Andaz Hotel, Ottawa
We tend to forget about our fair capital as a weekend destination, but— due, in part, to Canada’s big birthday —Ottawa is having a moment. And there are a bunch of reasons why, from the exciting food scene (recommended: Riviera, for its Med-inspired fare in a gorgeous art-deco space) to a plethora of purveyors of from-scratch products, like coffee (all of Equator’s coffee is fresh roasted, organic and fair trade) and chocolate (in 2016, Hummingbird won “the Golden Bean”— basically an Oscar in the world of confectionery). In the thick of it all is the new Andaz hotel, right beside the much-loved historic ByWard Market and within walking distance of most of the city’s highlights. It’s the boutique brand’s first hotel in Canada, but you’d never know it — there’s enough Canadiana here to inspire some serious patriotism, with not a whiff of the usual kitsch that often comes with the theme. When you step off the elevator on each of the 16 floors, you’re greeted by a wall-size needle-felt map of a province or territory, and all the art on the floor is evocative of that part of the country. The well-thought-out decor incorporates lots of natural materials (wood, stone, metal), and the copper touches throughout add warmth. Rooms are spacious yet cozy, bathrooms are stocked with treats by local über-natural beauty brand Purple Urchin and the comfort of the beds is as effective as a sleeping pill. The hotel also boasts the highest rooftop bar in the city — and, thankfully, most of it is enclosed so you can enjoy the view all year round. We can attest that the bartenders’ mixology skills and a sunset over the Parliament Buildings are an excellent pairing.
Crash Hotel, Edmonton
Take a historic building with a storied past, mix it up with innovative design and just the right amount of luxe and you’ve got Edmonton’s Crash Hotel, located right downtown. Vintage charm is everywhere, and each room has its own theme — from hi-fi (complete with phonograph and retro speakers) to fun wall art (like a giant octopus mural over the bed). But, tbh, you probably won’t spend that much time in your room, considering all the amenities on-site, like the lobby cocktail bar, the pinball arcade and the hotel’s very own liquor store.
Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Miami
How to have an indulgent Miami vacation without descending into drunken revelry: 1. Drop your bag off in your room at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach*, overlooking the buzzing (but not buzzed) pool scene and Tiffany-blue umbrellas that line the ocean beyond. 2. Head up to the new Club Level: a VIP lounge complete with concierge services that’s easily mistakable for the kitchen and living room of a well-appointed beach house. Note the champagne on ice and the range of foods to satisfy every stage of your vacation mentality, from “I just spent six weeks eating right to prepare for this trip” (try the chilled shrimp, fennel and arugula salad) to “YOLO; I’m on holiday” (get the chocolate-chip cookie). 3. Book a treatment in the Timeless Capsule, a spherical, otherworldly-feeling wellness space unveiled as part of the 1,486-square-metre spa and fitness centre’s recent $4.5-million reno. Feel your heart rate slow and the neck muscle you tweaked on the plane relax as you get a head-and-hand massage in the Zero Gravity Recliner, a device exclusive to the Ritz-Carlton that places the body in a neutral position for a sensation akin to weightlessness (12 minutes for $25; 25 minutes for $50; 40 minutes for $80). 4. Float over to the salon for a pedicure, saying “yes” to that massive glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. 5. Go to the beach. 6. Head back to a cabana on the lido deck for a poolside foot massage, and disregard the plane flying overhead trailing a “Fat Joe Playing Tonight!” sign — you’re fine right where you are. *Editors' note: The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, is closed for repairs following Hurricane Irma. It will reopen fall 2018.