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The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has built an entire life-size cookie version of a 1937 Flathead V-8 Cadillac Touring Car.Chad Chisholm Creative LLC

Cookie exchange

Hotels typically go big for the holidays with merry decor, indulgent afternoon teas and themed menus. Chances are, you’ll see an elaborate gingerbread house in the mix too. This year, some properties are taking those sweet structures to the next level, the price of butter be damned. At Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, almost 30 metres of the hotel’s east lobby has been converted into Gingerbread Lane. Some 8,500 gingerbread bricks line the walls with royal icing acting as mortar. Its installation took six days, 12 types of candy were used for decor and 90 per cent of the structure is edible. In New York, the Mark Hotel partnered with Swarovski to recreate a crystallized gingerbread version of the hotel’s façade. And the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs has built an entire life-size cookie version of a 1937 Flathead V-8 Cadillac Touring Car, pictured here. It took 10 pastry chefs roughly 308 hours to build the replica of its founder’s car.


Travellers crowd the security queue in the departures lounge at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., on May 20.COLE BURSTON/Handout

Line item

YYZ Express, a program that allows travellers to reserve a time slot in Pearson International Airport’s security lines, is no doubt a pre-emptive move to ensure holiday travel through Toronto isn’t a repeat of the airport’s summer meltdown. Appointments can be booked for all domestic and international passengers passing through Terminal 1′s D gates between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Terminal 3′s B and C gates from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. To book through, enter your destination and flight number along with contact information, and you’ll be offered a choice of 15-minute windows in which to pass through security. Once the reservation is booked, you’ll receive a QR code to show airport staff. But flier beware. YYZ Express isn’t available for those travelling to the U.S.


Portrait Milano hotel in Milan.Handout

Made in Milan

A project almost five years in the making has finally opened in Milan. Portrait Milano, from the Ferragamo family, recently opened in the Italian fashion capital in a building that has more than 500 years of history. Over the course of its life, it’s been a library, prison, hospital and seminary. The 73-room hotel, which overlooks the Piazza del Quadrilatero, features a spa, gym and pool (opening next year), as well as a restaurant headed by executive chef Alberto Quadrio, who studied under Gualtiero Marchesi, known as the founder of new Italian cuisine.

Stays from €712/night through


Author Sarah Stodola covers the origin of the beach holiday in The Last Resort.Handout

Beach read

On a recent visit to Hawaii, I couldn’t help but see the irony in the fact that the beach resort I was staying at on Maui had closed its beach. Access was shuttered because of recent storm damage and the beach had almost washed away. Meanwhile, a massive water feature in the outdoor lobby flowed despite island residents having to deal with water-usage restrictions. As we come to terms with climate change, beach vacations are full of these sorts of contradictions, which are explored in the book The Last Resort. Author Sarah Stodola covers the origin of the beach holiday, the growth of beach culture and its problematic overdevelopment. “I hated to see local independent entrepreneurs forced out when bigger international companies swooped in to develop a beach destination. Watching construction continue directly on beaches, proven to be destructive to shorelines, was also disheartening,” she says. There are, however, some instances of change, she explains. Laws in Nicaragua prohibit new construction on shorelines, for instance. And in Fiji, “strong indigenous land rights mean that local populations are guaranteed a certain amount of income from resorts, which usually rent resort properties from the villages that own them,” Stodola says.

The Last Resort, $34.99 at bookstores and online (


The Sofitel Montreal Le Carré Doré has created a luxe package well-timed for an indulgent holiday getaway.Gillian Jackson/Sofitel

December escape

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Sofitel Montreal Le Carré Doré has created a luxe package well-timed for an indulgent holiday getaway. Included in the stay: one night in the Opera Suite, the hotel’s largest, a bottle of Champagne and breakfast. Also included is dinner, a five-course menu at the chef’s table by executive chef Olivier Perret and his culinary team. “Our chefs enjoy going to the local farmers’ markets to get fresh vegetables and choose their meats and fish with our local partners,” says Marc Pichot, the hotel’s general manager. Current menu items include Quebec Wagyu beef and foie gras from a farm in Marieville. The cherry on top of the experience is a one-hour helicopter tour of the city. While you’re there, don’t miss the art. “Sofitel Montreal is anchored in Montreal’s DNA through the arts,” says Pichot. The lobby acts as an exhibition space, and until spring, 2024, you can find works from local artist Jason Cantoro.

Stays from $2,200/night until Dec. 20 through