New and Noteworthy Reasons to Travel in December 2016

Baldy Mountain Resort is back, London has a floating hotel and Vancouver is going nuts for Christmas

Good Hotel in London

Canada’s largest wine bar in Calgary

YYC Calgary International Airport’s sleek two-million-square-foot international terminal opened on October 31 and the best part is it’s also home to Canada’s largest wine bar. The 2,000-square-foot Vin Room YYC has ergonomic seating, power outlets, USB ports and a terminal monitor. It caters to travellers with carry-on storage space. It’s open from 6 a.m. to the last flight time and offers breakfast, tapas, sandwiches and charcuterie, plus more than 100 different wines.

Capital K Distillery in Winnipeg

Winnipeg’s brand new Capital K Distillery is Manitoba’s first craft distillery. It uses all locally grown grain. A tour of the facility (online booking is recommended) includes tastings of its first spirit, Tall Grass Vodka. Expect more flavours to come throughout December (espresso, lemon tea and hazelnut vanilla are contenders). A full tasting room cocktail menu is set to launch in the New Year.

The newly renovated Oakland Marriott City Center

The Oakland Marriott City Center recently unveiled US$22 million renovation—and it’s pretty cool. Located in the heart of downtown, the hotel’s new design reflects its urban and industrial surroundings, inspired by shipping containers and graffiti art. Locally commissioned art decorates the property, including a vibrant Oakland-themed mural on an exterior wall. Its onsite restaurant Iron & Oak Restaurant & Bar features dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

London’s first floating hotel

Amsterdam’s Good Hotel has been transported to a large, floating riverfront platform in London, making it the city’s first floating hotel. This not-for-profit property trains and prepares unemployed people for the workforce and will remain here for five years. It features a minimalist and industrial design, expansive views of the River Thames and a rooftop terrace. It also has a restaurant and open working space for travellers.

Brickell City Centre in Miami

Miami’s new Brickell City Centre is a US$1.05-billion, 4.9-million-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment complex downtown. Highlights include a hotel called EAST, Miami (with a massive pool, rooftop bar and Uruguayan restaurant), a 107,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue and a dine-in CMX movie theatre.

New restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

Two new restaurants just opened in Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico’s favourite foodie cities. In the Marina Vallarta district, Tintoque is owned by a young, locally born chef and features a menu of reinvented recipes from nearby Banderas Bay (like octopus with smoked mashed potatoes). In the historic Zona Romantica district, Deux Mec offers a casual European menu created by two Swiss-born chefs. The menu changes every few weeks, but expect ingredients like local morels, chorizo and beef carpaccio.

The re-opening of Baldy Mountain Resort

After a one-year hiatus, Baldy Mountain Resort near Osoyoos, B.C., re-opens for the season on December 1 under new ownership. This small ski resort originally opened in 1968 and still maintains a retro ski bum vibe. To celebrate, Baldy is hosting First Chair Festival from December 1 to 4 with free snowshoe rentals, free skiing on Sunday for those dressed like it’s 1968, hot chocolate, beer sampling and live music. The Eagle chair lift, which was formerly closed, has also been given a facelift and will be running on opening day.

Christmas in Vancouver

The annual German-themed Vancouver Christmas Market runs November 26 to December 31 at its new seaside home at Jack Poole Plaza (home of the 2010 Olympic Cauldron). This year’s market has increased to more than 50,000 square feet, making room for 70 vendor huts. Other additions include a 23-foot-tall rotating Christmas Pyramid (the first of its kind in Canada) and an Apline Haus tent offering views of the North Shore.

About a 15-minute drive south, Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market—the world’s biggest Christmas light maze —will run along 1st and Crowe Streets between the Cambie Street Bridge and Olympic Village from November 25 to December 31. The maze includes more than 55,000 square feet of illuminated sculptures, décor and pathways and the market will host 40 local vendors.

Read more: Holiday Markets in London, Vancouver, Boston and Toronto

Palm Springs’ 30th annual Robolights

For the 30th year, a local Palm Springs artist will set up the largest residential light display in the U.S., known as Robolights, outside his private home for all to enjoy. Painted and recycled robots will be adorned in nearly three tonnes of Christmas lights and the artist says it will be better than ever before. The display runs nightly from November 23 to December 31 from 4 to 9:30 p.m. (Irwin Family Estate, 1077 E Granvia Valmonte, 92262).