Category Archives: the great escape

The Great Escape – Montreal, Canada Edition


Welcome to Montreal in Quebec, Canada – the “City of Saints”

Montreal is a city of contradictions, really, if you ask me AND it’s precisely why I really really like it. You know because it keeps you on your toes!! Known as the “City of Saints” because of its once close ties to the Catholic Church, Montreal went through a “Quiet Revolution” in the 1960’s that brought about secularism and liberalism. Montreal loosened its ties to religion and “The City of a Hundred Steeples” slowly saw many church doors close and religious service attendance go from 90% to as low as 10%. This is just one example of how this city is proud of its past but changed its course in history.


Filled with European charm and blend of North American energy, Montreal easily is one of Lola’s faves! Named a UNESCO City of Design, Montreal is just one of 3 in the world, the other two are Berlin & Buenos Aires. Also known for its love of festivals, pretty architecture and amazing food scene, I particularly liked that Montreal is SO French. I finally made my way up to Montreal in February, during the height of winter and just in time to celebrate all things FUN this great city offers in the freezing cold. I cannot believe it took me this long to discover such a fabulous city so near to me (only a 5 hour drive from Boston) and I’m thrilled I made it a ‘Great Escape’.



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Open just a year now, Mile-Ex Restaurant was casual resto I tried out for lunch. Loved that it had a small, simple menu and a few specials. As a person that can be overwhelmed by a lot of choices, I think less is often more. Do a few things and do them well. In the up-and-coming neighborhood of Mile-End known for its cultural diversity & all things cool, you can definitely tell this is where the young hipsters hang. I had the MOTHERF*****BURGER for $9 accompanied with a Belgian beer. Delish!



L’Assommoir is quite a treat for the cocktail lover and foodie alike. Located on a charming street in Old Montreal, I particularly enjoyed this spot on a blustery winter evening. As you enter L’Assommoir you are surrounded by mahogany wood tones and warm lighting with a very hip vibe. Offering over 300 varieties of mixed drinks, there isn’t anything they cannot create to satisfy a cocktail snob. Known for their ceviche, the grilled meats selections were quite tasty too. L’Assommoir also has DJs on the weekends. Tres Bon!

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Bouillon Bilk

On the fray of the recently revamped neighborhood, Quartier des Spectacles, you can find the fun and trendy Bouillon Bilk. You may hear people warn not to be scared by its location or let the minimalist, rustic decor steer you away. Locals say it’s one of the best meals you can have in the city. That’s something when Montreal really has a great food scene. The service is impeccable and the food is delicious and inventive. With a good selection of wine and beer, Bouillon Bilk is an unexpected surprise that Montrealers say is TOP NOTCH and a super value to boot.


Sarah B.


During my visit to Montreal, I was actually celebrating my birthday and there wasn’t a more delightful place toast a new year to moi than Sarah B. Absinthe Bar located in the InterContinental Montreal. Let’s just start with the bar’s tagline… “Pure sexytude. Where the Green Fairy may be met in a suave atmosphere”. OUI, I like it. My evening consisted of a private room & private absinthe tasting. Very VIP and parfait for Lola’s birthday. Sarah B. is named for Sarah Bernhardt, an infamous French actress known for her impulsive and eccentric nature that makes her an interesting enigma today. Sarah Bernhardt visited Montreal several times to perform and is closely tied to the historic Nordheimer building, adjacent to where the bar is housed.

Casa del Popolo

Casa del Popolo

Casa del Popolo, also located in the trendy Mile-End district, is a funky hipster bar with relaxed decor. I really liked the tin ceilings you can see pictured here. Mile-End is also considered a ‘hot bed’ for the Montreal indie music scene. You can find many DJs and bands performing here at Casa del Popolo. FYI, it’s a cash only bar.

Big in Japan

Big in Japan

The “popular with locals” Japanese brasserie, Big in Japan, is located on the busy Boulevard Saint-Laurent. More like a speakeasy, once you enter Big in Japan, you will forget about the world outside. Known for its great cocktails, sake, of course, is on the menu too. Part of the hip decor are the liquor bottles affixed to the ceiling creating a cool design effect. One thing to note, it can be somewhat difficult to locate Big in Japan. It’s the red door next to Patati Patata.


