Category Archives: one day stay

One Day Stay: Reykjavik, Iceland


As I’ve mentioned previously, Iceland was a place I just had to visit. And although I wanted to see more of the country than just the capital city, I absolutely loved Reykjavik. What a cool city with great culture, food & nightlife. Just the things Lola loves! AND the people were so friendly and amazing. Best of all, it’s a super short flight from the east coast of the United States and with Icelandair’s awesome stop over program you can visit Iceland en route to another destination with no extra flight charge. That makes Reykjavik a perfect place for a ‘One Day Stay’ but don’t take my word for it…put it on your list and get yourself there ASAP!


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Icelandair Marina Hotel couldn’t be any cuter and more fitting for Reykjavik’s harbor area with all of its nautical touches and Icelandic fun facts. The 108 room boutique hotel has a staff that’s super friendly, funny and helpful. The inclusive breakfast is divine and the cocktails at their Slippbarinn during happy hour are a favorite for locals and guests alike. Best of all, the location is key – only a few steps away from downtown Reykjavik.


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There are so many great things to do in Reykjavik it’s hard to narrow down. Here are my three suggestions for a start. Take a harbor boat tour to try to catch the Northern Lights (this, of course, applies in the light catching season). I went with Elding Adventure at Sea. It’s a fun way to get out on the water and try to chase those mysterious lights we all hope to see. Although the Northern Lights sighting was dismal the night I went out the complimentary buttered rum and hot chocolate kinda made up for it. Two other fun things that happen to be free are to walk around Harpa Concert Hall and check out the amazing architecture and colorful windows. AND go into Hallgrimskirkja Church and take a visit to the top of the tower for some incredible views of Reykjavik.


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There’s probably many awesome places to take in a drink or two in Reykjavik but I’d say my favorite are the bars along Laugavegur like The English Pub and Lebowski Bar. I hit up the English Pub and Lebowski Bar on St. Patrick’s Day and boy did I have fun. People were wearing festive Irish top hats and spinning the booze wheel like it was going out of style. Very fun, very addictive.


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Probably my favorite meal in Iceland was at Mar Restaurant in Reykjavik. I had no idea what kind of food to expect in Iceland but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it all was. At Mer I had scallops followed by Salmon. I was also introduced to several Icelandic beers and Brennivin – the schnapps of Iceland.  Not to mention, I absolutely loved the simple nautical decor.

Honorable mentions: I had an outstanding brunch at Tiu Dropar – a must try! AND another fabulous geothermal spa experience with Fontana. Dare I say I preferred it to the Blue Lagoon?! It was completely different but much smaller and personal feeling.

While I booked my own trip to Iceland, some of my meals were complimentary thanks to Tiny Iceland. I was also given the boat Northern Lights tour and spa experience complimentary. AND I received a lovely press rate at Icelandair Marina. Having said all of that, I wouldn’t change any of what I did or experienced. Iceland & Reykjavik are so totally ‘Lola Approved’!


Filed under hipster hotels, iceland, one day stay, travel

One Day Stay: Amsterdam, Netherlands


Amsterdam is such a beautiful city and a major gateway to Europe. I was thrilled to go there for my very first time in November for a girls weekend with Ana aka Mrs. O Around the World, Ashley, one half of The Lazy Travelers, and Mary Anne aka Editor of Jetset Extra. These lovely ladies would make any city visit a treat and did we ever enjoy ourselves in Amsterdam. But seriously, who wouldn’t fall for the bicycles, pretty canals and old world charm this city offers?! While I did have some good ole fun in the Red Light District, the girls and I managed to also find some of the very best that Amsterdam has to offer. Listed here in my One Day Stay are my favorites. I loved Amsterdam so much that I definitely have it on my list to return and explore for longer.



Located on Prince’s Canal and just under 2 years old, Andaz Amsterdam is a 5-Star, 122 room boutique hotel that is fresh and funky. I particularly loved the lighting and pops of Delft blue throughout. Nearby, is the lively Jordaan district and the Nine Streets. So, you will find within walking distance art galleries, trendy boutiques and shops as well as dining and nightlife. We were treated to brunch at Andaz Amsterdam’s Bluespoon and I had the very best cheesecake of my life there. Go for that alone if you cannot stay at Andaz Amsterdam.


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One of the most charming things about Amsterdam are the gorgeous canals. No better way to experience them than with a canal tour aboard a boat. The girls and I took a private tour on Ivresse, a saloon boat built in 1913 for a doctor. Unfortunately, the pretty boat, outfitted with a teak saloon and art-deco woodcarving, was too slow and taken out of service. (The name Ivresse means “weaving like a drunk”) Private Boat Tours fully refurbished her and now up to 12 guests can enjoy cruising the narrow canals of old Amsterdam. Our captain, Yorick, was quite knowledgable and we enjoyed our hour-long tour tremendously.


