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With a reputation as a happy mix of surfers, resident hippies, incognito celebrities and carefree intelligentsia, all living in a relatively small community on a stretch of pristine Pacific with perfect surf breaks, Malibu has long held a cachet as a particularly alluring beachside enclave.

But until recently, there weren’t many tasteful lodging options for visitors who weren’t in possession of a mansion (Hard Rock co-founder Peter Morton reportedly just sold his Richard Meier modernist compound for a mere $110 million U.S.) or who wanted more than just a bare-bones motel room. Most visitors like me would just head there for the day and then have to go back to Los Angeles after sunset.

But until recently, there weren’t many tasteful lodging options for visitors who weren’t in possession of a mansion.
But until recently, there weren’t many tasteful lodging options for visitors who weren’t in possession of a mansion.  (Tanveer Badal / NYT)

As an American living in Tuscany, I love to surf when I can — from Siargao, Philippines, and Sayulita, Mexico, to the North Shore of Oahu. A return to Malibu was like a tonic for the soul to me.

And that’s why the opening of three new properties in this old-school surf boho destination was so striking to see. Malibu has welcomed the Surfrider Malibu, the Native Hotel and the Nobu Ryokan Malibu, not to mention a complete interior renovation of the 1989 Malibu Beach Inn, one of the first luxury lodgings in the community. And with the debut of a members-only Soho House outpost, Little Beach House Malibu, the area also has new pull for creatives and Hollywood types who want to brainstorm away from Los Angeles. Now, after a day of surfing, I too planned to sleep over for a long weekend.

Local observers say the new additions to the lodging scene embrace the fact that a diverse group of travellers finds the “Bu,” as Malibu is affectionately called by surfers, compelling.

The Surfrider Malibu has actually been around since the 1950s, a thin-walled motel to bed down after a post-surf session or a show at next door’s Crazy Horse Saloon, a rock hangout, but nonetheless on a prime spot on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Now, after a three-year-plus renovation by its owners, Matthew Goodwin and Emma Crowther, and their partner Alessandro Zampedri, the Surfrider Malibu has been transformed into a boutique hotel with the kind of barefoot-cool vibe that the destination seemed to crave. The property opens into a large communal lobby full of coffee table books and framed art, a long wood table and wicker lamps hanging from the ceiling.

When I stayed there in April, I found custom surfboards to borrow, scented candles, an airy bedroom with a custom-made teak bed, reclaimed wood floorboards and hand-painted ceramic tiles in the bathroom. With its neutral tones and natural materials, the effect was soothing.

“In The Surfrider we set out to create the ultimate California beach house,” Crowther said, “a place for travellers rather than tourists, for the person seeking the local experience, a taste of the elusive California dream.”

As I was in a ground floor unit, I didn’t have a full Pacific view as did the people in the rooms above me. But I did spend most of my time at the rooftop restaurant and bar drinking a fresh smoothie and marvelling at how the natural light changed over the iconic 1938 pier, across from the hotel. The pier juts over the water with its little cafes and shops, and surfers gather at the world-famous break alongside.

The Surfrider, with rates starting at $350, offers a complimentary 1968 sage green Land Rover for excursions to other surf breaks, as well as picnic baskets for beachside lunches at a cost.

At $2,000 a night with a two-night minimum, the Nobu Ryokan Malibu on local Carbon Beach, also known as “Billionaire’s Beach” because of its high-end real estate, is close to the Little Beach House Malibu, the Soho House outpost with no lodging, but it was sadly out of my price range.

The Nobu Ryokan Malibu, formerly the Casa Malibu Inn, was bought by tech guru and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison in 2007 and opened a decade later as the new bench mark of luxury on the beach. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and producer Meir Teiper are co-owners of the property, which is managed by Nobu Hospitality. The property has 16 suites, some with teak soaking tubs, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and room service from the famed sushi chef himself. (When I win big, I will be booking a suite.)

I opted instead for an overnight at the Native Hotel, with a starting rate of $400. Formerly known as the Malibu Riviera Motel (Bob Dylan and Marilyn Monroe were among its guests), the property has been given a fresh look by the owners of Folklor, a design company that does chic branding for hospitality and restaurant companies like Venice Beach’s Gjelina and the Line Hotel.

The Native Hotel is not on the beach itself, and the cinder block bungalows seemed a bit brutally modernist, but inside I liked the feeling of having my own cabin with its crisp white linens, minibar in the vintage ice chests and kimono-style robes. There are also New-Age California embellishments like a yurt for yoga and sage smudge incense sticks for getting rid of any negative energy. It felt like a sleepaway camp for stylish grown-ups with a penchant for the outdoors.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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