InterContinental Montreal


Located in the Quartier International between Old Montreal and downtown, InterContinental Montreal is a luxury hotel that invites its guests to a world of elegance and comfort. InterContinental Montreal’s 357 rooms are stylishly contemporary with touches of warmth, perfect for my wintertime stay. You can find on site their French brasserie restaurant, Osco! as well as the unique and alluring, Sarah B. Absinthe Bar. Of course, when you are a 4-Diamond property you can also expect to find amenities like a fitness center, spa & salon as well as 24 hour Front Desk service. Most of all, I truly appreciated the hospitality and attentiveness of the staff. One of a kind!

Hotel Le St. James

hotel le st james

Hotel Le St. James, known as ‘THE PLACE’ for the jetset crowd as well as the famous, is housed inside a historical landmark building dating back to 1870. With 60 individually styled rooms and suites and located in the heart of romantic Old Montreal, St. James has everything you can expect in a top property like uber-luxurious furnishings and sleek sexy style. St. James has a state of the art gym and wonderful spa known for its personalized service as well as top-rated restaurant, XO, which offers modern and innovative cuisine. Hotel Le St. James is a multi-award winner being named on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List and given CAA/AAA Four Diamonds both in 2011 AND it’s received a Forbes 4-Star Hotel award every year since 2003.

Hotel Chez Swann

hotel chez swann

Centrally located in Montreal’s downtown area, Hotel Chez Swann is a funky 23 room boutique hotel that’s truly an experience. Taking inspiration from the spontaneity of the stage, Chez Swann is more art driven than design driven. Each room at Chez Swann is uniquely decorated with eclectic colors & materials taking guests to a scene of grand allusions. Very Lola if you ask moi! I love the fact that it feels like an art exhibit that’s ever-changing. No room for boredom here. Oh, and another detail to note, continental breakfast is included with your stay.



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The Scandinavian spa Bota Bota can be found docked at the Old Port in Montreal. Once a ferry boat, Bota Bota transformed this space into an uber chic spa with minimalist decor. The idea behind Bota Bota is to capitalize on the relaxing and invigorating virtues of water by alternating between hot and cold in the water circuit. Even on an icy cold day, one will warm up and get some of the most sublime views of the St. Lawrence River and city. I had an absolutely fabulous honey & sugar body scrub treatment while visiting. I also enjoyed a glass of traditional ice wine. C’mon, why not?!

Ice Skate

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To get to know Montreal in the wintertime, one HAS TO partake in some of her outdoor activities. Down in the Old Port you can find ice fishing and ice skating. In other parts of the city you can go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I was truly impressed with this winter wonderland of fun and that locals and tourists alike were out and about enjoying it.


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Each winter throngs of electronic music lovers dance under the stars at the Quays located in the Old Port of Montreal at Igloofest. I wasn’t scheduled to stay for this part of the weekend but a massive snow storm on the East Coast kept me in Montreal a day longer. BOY am I not sorry!! What a ball I had drinking and dancing in all my winter gear with the locals. (I told you Montrealers like to have fun regardless of the temps) Igloofest features some of the best local and international DJs and is surely one of the hottest things to do on a winter evening in Montreal. Running 4 winter weekends, I was thrilled to shake my boa & even get the event’s publicist, Francois, #lolafied!

A note of thanks to InterContinental Montreal for giving me an excellent press rate at their lovely downtown hotel. I cannot imagine a better place to spend my birthday!

And merci to Tourism Montreal for outlining such a tres fantastique itinerary! You helped me fall in love with Montreal even in the wintertime, which is really saying something as a warm-weather gal! Looking forward to my return to your fabulous city. As I wrote before, you very well could be my home away from home, Montreal. You are most definitely ‘Lola Approved’!!

PS – some of these fun photos are a la my friend, Anita from Travel Destination Bucket List, who helped to put this FAB trip together.


Filed under canada, hipster hotels, montreal, swanky luxe stays, the great escape, travel

The Great Escape – Copenhagen, Denmark Edition


Welcome to Copenhagen, Denmark – capital of the happiest country in the world

Well, apparently not anymore but it was the reason I wanted to go. Who wouldn’t want to know the happiest country on earth?!  

There are many words that are synonymous with Copenhagen these days. Architecture. Design. Foodie. Cool. What I find fascinating about Copenhagen is that it’s on SO MANY people’s TO-DO lists but so few have been YET. I managed to tack it onto a trip to Europe by adding a few extra days to explore and I’m so glad I made it a ‘Great Escape’.


