She loves flowers, but she wishes they would stay fresh and beautiful forever. Venus et Fleur eternity roses are her bouquet dreams come true. These preserved and perfectly formed roses last a year or longer, displayed elegantly in their special vase containers, such as crystal clear acrylic or luxurious leather boxes. Also available in custom collections, these exquisite and fragrant blooms can be exhibited like a museum treasure. From single minis ($39) to abundance bouquets of dozens ($499 and up).
With a uber warm cost by Helley Hansen, like the stylish Svalbard 2 Parka, ($325), your favorite outdoorsy gal can get down and get warm, literally. The difference in this jacket is the quality of its ALLIED Feather & Down insulation. This legendary fill is the industry gold standard, with superior loft, proprietary multi-wash cleaning and drying process for freshness allergen-free comfort and certified as sourced ethically and responsibly.
The clog she’ll love
When she’ stepping out, for a fast jaunt to the mailbox, to walk the dog, pick up a few groceries, or joining her buds for après ski, her tootsies will be toasty in Stegmann wool clogs ($125). These comfy clogs wear like winter flip flops. They slip on quickly and are easier than pulling on her boots, perfect for around the house, or out running errands. These quality crafted sustainably manufactured classic clogs have earned their workhorse reputation as the timeless slip-on show that has been keeping feet luxuriously warm and comfy for decades.
Give her sweet dreams, pampered in stylish luxury bedding from Loomstead. The lavish and unique designs of these fine yet affordable bed linens complement the high-quality sustainably sourced Belgian flax and Egyptian cotton fabrics, offering a soft, crisp and comfortable experience. The simple and modern Cotton Coverlet ($200) will freshen up her bedroom and the natural linen materials will keep her warm in winter and cool in summer.
Make her feel good all over, free of stubble on her legs, underarms and bikini area, with the Luminess Silk and Smooth Body, a gentle shaver that removes unwanted hair anywhere, by lifting hair off skin and cutting if at the root – with zero cuts, shaving bumps, or skin irritations. This compact, battery powered girls’ best friend uses sonic technology to sheer unwanted hair wither wet or dry, and its gentle enough for daily use. $49 at luminesscosmetics.com
She will never again have that unfulfilling feeling when she goes to get her favorite snack, and the box is empty with Weplenish ($39.99, Amazon) . This amazing smart endless snack dispenser takes count of your snacks and automatically re-orders them when the container is running low. Weplenish Also holds her favorite k-cup brands like Starbucks, Green Mountain, Nespresso, Dunkin Donut etc., and is compatible with a variety of snacks like KIND Bars, RXBARs, GoMacro Bars, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, and Keebler’s Cookie Variety Pack.
She’s with the band
Active gals who work and play hard may love their betrothed but hate their uncomfortable wedding band, which is why Fixate created a variety of quality silicone rings ($8.95 – $24.95), ideal for the gym, outdoors, construction site, watersports, and just about everything she does on a daily basis. Made with premium medical-grade silicone in a variety of ring sizes, colors, shapes and designs, she can wear this band wherever.
Eyewear for life
When she wants to make a fashion statement and a statement about sustainability at the same time, she can frame her face in stylish Sunski sunglasses, the recycled plastic eyewear that supports the environment with every pair sold. Whether she’s at the beach or on the mountain, Sunski’s polarized lenses protect her eyes from harmful rays, and they stay put thanks to a fit for active lifestyles. Designed by San Francisco surfer dudes and tree huggers, Sunski frames, are quality crafted from industrial scraps and guaranteed forever. Available at sunski.com. $55-$68, kids frames ($38) also available.
Whether she’s out in the wilderness, on the slopes or out for run, she will feel comfortable and warm wearing a Kora ($160) base layer. This snug-fitting sweater, made of 100 percent pure Himalayan yak wool fabric, conforms to the body with an ergonomic 3D fit and insulates for an effect of 40 percent more warmth than comparable merino fabrics. Styled for maximum body coverage with and extra-long length and zip-up neck collar, the Kora can be worn in comfort all day.
