Category Archives: toronto

My Year in Travel – 2013

This year was a great year of travel for me, hitting some brand new destinations and revisiting some of my old favorites. BUT, for me, the VERY BEST thing about this year in travel are all the wonderful people who I met or was reunited with in various locations around the world. My travels wouldn’t be anything without the people on my journey.

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January saw me in NYC and meeting friends old and new – who knew how important they’d all become in my life over the course of this year. I count my blessings for you.



In January I also skied in Verbier, Switzerland and absolutely loved my time with the legendary Warren Smith. I truly hope to see him again in 2014.


Rounding out January, I went to Copenhagen for the very first time and got to reconnect with a travel friend, Christoffer. I loved the cool capital city of Denmark.

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February saw me catching up with a dear travel buddy, Anita, in Montreal, Canada for the very first time. We had a ball doing all kinds of wintery fun things like staying in an Ice Hotel and going to Igloofest.

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March was my month for Barcelona & Costa Brava, Spain. I was thrilled to meet up with a fellow traveler, Brian, in Barcelona and was lucky enough to see him again in London in November.

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Going to Costa Brava was an incredible experience. I love that area of Spain and really cannot get enough, especially of the coast. But, the people on this trip really made it the very best. I can’t imagine a more fun press trip.

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April found me in back in NYC. I always love my NYC trips because I get to catch up with very special friends like Jeff & Craig – 2 of my favorites!!

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May saw me in my favorite, Miami. I cannot get enough of this city. While I had my usual fun of beach, pool, dinner, drinks and dancing, I particularly enjoyed working with the fantastic luxe swimwear company, Orchid Boutique, during this trip. Talk about a great collection as well as a staff of kindred spirits!

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June was an incredible month chalked full of fun things. Kicking off in Toronto for a conference with so many of my favorite fellow travelers, I actually wonder if we’ll ever be able to beat our #RWTBEX time here. I love you all so much!

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I also got to spend a bit of time with one of my most lovely traveling partners, Mrs. O, Ana. I was able to show her a bit of Americana in the amazing seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island. We had a ball doing Newport the luxe way.

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Wrapping up my June, I had an incredible visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. What a great girls weekend we had there and our host, the Bahia Hotel and Carlos, made my trip 100% amazing. Cannot wait to return.

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July found me back in Euroland – one of Lola’s favorites. Although, this was a “repeat” journey of sorts, I did manage to do a few new things. One of which was going to the Henley Royal Regatta.


Post-UK was a return visit to Prague and Budapest. Two of my favorites that I’ve never visited in the summertime. Absolutely stunning! So was hanging out with friends made on a previous trip. Always nice to share a beer with good people.

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August took me back to Montreal once again and NYC. This trip was extra special because of the time well spent with lifelong friends and a last visit with a friend that would soon depart. Anita, Montreal will always make me think of you fondly. I love you and that city so much.



September took me to two cities I wanted to know better. First was Seattle with my newly found soul mate, Erin. There is nowhere I wouldn’t go with this girl. And we both wanted to celebrate happy moments, like our dear friends, Captain & Clark’s wedding!

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Toward the end of September, Erin and I were reunited again in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. I like to think of it as the city of sisterly love! We had a blast discovering different neighborhoods of Philly & laughing with each other all the while.

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October I was lucky enough to be reunited with 2 of my favorite traveling partners again, Ana & Mary Anne along with Mary Anne’s BFF Maxine, for a GLAM LA girls weekend.

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November was a busy fun month with a visit back to the UK for a conference and reconnecting with so many fun friends from around the world. I’m so glad our paths cross from time to time.

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Followed up by a quick jaunt to France and Amsterdam for more girlfriend fun. I wouldn’t choose to travel any other way. Traveling with Ashley, Ana & Mary Anne was the very best.

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And I managed to squeeze in a last minute trip back to NYC with my girlfriends and once again be reunited with some of my favorite people.

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In December I finished off my year of travel back in Miami to celebrate Erin’s birthday. I cannot think of a better place to end my year. It is my happy spot and it was made so much better being there, laughing and enjoying life, with two of my travel besties, Erin & Esther.

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Maybe you see some common themes in my travels. Repeat places, repeat friends, repeated silliness and smiles. Traveling is my lifeline and a huge part of my heart as are all the people I meet along the way. My world is better for all of you. Here’s to many more reunions on the road and good times ahead in 2014! Happy travels…

XO – Lola


Filed under amsterdam, barcelona, budapest, cabo san lucas, copenhagen, costa brava, henley-on-thames, london, los angeles, miami, montreal, new york, newport, philadelphia, prague, seattle, toronto, travel, verbier

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

Four Seasons Toronto – The Brand’s Fabulous Flagship Hotel

Did you know that the FANTABULOUS hotel brand Four Season Hotels and Resorts is headquartered in Toronto, Canada? Yes, this über guest-focused luxury travel brand was born over 50 years ago in Canada! Four Seasons says it’s “redefined luxury for the modern traveler”. I couldn’t agree more. More like spoiled us that we now have similar expectations for other luxury brands. Four Seasons, you raised the bar high and I like it.

It’s true, I’m a BIG fan of the brand and have been so fortunate to travel over the last few years and get to experience many of the Four Seasons properties. I’m frankly in love. It is so amazing, the dedication the staff has to Four Seasons and, more importantly, to you as their guest. So, you can imagine how excited I was to go to Toronto and stay at the flagship property that just opened almost a year ago! The expectations were high and BOY were they met.


Please allow me to take you on a guided tour of this fantastic property. Starting when you pull up and the sharply dressed Four Seasons Toronto doormen collect you, your belongings, and then open the hotel door, you know you are stepping into something special. 55 floors and 259 rooms of sleek sexiness! Modern design and clean lines make it feel very zen. The professional front desk and friendly concierge that have been expecting you make you feel right at home. Personally, I loved the geometric repetition of the linking squares. Like we are all connected.


