hotel

A Weekend In Oakville

Hello lovelies!

I do love a good staycation, as you’ve read about in my previous city guides on Port Credit and Burlington. It’s been a little while since my last GTA staycation guide. This post is a special one, as I have I teamed up with Visit Oakville to showcase some of Oakville’s hidden gems.


Did you know that I actually lived in Oakville?


…For about seven months during the school year during my post-grad at Sheridan. Funnily enough,   I never really took the time to explore what great things this town has.

I think that late summer is such a great time to go because there are so many events going on! Oakville is a pretty chill city, and a great one for a little summer escape away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but it still has plenty of things to offer.

Venturing to far-away lands can sometimes be time-consuming and expensive – why not take a staycation? Today, we’re looking into some of the best spots to stay, eat, and visit around the Oakville and Bronte area.

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An Evening Exploring Burlington

Hiya lovelies!

It’s the summer time, and that means…weekend getaways! In my last staycation post, we looked at prime spots around Port Credit (read here). Continuing with my series of staycation spots within the GTA, we’re traveling down to Burlington. Burlington is another lakeside town sandwiched between Oakville and Hamilton. I haven’t visited since I was a kid, so I thought it would be nice to bring my parents down with me for the weekend.

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A Staycation In Port Credit, Mississauga

A Staycation in Port Credit, Mississauga

Hello hello hello! Looking for a vacation, but don’t want to travel? How about a staycation in Port Credit? Located 30 minutes outside of Toronto’s downtown core, Port Credit is a not-so-hidden gem during the warm, summer seasons. With lots of great restaurants, parks, and gorgeous walkways, it’s worth making a trip out here for a weekend this summer!

I’m sure you’ve all seen my Toronto travel guides. Toronto is great and all, but sometimes you just want to get away from the noise and bustle of the city. There are so many great little gems in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) that you might not know about, and I’ll be exploring a few of them this summer! Let’s take a look at how I spent my weekend in Port Credit…

Most of you will know by now that I love to travel and see the world, and I think going abroad is incredible. Nothing beats new cultures, new adventures and new experiences! However, so many people forget that we live in a wonderful place too…If you’re a GTA local or new to the area, it’s definitely worth taking a day or two to explore the charming cities and towns outside of Toronto.

Fun fact – I actually grew up in Port Credit! I went to middle school and high school in the Lorne Park / Clarkson area. I’ve seen the town grow and bloom throughout the years, and it’s really shaping up.


WHERE TO STAY: WATERSIDE INN

In my opinion, there’s only one place to stay when you come visit Port Credit – The Waterside Inn!

Located right in the heart of Port Credit, The Waterside Inn has you right in the middle of all the action. It is set against the harbor with the dreamiest of views, amongst all the great little restaurants and shops. It is also located minutes from Port Credit GO station on the Lakeshore West line, about a half-hour train ride from downtown Toronto’s Union Station.

 

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When I am planning a staycation, I want a nice big room with lots of space.

Staycations are all about relaxing and discovering cities and towns around you! The rooms at the Waterside Inn are very cozy. 🙂 The rooms are all suites, so you get a bedroom, living room, and kitchen area. We stayed in one of the Residential Suites, but they also have deluxe rooms and penthouse suites. Although the decor is a little bit dated, it has the charm of a boutique hotel. I think these rooms would be perfect for extended stays.

The bathroom has lots of marble, very instagrammy… [/pipdig_padded_text]

The kitchen comes with a washer and dryer, utensils, a stove, microwave, fridge, and dishwasher.

We had a huge balcony! Our room overlooked the Port Credit harbor…

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It was nice to sit outside in the evening and watch the sun set.

I felt so cozy after winding down in the evening after doing my skincare regime. Currently loving the Laneige Bright Renew line. You can read about my current skincare regime here!

I know that this venue is very popular for summer weddings and events so keep that in mind! 😉 Parking is $10/night (located behind the hotel in the Marina lot) and high-speed wifi is included on every floor.

The Waterside Inn is home to Breakwater Restaurant, a highly rated, classy little establishment if you’re looking for a more formal meal or evening drinks. They hold seasonal events, such as the popular Father’s Day brunch! Although we didn’t experience the Breakwater, I think this would be a lovely venue to dine at with family.

