I was born, raised, and lived in Canada my entire existence but truth be told I haven’t traveled much within my own country.
At the end of the day when I was making travel plans competing priorities with visiting friends and family who lived overseas in Asia and Europe always meant that exploring the place I had lived my entire life took a back burner.
That is until Marriott International invited me to experience first hand a luxury trip to one of their destinations in Canada. Keep on reading to learn about my epic vacation to Regina, Saskatchewan.
What to Eat and Drink
The Copper Kettle is one of Regina’s oldest family-owned local restaurants. For 50 years this local favorite has been serving up Greek specialties as well as their renowned pizza.
After first trying this place, I came back a second time because their pizza is that good. It’s a unique style I would best describe it as an elevated deep dish with high quality gourmet toppings. It’s easy to see why this place is still going strong after half a century.
The friend that recommended this joint to me said she once carried one of these pizzas home in her carry-on luggage when she returned to Toronto. I can’t say I blame her.
Rebellion Brewery is rooted in Regina and is founded by Regina’s own Jamie Singer, who is a 15-time brewing champion and a well-known fixture on the home-brewing scene.
I have to admit I’m not actually a fan of beer but after sampling some of the offerings at Rebellion I might just change my tune. Seriously, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed their home grown hops and if I actually lived in Regina I’d probably be a regular here.
They offer tours of their entire brewing process which includes samples of their current offerings, and the tour is free! Score!
Hunter Gatherer is a vegetarian restaurant with plenty of vegan options for the plant-based eater. Their black bean veggie burger can replace a meat counterpart anytime and their double-fried fries topped with herbs and Parmesan make this place a destination in itself.
Another fixture in Regina’s food scene, Flip Eatery & Drink offers comfort food in a casual but modern setting. Dill curly fries and fried Brussels sprouts with walnuts and dates make for the perfect sides to their egg topped spätzle, and on weekends their brunch will keep your belly more than satisfied with avocado toast and breakfast poutine.
Part candy store, part ice cream parlor Dessarts sells vintage style candies as well as imported treats from the U.K. As you can also tell by the name they also serve ice cream and this place knows how to do it up.
With an endless list of flavors for traditional churned ice cream, milkshakes, floats, it’s the soft serve here that really steals the show. Made in-house, this is some of the best soft serve I’ve eaten. They even offer cocoa sugar cones dipped in sprinkles that have been imported from Italy — and these cones are equally as impressive as their soft serve is.
Where to get your Caffeine
Regina is full of independently owned coffee shops that brew up beans from local roasters — and you can taste it.
Fix Coffee eats and breathes local. Featuring local roasters on a regular rotation, Fix also serves up locally baked goods which you can enjoy while you cozy up in this bright space while admiring artwork form local Regina artists.
Another local favorite, Naked Bean also serves cookies and cakes which are all made in-house. Various tea lattes are also available including my personal favorite, the matcha latte.
What to See
Saskatchewan is covered in natural beauty but much of it tends to be more remote and challenging to reach. Wascana Lake is one of the few scenic places situated close to Regina’s downtown core.
I spent the entire morning touring this beauty, including the impeccably landscaped gardens in front of the Wascana Centre, which houses Regina parliament, wildlife, and many outdoor activities like paddle boarding, canoeing, and outdoor art exhibits.
If you’re lucky to visit Regina on a Saturday you should definitely check out the Regina Farmer’s market which takes place downtown Victoria Square each week. Find everything from locally grown produce, baked goods, and some of the most beautiful blooms.
Located on Regina’s bustling Cathedral neighborhood The Paper Umbrella supplies gifts that are meant to inspire. You’ll find the most beautifully crafted stationary, fountain pens, and office supplies fit to turn anyone into a creative protégé.
Where to Stay: The Hotel Saskatchewan, Autograph Collection
The Hotel Saskatchewan is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of luxury hotels. When I stepped into The Hotel Saskatchewan the first thing I felt was definitely intrigue. Set in a historic building, it was one of 14 hotels built and owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
But the property underwent a grand renovation in the past 3 years, so to step inside The Hotel Saskatchewan is to step into Old-World regal glamor mixed with modern touches and amenities.
The space is filled top to bottom with chandeliers, lush prints and textures, and historic architectural details that have been kept true to their roots. While it maintains its historic charm it comes equipped with all the amenities a modern day traveler would expect. In-house spa, barber, event spaces, fitness facilities, lounge, bar, restaurant and, of course, all-important complimentary wifi are available on site.
Located smack in the middle of downtown Regina it is situated right across from Victoria Square with a view of the park. This means that not only does it have a gorgeous view but it also puts it within a 5-20 minute walk from all the hot-spots in this gem of a city.
Afternoon tea is available daily in the hotel lounge but if you book ahead you can make reservations to have your afternoon tea served in the Royal Suite where the Queen of England and Justin Bieber each stayed. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Queen of England and the Biebs then it’s definitely good enough for me.
Everything is made in-house and served in a traditional style including finger tea sandwiches, scones with house-made whipped strawberry butter and preserves, and decadent miniature desserts to top the tier. Plus it’s not everyday you get to experience afternoon tea in a setting fit for a royal.
During my stay at The Hotel Saskatchewan I ate twice at the in-house restaurant (three times if you include the afternoon tea experience).
The first was to try out the breakfast buffet. There was plenty of fresh fruit, in-house baked pastries, and hot piping bacon, sausages, and eggs, plus three types of freshly squeezed juice and hot coffee.
I also returned for breakfast the next morning to try the hotel’s famed pancakes. They were the lightest, fluffiest, and just plain one of the tastiest pancakes I had ever eaten. Fluffy on the inside and with perfectly crisp edges they were topped with fresh berries and just the right amount of powdered sugar.
Isabelle Cheng is a freelance stylist, photographer and digital content creator specializing in food, travel, product and lifestyle. You’ll find her work at Allons.Y, where this article originally appeared. She is based in Toronto, Canada.