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LIVING TRAVEL

Beam Me Up Art Suite at ICEHOTEL

beam me up room at icehotel sweden

Each year, the ICEHOTEL in the Jukkasjärvi, Sweden asked designers from across the globe to create themed art suites for their guests. Science-fiction fans would be delighted if they stay at the ICEHOTEL. After the TRON Legacy art suite from the British designers Ben Rousseau and Ian Douglas-Jones in winter 2011, they could now experience a stay in a UFO themed ice room.

beam me up room at sweden icehotel

Pinpin Studio staged a room with four huge UFOs hover that stand tall over an ice forest. Instead of an art piece over the bed, you see a huge UFO beaming you up. I love the theatrical nature of the Beam Me Up room.

+ photo credits: Beam Me Up room by Pinpin Studio

LIVING TRAVEL

The Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

If you happen to be near Lombardy region this summer, you should try to book yourself a ticket on board of  il Treno di Sapori — meaning “Train of Taste”. Passengers will be served local food and wines as they enjoy the scenery of the region. It is a nice way to discover local cuisine.

train local food

You can sit down in the dining room or sit at the bar. From what I could undertand from the Google translation, the Train of Taste travels from Iseo through the Franciacorta region along Lake Iseo and through Valle Camonica.

Train of Taste view

I love the view. And there are plenty more stunning landscape images at the il Treno di Sapori Web site.

LIVING TRAVEL

Friendly Luxury When Camping

cozy camping bedroom

cozy camping bedroom
photos by Thomas J. Story for Sunset magazine – May 2012

Camping has evolved so much since my childhood. I prefer a nice hotel room to sleeping in a tent any time. I’m also aware that many young kids adore camping; maybe that I will need to adapt. Just in case, I explored how I could make a camping trip more comfortable.

tent
REI Kingdom 4 Tent – 2012 $389 USD| REI Tech Garage $99.95 USD

I am first amazed by the new developments in tents. A freestanding design means that the tent can be assembled before being staked out which gives you freedom in position it at the site. Tents now come with vertical walls that add privacy and define the livable areas. You can add a vestibule that provides shelter to your boots and to you when you enter or exit the tent. The ultimate vestibule seems to be a tech garage; it delivers extra storage for your gears and generally has two convenient roll-on doors.

A Cozy Bedroom

cozy camping outdoor space
hotos by Thomas J. Story for Sunset magazine – May 2012

There is no need to give up your queen size bed on camping. You can have a good night sleep thanks to car camping. The trend is to bring your own pillows, cotton sheets and a throw or a comforter instead of a sleeping bag. Do not neglect the comfort of your feet. It becomes customary to place rugs indoor and outdoor. Go to your favorite decor store and select a style that you like.

Style the Outdoor Space

camping gear
SOLVINDEN pendant light $29.99 CAD at IKEA | KALVÖ $24.99 CAD at IKEA | Deluxe Camper’s Kitchen $127.99 USD at Cabana

Since you hope to pass as much time as possible outside, why not dress it up by a notch. Make a lounge outside with a few folding recliners or deck chairs and a couple folding side tables. KALVÖ folding table is an affordable option available at IKEA. While ÄPPLARÖ served double duty as a stool or a side table.

There are more options than camping equipment to create subtle ambiant lighting. The solar panel and the wind power generator of SOLVINDEN pendant light convert sunlight and wind to energy. It can be hang from the ceiling of your tent. Complete your set up with a few SOLVINDEN ground stakes that will light the path and your camping site.

Easy to Cook

The typical Camper’s Kitchen comes with a pantry, heat-resistant working surfaces, food preparation zones and three-sided windscreen shelters your stove for optimal fuel performance. You save time by having access to your cookware, cooking utensils and food.

Finally, I hope that you bought a car with a voluminous trunk. Equipped with all these gears, you will need it!

LIVING TRAVEL

Kim Loves: Reisenthel’s Travel Bags

reisenthel travel bags

reisenthel travel bags

I have a love affair with some brands and Reisenthel is one of these brands for me. It has been a while since I visited their Web site. I am glad to see new products. I couldn’t stop discovering their travelling bag collection. I like the fact that it is cheerful. Plus, you will not have any problems to recognize your bags from the crowd. Some fabrics are special edition like the beach edition, marigold olive (my personal favourite) and safari.

travel cosmetic

The bags are also well-thought. You will have no problems finding one that fits your needs. Many models of their comprehensive range of cosmetic bags are available in several sizes. You can find one that would be big enough for your annual vacation, another one for weekend getaways and a small one for when you go to the gym.

slimcase and toilet bag

Versatility is another key feature of the line. Slimcase S would be perfect to carry your jewelry while kids crayons, hair accessories or small office supply would fit into the Multicase.