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House of Bols is a unique “museum” where you will learn all about the Dutch spirit that’s the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand in production in Amsterdam since 1575. Not only is the House of Bols interesting but also so well put together. It makes learning about liquor FUN. You will discover the 38 Bols liqueurs, including Bols Genever, and, as part of your admittance price, you get to design your own cocktail at the end of the tour with the ‘cocktail selector’. I went with the Dutch ‘N Stormy since I love me a Dark ‘N Stormy – it was a delish take on one of my favorites! PS – if you are a cocktail aficionado, House of Bols has an excellent gift shop for you.


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While I enjoyed all my meals in Amsterdam, dinner at Bridges in Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam was beyond outstanding. One of Amsterdam’s top restos that’s Michelin-starred, Bridges offers seafood with an innovative twist of classical French gastronomy. We were treated to a tasting menu during our evening there. AND not just any tasting menu but 2 separate ones so that we were able to sample even more. Paired with delicious wines, I cannot imagine a more lovely evening.

While I booked my own trip to Amsterdam, the girls and I were treated to dinner at Bridges, the House of Bols experience (14.50€ value) and the canal trip with Private Boat Tours ($350 for an hour-long private cruise) All of these experiences were very ‘Lola Approved’ and highly recommended.


Filed under amsterdam, hipster hotels, netherlands, one day stay, travel

One Day Stay: Palm Springs, California


This visit to Palm Springs was my third to celebrate my birthday. I’ve enjoyed each visit for different reasons. The first two were more “resort-like” visits and further removed from the action of downtown. This time I was able to feel more a part of things and could practically walk to everything I wanted to do, which I really loved. Here’s my ‘One Day Stay’ of what I did during my brief visit to Palm Springs.



The Viceroy Palm Springs is a 67-room boutique hotel that seems to have been made for Lola. Merging the best of glamorous old-world Palm Springs with modern cool touches, I LOVED the pops of yellow and all the awesome lighting fixtures throughout the property. On site you will find 3 pools, some of which are ‘Adult Only’, free wifi and an incredibly friendly staff. Let me just say these 3 things made my visit perfect. Well that, and the fact that it was warm & sunshiny every day with gorgeous palm trees above, surrounded by the stunning San Jacinto Mountains. Within walking distance of things to do, eat & drink, I cannot imagine a better spot to rest my head.


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Some come to Palm Springs for the nature, some for the golf, and some come to get pampered at the spa. Luckily for me, Estrella Spa, on property at Viceroy Palm Springs, has been voted one of the top 50 spas in the US by Conde Nast so I didn’t have to go far to get treated right. Carrying the cheery color scheme & design of the hotel over to the spa didn’t hurt in lifting spirits. Just look at the waiting lounge above! With a cool indoor/outdoor luxury setting, I was fully able to relax and enjoy a divine custom massage which was a combination of Swedish and Deep Tissue massages. IT. WAS. HEAVEN.


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Always in search of the best cocktails around, I was fortunately pointed in the direction of Lulu California Bistro. This hopping establishment is HUGE and has quite a bar scene going down. That, in itself, might be enough for some but, for me, the true test is in the cocktail. I tried a dirty martini & a Negroni, classics and two of my favorites. Lulu didn’t disappoint Lola!


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Located in the hip Upper Design District of Palm Springs, Workshop Kitchen + Bar has brought industrial chic to the historic El Paseo building, circa 1926. Along with the urban edgy interior comes a fantastic farm to table concept sourced from local farms all within an hour of Palm Springs. Even their cocktails are handcrafted from local ingredients. I was throughly impressed with the knowledgeable staff and their guidance of Workshop’s delicious offerings. This is one place I would definitely choose to repeat.

While I booked my own trip to Palm Springs to celebrate my birthday weekend, Greater Palm Springs  coordinated and treated me to my Estrella Spa massage ($135) as well as drinks and dinner at Lulu California Bistro. Thank you for your help! Palm Springs is always ‘Lola Approved’ for its great weather and hip scene!


Filed under california, hipster hotels, one day stay, palm springs, travel

One Day Stay: Montreal, Canada


I was fortunate enough to visit Montreal in both the winter and summertime. Seeing this culturally diverse city in both extremes was amazing. Full of energy, Montreal has a thriving nightlife, unique dining experiences and more adventurous things to do – I just adore it. This ‘One Day Stay’ visit was extra fun since I traveled with girlfriends. Who couldn’t have a great weekend with your pals in such a cool city that is Montreal?!