Copenhagen is a compact city that is super easy to navigate. In fact, more than 50% of Copenhageners commute by bike. Awesome – right?! It’s got everything you want in a big city – culture, shopping, gastronomy – yet you’ll never feel overwhelmed here. The vibe that is Copenhagen is laid-back, open-minded, cutting-edge & cosmopolitan. Definitely all the makings of a VERY Lola Approved destination.




Unless you are a complete foodie or really “in the know”, you may not realize the TOP RESTAURANT in the world for 3 years running is in Copenhagen. Well, I didn’t know that’s for sure. noma, a 2 Michelin starred restaurant, was at the forefront of the Danish food movement known as ‘New Nordic Kitchen”. What is that? It’s the reinvention of Nordic cuisine taking fresh, local ingredients and mixing that with gastronomic diversity instead of looking abroad for influences. AND clearly it’s been a WINNER. Pssst though…the head chef of noma is starting a new venture in mid-summer.

Manfreds & Vin

manfreds & vin

Manfreds & Vin is a hotspot amongst the hipster locals serving everyday rustic food with quality ingredients. The force behind the restaurant is none other than the team from Relæ, another famous 1 Michelin star Copenhagen restaurant started by two alumni of noma fame. Both Manfreds & Vin and Relæ are located on Jaegersborgadd, an up-and-coming address.

I particularly enjoyed the tasting menu for dinner with wine pairings. Manfreds & Vin is Copenhagen’s first natural wine bar. How cool! Serving small plates of in-season organic roots & vegetables as well as organically raised meats like lamb and pig. The herbs and sauces couldn’t have complimented the courses any better. AND it was a hopping little spot. Definitely a see and be seen affair.

royal celebration


Copenhagen has been experiencing a gourmet burger movement over the past few years and offers several different options for places to get your next BEST burger. Halifax is one of the top places frequented by locals, offering a big selection of exotic burgers inspired by different parts of the world. Sounds delicious!


Wine Bar

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Lola was lucky enough to have a local Copenhagener to show me some of the top spots for drinks. Bibendum is one of Copenhagen’s best wine bars located in a cosy, rustic cellar on trendy Nansensgade. We enjoyed a delicious Italian red amongst locals but with over 30 selections of wines almost any wino would be happy!

Champagne Bar

copenhagen cocktails

Balthazar, located at Hotel d’Angleterre – which will reopen in May 2013, is Denmark’s first champagne bar. Offering a selection of more than 200 champagnes, Balthazar is the place to start a party. Plus, you can enjoy tapas, caviar service and live DJ’s on weekends.

Hand-crafted Cocktail Bars

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Now for my favorite of drink finds, Salon 39 and 1105. Lola has a love for the hand-crafted cocktail and these two places did not let me down. Salon 39 had a FAB cocktail menu. I tried the Cowboy Negroni because I’m currently having a love affair with the Negroni cocktail. It was the VERY BEST Negroni I’ve had to date. BUT this wasn’t the cocktail winner. Corporate Stooge gets the prize here. Made with Fighting Cock, D.O.M. Benedictine, Maple Syrup, Orange Curacao & Celery Bitters, it was tasty but its presentation is really the bomb! Corporate Stooge is served in a hip flask hidden inside a book – how fun is that??!

My final cocktail in cool Copenhagen was partaken at 1105. The mixmaster behind the bar whipped up something special called ‘Unfaithful’ – a classic cocktail with licorice, which is quite popular in Denmark. Listed on Condé Nast Traveler’s exclusive list of the trendiest, international bars, 1105 is a stylish spot that makes you feel instantly welcome. The name of the game here is classic drinks skillfully crafted with top-quality ingredients.



ibsens hotel

Ibsens is where fresh, funky and functional intersect. This 3-star, 118 room hotel had so much to offer in terms of comfort and culture for Copenhagen. Located on Nansensgade, which is known with Danes to be the very essence of ‘Nordic Cool’ – the hipsters hang out here. There aren’t any well-known brands or chain stores only charming cafes, original designers, art galleries and second-hand book shops. What’s truly amazing about Ibsens is that they’ve brought this spirit inside their property. Everything from room key chains, pillows & tables, even books & records are brought in by local designers! Ibsens is so completely HIP – they are the first hotel to accept artmoney as a form of payment. (more about this below) Other awesome features of Ibsens is their breakfast bar with healthy organic sandwiches and breakfast in a glass concept as well as their daily wine hour. Whether you are a solo traveler or with others, this is such a fantastic way to socialize with the staff and other guests. Bottom line, if you are looking for the essence of what is Copenhagen, Ibsens is the place for you.

