A season for staycations; Spending a weekend in south-central Winnipeg

Breakfast in bed at the Hyatt House in Winnipeg I am a born and bred Winnipegger.

Although I do love to travel and currently split my time between Winnipeg and Montreal, whenever I’m gone I always miss home. Over the years I have seen the city ebb and flow, and most of all, evolve.

I remember growing up in River Heights and when the Linden Woods/Kenaston development first started there was just a Sobeys and Walmart. Over the years, tons of businesses popped up and soon more unique companies and developments opened up in the areas close by to the Kenaston Commons.

One of my favourite areas in the city is one of the newest ones. Seasons of Tuxedo is a development located off Route 90 and represents over 100 acres and nearly one-million square feet of mixed-used retail space. Now most people probably know the area for IKEA and the Outlet Collection of Winnipeg, but there is more to it than just shopping. Seasons of Tuxedo is home to just about everything. One side features nature and recreation (Assiniboine Forest, Fort Whyte Alive, as well as the Assiniboine Park & Zoo not too far away) and on the other side there are hotels, gaming, restaurants, fitness, and so much more (for those who live in the area there is a vet clinic, a doctor’s office, pharmacy, Co-Op Grocery Store, and soon a dentist and other health-related businesses).

Anyways, for years now I have always wanted to do a Seasons day, where I would just revolve my itinerary around businesses in the area (there’s tons to do here). This idea led to my recent partnership with Tourism Winnipeg this past weekend, where we teamed up to showcase a fun Seasons/Kenaston/Waverley staycation and a really fun itinerary of things to do in the area for those who live in the city, as well as those wanting to visit.

Hyatt House Winnipeg South/Outlet Collection, Lobby at the Hyatt House Winnipeg South/Outlet Collection

Friday, November 12, 2021

So what would be a staycation without a hotel stay? My bestie Rose and I checked into the Hyatt House Winnipeg South/Outlet Collection, which is one of Winnipeg’s newest hotels. This hotel is located right on Sterling Lyon Parkway (the address is 700 Sterling Lyon Parkway) beside Rec Room, and it features a restaurant, fitness centre, pool/hot tub, a bar and shared lounge.

The hotel has 135 rooms, including 51 suites. We had the two queen studio room, which is 510 square feet and features a sleeping area with two queen beds, a bathroom with walk-in shower, a living area with a 180-degree swiveling TV that can be seen from the kitchen and bedroom, a cozy corner sofa sleeper, and a fully-equipped kitchen with a kitchen island, cooktop, mini fridge and freezer, microwave oven, and dishwasher.

This room was very large and spacious and we found the hotel to be awesome. The location is great and it also features free WiFi, continental breakfast, and free coffee and tea in the lobby (they also had a little mart in there in case you wanted to buy chips or other munchies). We really loved the stay here and was pleased to see the hotel quite busy (the man at the front desk said that they were almost at full capacity on the Friday night).

The Locals at The Outlet Collection Winnipeg The Locals at The Outlet Collection Winnipeg Executive Jewels at Outlet Collection Winnipeg Holiday decorations at Outlet Collection Winnipeg

After check in we made our way to the Outlet Collection Winnipeg, which is my favourite mall in the city.

Located right across the street from the Hyatt House, the Outlet Collection Winnipeg is Manitoba’s only dedicated outlet shopping centre (and it’s indoors, which is a huge plus since our staycation happened over the first snowstorm of the season). This centre includes over 100 retailers, including outlet stores for Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike Factory, Store, and more, as well as a food court. There are also non-outlet stores like H&M, as well as tons of local retailers.

Since the holiday season is officially upon us, and this area is known for shopping, we wanted to hit up the Outlet Collection early to shop for outfits for the weekend and also for some gifts. Like I said, this area is known for shopping, so it’s a great place to visit right now to find holiday gifts early. Best part is the fact that there are a ton of local stores, including Hush Clothing, Executive Jewels (they have so many fun Winnipeg-made brands and items in here), and a pop up by The Locals, which is happening right now until December 26. This pop up features different local makers and artisans to showcase their businesses and products all in one space. They will be rotating out different businesses throughout the run, as well as keeping some of them for the entire duration.

