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Vacation local à la the Real Housewives
With seemingly endless amounts of cash, the Real Housewives of Vancouver could easily be jet-setting to lavish resorts around the world.
Instead, they usually keep it local by taking advantage of B.C.'s best luxe getaways.
In the first two seasons of the Slice channel's reality TV show (the series is now cancelled), the feisty ladies put a handful of boutique hotels and lodges on the map, all while drinking their fair share of wine and picking up designer handbags along the way.
Here are a couple of the Housewives' favourite weekend retreats in B.C., followed by two budget-friendly options that were frequented by the leading ladies.
"Glamping" in style
Fine linens, hydro-therapy tubs, mini-fridges and radiant floor heating make Rockwater Secret Cove Resort's remote tenthouse suites a far cry from the typical camping accommodation. But, with water access and awe-inspiring views of Malaspina Straight, these tiny bungalows at Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast are as close to pitching a tent as the Housewives will ever get.
Fondly referred to as "glamping" by Housewife Amanda Hansen, the women sipped champagne on the veranda, played croquet, ate dinner by the pool and lit a bonfire on the beach. Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, which is around a two-hour drive/ferry ride from downtown Vancouver, also has a lodge and cabins, as well as fine-dining options, a spa and a list of day activities. For more, www.rockwatersecretcoveresort.com
Driving their high-priced cars along Highway 1, the Housewives set off on a girls weekend excursion. Their destination: Nikita Lake Lodge at the base of Whistler Mountain. When they arrived at the rustically-glamorous accommodation, which was rated one of Canada's Top 25 hotels by Trip Advisor, they settled in their rooms overlooking a glacier-fed lake. Nikita Lake Lodge's finest room, the Glade Suite, features two bedrooms, 20-foot ceilings and a double-soaker tub.
On the show, Housewife Jody Claman introduced a selection from her new cookbook before the ladies dined at nearby Araxi, the restaurant that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay chose for the winner of his U.S. reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen, to be head chef (though Dave Levie's stay there was reportedly short-lived). For more information, nikitalakelodge.com and www.araxi.com
B.C.'s horse capital
When Housewives Mary Zilba and Robin Reichman showed off their vocal ranges with O Canada and The Star-Spangled Banner, respectively, at Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park during the second season, the crowd (and racing horses) watched from the sidelines.
The show park is located a few minutes from Highway 1 in Langley, the "horse capital" of B.C., and hosts six major hunter and jumper show tournaments throughout the year, as well as a variety of different equestrian events and shows.
Donning leather cowboy boots and designer jeans, this is where the Housewives troupe graced the stands at Canaccord Genuity's World Cup and amazed onlookers with their awe-inspiring ability to walk on six-inch heels through grass. For more, www.tbird.ca
In addition to Kitsilano, Shaughnessy, Yaletown and a cluster of other upscale communities, Vancouver's Real Housewives are often spotted in West Vancouver having lunch, sipping coffee by the beach and even, in the case of Amanda, Jody and Robin, undergoing "vampire facelifts," a procedure done at a cosmetic clinic in Ambleside by injecting the patient's blood back into their face. Ouch.
For those wanting a glimpse of the reality TV stars elsewhere, Jody owns Glass House Couture, a clothing boutique on the 1400-block of Clyde Avenue, as well as Jody's Fine Food & Catering next door. In addition, the ladies have filmed at Encore Coffee and Tea at 281 17 St. and have been spotted at Cafe Crema a few minutes away at 1495 Bellevue Ave.
The Housewives most likely to be seen on the North Shore are Jody, Ronnie and Amanda, all of whom own houses in the area (Ronnie has the rest beat with four mansions on the water).