by many guests, although I don’t have one…yet.   If you’re wandering, be sure to go downstairs to find the Archives to see the important roll The Empress has played in the history of Victoria.  With the great activities happening for “Royal Month” now’s the perfect time to make The Fairmont Empress part of your own personal history too!

Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

New World & Old World exist side by side

The first and largest classical Chinese garden outside of China, Vancouver’s Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens are part museum, part cultural education and part botanical garden all within a walled oasis on the edge of Chinatown.  Named for the “Father of Modern China” the Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens are an authentic representation of a traditional Chinese garden from the era of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ming scholars lived and worked within their gardens and thus created gardens to encompass all aspects of daily life.  Amongst the asymmetrical stone and plant formations are places for quiet contemplation and as one winds along the curves pathways and corridors they’re

Around every corner is a different type of space

connected to space for energy and work. From scenic vistas overlooking the gardens and ponds a sense of peace is found away from the bustle of the city.
The Classical Chinese Gardens are currently open Tues to Sun from 10am until 4:30pm, in summertime it is open 7 days per week. Admission for adults is $12, discounts for children and seniors, including a guided tour (check website for more info and tour times) The Venue is also rentable for private functions, weddings, parties and receptions. Special

Interactive & hands-on learning are all part of a visit to The Garden

events and educational experiences happen throughout the year, check the garden calendar for upcoming events.

Top Vancouver Attractions for Spring Break

As Spring is upon us and students are out on Spring Break, parents are probably seeking out family activities to occupy and entertain the little ones.

While a trip to Disneyland might be on everyone child’s wishlist there is still plenty of fun to be had locally to make everyone happy. Leave the hustle and bustle of the work week behind and see the city from a different perspective by being a tourist in your own town for a day!

Here’s a few of the more popular attractions in Vancouver:

Grouse Mountain: “The Peak of Vancouver” is a year-round playground for the whole family. This year’s heavy snowfall means it’s still ‘winter’ on the mountain, head up for

Grouse Mountain Super Skyride

snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, skating or skip all those and just head straight for the Chalet and the many restaurant and lounge options.

Capilano Suspension Bridge: Since 1889 Cap Bridge has been ‘wowing’ visitors as they cross the bridge 70m above the Capilano River. The TreeTops Adventures carry the adventure on throughout the forest and gardens.

Vancouver Aquarium: Canada’s largest aquarium houses a

Vancouver Aquarium Dolphins

vast array of flora and fauna within the heart of Stanley Park. Beluga Whales and Dolphin shows draw large crowds but perhaps the Otter habitat is the most popular destination within the aquarium.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden:  The first garden of its kind outside of China, these Vancouver Gardens are a beautiful oasis on the edge of Chinatown. Splendid colours abound as the trees and greenery start to bloom, contrasting with the dark, stark stone laid throughout the gardens.

New & Old Worlds side by side at Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens

Granville Island Public Market: The stunning arrays of colours, wafting aromas and hustle and bustle of the Public Market make every trip a sensory overload. Fresh produce, baked goods and tasty savouries, sit alongside unique merchants and artisans.

Science World at Telus World Of Science: It’s all hands on at Science World! Rotating exhibits make sure children young and old will find something new and interesting with every visit.

Stanley Park: Sitting on the edge of downtown Vancouver this 1000acre oasis is one of the world’s largest urban parks (New York’s Central Park is 843acres). With beaches, gardens, forests, attractions, sports, eateries all within the park there’s something to entertain every family member.

Colours come alive at Springtime in Stanley Park

 

Noxshi (Pronounced Knock-she)

Noxshi Mercury Lounge – March 7, 2011

Part performance art, part grunge, part psychedelic band, Noxshi are a hard to define, five piece from London. Known for their innovative and a bit off the wall live performances the band did a showcase at the famed Mercury Lounge in New York recently.
Singer Yoriyos Adamos (son of Yusef Islam aka. Cat Stevens) leads the band with a commanding stage presence.  Not to be outdone his bandmates do their damnedest to make their presence felt as they rip through the wall of sound they’re building.
If you’re in Austin at SXSW this week they are playing a showcase at The 512 on March 18th head over and check them out!