Now I’m at the Outlet Collection literally all the time and always find some great deals. If you live 60 kilometres or more outside city limits, the mall offers a VIP Shopping Experience Card, where you can save up to 25% off from participating retailers. Also, out-of-town shoppers can also receive an exclusive signature gift when you spend $350 or more on same-day purchases. If this sounds up your alley, make sure you visit the Guest Services Centre, located between the Food Hall and Saks Off Fifth.

After some shopping (we grabbed some holiday dresses at Dynamite by the way!), we went back to the hotel for a quick outfit change and then drove to Wasabi Sabi at 1360 Taylor Avenue. If you are looking for high-end Japanese cuisine and sushi in Winnipeg, then this is it.

Wasabi Sabi in Winnipeg, MB Wasabi Sabi in Winnipeg Wasabi Sabi on Waverley in Winnipeg

Wasabi Sabi is part of the Wasabi Group, which also has a second location in the city’s West End, as well as a chain of quick-service restaurants called Chosabi, which specialize in poke bowls and sushi burritos (which is also super delicious by the way). Now Wasabi Sabi is definitely a night-out or special occasion kind of place, from the atmosphere to the food, this is not your average sushi joint. This menu options are delicious and feature classic staples that we all know and love, such as the Caterpillar and Crazy 88 roll, as well as their own fun takes on sushi and Japanese cuisine.

We ordered some of our favourite dishes like miso soup, assorted tempura, tuna tataki, as well as a few different rolls. They also have amazing cocktails, such as the Lycheetini (vodka, cointreau, lychee liqueur and lychee juice), and the Espressotini (fresh espresso, kahlua, grey goose vodka and rumchata).

After dinner we made our way back to the Hyatt House and snuggled into bed ready for the weekend ahead (the beds here are very comfy by the way; we both had a great night sleep!).

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Original Pancake House on Kenaston in Winnipeg The Original Pancake House on Kenaston in Winnipeg

On the Saturday we woke up bright and early since we had a fun-filled day ahead of us.

There are tons of great breakfast spots in the area, but we wanted to visit a Winnipeg classic and nothing says Winnipeg breakfast more than the Original Pancake House.

Located at 2220 McGillivray Boulevard, this is the local chain’s third and newest location (their original Pembina one just closed earlier this year). They feature all-day breakfast, as well as classic lunch and dinner food. Now what the Original Pancake House is known for is the Giant Apple Pancake, which is one of my favourite things to order and so worth the hype.

Since Rose had never tried one, we got one to share (it literally takes up an entire plate; they do offer a “baby” version for a few dollars less as well). The Giant Apple Pancake (they have different versions of giant pancakes as well, but this one is the OG) is their signature item and is an oven-baked pancake featuring freshly-sliced apples and imported Saigon cinnamon sugar.

If you are visiting Winnipeg for the first time, I definitely recommend popping by the Original Pancake House (they also have locations at The Forks and inside the Clarion Hotel at Polo Park) and trying it. Even after I posted about it on Instagram Stories, I had so many people DM me about how much they love it and how much of a classic breakfast item it is here in the city.

Floral Fixx on Kenaston in Winnipeg

Once we finished breakfast (just a note, the Original Pancake House doesn’t take reservations so make sure you get there early as there is usually a wait later on in the morning), we did have some time to kill before our next activity, so we went off itinerary and popped by the shops at Kenaston Common. Sephora actually recently opened a location here so we popped in to check out all the fun holiday sets and then made our way over to Floral Fixx, which is a few doors down. Floral Fixx is a boutique and flower shop and is literally the most beautiful store. It features tons of flowers, as well as local products, fun decor, and clothing items. This shop is so perfect for holiday gift shopping as well.