Hotel Kong Arthur


Situated between the inner lakes of Copenhagen and nearby buzzing downtown, the 4-star luxury Hotel Kong Arthur offers you a cozy, informal atmosphere to relax and rest your head. The 155 room property feels much more like a little village within the city. As soon as you step inside the oasis of Kong Arthur you will be treated with warm hospitality and a homey feeling will welcome you. A completely forward thinking hotel, Kong Arthur is a part of the world’s first CO2 neutral hotel chain. Other property features are Copenhagen’s biggest spa, Ni’mat, as well as 3 restaurant offerings and high-quality conference facilities. For the business or leisure traveler alike, Hotel Kong Arthur will cover all your needs.



Hotel d’Angleterre, the oldest hotel in Denmark built in 1755, is wrapping up the most ambitious restoration in Danish hotel history. Scheduled to reopen its doors May 2013, this Leading Hotels of the World property has a long-standing history as the ultimate in luxury properties. When d’Angleterre reopens it will house 90 rooms with the latest & greatest of everything. Refurbished function rooms and a brand new spa/fitness center will keep its history going strong as a place to welcome the worlds’ dignitaries, heads of state and celebrities.


Canal Tour

canal tour

Even on an icy cold January day the Canal Tours Copenhagen was one of the best ways to see Copenhagen. I always say if a city is surrounded by water, you have to get out on it to see the city from another prospective. So much of Copenhagen’s history is steeped in maritime stories of trade and defense from this vantage point. The tour takes you through old & new Copenhagen, traveling by way of narrow idyllic canals and visiting some of the most important buildings in the capital city.

Design Museum

designmuseum denmark

To get a real sense of Denmark, a visit to the Designmuseum Denmark might be in order. Danish design has been hailed from all over the world for its timeless simplicity, quality & functionality. Designmuseum Denmark is the perfect place to gain an understanding into how design and society influence one another bringing together the themes of Danish furniture, design and architecture.



StrØget is Copenhagen’s largest shopping area and incidentally Europe’s longest pedestrian street. Running through the heart of central Copenhagen, StrØget is the premier shopping street with something for everyone. As you branch off StrØget, you can find other Danish fashion all over the city. Located in the GrØnnegade Quarter are many independent designers so if you’re looking for the next hot thing to come out of Scandinavia this is the place for you. In the Latin Quarter are cheaper hipster stores – both new and second-hand.


Torvehallerne food market is situated at Israels Plads, the location of Copenhagen’s market place since 1889. With over 80 shops, you can find local vegetables, Danish delicacies, fresh fish, the list goes on. Not only is it a delight for your stomach but your eyes too. Don’t miss out on stopping by this gorgeous place for a meal or a quick treat.

A note of thanks to Brochner Hotels for giving me an excellent press rate at their lovely Ibsens Hotel. I’d gladly stay there full boat!

And to VisitCopenhagen for steering me in the right direction on everything and for the Copenhagen Card, which allowed me free access to transport, the Canal Tours Copenhagen, museums and many other discounts.

My visit to Copenhagen made me very happy. So cheers to you, happy little country! If I didn’t ‘Lola Approve’ it I’d say otherwise. The views here are mine, TAK!

artmoney is an original, handmade, unique work of art by registered artmoney artists. The value of artmoney is 200 DK and can be used to purchase goods or services in artmoney shops all over the world. To learn more or to purchase artmoney pictures go to



Filed under copenhagen, denmark, the great escape, travel

The Great Escape – Verbier, Switzerland Edition


Welcome to Verbier St-Bernard – One of Europe’s Premier Ski Resorts

Verbier St-Bernard is a winning combination for a winter ‘Great Escape’ being known for its extensive and reliable skiing as well as a town to match with lively nightlife and wonderful restaurants.  Verbier is part of the extensive 4 Vallees network of ski resorts and offers an abundance of activities for both the sport’s enthusiast or spa goer. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest playgrounds in the Alps.