The Martha Stewart Show

After our day trip adventure to The Ellen Show in November, my friend May applied for tickets for other shows to give us an excuse to make other mini adventures.
This time is took us New York City and The Martha Stewart Show.
Although the trip itself was longer the experience at the taping was much shorter and smoother. As one would expect of Martha Stewart it was very well organized. We had confirmed tickets so had to arrive at the Chelsea Studios at 0830 for a 1000 taping. (vs the hours we had to wait for Ellen to start).  It was just a short wait outside as they checked in the guests in small numbers and took them through an airport style security check.  An efficient coat check and pick up of release forms lead us to a couple of small but comfortable waiting rooms.  Shortly after everyone was in the rooms warm up comedian Joey Kola came in and gave the rooms the few simple rules and how to’s about the taping.  We found out that Joan and Melissa Rivers would be the guests as well that there would be cooking segments, segments on allergies and contest introductions.
After the introduction, we were taken in groups into the studio, the studio itself is an amazingly detailed recreation of a New York City loft. Seating just 175 people it felt intimate even with the massive number of crew on set as well.  This was a live broadcast so everything had to be seamless and the set changed quickly in commercial breaks. It amazed us how efficiently everything happened, for each change over there was a people cleaning, prepping and primping the moment the tape stopped rolling.
Joan and Melissa were as humourous as expected and were part of the cooking segments with Martha. Joan has been on the show more than any other guest so there was a comfortable comeraderie between the two ladies. After their segments, Dr Dean Mitchell discussed allegens in the home, this segment was a highlight as it featured two sets of audience gifts. Everyone in the audience recieved a Honeywell Air Purifier and new Martha Allergy-Wise Bedding pillow and pillowcases from Macy’s. The following segment featured Lori Sandler of Divvies Bakery an allergen-friendly bakery making Blueberry Cake.  The audience all recieved a copy of the Divvies Bakey Cookbook plus chocolates.
At the end of the show Martha stayed and took about 10 minutes worth of Questions from the audience.  It was impressive how accommodating and interactive the show was for the audience. We were allowed to take photos right up to and after the cameras rolled as well there was another Ask Joan & Melissa segment during the show that took questions from the audience and the show photographer took pictures for the show’s Facebook.  
As the show wrapped and Martha finished everyone departed the studio in an orderly fashion to be met at coat check with our pillows and a gift back with the rest of the ‘goodies’ including a certificate to mail in for the air purifier (thankfully we wouldn’t have to fly home with that in our luggage).  It was quite an amusing sight to see a hundred plus people walking down 26th Street with pillows under their arms.
In the same amount of time we had to wait for The Ellen Show to allow us into the set, we had completed our Martha Stewart Show experience. We both agree that we would totally do it again.
You should try it too if you’re heading to NYC, in addition to the confirmed tickets there’s usually a few stand-by tickets available on the day of taping.
We’ll see what show we can get on to next and keep you posted on our next TV taping adventure!

Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical

Currently in previews at The Palace Theater on Broadway, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical is based on the 1994 movie of the same name.
The a rousing tale of three drag queens discovering themselves as they take a road trip across the Australian outback in the title character…a big pink bus.
While camping is a part of their journey across the country, CAMP is a big part of the show! While not in the traditional Broadway musical style, the show highlights some great choreography and vocals to some of everyone’s favourite pop songs.  Starting off with a rousing rendition of “It’s Raining Men” sung by ‘The Divas’, a threesome of ladies who sing the numbers when drag queens perform & lipsync; “Sempre Libre”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” “MacArthur Park” or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.  A number of these big production numbers are ‘drag shows’ within the show and feature over the top costumes, in fact there are 320 costumes used in this production. From a movie that won the Oscar for Best Costumes, the musical has a lot to live up to and indeed it does.
Other smaller numbers, like “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Always On My Mind” and “We Belong” help the story along, featuring the vocal talents of the very capable casts.  Leads Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams have spent the last 12 weeks in Toronto before bringing the production

Leads: Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, Nick Adams

to Broadway. This trial has given Swenson and Adams time to grow into their roles and I’m sure it helped them get used to the small costumes and very high-heels, Sheldon has played Bernadette in every production since the show debuted in Sydney in 2006 so was already ‘wearing’ the role like a dress.
Familiar music, outstanding sets and costumes along with a good story make Priscilla Queen Of The Desert a feel good, dancing in your seat, sing-along (but please don’t) rousing good time!
If you get the chance to see it when it in previews or when opens on Broadway March 20th, or even in London’s West End, you will have a smile across your face when you leave.