Speaking of gift shopping, our next activity were some pedicures at Tiber River Naturals. Located at 1650 Kenaston Blvd. (in the strip mall near Nuburger and Sobeys), Tiber River features locally produced, fresh handmade body products (which always makes great gifts). Their items are made from all-natural ingredients that won’t harm those who use them or the environment. There are so many products and scents to choose from, and since the holidays are upon us, it was fun to smell their holiday collection (my favourite was Candy Cane).

Tiber River Naturals on Kenaston in Winnipeg, MB Tiber River Naturals on Kenaston in Winnipeg, MB

Now I usually visit their other location on Academy Road, so it was fun to pop into this one and get a service that I get often from their Coterie. They actually offer a ton of spa services, but they really do one heck of a good pedicure, so we each got the Classic Tiber-Riffic Pedicure, which includes a warm foot soak, nail shaping, cuticle work, callus work, Tiber River Sugar Scrub, massage, and polish.

Once our polish was dry, we put our boots back on and made our way to Fort Whyte Alive (1961 McCreary Road). Fort Whyte Alive is a Winnipeg staple and features prairie wildlife, seven kilometres of forest trails, a marsh boardwalk, an interactive museum, aquarium, and the Buffalo Stone Cafe.

If you are a Winnipegger, you definitely know Fort Whyte Alive, and you probably even went on field trips here as a kid. I remember going to Fort Whyte when I was in elementary school and thinking it was so far away, but it’s actually right in the city, which is hard to believe since the area is so rural (it feels like you are in the country, but it’s literally 4.8 kilometres from Tiber River on Kenaston!).

Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg. Bison at Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg. Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg.

Aside from taking in nature, Fort Whyte Alive also hosts so many fun events throughout the year, so keep an eye on their event calendar online. They also have the Nature Shop in the Alloway Reception Hall, which is filled with so many great gift ideas. On a side note, when we checked into our hotel, Tourism Winnipeg had a gift bag with some fun Winnipeg stuff in it, including a Winnipeg Factoids booklet, where I learned that Charlie Alloway, the man that the Alloway Reception Hall is named after, is credited with helping to save the bison from extinction. His 13 “pet” bison became part of the animal’s nationwide population growth, which I found very fitting since Fort Whyte Alive is home to 30 to 40 bison (it has Canada’s largest urban bison herd).

After checking in at the reception area and checking out the Nature Shop, we were handed some binoculars for bird watching, as well as map of the area. Unfortunately it was very snowy that day so we did hit the trails for a little bit but didn’t see a ton of birds. We did find our way to the Bison Viewing Mound to see the bison in their natural habitat, which was so cool to see, especially since you don’t have to leave the city to see them!

After Fort Whyte Alive, we made our way back to the Hyatt House (it’s around a five-minute drive away) to warm up and change before going to The Rec Room. The Rec Room is about a two-minute walk from the hotel (they are side by side) and features over 30,000-square-feet of games, food, and entertainment.

The Rec Room in Winnipeg

Featuring Canadian-inspired cuisine, virtual reality, bowling, axe throwing, arcade games, live entertainment, and more, The Rec Room is a great place to spend a Saturday night with friends. Although they do have a great restaurant and bar on-site, we were there for the games and took in a round of bowling and some arcade gaming, which is always a really fun time.

After some games we went back to the hotel again for a quick outfit change before heading to Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar. This location is their only Winnipeg one (the others are in B.C.) and features southern Italian comfort food made with fresh ingredients.

Frankie's Italian Kitchen & Bar in Winnipeg Frankie's Italian Kitchen & Bar in Winnipeg

The menu has an impressive selection of food (pro tip, their happy hour and reverse happy hour specials, as well as daily drink specials, are a great deal!), as well as a large wine list (FYI, Wednesdays are half-price wine night). I got an Aperol spritz, whereas Rose got the Tiramisu martini. As for the food, we split the beef carpaccio, the shrimp scampi tagliatelle, and the Amato pizza (prosciutto, bocconcini mozzarella, arugula, tomato sauce, and parmigiano reggiano). For dessert we ordered the tiramisu, which was so light, fluffy and delicious; I highly recommend it!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to watch some TV in the comfy Hyatt House beds!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Wheelhouse Cycle Club in Winnipeg Wheelhouse Cycle Club in Winnipeg

Sunday morning was also an early one since we booked a 9 a.m. ride at Wheelhouse Cycle Club, which is located across the street from the Hyatt House. I frequent Wheelhouse regularly, so it’s always a pleasure to visit this local spin studio (the Sterling Lyon location is the only Winnipeg one, but they also have a couple locations in Saskatchewan, which is where they are from).