Live by the knife
She can chop, dice and slice up a meal like a pro with Michelin-Star-Chef-approved Edge of Belgravia’s Galatine cutlery ($167 for the 7-piece set).The bold, sleek jet black knife collection gets its name from the magical sword that the Lady of the Lake gave to Sir Gawain. The blades can be stowed in their own unique holder, the Black Diamond Knife Block ($99), a half-utility, half-piece-of-art, in which the knives appear to magically float. Available online and in retailers nationwide including Bed Bath and Beyond.
She loves to be plugged in, but her OCD makes her hate the tangle of cables on her desk or nightstand, she will love the Cable Wrangler ($19.99). Created by Austin-cool Silk, makers of a variety of unique smartphone cases, wallets and accessories, this upholstered magnetic mound will hold her cables with a satisfying “click.” For non-metal cables, the holder features tiny metal collars to place around the necks of those pesky errant cables.
She can snuggle up by the campfire or on the sofa with the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket ($159). Made with the same technical materials found in premium sleeping bags, this go-anywhere throw blanket will keep her cozy and warm in any environment. The latest design, a collaboration between artist and outdoor adventurer Stickfort and camping gear companies Rumpl and Yakima, is a beautifully printed blanket inspired by the Pacific Northwest sunset. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the environmental preservation non-profit group Friends of the Columbia River Gorge.
Crystal Duffy went into her high-risk pregnancy like many other mothers, trusting in her doctors and expecting the best outcome. As many expectant mothers learn, things don’t always go as planned. In Duffy’s case, at 21 weeks, she had a “gut” feeling something was wrong. She talked to her doctor and underwent tests that showed that her twin daughters shared a single placenta. Duffy never knew that the crucial information about one or two placentas could mean the difference between life or death, for her babies and herself.
Duffy, who was age 29 at the time, was experiencing an uncommon but serious complication of pregnancy called placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery. If untreated, the condition could result in the babies not getting enough oxygen or nutrients, which could cause premature birth or stillbirth. For the mother, the risk is hemorrhaging and bleeding to death during delivery.
Duffy and her doctors collaborated and determined that she should undergo an in vitro surgery to correct the problem, and they decided she should deliver her babies early, at 30 weeks. Duffy’s delivery went as well as could be expected, though she spent two months on extended bed-reset and her premature infants spent 38 days in NICU. The traumatic experience of finding out about her life-threatening pregnancy complication and then having to make crucial decisions to save her life and the lives of her children proved a transformative experience for Duffy and her family.
To help other mothers and families facing similar situations, Duffy wrote a book, Twin to Twin: From High-Risk Pregnancy to Happy Family. Duffy’s twin daughters are now four years old, and they are healthy and happy sisters to her oldest daughter, who is six, and Duffy feels her emotionally, physically and spiritually transformative experience has given her the strength, knowledge and inspiration to help others through their journey of a high-risk pregnancy.
Duffy’s book gives practical advise to mothers regarding how to communicate with their doctors and form a partnership with them. She also advises mothers to learn everything then can about their pregnancy and possible complications, so that they are prepared if something does go wrong. Duffy urges mothers to speak up, ask questions, and to trust their inner feelings about their pregnancy, since they know their bodies better than anyone else. Through the book, Duffy aims to equip mothers to handle all aspects of their pre- and post-natal self-care, from dealing with anxiety to finding creative outlets and otherwise staying mentally healthy while home caring for a newborn.
Taking a challenging episode of her life and making it into a positive is part of Duffy’s message to other mothers. She has become an advocate for mothers experiencing high-risk pregnancy, and she now dedicates herself to educating other mothers, by serving as a patient advocate on advisory boards at hospitals and through TV appearances and involvement in raising awareness for campaigns such as of Preemie awareness month in November and Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) Awareness Month in December. She is also a leader in a movement #ChangeTheConversation, which encourages doctors and mothers-to-be to communicate more effectively, to improve pregnancy and delivery outcomes.