Although Verbier is becoming better known all the time, it still remains as it’s always been, an understated, charming alpine village that’s designed for the passionate. Verbier has over 250 miles of ski runs which makes the “4 Vallees” the largest ski area in Switzerland. Just 1.75 hours from Geneva and 3 hours from Zurich, Verbier can be easily accessed by the amazing and efficient Swiss rail system. Obviously, the wintertime may be the best time to visit Verbier St-Bernard, but there’s something for everyone in all four seasons with its mountain biking, golfing, horseback riding and even cultural events like the Verbier Festival where international classical music greats come together for a 17 day long festival.


La Vache


La Vache (meaning COW) is new on the Verbier scene and offers a great menu with local favorites, pizzas & a to-die-for burger all at very un-Swiss mountain resort prices. In a partnership with Farinet, Lawrence Dallaglio (famous English rugby player), James Blunt (of musical fame) and Carl Fogarty (world superbike champion), the group has completely renovated a restaurant in the heart of the ski runs.  La Vache is decorated with fur skins, old wood and antiques and may be the best spot to hang out and enjoy an exceptional panoramic view.

Le Caveau

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If you’re looking for good traditional Swiss food at an affordable price, Le Caveau is your spot. The cheese fondue and raclette are their specialties and, I say, when in Switzerland do as the Swiss do! It is a good idea to make a reservation because of its pricing, central location and popularity.

La Cordée Restaurant


Another newcomer to Verbier, La Cordée des Alpes’ intimate restaurant has a menu of seasonal local and fresh food. La Cordée’s stylish bar offers delicious hand crafted cocktails in a welcoming, chic space for apres-ski or pre-dinner drinks. This is definitely a see and be seen destination. Lola loved the detailed woodwork and gorgeous louvered shutters!



1936 Bar

As much as skiing is a part of your winter holiday in Verbier, so is the apres-ski scene. It all starts as you make your way down the mountain. One stop along the way should be Bar 1936, located on the run from ‘les Ruinettes’ to Verbier. Mingle with ski instructors & fellow skiers over a hot wine or cold brew.

le rouge

Next stop at the foot of the ‘le Rouge’ run is Le Rouge Restaurant & Club. With its ski in, ski out links, Le Rouge’s environment is casual cool without any of the stuffiness. Whether you go for lunch, dinner or apres-ski drinks, it is a “must do” destination for visitors and residents of Verbier alike.

Bar Hopping

farinet lounge02

After a day on the slopes and an afternoon of apres-ski, the crowd moves on next to the Farinet Lounge Bar. Farinet has a fantastic selection of cocktails, wines & champagnes. People  typically party here with the DJ’s from 10pm to 1am.


For the late night crowd there’s The Casbah, opening up at 11pm. There is something for everyone at the Casbah with its “Rockbah” playing pop-rock music or just getting down on the Club Dance Floor. DJ’s perform there every Saturday night from 1am until 4am.


Le Chalet de Flore

chalet de flore

Le Chalet de Flore is a brand new beautiful, 20 room boutique hotel right in the heart of Verbier village that offers a central, quiet location with a view of the Alpine panorama. Chalet de Flore is a charming luxury 4-star hotel that is only a few minutes walk to the Medran lifts as well as the best restaurants & boutiques. As sister property to Chalet d’Adrien, Chalet de Flore is linked daily by a shuttle bus allowing guests to have full access to the spa and gym at the Chalet d’Adrien. Guests also have priority at the restaurants and benefit from all services at the Relais & Châteaux member establishment. Lola’s favorite thing at Chalet de Flore was the cozy Le Bar.

La Cordée des Alpes


Opened just this past December, Hotel Cordée des Alpes is 4-star property and member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World with 34 guest rooms and suites. You’ll feel right at home at this cozy, welcoming boutique property, decorated in sleek Swiss chic and a mix of old-school ski design elements. With an indoor pool, fitness room and lovely spa also on property, you may find it hard to leave  the sanctuary of Cordée des Alpes. To top it all off, their motto is service that reflects a passion for excellence. Tres bon!

Le Chalet d’Adrien

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Le Chalet d’Adrien, known as one of Verbier’s finest hotels, is a 5-star property and a member of the ooo lala Relais & Chateaux family. Chalet d’Adrien’s a charming luxury hotel, offering 20 rooms & 9 suites with an unrestricted view of Verbier and is located at the foot of the ski slopes. If you need to let off a little steam or recuperate from a day of skiing, Chalet d’Adrien has a spa, fitness center and indoor pool on property. The Michelin starred restaurant, Le Table d’Adrien, can also be found here.