 

To top it all off, the customer service has been incredible. The general manager, Toni Frankfurter, was so lovely and really brought my experience at the Waterside Inn to a whole other level! Customer service really does make a difference, especially from independent boutique hotels – it feels much more special than the cookie cutter experience of big hotel chains. A huge thank you to the Waterside Inn team for looking after us so well.

Wine-ding down for the night.

Of course, we wound down in the evening with a class of JP Rosé Azeitão Syrah 2016 Bacalhoa wine*. Is it weird that I drank mine iced? It was a nice way to end the evening, looking out onto the lake.

I won’t lie, it’s a super girly drink – it is light pink and has an almost floral aroma, of roses and wildflowers! How lovely is that?

I’m terrible with describing wines, but it is described as having a fresh finish with a mineral note and a slight sweetness. It’s a medium-bodied and refreshing summer wine, and a great one to accompany a night in…complete with a face mask of course! You can find it at LCBO here.

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FOR THE BRISK MORNING WALK… JC SADDINGTON PARK.

There are a series of beautiful little parks on the lakeshore worth venturing out to. JC Saddington Park is located just off Lakeshore Blvd, a short walk from the Port Credit lighthouse.

I used to go on walks with my parents here during summer weekends when I was a kid, so it’s quite a nostalgic place for me.

JC Saddington Park is lined with little trails along the waterfront. It is a very popular choice for families to visit in the summer time, with lots of gatherings and BBQs. It can get quite busy at times, but it never feels crowded. Matt and I like going there after dinner because a circuit around the park definitely helps the food go down!

Keep in mind that during summer weekends, parking can get quite hectic during peak afternoon and evening hours. If you’re staying in Port Credit, there is parking along the main road, but there is Marina parking (behind Waterside Inn) for $10.

HONORABLE MENTION: PORT CREDIT MEMORIAL PARK…

If you don’t mind a bit of a shorter circuit, loop around Port Credit Memorial Park which lines the Port Credit river. You’ll likely see lots of rowers paddling up and down the river under the bridge. We arrived on the evening of the Dragon Boat festival so we saw a few of those speeding about! [/pipdig_padded_text]


FOR LUNCH… SNUG HARBOR

I love supporting independent, local restaurants and we certainly did that this staycation. Let me first say… dinner time peak hours at Port Credit are insane during the summer months. If you want to eat at the Snug (and not wait 2 hours for a table,) your best bet is to arrive at around lunchtime.

Snug Harbor is a cozy little restaurant located across from The Waterside Inn. Set right in the marina, Snug Harbor is a homey seafood restaurant that has one of the best views of the town! Unfortunately we arrived at about 7:45PM for dinner and there was a 1hr 45min wait. The Snug Harbor does not take reservations during the summer months due to demand, so we decided to try again some other time. I’ve eaten at the Snug before and it’s great- totally recommended if you manage to get a spot! Try to sit on the patio if you can, the warm summer breeze off the lake is lovely and you can watch all of the boats come in and out of the marina.

MUST TRY: Coconut shrimp, Rainbow Trout, Seafood Pescatore, and the classic Fish & Chips.

 


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HONORABLE MENTION…THE WORKS.

As a burger lover, I’ve got to mention to The Works! The Works is a gourmet burger place a little ways down the street from Burger’s Priest, and is more suitable if you want some place to sit down and relax. It’s pretty hip looking inside (think: exposed pipe and brick, drinks served in measuring glasses, burgers arrive in metal trays… etc.) I reviewed the Hamilton location here! The Works also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options.

I got the Juicy Lucy, which is your regular tomato/lettuce/onion burger, except the patty is filled with cheese! So gooooood. I also got a side of spicy die cut chips – a nice little change from the typical fries.

MUST TRY: The Juicy Lucy burger, the Nacho Libre burger, and the Son of a Beech burger.

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FOR DINNER… CROOKED CUE

As I mentioned earlier, dinner time gets quite busy in Port Credit on the weekends! We ventured out to the Pump House Grill (40 min wait) and then Door Fifty Five (30 min wait) before we finally got to the Crooked Cue. It has more of a bar atmosphere but it was recently renovated and looks quite sleek inside.

Half of the venue is a restaurant and the other half is billiard tables. Although it looked pretty full inside, we were immediately seated in a spacious booth. Our waitress was lovely 🙂

 

I ordered the classic Fish n Chips. You might remember me going through a fish n chip phase during postgrad earlier this year where I literally ate it every other meal… LOL. Anyway this was much better (obv).