They say that each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own personality, and it did not take more than a few hours for me to figure out the character of Kaua’i. Just ask any Hawaiian and you will get schooled on their state. As I traveled the island, I was amazed at how every local, usually a transplant, possessed an encyclopedia-worthy amount of knowledge about the island. I learned that each of the state’s eight main islands is very different, and each has their own history, culture and pride. When a native of Kaua’i wanted to tell me what his island was all about, he said to truly experience it, I should do nothing.
Kaua’i is the laid back, decompressed island. The oldest and fourth largest island is a surfer’s haven that embodies the lifestyle where locals chill and invite visitors to do the same. Everyone who lives on Kaua’i has a story of what brought them there and how they ended up staying. I heard countless tales of those arriving with round trip airline tickets that became a one-way ticket to a new life. I also spoke to many locals who were born on the island, and several had never been off the island, and they had no desire to leave.
While tourists are welcome to kick-back and relax, for type-A visitors, Kaua’i hosts a plethora of activities for non-stop action.
Kaua’i is famed for many things, including its lush mountainous terrain, which has starred as the backdrop for every Jurassic Park movie. It is also known for its legendary surfing beaches, such as the surfing area off Makua Beach called Tunnels, which became infamous as the spot of a 2003 tiger shark attack on Bethany Hamilton’s in which the top-ranked surfer lost an arm.
Many of the beaches are beautiful to look at but are not for frivolous frolicking in the waves. The day we attempted to swim in the ocean, our shuttle driver from the Hanalei Resort reported that he had tried to surf that morning, but he turned around because the swells were too big. That same day, we heard from another beachcomber a tale of a young man who narrowly escaped an attack by mounting a tiger shark and punching it in the eye after the shark toppled him by biting his surfboard. The quick-acting surfer then jumped back on his board and paddled to shore, limbs intact.
The many faces of Kaua’i
As different as each Hawaiian island is, each side of each island can have its own culture, climate and topography. To really get a feeling for each island you need to explore all its coasts. On the sunny side of Kaua’i, we visited Aston at Poipu Kai resort, a beachfront condominium community. It was a hot and humid night when we arrived late, well after check-in time. I was worried the room would be muggy when I learned the resort had no air conditioning, and I was skeptical when the management sent two room fans; but with the balmy ocean breeze coming through the windows, we slept comfortably and soundly. The condo was nicely furnished with bamboo furniture and tropical printed draperies, with an open loft style upstairs master suite and two baths. Outside our window were beautiful bright pink flowering vines and a cute blue tile-lined swimming pool with an ocean view, where we were the only users. The grounds were quiet even though it seemed from the abundance of cars in the parking lot that the resort was at capacity.
The resort is near the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i, which was hosting the last evening of a cultural celebration, so we walked to the hotel to peruse the hand-carved jewelry and crafts displayed and to watch hula performances of children as young as five years old who confidently and gracefully told the stories of the island’s history with their interpretive dance.
We learned a good lesson about Kaua’i that night, when we walked home in the dark. We observed that total darkness that engulfs the island after sundown is incredible for star gazing, though it is hazardous for pedestrians. We nearly stepped on a dozen frogs and wished we had brought a flashlight and bug spray.
All about Po’ipu
By daylight, Poipu is a great place to stroll around and a central location for many activities Close to our accommodations we found a darling boutique shopping center, the Shops at Kukui Ula, where we found great prices on Tungsten and Koa wood ring, which we had set out to find after we spotted them in an ad in the Hawaiian Air inflight magazine.
The mini mall also had a great café offering a decadent turnover pastry chock full of warm melty coconut flakes, and a very cool Italian eatery, Pizzetta, with a delightful patio overlooking a garden and a lively happy hour with half-priced appetizers, including my fave, calamari, and $4 Mai Tais.
Po’ipu Beach Park was a three-minute drive from the Aston, but we could have walked in less than 10. There we ran into some handsome and friendly lifeguards who warned that swimming around the island could be treacherous where no lifeguard are present. They noted that there had been 11 drownings last season. With that cautionary bulletin, we decided to forgo swimming and sunbathed instead, in front of Marriott Waiohai Beach Club, which was a popular spot for snorkelers and stand-up paddle boarders.
