Senator Pamela Wallin has claimed an average of $13,000 a month on travel for about the past two years, according to an audit of her expenses by Deloitte. It had us wondering just how much fun that money could buy (taxes and tips not included).
VANCOUVER: CULTURE VULTURE
Sleep: Step into the Georgian Revival splendour of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, built in 1927, restored and reopened in 2011. Book the Rosewood Suite and enjoy its private rooftop garden and fireplace. There is plenty of room to entertain – and you can use the hotel Bentley. At $3,750 a night, it’s a steal. Three nights: $11,250
Eat: Chef David Hawksworth’s eponymously named restaurant is right in the hotel. Stick to the prix-fixe $134 tasting menu (with wine flight): Dungeness crab with dashi custard, confit goose leg ravioli with truffled sunchoke cream and much, much more. On your second night, make a reservation for Tojo’s omakase $225 Wagyu beef dinner. Pair this with a $280 bottle of Barbaresco. Dinners for two: $968
Experience: Right across the street is the Vancouver Art Gallery, where you’ll head for a private tour before it opens. A guide takes you through the exhibits and into corners of the heritage building most visitors won’t see. VIP access is yours for $250 (and lets you bring up to 25 of your entourage). Hungry? A private breakfast at the Gallery Cafe is $50 a head (20 guest minimum). Tour and breakfast: $1,250
TORONTO: HIS AND HER INDULGENCE
Sleep: Toronto now has a bevy of five-star hotels to choose from. Go for broke and book a night in the Ritz-Carlton Suite. The 2,415-square-feet space features wood flooring, an eight-seater dining room with private service entrance, a Bose surround sound system and its own fitness area with an elliptical machine. One night: $6,000
Eat: The prix-fixe dinner at Kaiseki is a can’t miss. In the past, the $300 eight-course meal by chef Masaki Hashimoto has featured such delectable bites as Kobe from Kyoto, grilled saltwater eel and line-caught Japanese porgy sashimi. If you’re looking for a nice bottle wine to go with, try the Atlantis Niagara 2011 cabernet-franc for $225. Dinner for two: $825
Experience: Spend the first day together in a private suite at the Trump Hotel’s Quartz Crystal Spa. You’ll be mellow puddles of jelly after La Dolce Vita for Two retreat. The five-and-a-half hour package includes a Harmonizing Thermal Crystal Massage, Cinque Stelle Diamond Manicure, Crystal Mosaic Pedicure and Crystal Radiance Signature Facial. Treatments and lunch: $1,130
Let the heart grow fonder the next day with separate pursuits. He can charter a Cessna 706 from Cameron Air to Muskoka – it’s just $2,000 for up to three people, roundtrip – then enjoy a $175 round of golf at the top-rated Muskoka Bay Club. As he putts she can shop at Holt Renfrew (or vice-versa, if you want). You’ve still got enough money to buy yourself something nice – like, say, a pair of Jimmy Choos and Stella McCartney jacket for $2,945. Activities for the day: $5,120
MONTREAL: THE SPORTING LIFE
Sleep: Go for Old World opulence at Hotel Le St-James, which dates back to 1870. The Royal Suite is decorated with silk wall coverings, Italian parquet flooring and marble. The hotel library is stocked with reading material, but if you’d prefer to go high-tech, iPads are available at the front desk. One night: $3,900
Experience: If the return of the NHL hasn’t sated your hockey appetite, rent the Bell Centre – home of the Montreal Canadiens – for your own game of shinny. The $7,650 rental fee includes two hours of ice time, individual presentation of players, a host, a cameraman, a timekeeper, a DJ and playing of the national anthem. For an extras $1,500 you can have Youppi! (the strangest mascot ever) cheer you on. Game day: $9,150
Dinner: After you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Maison Boulud, one of the latest outposts from world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud and the most anticipated opening in the city last year. Take in the renovations at the revamped Ritz-Carlton as you indulge in the $80 five-course prix-fixe menu prepared by executive chef Riccardo Bertolino. Complete the evening with wine pairings at $60 for five glasses. Dinner for two: $280
BAFFIN ISLAND: NORTHERN ADVENTURE
Experience: This last itinerary is an all-in-one deal. Take the trip of a lifetime with Lindblad Expeditions, which has partnered with National Geographic to provide expert nature adventures. The Fabled Lands of the North, a new voyage on offer, is an exploration of history and nature with stops in Greenland, Baffin Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. Over 15 days, you’ll get up close to icebergs, visit Inuit villages and fill your memory card with shots of polar bears (assuming they co-operate). The 356-feet expedition ship is equipped with a fully stocked bar, restaurant and lounge. And since we were talking about politics: Former prime minister Kim Campbell will be onboard as a guest speaker. Plus, book by March 31 and get free airfare from Ottawa to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Starting room rate is per person, based on double occupancy.
Editor's note: An earlier reference to Globe and Mail restaurant critic Chris Nuttall-Smith describing Kaiseki as a can't-miss restaurant has been removed.
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