If you are visiting Verbier in the winter, chances are you’ve come to ski. With over 250 miles of ski runs in the “4 Vallees”, one could ski for days and not repeat too much. It’s also a perfect opportunity to take some lessons and work on some new ski skills. Warren Smith Ski Academy, led by Warren himself who is one of Britain’s leading professional freeskiers and an Internationally Certified Performance Coach and Ski Instructor, is the BEST place to go. The Ski Academy works with all levels of skiers offering private or group private lessons as well as 5 day long courses. I can vouch for the patience and persistence of my group private lesson and how my confidence was strengthened in just a few short hours on the slopes. It doesn’t hurt that the instructors are some of the friendliest and most fun out there!

Spa Day

cordee spa

If you need a break from the slopes or some rejuvenation, you’ll find many different options here in Verbier at a variety of spas to choose from. As previously mentioned, both Le Chalet d’Adrien and Hotel Cordée des Alpes have lovely spas on the premises and offer an array of treatments to pamper yourself. Another option is Chilali, a professional mobile massage service that offers treatments in the comfort of your hotel or private chalet. Quite handy if you don’t feel like going anywhere!



Even though Verbier is mostly understated glamour there is definitely good shopping to be had here. Obviously, the number one thing found here is a plethora of ski gear and equipment stores! While the branded stores like The North Face & Patagonia are represented here, for the best variety head over to Xtreme Sports Ski Boutique where you’ll find a large selection of skiing/snowboarding equipment and the best bargains. If you are looking for something of a local nature you can find Swiss items and handicrafts typical of the Valais region at Bagn’Art.

A note of thanks to Verbier St-Bernard for arranging the #GirlsSwissAdventure visits to the La Cordee, La Vache & Le Caveau restaurants, ski equipment rentals from Philippe Roux, ski passes and lessons with Warren Smith Ski Academy. AND, finally, the lovely sleep at Le Chalet de Flore.

And to Switzerland Tourism for the first class SWISS train pass. It’s the *BEST* way to travel in Switzerland!

My visit to Verbier was beyond my expectations of FABULOUS and if I didn’t ‘Lola Approve’ it I’d say otherwise. The views here are mine, merci beaucoup!



Filed under swanky luxe stays, switzerland, the great escape, travel, verbier

The Great Escape – Newport, RI Edition


Welcome to “America’s First Resort” Newport, RI

The sailing capital of the world, Newport has a vast history, much of which has to do with it being a “City by the Sea”. Known for its Naval Academy as well as being home to bootleggers in the Triangle Trade, Newport was also a place for practicing religious freedom. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, Newport became the summer playground to the elite.

newport harbor

Today Newport remains a beautiful location to visit for all kinds of interests. Only a 1.5 hour drive from Boston’s Logan Airport, it’s an ideal place for a ‘Great Escape’. Whether you choose to visit during peak Fall foliage, the Winter holiday season when the city is decked out with lights or in the height of the beach and sailing season, late Spring & Summertime, Newport is always a perfect coastal destination.


Franklin Spa

An old standby known as ‘The Best Greasy Spoon in Newport’, Franklin Spa is a great spot for a diner breakfast. You may have to wait a bit and it’s cash only but it is worth any possible hassle.

Salvation Cafe

salvation cafe

Fresh, funky & fabulous, Salvation Cafe is a local favorite with its eclectic cuisine and just reopened in late 2012 after renovations. I can attest that the locals must be glad this institution is back. Located in the revitalized area of Newport – Broadway, which – BONUS is a little off the touristy path!

TSK – Thames Street Kitchen

A buzz word in Newport, TSK is a quaint spot a bit removed from the “tourist scene” of Thames. The concept is true farm to table with TSK’s menu changing weekly. Another bonus is it’s BYOB making the experience more affordable. PS – the staff are incredible.



castle hill by lola

Sunset Cocktails

A long time favorite of visitors and locals alike is the stunning Castle Hill off Ocean Drive. Not only is the view amazing but they mix some delicious drinks. I tried the ‘Oyster Martini’ a house specialty made with tomato-basil puree & organic Crop tomato vodka. BEST cocktail of my weekend in Newport!