Now, we only have to wait that for Reisenthel’s Travelling to be available in Canada or the United States.

SOURCING:
+ Allrounder L by Reisenthel from 34,90 € to 45 €
+ Toiletcosmetic by Resisenthel from 13,90 € to 24,90 €
+ Toiletbag by Reisenthel 16,90 €
+ Slimcase S  by Reisenthel 9,90 €
+ Multicase by Reisenthel 9,95 €

LIVING TRAVEL

Friendly to Kids: Family Stays and Teaching Good Behaviour at the Table

family stays

family stays

By design, boutique hotels try to raise the bar in hospitality. Since I became a mom, I look for services that I never considered before. A lot of hotels claimed to be family-friendly but, unless you go to a family resort, the list of family services often stops at providing a crib on request, having a video game console in the room and a few other basic things.

I never stayed at the Kensington Hotel but I like how they described their family stays with milk and cookies on turn down, children’s magazines in the room, children’s concierge services, and a list of free activities that your kids can do near the hotel.

An Unusual Complimentary Class

What caught more my attention is a new activity they recently hosted. With the help of an etiquette expert, the Kensington Hotel hosted two Petite Etiquette classesto teach children aged between five and ten a few basic table manners. I read mixed reviews about the classes with the main complaint being that some part of the lessons were old-fashioned.  Having said that, no one will complain if you arrive at a restaurant with a polite kid. I doubt that an one hour class would be the answer parents are looking for but parents may get ideas of where to concentrate the re-education of their kids.

My Views on Learning Good Table Habits

Personally, I feel that a child’s table habits education starts at birth. In our home, all members of the family leave the table at the same time. Both my husband and I want to make sure that our son knows it.

Our first goal was to teach Zack to be patient at the table.  Since day one, Zack sat with us the entire dinner. This is part of the dining ritual at our house. I believe in one simple rule: eating time is not playing time. Many nights a week, I cook a meal that my toddler son can eat by himself; he likes his independence. If he only plays with his plate or throws food on the floor, it’s the cue that he is done eating. Most of the time, his arm movements tell us that he is full. Then, my son sits in his high chair until my husband and I finished our meal. We entertain our son by bringing him a little toy and by chatting to him. So far, my technique works. I received compliments from waiters at restaurants that are not typical places for toddlers. It seems that my son likes stylish living as much as I do.

Now it’s your turn to share your insights or wishes. Do you have any tips about teaching kids good table habits? Which services make or would make an hotel stay awesome for young children? What was the best travel experience you had as a young family?

SOURCING: + photos: family stays and Kensington Hotel Petite Etiquette Class

LIVING TRAVEL

Travel in Style with Design Hotels

design hotels

design hotels

If you are fond of boutique hotels, you are probably familiar with Mr and Mrs Smith‘s hotel booking services. I love their story.

But what if you are looking to expand a little bit the selection of boutique hotels? This is where Design Hotels can help you. They describe themselves as a consulting, marketing and positioning service provider for hotels and small hotel groups listed in the new luxury tourism segment. So far, this German traded company represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 200 hotels in over 40 countries across the globe. You can book your room online with a best rate guarantee.

Sadly, only two Canadian hotels and a few US hotels are available on Design Hotels. Nonetheless, I found European hotels where I would like to stay. 25Hours Hotel Hamburg, a sixties and seventies inspired hotel, caught my eye with their pink wall lobby and girlie bike. Family up to four can stay in one of their 6 XL-Family rooms. The 25Hours Hotel in Hamburg has a total of 128 guest rooms.

SOURCING:
Design Hotels
25Hours Hotel

LIVING TRAVEL

More Comfort in Economy-Class Flights

Qantas footrest

Occasionally, I browsed the Web for articles on what are the innovative ideas from airline companies around the world. While the more impressive upgrades happen in first-class, there are still cool things that are implemented for the economy class travelers. I am always sad to notice to see no Canadian or American companies. It seems that passenger comfort has been forgotten by us. But comfort is not a luxury, it reduces stress and improves our quality of life. In a tiny attempt to revive a sense of style for the average travelers, I will share the best innovations from my reading.