My fish n chips came on a huge bed of fries but the plate was quite small so it was a bit hard to…navigate? Either way, the fish and coleslaw tasted great and I left the restaurant feeling quite full and content.

Matt got a massive Jack Daniels Smoked Burger, and he really enjoyed it!

Overall, I really liked the Cue. We’re probably going to come back sometime in the summer. I’m sure the atmosphere really picks up later in the evening as it seems like a popular place for drinks and pool.


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HONORABLE MENTION: COLOSSUS GREEK TAVERN

If you’re into Greek food, I’d say it’s work checking out Colossus. I’ve eaten there quite a few times and I really like their food – you can’t go wrong with a chicken souvlaki! I love Greek food because it isn’t super fried and greasy – just clean, simple food. A chicken skewer, some tzaziki, potatos, and a salad – so good! Colossus tastes like great, home cooked food.

 


FOR  A LITTLE DESSERT… SCOOPS

One of the classic little shops on Lakeshore is Scoops – an independently owned ice cream shop that offers a huge selection of flavors. Chances are you’ll see the line going out the door. Worth the wait in my opinion because nothing beats an ice cream cone on a hot summer day near the lake!

MUST TRY: Espresso Robusto (especially if you’re a coffee lover!), but there are about 50 different flavors to choose from!

 

FOR THE ~ROMANTIC~ SUNSET WALK: PORT CREDIT WATERFRONT TRAIL.

The summer sunsets in Port Credit are absolutely gorgeous. You have the silhouettes of the famous lighthouse against dreamy fire-lit sky.

There’s a circuit I love doing which basically goes through Port Credit Memorial Park (up against the Port Credit river, back up and around, across the street towards Snug Harbor, and along the back walkway! There are always lots of people around and usually a few street musicians – just some really good vibes.

You can also cross the bridge and walk up along the other side towards JC Saddington Park. That will give you another great view across the harborfront which looks totally different at night.

If you have a car and are willing to drive out a bit towards Clarkson…

HONORABLE MENTION: JACK DARLING PARK
Jack Darling is another park I love frequenting. It is a large park with long winding trails that line the lakeshore, eventually reaching Ratray March. The park itself is very popular amongst families, so you’ll see plenty of groups starting BBQs or having gatherings. There are lots of big willow trees and shady spots to sit. Protip: bring bug spray… the gnats can get a little insane.

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You can find all of the locations posted on this handy little map! 🙂 (Jack Darling is a little bit out of the way though so you might have to zoom out.)

Parks are marked in green, hotel in orange, and restaurants in purple!

Have you been to Port Credit? Have you visited any of the other lakeside cities in the GTA? Do you take staycations?

*Thank you to the Waterside Inn for providing a room in exchange for an honest review.

 

A Relaxing Day | Sol Luna Y Mares Resort in Cuba


Sending you a little piece of sunshine!


Hello lovelies!

I can’t believe that it has already been a few months since I left for the sunny beaches of Holguin, Cuba. If you read my last Cuba post, you’ll know that I spent a week at the Sol Rio Luna y Mares resort. It was my first time in Cuba, and I had such a lovely time! I’ve started full time at my internship which means the typical 9-5, so while I’m getting everything sorted out, let me dust off this post which has sat in my drafts for a little while! 🙂

I absolutely love travel books, and the Lonely Planet Shoestring series are some of the best travel resources you can find! I loved flipping through Lonely Planet’s updated Central America On A Shoestring*. It includes maps, and recommendations, hidden discoveries, and advice on how to optimise your budget for the trip. Although we spent most of our time on the resort, it will definitely come in handy because I’d love to come back and explore some more!


Happiness is warm beaches, sunny skies, and a drink in hand!


 

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Wellness Centre

If you know me, you’ll know that I absolutely loooooove spa treatments. I just love spending my days lazing around in warm wrm water and the sun. Sol Rio Luna y Mares also has a wellness centre, which was unfortunately under construction during our stay… no sauna for us! The wellness centre houses the resort’s beauty services, spa treatments, medical services, and fitness area.

It smelled really nice and there was soft music playing, which was very relaxing. There is a little jacuzzi and a small pool out front which was lovely. The centre wasn’t crowded at all so it was a nice and quiet little getaway area.