Check out the absolutely lovely bedrooms with city views of the posh Yorkville neighborhood. It’s Four Seasons so you know it has all of the best amenities, like 24 hour service, a spa & salon, an indoor pool – which makes it enjoyable in any season, even a yoga studio! Four Seasons Toronto is located in the heart of Yorkville which means there are swanky shops, chic restaurants & bars and art galleries all around.


But you needn’t even leave the property to find chic, edgy, cool spots to drink and dine. Here, at Four Seasons Toronto is the fresh, funky and French Cafe Boulud which offers a contemporary twist on French fare. Under the guidance of Michelin-starred great, Daniel Boulud, you can expect it to be nothing short of MAGNIFIQUE!!


AND, a place where I logged some chill time, dbar! I loved their Neo-Negroni cocktail, because, as you know, I’m a Negroni aficionado. They describe this cocktail as confident, bold, brave & daring. Hmmm…sounds like something else I know. 😉 I was also introduced the Four Seasons super cool cocktail concept the #100MileCocktail while visiting Four Seasons Toronto. This is a locally sourced drink having all ingredients found within 100 miles or less of each Four Seasons property. Toronto’s #100MileCocktail is The Annex and it’s their playful twist on the Negroni. OK, I confess…I liked it too!

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Great design, delicious food and tasty cocktails aside, my favorite thing about Four Seasons Toronto was the warm welcome given by the staff – smiles, notes, personalized amenities and the very important boa-fetching errand. Can you believe they actually went out and secured me feather boas?! Who couldn’t love a property that is THAT interested in making you happy. I also, as always, LOVED the gorgeous floral arrangements all around Four Season Toronto. I have a true appreciation for flowers and especially when they are #lolapink like the ones seen below. STUNNING!

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Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts must have immense pride in its flagship hotel. With more than 90 properties around the globe, Four Seasons Toronto has big shoes to fill but I think it wears those shoes like a super model in a pair of luxury designer heels!  The property echos the brand’s “promise of a quality of life”. BRAVO!!

PS – Four Seasons Toronto was awarded the prestigious Five AAA Diamond award. Only .3 percent of the 59,000 AAA approved hotels and restaurants receive this travel authority’s highest rating.

Four Seasons Toronto graciously gave me a media rate during my stay. I was also treated to an unbelievable brunch at Cafe Boulud and this is something NOT TO BE MISSED! It’s true, as admitted above, I love the Four Seasons brand but if I didn’t ‘Lola Approve’ it, I would say otherwise.


Filed under swanky luxe stays, toronto, travel

it takes a village…

all living together in a Victorian townhouse in Toronto

this past weekend many travel bloggers gathered up in the grand city of Toronto, Ontario, for the travel conference known as TBEX. this is was my third time to attend TBEX and while every time the conference gets better and better, this is not why this past weekend will go down in history as one of my favorites.

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let’s just start with what do you do when 1,200 people come to town? where do they all sleep? thank goodness Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America! so it seemed there was room for everyone attending TBEX plus those who were merely in Toronto for business or pleasure. i had the good fortune of finding a fantastic townhouse with FlipKey for some of my blogging buddies (most i’ve met & traveled with plus one superstar i knew would fit right in) because sometimes staying together is more cost-effective. BUT let’s be honest, staying together is WAY more fun and you actually get far more quality time and in our case, time to learn from each other as well as play together.

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some might be frightened by this scenario. what if the people don’t get along? what if one person is really messy or loud? what if some don’t chip in and help out? yes, there can be a lot of what if’s in this type of situation. first of all, i think it’s important to go into a plan like this knowing that those things could happen and being ok with it. i wasn’t terribly concerned because the other advice i’d give is to know who you are including. don’t leave too many possibilities for loose cannons. all i can tell you is this group was like a utopian state of heaven. as we started to discuss arrivals and departures to the house…things like who will let us in, what do we need to bring, it became crystal clear this was a group of “i’ll do this and you pick up where i left off”. everyone was helping one another and i found this incredibly endearing. it’s one of the things that makes me love these friends even more.

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from Stay Adventurous meeting me at the house & doing the initial liquor run. (no one likes to arrive without a possible cocktail in hand) to Travel Destination Bucket List bringing her extra wine glasses to Traveling Ted driving people places & doing the replenishing booze run. then there’s The World Wanderer, Captain and Clark, GQTrippin and one of the two gorgeous Lazy Travelers who all took part in building our “confessional”. we all have a love/hate relationship with Captain for his bartending skills. then i have my lovely Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler who always looks out for me and is the best listener and friend a person could ever ask for. she’ll stay up with you and talk for hours. all the #RWTBEX peeps got a bit of her goodness. and Small Crazy, a kindred spirit to Lola with her love of PINK, props and toys. thank you for being the incredible you that you are! i know we all appreciate those who did the occasional pick up sweep of the place and especially Captain and Clark for doing the check out for us all. i’m telling you, it truly takes a village & this is one that i’d gladly be a part of again and again.

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my friends were so appreciative that we had a place to stay together but, truly, i was the lucky one to have so many people i love all together. nothing pleases me more than doing something that makes so many happy. AND selfishly, i got to spend a lot of time with those people who make ME very happy. so thank you #RWTBEX crew for agreeing to stay in our lovely townhouse on Bleecker.


our FlipKey townhouse was nestled in the heart of historic Toronto in the Cabbagetown neighborhood. Cabbagetown comprises the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America. this circa 1874 home was in a great location for all our downtown activities. i found the townhouse quite spacious with a perfect blend of original charm and modern touches a traveler would need.


Filed under canada, toronto, travel