Category Archives: Activities

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Hollywood

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A 100-million-dollar renovation positions the Diplomat Beach Resort and Spa at the top of upscale resort destinations in South Florida. Situated on the beach between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal waterway in Hollywood, The Diplomat is a new member of the Curio Collection, a select group of hotels under the Hilton imprimatur.

What’s New

The hotel’s main lobby has been re-imagined and new restaurants, Point Royal from celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Monkitail have been added, complementing the existing restaurants: Diplomat Prime, Diplomat Cafe, Portico and Bristol’s Burgers.   The beachfront patio cafe Splash has been re-branded as Playa with a revised menu.

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite
Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite

All 1000 rooms have been remodeled in a warm, contemporary palette with a nod to surfer culture – a pleasing blend of upscale with casual. Guests have a choice between rooms facing east with beautiful views of the sunrise over the Atlantic or facing west with a fantastic view of sunsets over the Intracoastal waterway. The corner suites have 180 degree views of both.

Where to Eat

Whether you’re staying at the Diplomat or just come for a meal, you have great options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When was the last time you found pomegranates on your breakfast buffet? The Diplomat Cafe has an amazing variety of buffet choices and a custom omelet chef. Place your choice of ingredients in a bowl and the chef will magically create one of the best omelets you have ever tasted. Tip: if you’re not that hungry, ask for a one or two egg omelet.

Bristol's Burgers at Diplomat Landing, Hollywood
Bristol’s Burgers at Diplomat Landing, Hollywood

Cross Ocean Drive on the elevated crosswalk to Portico and Bristol’s Burgers, both at Diplomat Landing.

Parked outside Bristol’s Burgers is the same huge smoker you’d find at a roadside bbq joint on the gulf coast. All meat at Bristol’s is smoked for six hours. The smoked boneless rib sandwich is pink and tender and paired with an excellent jalapeno coleslaw. For a healthy option, choose the fresh veggies instead of the Florida fries, a spin on the French Canadian classic, poutine.

Portico at Diplomat Landing
Portico at Diplomat Landing

Fans of alfresco dining will love Portico. Watch the boats go
by on the intracoastal waterway while enjoying a chianti and a tasty thin crust pizza. We loved the meatball appetizer and smoked prosciutto and arugula pizza, cooked perfectly in a wood-fired oven.

Featuring both steak and seafood,  head to Diplomat Prime  when you want to celebrate a special  occasion. Stone crabs, found only on Florida’s gulf coast, make a great appetizer. Two large claws, perfectly cracked, arrive at the table. Eating them is 100 percent satisfaction, zero effort. Tip: Florida stone crabs are only in season from October to May.  A in house dry-aged wagyu striploin paired with lobster makes a great surf and turf combination. Sides of truffle whipped potatoes and asparagus complete our entrees.  Our attentive waiter has excellent suggestions for wine pairings.

The Spa at Diplomat Beach Resort
The Spa at Diplomat Beach Resort

Signature massages from the Diplomat Spa  include a new bamboo treatment that uses warmed bamboo to penetrate deep into tissues and increase circulation.  Any massage from the menu at the Diplomat Spa is available for couples.

Start your Winter Getaway to the Rockies in Canmore

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Canmore, located just 5 minutes east of the Banff National Park boundary, is the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. It’s not within the park, so there’s no park entry pass required.

Cross country skiing at Canmore Nordic Centre
Cross country skiing at Canmore Nordic Centre photo: Sherel Purcell

At the heart of the snow action sits the Canmore Nordic Centre. Built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, it hosts international cross-country ski tournaments and serves as the training ground for Canada’s national cross-country ski team. The Canmore Nordic Centre provides miles of cross-country and snowshoe trails for snow lovers of all skill levels and offers a complete rental shop to gear up for these winter sports.

The best way to enjoy winter here is to start early, especially if you’re renting equipment – mornings are less hectic at the Nordic Centre rental counter.  Early risers will be rewarded with great views of the alpenglow – the pinky-orange light that touches the mountain peaks at sunrise.

Grab a pair of snowshoes and drive further into the mountains to the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes trail or venture further west to the trails circling Johnson Lake. You can even rent a fat tire bike specially designed to glide over the snow-packed trails, normally reserved for cross-country skiers.

Cross country skiers at Canmore Nordic Centre
Cross country skiers at Canmore Nordic Centre

Downhill skiers and boarders are spoilt for choice. You can head to Mount Norquay 20 minutes west of Canmore, which offers the only night skiing in the region. Eighteen miles west, Sunshine Resort is a particular favorite of boarders. And further afield, the slopes at Lake Louise are worth the trek. Or just 30 minutes from Canmore in Kananaskis Country, try Nakiska, which hosted alpine skiers during the 1988 Olympics.

Three different dog sledding companies in Canmore will let you become a dog musher: bond with the huskies while traversing stunning mountain trails. One company, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, offers skijoring, a Scandinavian sport that combines dog sledding with skiing.

Whatever your choice of snow sport, remember the days are short here. The winter sun starts to dip behind the mountains in late afternoon.  At the end of the day, head to the nearest hot tub to watch the sun set over the mountains – best enjoyed while sipping a warming beverage – before heading out for dinner at one of the 90+ restaurants in Canmore.

Sage Bistro, Canmore, Alberta
Sage Bistro, Canmore, Alberta

“Where’s the best place to eat in Banff?”  “Canmore,” is the usual response. You’ll find highbrow as well as lowbrow here – and all of it delicious. For finer dining and regional specialties, look to Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Sage Bistro and, especially for breakfast, Chez Francoise.

For a more casual environment, look to the Miner’s Lamp Pub, which feature old photos of the town’s coal mining past, or the Iron Goat, named for the train that transported the coal from the mines.

Proximity to the Nordic Center and great food and drink choices aside, Canmore makes an excellent base from which to explore the Canadian Rockies. Accommodations are plentiful and offer better value than those at Banff, 20 minutes away.

Rundle Cliffs Mountain Lodge
Rundle Cliffs Mountain Lodge

Book a one, two or three-bedroom condo at Rundle Cliffs Mountain Lodge from Spring Creek Vacations. Situated at the base of Mount Lawrence Grassi, adjacent the Three Sisters mountains, all units are equipped with fireplaces, balconies and barbecues with direct mountains views. Enjoy your apres snow activity in front of a fire with a steaming cup of organic coffee, green tea or perhaps a local brew from Grizzly Paw or a glass of British Columbia red wine.

Need a break from the snow? Other activities of note here include a visit to Elevation Place, for a swim in the indoor pool, and a shopping trip to the Ammonite Factory, where you can interact with the artisans who make jewelry from these rare gems of southern Alberta. Previously published in USA Today 10 Best