Bar Hopping

Over on the local happening scene of Broadway can be found many fun spots to “bar hop” such as The Fifth Element with its industrial atmosphere and great nightlife. Across the street is Malt on Broadway with a nice selection of Scotch and Bourbon and next door is Norey’s Bar and Grille, a lively bistro with a strong following.

sunset sail

Beer, Wine & Rum Tasting

Greenvale Vineyards located just 6 miles outside of downtown Newport in Portsmouth, offers regional wine tastings from their own family’s Victorian farm dating from 1863.

Home to Newport Storm Beer and Thomas Tew Rum, Coastal Extreme Brewing Company & Distillery uses a recipe that’s over 200 years old in their rum making methods and in doing so Coastal Extreme revived a bit of history from Newport’s rum distillery heyday when it was the rum capital of the world.


Vanderbilt Grace

vanderbilt grace

Living history + legendary service = luxury reborn. That is Vanderbilt Grace‘s motto and I couldn’t agree more. Breathing new life into a Beaux-Arts style mansion formerly owned by a member of the Vanderbilt family in the Gilded Age era, Vanderbilt Grace has been transformed into a lovely 33 room boutique hotel. Just opened in mid-2012, as a guest at Vanderbilt Grace you have the best of both worlds, stepping back in time within its historically charming walls yet with all the modern-day sophistication and attention to detail you can expect from Grace Hotels. And, it’s all within minutes of Newport’s waterfront and other attractions.

The Attwater

the attwater

Since 1910, the building that now houses The Attwater has had its hand in the hospitality business. Mostly known as a bar and boarding house as well as a B & B, now the revived and most hospitable The Attwater is your home away from home. 12 perfectly furnished rooms with chic decor and pops of color, this hotel provides deluxe amenities, designer linens and is situated in the heart of Newport. Truly, The Attwater offers you a sense of place with imagination and a touch of mischief. Newport Unconventional is their tagline and I say, it’s about time for a new game in Newport. LOVE IT – Well done!

Hotel Viking

hotel viking

A classic mainstay of Newport’s landscape, Hotel Viking, also has its place in history. Hotel Viking’s doors have been open for over 80 glamourous years and has hosted many of the world’s socialites, celebrities and dignitaries in its 209 handsomely appointed rooms and suites. Situated in a prominent spot of Newport, Hotel Viking is known for its New England charm and hospitality. And, on top of it all and no pun intended, Hotel Viking offers a chill, atmospheric space with its rooftop lounge, Top of Newport.


Cliff Walk Stroll

Newport Coastline

This 3.5 mile path wraps along the Atlantic Ocean with its one-of-a-kind sneak peeks of Newport’s mansions is mixed with the beauty of the Rhode Island shoreline. It’s an enjoyable way to take in the oceanside while viewing the manicured grounds of mansion estates but keep in mind it can get treacherous at points and is currently being rebuilt in spots from the most recent hurricane damage.

Mansion Tour

The Breakers  (Patrick O'Connor)     Marble House (John Corbett)     The Elms (John Corbett)

The glorious Newport mansions have been a part of the United States history since the early  2oth century. “Summer Cottages” acting as the playground for the wealthy summering elite, it would be criminal to visit Newport and not step inside the mansions of the glory days gone by. Cared for by the Preservation Society of Newport County, the mansions have been restored and maintained to reflect the time of their owners of the past. Even in the Wintertime, where The Breakers, The Marble House & The Elms are the lone mansions opened, you will not be disappointed. These three are the triumvirate of ultimate “golden age” living. Having once lived in Newport and spent time there visiting, I can honestly say you get a taste of the elite Americana from these three estates.

Boutique & Gourmet Shops

newport shopping

With all its glitz and glamour, of course, there’s also great shopping to be had in Newport. For a start, there is gourmet row is located on Bellevue Avenue with its wine & gourmet shops. Then there’s the name brand shops and boutiques all around Newport that make it a shoppers delight.

Set Sail


And in the warmer, seafaring weather there’s the opportunity to partake in a harbor cruise or a sunset sail. There’s plenty to choose from be it 12-metre sail or upon a famous legacy yacht with America’s Cup Charters. That’s right, yet another thing Newport is famous for, we can all experience.

Thank you Newport for keeping your history alive and for allowing us to truly experience it with all our senses.

A note of thanks to Discover Newport for arranging my visits to the mansions, Salvation Cafe & Vanderbilt Grace. I always love discovering new finds worth mentioning and if I didn’t ‘Lola Approve’ them I’d say otherwise. The views here are mine, merci beaucoup!


Filed under newport, rhode island, the great escape, travel