After, we took a stroll down to the beach. Matt was getting a massage.

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So let’s just say… I was not made for life at sea.


Or exercise, for that matter. On one of the days, we decided to go on an excursion package offered by the resort. Ours included swimming with dolphins (which I had mixed feelings about,) snorkeling, and then wrapped up with a seafood lunch at a private lookout.

After our session with the dolphins, we hopped on a catamaran and were taken a short distance out from the resort. Now, I know how to swim and was quite excited to see all the fish and underwater life! However my goggles had a crack in them and my breathing pipe kept leaking saltwater.

After about 3 minutes I felt choked up and exhausted and floated back to the boat where I promptly threw up and then napped on the catamaran net.

To top it off, I fell asleep on my stomach and the net left an imprint along the entire front of my body!

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Don’t sleep on the catamaran net or you’ll end up looking like a grilled fish.
  2. Scuba diving is cool and all but I’ll stick to watching underwater Youtube videos.
  3. I’m a lot less fit than I thought I was.

The seafood lunch was fantastic, although Matt was feeling seasick so I ended up eating both of our portions 😀

 

Bought myself a pair of sandals from an on-site vendor! They have the word “Cuba” stamped into the sole.


La Pinta

Sol Rio Luna y Mares is an all inclusive resort. Most of the time, we ate at the buffet near our rooms in the Mares section of the resort. However, you are able to book a meal at one of the resort’s many restaurants during your stay for no additional cost. We decided to check out La Pinta – a mediterranean restaurant located right on the beach. I loooove mediterranean food (especially sea food!)

We ate at 7:30PM. It was a shame that the sun had already set because it would have been quite nice to watch the sunset during dinner!

We booked a dinner at the resort’s Mediterranean restaurant, La Pinta. During our stay at the resort, we had a few opportunities to eat at the specialty restaurants (which were inclusive in the overall price.) It was a lovely little small building right by the sea. The weather was warm that night…

I started with the seafood brochette with green salad. Next was this seafood Cuban soup, with vegetables and fish! It was so good!! I could have gone through bowls of this.

The main dish – mixed dish of seafood – chef’s style. There was a mix of fish, lobster, rice, and vegetables. So goooood. I was highly debating the lobster dish but I wanted to try the variety platter. 😛

On certain nights, the resort held events in the reception area, like White Night! Everything was decorated with white material and guests were encouraged to wear all white. There were even white desserts!

 

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It was a really fun time, with alcohol and desserts in a constant flow. 😛

That wraps up my Cuba posts (a bit late, but better than never!) You can read the rest here.

Have you ever been to Cuba, or visited a resort? 🙂

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Trip To Cuba – Sol Rio Luna Y Mares Resort Review

Cuba Sol Rio Luna y Mares Resort Review

Hello hello my lovelies! How’s it going?

A bright one from me today! Cuba is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and if you follow me on Instagram (@sachietv) you’ll know that I was there last week! I got on a plane and flew down to C-C-Cuba for a week at the Sol Rio Luna y Mares Resort!! I’m all about warm sun and clear skies, and literally did a backflip when I found out I was going with Matt and his family.

I had never been to a resort before – the closest experience for me would have probably been when I was 12 and went on a cruise. I couldn’t wait to park myself in front of those crystal blue waters and try to get some colour into my super pale skin. I have a little photo diary ready for you, as well as a rundown of the resort we stayed at!

Sol Rio Luna y Mares is a medium sized resort but there are quite a lot of things to see there, so I’ll be breaking this into a few parts! Let’s talk about the venue itself and the beautiful beaches today!

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The Sheraton Gateway Airport Hotel in Toronto YYZ

The Sheraton Gateway Airport Hotel

Let the travel blogging begin! WOO YES, one of my favourite things to do! Haven’t been able to do it that often but I’ve got a great series of posts lined up for you! On July 1st, I flew out to the city of angels for Anime Expo 2015! However, the night before, I had the pleasure of staying in the Sheraton Gateway Hotel located in Toronto Pearson Airport.

While organizing my stay, I originally messed up the dates…twice! Felt a bit like an idiot because (for some reason) I thought that there were only 29 days in June. Luckily the Sheraton customer service was completely understanding and were able to change the dates of my stay!! What a relief! Made me look forward to my stay even more!

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