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DOWNTOWN BEAUTY BARS

GET GLAMMED UP WITH THE GIRLS – OR GO SOLO Sometimes all you need is an express mani or basic facial. Other times you need a slow, luxurious treatment to go with your girly gabfest. (Foot scrub, leg massage plus French pedicure, anyone?) Of course, it doesn’t hurt to add a cocktail or two in there. Either way you choose to glam-it-up, a string of beauty bars have recently opened in the downtown core. All of them also offer exclusive or hard-to-find product lines for sale; so why not throw in a little shopping while you’re there?

LET IT SNOW – WARM UP TO WINTER IN ECO-FUR

Fur is fabulous – and recycled fur is even more so. Montreal designer Mariouche Gagné has carved a cosy little niche for herself and called it “Ecoluxe.” At Harricana, her beautiful all-white boutique near the Atwater Market, shoppers can sift through racks and shelves of re-cycled fur products: everything from full-length coats to chic aviator hats to cuddly teddy bears.

BUSINESS BLACKBOOK: WHERE TO EAT YOUR NEXT POWER LUNCH

Toqué is arguably Montreal’s most revered restaurant. It is a white tablecloth institution that has long been known for its fabulous service, contemporary décor, and extraordinary tasting menus. I’ve celebrated some special occasions here, including a very romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. (Note to any gentlemen readers: My date got bonus points for having superb taste in venues.)

HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Last Thursday the Antonopoulos family celebrated the tenth anniversary of their Hotel Place d’Armes with an all-out bash. Boxing circa 1930 was the evening’s colourful theme, so lucky invite-only guests (like me) were entertained by some live fist fighting in a miniature ring, “cigarette girls” (serving sushi) dressed in feathers and flapper dresses, an oyster bar, drinks aplenty, a slick jazz band, and guest of honour Lucian Bute , the Montrealer who recently defended his super-middleweight title after a spectacular knockout match with Jesse Brinkley on Oct. 15 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

A TASTE OF JAPAN IN MONTREAL

When one colleague is an ex-Kendo warrior (ok, slight exaggeration, but he does have the outfit and the sword) and another is Montreal’s answer to Astro Boy (it’s his hair), it’s easy in this office to let a Japanese fetish flourish. Surely though, we here at The Montréal Buzz are not the only ones who gravitate toward the Land of the Rising Sun. Fellow Japanophiles, here are some Montréal spots to hit for a quick Japanese fix.

SHOP ‘TILL I DROP

So What makes a gal happier than shopping for clothes and jewellery? Well, for me, it’s shopping for clothes and jewellery on sale! Twice a year, thousands of like-minded fashion hounds block their calendars to hunt for amazing deals at La Grande Braderie de Mode Québécoise held at the Marché Bonsecours in the Old Montreal.

BACHELORETTE BASH IN MONTREAL

Seeing that I’m writing a book about hedonism in Montreal, my girlfriend in New York was convinced that my “cute little French city” would be the perfect place for her up-coming bachelorette party—and that I was the ideal person to send her a list of ideas. Of course, I had to agree, on both accounts (and add that Montreal is also a very safe city). But, I made her promise—in exchange for a girly-girl, good times itinerary—that there would be no matching pink t-shirts or plastic tiaras involved. Thank god, she agreed. Here goes…

BOUTIQUE HOTELS : WHERE TO STAY FOR YOUR GIRLS GETAWAY

Montreal is known for her sassy collection of boutique hotels. And I’m often asked, “Which one should I book?” Since each one has a distinctive personality, it’s an important question, because where you check in can set the tone and pace of your ladies’ night out. Here’s a little cheat sheet to guide you in the right direction.