Today, I present you the foot hammock, a little net that act as a footrest. Elevating your legs like that will provide you better circulation, which is an important things to do when you are in the sky.

Air New Zealand economy class 3 seats bed for 2

Then, an economy row of three seats could convert to a “comfy” bed for 2 with the touch of a button. The arms retract, the seat base extends and the seatbelts lengthen to buckle up when reclining. Air New Zealand says that two passengers can snuggle horizontally, leaning against the wall or lying flat. I do not know if you can pay extra to guarantee this option or if you need to be lucky to enjoy this feature.

See more innovations in economy-class flights at BBC.

SOURCING:
+ photo: Qantas
+ photo: Air New Zealand

LIVING TRAVEL

What To Do in Montreal: Magie des Lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

My husband, our baby and I had a great time at the opening night of Magie des Lanternes. It is truly magical.

magie des lanternes 2011 family activity

Our baby enjoyed the view of the lighted theme lanterns.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: emperor parade

The 19th edition organized by the Montreal Botanical Gardens is under the theme of “The First Emperor’s Procession”. The exhibit pays tribute to China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, and his impressive cavalry. It takes 8 months to the exhibit design team in Montreal to draw about 200 new thematic lanterns. They put a lot of attention to details. For example, each character has its own facial features.

magie des lanternes 2011 closeup

The drawings are send to Shanghai where the lanterns are produced using traditional methods. To withstand our fall weather and the test of time, the lanterns are made with parachute fabrics instead of the traditional silk. The lanterns arrived in Montreal not completely unassembled. They proceed like that to ease the installation of the LED lamps on the metal frame.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: The First Emperor's Procession

You have until October 31st, 2011 to experience the Magie des Lanternes exhibit. Do not miss it; it makes a great family activity or a romantic walk.

magie des lanternes 2011 chinese family

Go to my Facebook page to see More photos of the exhibit.

SOURCING:
+ Magie des Lanternes
+ photos: Jérôme Paradis for kimvallee.com

LIVING TRAVEL

Tree Pod in Thailand Delivers the Ultimate Dining Experience

Tree Pod Dining at a six senses hotel in thailand

I can’t imagine a more romantic place to eat than to be on a tree pod perched 16 feet over the rainforest ground. You can  have a taste of this unique dining experience if you stay at the luxury Soneva Kiri resort by Six Senses in Thailand.

Raising the Tree Pod :: Soneva Kiri by Six Senses

The rigid woven rattan frame can sit up to 4 guests for dining. You board the tree pod dining on the ground before they elevated it. Waiters will serve you food and drinks by flying over with a zip line. And you get an exquisite view of the ocean.

Tree Pod Dining flying waiter

SOURCING:
+ Tree Pod Dining at Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand – photos by Cat Vinton
+ via Materialicious

LIVING TRAVEL

New Amy Butler’s Solstice Travel Bag Collection

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

Amy Butler launched Solstice, her third collection of fashion handbags and luggage from Kalencom. The Solstice collection is available in a softer palette. Amy took her inspirations from the graceful silver engravings on decorative doors and archways, elaborate stone carvings, fanciful scrollwork and drops of rain on lotus ponds that she saw while visiting India and Bali.

solstice collection :: honeysuckle tote by amy butler

I featured the Take Flight traveler bag (top left) and the Honeysuckle tote (bottom left). They could be just what you need to travel in style this Holiday season.

SOURCING:
+  Solstice Travel Bags and Handbags by Amy Butler for Kalencom.

TRAVEL

Two New City Guides for Montreal

montreal city guides

montreal city guides

I want to inform me that I published two new city guides that should please foodies. I asked the help of two talented women who live in Montreal. They gladly shared with us their best spots.

+ Event Producer and Event Social Media Strategic Marie-Annick Boisvert at Event Marianik compiled a list of her favorite caterers in Montreal that you can use if you host a special event at home, a big bash or a corporate event.

+ Food blogger Mayssam Samaha at Will Travel for Food tells us where to go if you plan to spend a morning in Montreal’s Little Italy.