Le St-Martin Hotel Particulier is a contemporary 123 room hotel in Downtown Montreal and is a perfect mix of modern & comfort. Some things to expect from St-Martin are complimentary wifi (dream come true), Keurig coffee maker in your room and afternoon complimentary treats delivered to your door! The friendly multilingual staff will assist you in discovering some of the best restaurants, bars & nightlife Montreal has to offer. Also, onsite is a 24 hour fitness center and heated lap pool (available year round). Bistro L’Aromate serves up a delicious breakfast but also offers a mix of Mediterranean, Californian & Asian cuisines for lunch & dinner. I particularly enjoyed cocktails out on the terrace AND the cool lighting effects that change colors.



It’s not my first inclination to do something active on my quick getaways but I’m not sure why not. I always enjoy a little adventure and exercise disguised as fun! This visit I partook in bike tour with Ca Roule Montreal through some of Montreal’s lesser known neighborhoods. It was fantastic to be able to bike primarily along the city’s bike path to discover different parts of Montreal. We had an amazing tour guide, Ruby, who shared much of Montreal’s history – old and new. Our halfway point was stopping at the Atwater Market, which I adored. It’s always a feast for the eyes and the stomach to go to the local markets in destinations.



Given that this was my summertime visit to Montreal, I just had to take part in what is a big deal in their culture – the patio/terrace season. My favorite happy hour spot was Terrasses Nelligan. Not only was the sangria FAB but the scene was jumping and its rooftop location in Old Montreal made it perfect to view the beautiful scenery all around.



Located in the trendy Mile-End neighborhood, Nouveau Palais is an old-timey feeling diner that serves delicious fare to the hipster crowd. They also feature a classic cocktail list that isn’t too shabby either. I opted for my often go-to Negroni cocktail and had their famous burger. I wasn’t disappointed by either.

I was invited by Montreal Tourism to come enjoy #MTLmoments in the summer. MERCI for arranging the wonderful itinerary, hip stay at St-Martin Hotel, yummy dinner at Nouveau Palais and the super fun bike tour with Ca Roule Montreal. Once again, Montreal proves to be very ‘Lola Approved’!


Filed under canada, hipster hotels, one day stay, travel

One Day Stay: Toronto, Ontario


Toronto is now known as North America’s 4th largest city. Flying into Toronto, I would have thought it was the largest. The skyline of buildings seems to go on FOREVER. Once really in downtown Toronto there are enclaves of different neighborhoods with different personalities, which are fun to discover. One of my favorite things about Toronto is that it is a water city, located on the Great Lake – Lake Ontario. It almost seems like the city is on the ocean! Toronto has so much to offer it might not be fair to only give it a One Day Stay but I can say you won’t be lost for options in all varieties of dining, drinking and doing even if just for one day.


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Part of the Skyline Hotels & Resorts group, Cosmopolitan Hotel Toronto is a perfect place to drop your bag! Located in the heart of Toronto, you can easily get to anything in the city while enjoying the comfort of one of their 65 luxury studio apartment style rooms complete with a kitchen. It’s like a home away from your home. The staff is also extremely friendly and helpful. Don’t miss out on the spa or the wine bar!


One of the best times I’ve EVER had was going to a drag queen show at Woody’s in “The Village” – a super friendly gay neighborhood in Toronto. Located on Church Street, I was game to try something new. I had no idea I’d be dancing to fun tunes and complimented so many times in one evening. Who doesn’t like being told repeatedly that they are gorgeous?! Just sayin’! With DJ’s nightly, Woody’s offers other kinds of entertainment but the drag queen show, for me, was just perfect.


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Let’s just say I had an overly ambitious cocktail crawl outlined for my time in Toronto. Although I did have a drink at Four Seasons and Shangri-la, my favorite place was The Hazelton ONE Bar and Patio. The place was a bit more cozy than the other two and the crowd was fun. Located on Yorkville, ONE Bar is known for hand-crafted cocktails made with infused vodkas & fresh local produce. MMMM!


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Luma, one of Oliver & Bonacini’s many famed restos in Toronto, is located inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox – which is home to the Toronto International Film Festival, and is one cool restaurant and space.  Luma’s menu features Canadian artisanal cuisine using the finest local and regional ingredients. I went with the Niagara Gold Beef Burger and it was absolutely delish. I’m a big burger fan so I’m not always that easy to please. Let’s just say it had the perfect combination of extras in bacon jam, thyme and garlic aioli, niagara gold cheese and chili pepper fries. TO. DIE. FOR. Also, I really loved Luma’s decor – so bright, airy and cheerful.


Filed under canada, one day stay, toronto, travel