Determined to find the beach less-traveled, we ventured on where the danger of no lifeguard didn’t bother the hard-core surfers at the secluded Kihili Quarry Beach, where we took our Avis rental car down a quarry road so obscure that it was not even on our GPS navigation map. While we only got our feet wet, we enjoyed the view of the surfers until the sun started to set.
Another day of Kaua’i
Don’t worry if you forget to set your iPhone alarm clock in Kaua’i, the roosters will wake you up bright and early, each morning, afternoon, and in fact all day long. The gorgeously colored wild roosters and their chicken mates can be seen strutting and pecking everywhere on the island, running amuck in parking lots, on sidewalks, in stores and restaurants and even in the halls of our hotel.
Evidentially too tough for human consumption – and without natural predators, and out-numbering the feral cats which have given up hunting them, the feathered pests have proliferated in Kaua’i, necessitating “Please do not feed the chickens” signs throughout the island. As with everything else in Kaua’i, the natives have a live-and-let-live attitude and have embraced the phenomenon with abounding rooster souvenirs and artwork art at the local galleries and gift shops.
To gain an appreciation for many parts of the island, we changed accommodations, staying at a few different resorts and condominiums. Our goal was to explore each of the regions and its highlights, such as the cliffs of the Napali Coast on the North Shore, the coconut groves of the East Side, the Wailua Falls of Lihue, the commercial center of the island, the beaches and history of the South Shore, and the art community of Hanapepe Town and the scenic vistas of Kokee State Park of the West Side.
Our second stop on our whirlwind six-day trip was the Hanalei Colony Resort, a quiet and comfortable resort, situated in an area of pristine natural beauty on Kaua’i’s lush north shore. The resort holds the distinction of being the only commercial property existing in this spectacular setting. The resort also features ocean front dining at the Opakapaka Grill and Bar and the Napali Art Gallery and Coffee House, where you can enjoy your morning java and shop for treasures created by local artisans.
Next we lodged at the Kaua’i Beach Resort, called Kaua’i’s most authentic resort, with breathtaking ocean views of the eastern shores of the Garden Isle and an expansive property of 25 acres which features four swimming pools, including two lagoon pools with waterfalls and a sandy bottom.
We found many excellent places to dine, starting with Postcards, the most-recommended restaurant, where we feasted on the famous Postcards Platter of pupus including crunchy seafood-filled rockets with coconut curry, crab cakes, spice-encrusted seared ahi, the Hanalei taro fritters.
We also enjoyed the lively atmosphere of Tortilla Republic Grill, serving fresh Mexican fare with an expansive selections to tequilas at their margarita bar.
Other mentionable restaurants on the island include the Kaua’i Grill at St. Regis Princeville, which is fantastic but not the cheapest place; Bar Acuda, for excellent tapas dining; the Tavern at Princeville, known for its gorgeous setting and good food; Common Ground, offering awesome organic farm with the best breakfasts you’ll ever taste; and Hanalei Coffee Roasters, serving up scrumptious breakfasts and great coffee.
Waterfalls, waterfalls, everywhere
What else can you do in Kaua’i, you ask? Everything, if you don’t take the natives’ advice and just chillax. You can test your bravery at Zip N’ Dip Expedition at Princeville Ranch Adventures, where you can soar over breathtaking jungle valleys on ziplines and stop for a dip in a waterfall swimming hole. The thrill was intense, especially when the guide told us to get a running start on one platform over a 60-foot ravine because there was a wasp nest in a tree near the cable. I kept thinking about tracker-jackers in Hunger Games, but our party made it to the other side unscathed.
It seems all adventures in Kaua’i involve a swimming hole. At Silver Falls Ranch, we trotted through the mountains on horseback, breathing in the fragrance of the yellow ginger and cooled by the balmy trade winds, on a journey to a waterfall where we could swim in the chilly, refreshing pool below. That outing proved particularly exciting when I, the least experienced rider, lucked out by getting the most spirited horse, who reared up when we hit some deep mud he didn’t like. Thanks to the attentive and quick acting guide, I stayed in the saddle, and I walked away with a good story.
