Give the Gift of Experience This Valentine’s Day

We said we’re going BIG in the gift department this Valentine’s Day — roses and chocolates are so last year. But “big” is different for everyone. Some people prefer tangible and physical presents like a Cartier bracelet, or a new Rolex, for example. For others, it’s all about the experience. But not just dinner and a movie. Think bigger. Spa days, cocktail creations, an overnight stay, perhaps? Our gift to you is the gift of ideas. We’ve thought about it so you don’t have to. Now go make your experience-loving special someone happy. You can thank us later.

The Coziest Vacation Spot — Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta

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You don’t need to be a complete snow bunny or avid skier to appreciate Jasper in the wintertime but it certainly helps. Immerse yourself in the Canadian Rockies and soak up everything it has to offer — specifically Fairmont’s Jasper Park Lodge, located amid the mountains of Jasper National Park. Put on a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers — and get ready to relax fireside — and/or mountain side, all weekend long at this luxurious and ultra-cozy hotel.

The Most Relaxing Spa — Strom Spa Nordique

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Nothing says romance quite like the gift of utter relaxation. Gift your partner the ultimate Zen experience at none other than Strom Spa Nordique — particularly their scenic Old Quebec location. With an extensive service menu, a rejuvenating thermal experience, and even special offers when you pair gastronomy and treatment packages, your partner is in for a real treat no matter what you choose. Get ready to let out a big, and necessary sigh of relief — a testament to your newfound relaxation, coupled with the feeling of satisfaction that comes with picking out the perfect gift. Ahhh.

The Wine Lover’s Lessons — Accredited Wine Courses from WSET

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Should both yourself and your beloved be wine aficionados with a thirst for knowledge, a thorough introductory course to the world of winemaking is an unorthodox yet clever gifting option. There are plenty of options out there, though our outlook has long been that if you’re going the route of education, it’s best to be trained by an organization that is nationally or internationally accredited. WSET is one of the few standards in North America when it comes to sommelier training, and their one-day Level One class covers all of the essentials. You’ll learn about tasting notes, pairings, different varietals, and other fundamentals of the wine world.

The Best “Stay and Show” — Fairmont Montreal

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Celeste, Cirque Éloize’s new show, is a theatrical, sensorial, and mythical experience, presented exclusively at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal. The first of its kind in Canada, this 90-minute, Las Vegas-style cabaret spectacle will completely enthral you and your lucky date, and suck you into a mythical and enchanting world. To take things up a notch, be sure to secure a room at the recently-renovated hotel for an extra magical night.

The Tastiest Cocktail Recipe — Rose Gin Negroni

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Maybe, between hectic work schedules and other life events, a grand adventure isn’t in the cards right now. Sometimes a quiet night at home with one’s partner, relaxing, throwing on a movie, and enjoying a well-crafted cocktail is all that’s really needed to say “I love you”. If that’s this year’s angle of approach, Dillon’s Small Batch Rose Gin brings a little hint of traditional Valentine’s Day vibes to the table. There are a few good ways to mix it, but we’d start out with this delicious Rose Gin Negroni:

  • 1 ounce Dillon’s Rose Gin
  • 1 ounce Dillon’s Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ounce Aperitivo (you could use Select for this if you want!)
  • 2-3 dashes Dillon’s Ginger Bitters
  • Orange peel, for garnish
  • Dried rose petals, for garnish
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Place a large cube in your rocks glass and strain cocktail into the glass.
  3. Garnish with either a large orange peel or dried rose petals (or both).

The Sexiest Ski Getaway — Sun Peaks, B.C.

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Sun Peaks became Canada’s second-largest ski and snowboard destination in 2015 after a 200-hectare expansion on two of its three mountains. And its resort village has everything in the way of accommodations, restaurants, shops, and more in a convenient layout that’s also incredibly picturesque. For the ultimate V-day experience, be sure to stay at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Residences — with three outdoor hot tubs and an indoor entrance to a heated outdoor pool (and tons of dining options), there’s no sweeter place to après-ski.

The Diner’s Delight — Drifter’s Solace

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Sure, everyone’s immediate thought surrounding Valentine’s Day date nights involve a cozy table for two in a swanky little bistro somewhere, but we’re bringing something different to the table today. You see, what makes a fantastic dining experience is not only the food and the ambiance, but also the company and memories shared with others. That in mind, Chef David Salt’s private chef’s table is available for bookings of six to eight people, and delivers a culinary journey unlike most others available in Canada these days. Typically offering somewhere around eight courses, and are available with wine pairings selected by Master Sommelier Bruce Wallner (who owns Grand Cru Deli and The Sommelier Factory in the same building). Why crowd into a busy restaurant, when you have a private dinner with a handful of close friends, prepared by a chef whose resume includes residence as head chef of Michelin-starred Club Gascon in London?

The Ultimate Nature-Inspired Staycation — 1 Hotel Toronto

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With sustainability and nature at the forefront of everything they do, 1 Hotel Toronto offers a cozy and rejuvenating oasis in the heart of Toronto. With delicious dining options on-site (don’t forget to check out the Valentine’s Day specials at their 1 Kitchen) plus an incredibly chic and earthy lobby bar, they have everything and more needed to create a perfectly romantic night. Just wait until you see their guest rooms.