Archive for Travel

The Pangea Pod Hotel, Whistler BC

“Pod” hotels are pretty popular in Asia. They’re less expensive, and the footprint of the hotel itself takes up less space, making it ideal for crowded cities. 

I’ve never traveled to Asia, and I’ve never stayed in  pod hotel. Till now. 

A decade and half or so ago, I did backpack around the UK a bunch, and I primarily stayed in hostels. Hostel living can be really fun; you meet cool people from all over the world, and the price is right for those travelling on a budget. However,  you lack privacy and if you’re an introvert, it can be your worst nightmare. 

So I had a few misgivings when I headed up the Sea To Sky highway recently with my galpal, Farzana. 

We’d both had a pretty intense few months dealing with work and some personal stuff, and we decided to do a 24-hour getaway/staycation to reset.

We booked into the Pangea Pod Hotel, which is, by far, the most affordable hotel stay in Whistler. Many places start at $300/night, and the Pangea starts at around $60 per person. 

The hotel itself is perfectly located. You literally could not ask for a more central location. It’s right in the heart of the village, within easy walking distance to all of Whistler’s main attractions. 

The Pangea has been open just a year, and business is great, the manager told me. 

It’s not surprising. The hotel offers a ton of amenities. 

Besides it being centrally located, the hotel itself is beautifully decorated and quite charming. There are several murals painted by local artist @olavolo (yay for supporting local artists!) both in the vestibule, and in the feature wall of The Living Room. The Pangea also features tons of storage for mountain bikes in the summer, and skis and snowboards in the winter. 

The Living Room is the Pangea’s common space. During the day, it acts as a lounge/coffee shop, where you can hang out and do some work on your computer. At night, it becomes a bar. There are board games, karaoke, and brunch, all overlooking Whistler’s main drag. 

the Romina Sour: gin, cassis, lemon, egg white, edible orchid

The food was good. I was especially impressed with the variety of vegan and gluten-free menu items. They’re well known for their “flabreads” (pizza), which makes a great happy-hour snack, and some pretty slammin’ cocktails. 

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Flatbread

Vegan Flatbread Pangea Pod Hotel

Vegan Flatbread

There’s also a rooftop bar on a patio, where you can order a drink and watch the world go by. Each of the pods also has its own small private patio. 

Another thing I really liked about the hotel was how modern it was in terms of technology. Check-in was done via ipads at the front desk, and I received updates from the hotel on my phone via text message. Doors to the pods were unlocked with RFID bracelets. 

But pods–let’s talk about them–because this is where I was feeling some anxiety. Our pod contained 8 bunks, and it also had two WCs, two sinks, a shower and a changing room. There were four bunks downstairs and four upstairs in our little pod. 

Each bunk easily sleeps two, and hotel accommodation includes linens and towels, you don’t have to bring your own. Each bunk includes a place to hang your clothes, shelving, a mirror, a light, USB charging stations, and a curtain for privacy. Across from the bunks, you’ll find lockers for storing your valuables (be sure to bring your own lock). 

Pods are either front-entry (cheaper and harder to get into) or side-entry. They also provide female-only pods if that makes you more comfortable. 

Breakfast at the Pangea. (photo by clint trahan /

Okay! So now for the tough questions: was it weird sleeping with strangers? Did anyone snore? Did we feel safe? 

I gotta say, the whole experience was surprisingly pleasant. It was quiet. The hotel has built-in fans that provide white noise, so that helps to disguise any ambient noise of people coughing, turning over, etc. The pods themselves are very quiet. 

In fact, I was a bit surprised we didn’t make more friends while we were there. Most people seemed to keep to themselves, other than a friendly greeting. Maybe this was because we weren’t travelling solo? 

The bunks themselves were really comfortable. The mattress was great, the linens were clean, and it was cozy. It reminded me of camping–but nice camping–glamping. 

There were a few things we thought could be improved on. First off, there was not really anywhere to sit down. A few chairs scattered around would have been helpful for say, putting on and taking off shoes. Secondly, while the storage lockers were big, I found that whole process a bit frustrating. When I stay at a hotel, I usually put my suitcase somewhere so I have easy access to my things. In this case, it was challenging to have to paw through my bag every time I needed something, and I often found myself misplacing stuff. We could possibly have found it a bit easier if we had used two lockers instead of one, but the lockers could have been improved with maybe some hooks or some shelves. The last thing we had a bit of an issue with was that the shared bathrooms used towels to dry your hands with after washing. I appreciate that this is the more environmentally-friendly route, and makes it feel more like a hotel, it made me a bit nervous to use a towel that many (?) people had used before. I ended up bringing my own towel (the one supplied by the hotel) to wash with–if I could remember. 

Surprisingly, I never had to wait for the bathroom, there was always one available. And everything was really clean, which we appreciated. 