I love doing spin at least once a week and Wheelhouse is one of my favourite spin studios in the city. You ride to the beat of the music alongside 40 other people in a dark room lit by candlelight. It’s a killer workout and truly the best way to start the day (especially after a weekend of eating and shopping haha!). The class lasts 45 minutes and you will definitely get your heart rate up and pour tons of sweat!

After Wheelhouse we quickly went back to the hotel for the continental breakfast. This breakfast is served daily at the Hyatt House until 10 a.m. on the weekends (9:30 a.m. on the weekdays). There was a selection of scrambled eggs, toast and bagels, sausages/bacon, French toast, cereal, fruit, granola, etc. I love a continental breakfast so the fact that they offer this is a huge plus in my books.

Pocca Poca Spa in Winnipeg After a quick breakfast we made our way to Pocca Poca Spa, located at 3-840 Waverley Street, which is a unique experience here in Winnipeg.

Pocca Poca Spa specializes in Ganban-yoku, which is modelled after a resort at a volcanic area in Japan. Legends say a villager often saw Japanese snow monkeys resting on the heated volcanic stones to heal their injuries and relax and those people began to follow their healing practice and noticed the benefits of the treatment. Currently there are over 1,000 of these Ganban-yoku spas in Japan and it’s the only one of its kind in Winnipeg (and one of few in all of Canada!).

So what is it exactly? Basically you wear this two-piece special outfit and then you are taken into a dark heated room which features stone slabs which you lie on. There are three different kinds of stones to choose from: maifan, tourmaline, and jade. They also feature a tensyo stone in a private room, and each stone has different benefits to it. You start first on your stomach and then after about 20 to 30 minutes you can walk out of the room to a normal-temperature room to hydrate and cool off, then you go back in and lie on your back for the rest of the session.

The benefits of doing Ganban-yoku are immense. These sessions can help with relaxation, detoxification, great sleep, pain relief, weight loss, anti-aging, glowing skin, improved circulation, and more.

Pocca Poca Spa in Winnipeg, MB

Rose and I actually got the Glowing Ganban-yoku Detox Facial package, which included one hour of the Ganban-yoku and a 15-minute facial. While we were lying on the stone slabs on our back we received a facial which included a gentle lift to the face, lymphatic drainage, a scalp massage, and skincare/mask application. The two services paired together was really relaxing and it was the perfect way to end of staycation (plus so great to do on a Sunday after a snowfall).

By the time we left Pocca Poca we were so relaxed and rejuvenated. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel for a late checkout and then headed home.

Both Rose and I had such a fun time with this staycation. It was actually really great timing for her in particular since her drive to the area is quite far, so the fact that this happened over a snowstorm weekend ended up working out in our favour.

Breakfast in bed at the Hyatt House in Winnipeg Breakfast in bed at the Hyatt House in Winnipeg

If you are wanting to plan a staycation in Winnipeg, or planning a trip here, I recommend checking out the Seasons/Kenaston/Waverley area. Everything is really close by and they really do have so many amenities that there is more than enough things to do to plan a weekend around.

If you are wanting to plan your Winnipeg staycation/vacation, make sure you check out Tourism Winnipeg’s #HereForItWpg website for more ideas and suggestions of things to do, places to eat, and locations to shop at.

Huge thank you to Tourism Winnipeg for making this dream a reality for me!

Have you visited the Seasons/Kenaston/Waverley area of Winnipeg?

Note, I am working with Tourism Winnipeg to promote tourism in the city. All opinions are my own.

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