A couple of weeks ago I got to visit Montreal for the second time with Jay Strut, and naturally we had an epic time. Traveling with Jay is always hilarious and entertaining – the running joke is that we create a hurricane through every city we visit. Our videographer can attest to that (Hi Matthew!! LOL). While we normally frequent American cities like New York, exploring our neighbouring provinces here in Canada has become one of my favourite things to do. Seriously, Canada is pretty awesome!
The first time we went to Montreal was in the dead of winter, so it was such a different (but awesome) experience this time around. This time we went on behalf of Marriott International, who is launching a really cool campaign to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday (including a contest where they are giving away 5 trips! More on that below).
We fit a ton of stuff into our trip this time around and got to see a completely different side of the city. Literally right after we checked into the gorgeous Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel, we went on a food tour (highly recommend!) around Mile-End and got to visit 6 cool spots – from the famous St. Viateur bagel to La Panthère Verte. We even got to pop into the famous Rialto Theatre. That night, we went for dinner at Le Club Chasse et Pêche, hit up The Weeknd concert at Centre Bell, and partied at the newly opened La Voûte. Day two was just as jam-packed. We started off the day with brunch at Café Parvis, then spent the day roaming St. Henri – shopping at local spots like Atelier New Regime & Vintage Frames. We finished the afternoon by inhaling some insane donuts at Leche Desserts. After a delicious dinner at Eat Avec Toi inside the W, we met up with some MTL friends (s/o Nate & Zach) who took us out at their spot APT 200…and for some late-night poutine of course.
Our Montreal trip was one for the books – and to circle back on the contest I mentioned earlier, this is the same model of trip Marriott is offering to the contest winners (a.k.a everything covered and never a dull moment!). Instructions on how to enter are at the end of this post.
Places: Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel – where we stayed. This spot is awesome. It’s in a great location, they have the prettiest rooftop bar and/chill area with a plunge pool overlooking the city, plus there are swings in the lobby. The rooms are plush in every way imagineable (they even have Nespresso machines and Bose speakers!! Perfection) and feature one-of-a-kind artwork to top everything off. The staff is extremely welcoming, helpful, and accommodating – even when Jay called down for a toothbrush/toothpaste/everything else he usually forgets whenever we travel (LOL)
Marriott’s Epic Canada Adventure Sweepstakes launches at MarriottCanada150.dja.com and SPGCanada150.dja.com on June 22.
To enter, tag @MarriottIntl in any posts, with the hashtag #TravelwithMarriottCanada.
Three winners will receive ‘epic’ trips to Canadian Marriott locations. Two winners will receive ‘epic’ trips to Canadian Starwood locations.
Each contest winner will receive a trip for two, which includes: one hotel room, flights for the winner and one guest and $1,000 CAD spending money.
Winners will be determined on July 24, once contacted, they will have two days to return the paperwork. Marriott will choose five contest winners from Canada and the United States. The five winners will be selected at random by a third party. When entering the contest sweepstakes, applicants will select which epic trip they hope to win from a gallery of options. Each trip will include at least one activity/experience. Winners will have up to one year to redeem their trip based on availability and blackout dates.
I’ll be honest, I never really appreciated cars in their entirety until the last guy I dated – he had a penchant for luxury vehicles and went through models quicker than I could even keep track of. In the short time we were together, I not only got the chance to experience driving an array of different vehicles, but gained a ton of admiration for the detailing and design that goes into a luxury automobile because of him. So when Lexus tapped me on the shoulder to test out the NX, their first introduction into a compact crossover SUV, (which more than 2000 engineers lent their skill to the development to!), I was more than willing to oblige.
The first car I ever drove was a Toyota Corolla, and one of my favourite things about that car was how light the handling of it was. I was curious to try out how the NX would compare, and knew the perfect way to truly experience it would be to do – what else? – a road trip! I had never been to Montreal (I know right?!) and decided this would be the perfect opportunity to explore the city + curate an experience that would reflect Lexus’ perspective of the young, urban, luxury driver.
So, I gathered up the two most suitable people I could think of to join in on this experience with me (a.k.a Jay Strut and Christian Thompson) and off we drove to Mont Royal! From its diamond-shaped exterior to the luxuriously designed interior (including a leather wrapped, heated (!) steering wheel), one look was all it took to understand that the 2017 Lexus NX is a different breed of luxury SUV. And after a good 12 hours of highway + city driving, I can say these were some of my favourite features of the NX:
Fuel usage + Eco Mode – I was 1.) Expecting to spend at least $100 to fill up 2.) Sure I would have to fill up a couple of times during our ride there. So you can imagine my surprise when we got to Montreal on one tank of gas – filled up for $50.00 (!)
Blind Spot Monitor + Rear Cross Traffic Alert – Sensors integrated into the front and rear bumpers detect and notify you of surrounding objects, and the view from the backup camera is shown on the multimedia display to let you know when you’re too close to objects. Great for parallel parking.
Radar Cruise Control with All-speed Tracking Function – A lifesaver on the drive back home, it utilizes inter-vehicle distance within a set speed and supports the driver by detecting the vehicle ahead, ensuring that an appropriate distance is maintained from cruising speeds down to a stop.
Luxurious Extras – Heated front seats, Push-Button Start, Smart Key System, Voice-activated SD Card Based Navigation System with Remote Touch, Bluetooth Capability all make for a grandiose driving experience.
Check out my photo diary below including my must-visit spots in Montreal!
Places: Bota Bota Spa – A must visit – it’s a spa on a boat!! Especially amazing in the winter, we did the outdoor hot tubs while it was snowing and it was beyond amazing!
W Montreal – Who took such good care of us – the level of service here is something else! Definitely the place to stay in Montreal. Plus, they have the cutest food spot right in the hotel called E.A.T that doubles as an art gallery.
Food: Restaurant Fantome – We had the most amazing 10-course meal here – highly recommended. The owners are genuinely passionate about food and insanely creative, and it shows. + Lola Rosa & Foiegwa (their truffle butter spaghetti is NUTS!)
Shop: SSENSE (one of my favourite Canadian retailers – their HQ is in downtown MTL and THE spot for cool designer pieces), Holt Renfrew, Rad Hourani
*This post was sponsored by Lexus but all opinions are my own.