Down the road a bit, will also enjoyed the exhilaration of unpredictable twists and turns on an ATV course, courtesy of Kauai ATV. Suited up with rather unflattering one-size-fits-big nylon gym shorts and T-shirts, which we donned in order to spare our clothes from the mud onslaught, we traversed the jungle in our mud buggies, which resemble giant go-carts with awesome shocks.
Our caravan of about eight buggies slogged through a muddy fire road through Jurassic Park country – also the setting for nearly 200 other movies — through sugarcane fields and under the Wilcox Tunnel, Kauai’s only drivable tunnel. Our buggies took a beating, rattled over rocks, ripped through ditches and mud puddles and griped the ground through steep off-road trails before arriving at a midpoint rest stop where stripped to our bathing suits under our clothes and jumped into – you guessed it – a swimming hole of refreshing mountain water from a cascading waterfall.
Our afternoon was made more exciting by the resounding boom of repeated gun blasts from a local neighbor who was hunting boar on his land adjacent to our rest stop. A couple of the locals along on the ride, two 20-something women, guessed at the fire power, “Sounds like a 35 to me.” It was either that, or maybe some baby T-Rexes out playing.
Oceans of fun
No trip to Kaua’i would be complete without a snorkeling adventure, and Blue Dolphin Charters was glad to oblige us with a Napali Snorkel Adventure with Captain Andy. Being that it was a time of year when the waves can get rough, we were glad we took the advice of a shop keeper at the marina and downed Dramamine before boarding. Forewarned, we were not among the 10 people aboard who barfed, including a few kids, who were very unhappy for the duration of the cruise.
Due to the choppy water, the captain changed up the schedule, which was supposed to end with snorkeling, and instead anchored us at a secret spot where only one other boat was within eye shot. I bought an underwater sea camera at the marina but should have practiced with it before diving in, as I missed a money shot of a giant sea turtle that swam less than two feet under me and then came face-to-face with my snorkeling buddy. After about 35 minutes we were ready to come up, as stinging plants had started to cling to our legs and other exposed skin. Obviously, this was a common occurrence, as when we emerged from the water, the crew was waiting with a spray that quickly cooled the sting.
Listening to the natives
We packed in as much activities as humanly possible in our week-long visit to Kaua’i, but I had one regret before leaving. I wished we had been able to follow the advice of the natives, and just do nothing. While I wouldn’t trade our adventures for anything, I longed to just hang out on the beach, sip coffee at an ocean front café and watch the water, spend an entire afternoon browsing at the local shops, sit atop a cliff and take in the beauty all around me. The most important lesson I learned from our travels was that to truly experience the islands you need to stay a while, if not forever.
Elan Hotel is a rare find in Los Angeles – lodging smack-dab in the middle of some of the city’s most desirable attractions – yet reasonably priced. For a luxury boutique hotel at the crossroads of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, one would expect a commiserate price tag, but this stylish, five-star-service hotel offers everything a business or pleasure traveler could want, including the comforting assurance of no hidden fees.
As someone who used to live just outside of Beverly Hills, I have a fondness for the area. The Grove, the ultimate SoCal lifestyle shopping center, is within walking distance, as are several other shopping hubs, including the Beverly Center, and the discount department store plaza, the Beverly Connection. There’s plenty of great restaurants close by too, including several of my very favorites in LA – Fig & Olive, Fogo De Chão and Little Next Door.
If you don’t feel like going out, no worries, the hotel has an excellent continental breakfast, complete with Wolfgang Puck coffee, all complimentary with your stay. Likewise, in the evening, the hotel hosts a lovely wine and cheese reception in the lobby, which not surprising many guests take advantage of, making the lobby lounge a lively and social place around 5 pm daily.
To make cruising to the Sunset Strip, Mulholland Drive, or the legendary Pacific Coast highway a breeze, the hotel features a rental car package deal with Enterprise, the Élan’s California Cruisin’ Package, which includes an expanded continental breakfast, an overnight stay in an Executive King Room, valet parking, nightly turndown service, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a mid-size car rental from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The car rental arrangement includes complimentary delivery of the car to the hotel and unlimited mileage within California.