So, despite my misgivings (mostly because I was unsure of what to expect), I really liked the Pangea Pod Hotel. Next time you’re in Whistler, check it out! 

Here’s a video of our adventure, including a look inside the Pangea: 

Vegan Options at Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 2019

Well, it’s the end of January and boy to we need a pick-me-up. Chocolate seems like it just might do the trick! 

The 9th annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is here to help us feel a little warmer, a little cozier, and a little more chocolaty. The festival runs from January 19 to February 14. 

The good news is, if you are lactose-intolerant or vegan, there are tons and tons of great options for you to indulge in. 

Koko Monk Altered Soul

“Altered Soul” from Koko Monk

For sure your best bet if you want to be dairy-free is to hit up Koko Monk. This is where they have the best selection, and some of the most interesting and creative hot chocolates in the city. The owner, Paul, is a mad genius, pairing thing together that seem like they shouldn’t work, but then they totally do. The bonus? Each hot chocolate comes with a delicious, homemade vegan chocolate. Win! They have a new location on Broadway, and they are serving up different drinks at both locations. 

Cartem’s will always be number one in my heart when it comes to donuts, and they are always very vegan-friendly. Their vegan hot chocolate entry comes paired with a vegan donut, so you cannot lose. 

I’m interested in the Mink Chocolates option, as well. It’s a boozy version made with vegan Baileys. 

Uno Gelato‘s entry is raw, and comes with a scoop of ice cream. 

Here’s the list of all the vegan entries in this year’s Hot Chocolate Festival. Please refer to the website for more details, as not all of the locations offer all of the hot chocolates all the time. 

Comment below and tell me which one is your fave! 

Parallel 49 Hot Chocolate fest

49th Parallel

Vegan almond or vegan hazelnut milk hot chocolate.
Paired with a Vegan Chocolate Doughnut. (This the first time Lucky’s has made a vegan doughnut – especially for the Hot Chocolate Festival! Yay!

Cadeaux Bakery

#17 – “COCOANUT” 

A dairy-free, vegan-friendly coconut dark hot chocolate.
Paired with a Vegan Coconut Cookie (V)

Cartem's Vegan Hot Chocolate

“Midnight Spice”

Cartem’s Donuts

#19 – “Midnight Spice” 
Dark chocolate married with almond milk, organic cayenne, cinnamon and garnished with spices and slivered almonds.
Paired with any donut in the display case. 

Eternal Abundance

Decadent hot chocolate with caramel and fair trade cacao – 100% organic and vegan.
Comes with a house-made Maple Shortbread.

Using local raspberries and fair trade premium cacao, this hot chocolate is 100% vegan, organic and irresistibly delicious.
Served with a house-made Raspberry Cheesecake.

Koko Monk Hot Chocolate flightKoko Monk (1849 W 1st Ave)

Vegan maple water dark hot chocolate with coconut milk.
Served with Passion Fruit Praline.

Vegan coconut milk matcha tea white chocolate with Turkish coffee.
Served with a vegan Eggnog and Rum Praline.

#42 – ”THE LIGHT SYLLABLES” (vegan option)
Spicy ginger and chai tea dark hot chocolate with cardamom.
Paired with a Rum Truffle.

#43 – “BLACK MOON” (vegan option)
Rich, dark drinking hot chocolate made with 74% Venezuelan Trinitario.
Paired with Tea and Cardamom Praline.

Koko Monk Hot chocolate Festival

Koko Monk 2883 W Broadway

#44 – “LOVE IS A BITCH” (vegan option)
Mango/tequila white hot chocolate with chilli.
Paired with a Rosemary Dark Chocolate Praline with olive oil.

#45 – “ALTERED SOUL” Dedicated to the Memory of David Bowie 
Vegan cashew milk dark hot chocolate with cardamom and chilli.
Paired with a Salted Rose Caramel Praline. (V)

#46 – ”THE SHAPE OF A PARTICULAR BLISS” (vegan option)
Watermelon white hot chocolate with parsley and spices.
Paired with a Rum Truffle.

Vegan smoked curry dark hot chocolate with coconut milk .
Paired with Lemongrass and Mango Praline.

Mink Chocolates

Entirely vegan coconut cream ganache hot chocolate with Baileys Almond Milk liqueur.
Paired with a Mini Dark Chocolate Bar.

Chez Christophe hot chocolate fest

Uno Gelato

RAW coconut water and made in-house RAW coconut milk with Michel Cluziel 85% chocolate and a touch of Rice Powder from Pakistan.
Served with a scoop of Uno’s Organic Avalon Dairy Gelato or Vegan Gelato.

Earnest Ice Cream

#28 – “NUTTY & NICE ”
Indulge in a creamy and luscious hazelnut hot chocolate.
Paired with a sugar cookie.


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