The pool is the thing for kids, when it comes to a hotel. Parents want the serenity, views and convenience. Imagine getting all of that at once, as in a hotel located nearby all the attractions you want to visit, with a pool beside a harbor with views of beautiful sailboats passing by. That’s The Portofino Hotel & Marina. My family stumbled upon this quaint boutique property on the water, on its own peninsula, off the beaten path, and we were glad to find it not overrun by tourists but occupied with other appreciative visitors who value its unique locale and attendant amenities.
While this hidden gem is in plain sight in Redondo Beach, a waterfront community flanked by other, more-crowded beach cities, it remains subdued and quiet – unless you count the barking sea lions (hence the sea lion plush animal in every room). It offers just about everything you would want when visiting a hotel in a coastal city — a harbor view; ocean breezes; plenty outdoor activities, like boating, paddle boarding, biking and other recreational activities; and easy access to shopping, dining, nightlife and places you want to be around LA.
The hotel itself is an oasis in the area, with its nautical-chic décor, ocean- and harbor-view rooms with private balconies, and a laid-back luxury vibe, where guests are encouraged to relax and breathe in the Southern California lifestyle. Visitors can unwind in the large lobby lounge, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the King Harbor and marina, or enjoy fresh California fare at the hotel’s own fine casual dining restaurant, BALEENkitchen, which features its own front-row seating to the Pacific Ocean.
The Portofino has become a haven for both business and leisure travelers, who relish its location on the water but out of the crush and stress of some of the jam-packed LA beach cities. Redondo over the years has relaxed and mellowed with age, attracting those who seek an escape but also those who appreciate the city’s history and its potential for revitalization.
A $300 million waterfront project was recently stalled, but swells of locals and visionary developers see the Redondo Beach area, and it’s historic pier and waterfront, as ripe for new life. Residents and business developers continue to advance plans to recapture some of the city’s history as a renowned vacation spot and create a new look and vitality that will propel the area into the future, as a magnet for those who gravitate to all that the waterfront can offer.
The Portofino is poised either way, to serve as a port for those passing through or those seeking a staycation, where guests can feel the ocean air and look out from their room – or from a chaise lounge by the hotel’s harbor-side pool — and see the sail craft gliding across the water, among paddle craft, and of course, the harbor’s resident sea lions.
Expect to see more of those adorable polka-dotted VW bugs on LA’s side streets, as Pink Dot is buzzing again. The LA-unique uber-convenience delivery service that delivers milk, baby wipes, or even a casual dinner to your door, within minutes, is expanding its offerings and keeping Angelenos stocked up with just about whatever they need, day or night.
For the busy parents, workaholics and other shut-ins, Pink Dot brings the goods to keep you going. If you noticed a few more of the branded bugs on the road over the last few years, that’s because new owner Sol Yamini has dedicated himself to reviving the service that he had grown up on. With a new website in 2017, and a brand refresh, Yamini has focused on Weho and LA delivery areas, operating out of the flagship store on Sunset Boulevard.
The service has adding upgraded items, like sandwiches made with Boar’s Head deli meats and Clark Street bread, and first-ever delivery options, such as a Cocktails on Demand kits.
A bit of history: Before there was Amazon Express, there was Pink Dot. The original owner, entrepreneur Bill Toro, launched the concept in 1987, and by 1999 he had opened 12 locations.. As happens with many great ideas, the company expanded too soon too fast, and by 2001 the darling of LA side streets was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Yamini acquired the stalled out business and gave it some gas. Now Pink Dot is hitting the streets of WeHo and LA again, with a vengeance. With the same buggies but a new look and improved technology to make ordering easy, and tons of new products, the polka-dotted bugs are back, zipping around the city from 9 am to 2 am, getting LA loafers what they want, when they want it, within 45 minutes.
The approximate three-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Diego can stretch to four or more hours, in the wrong conditions, like on a Friday after work, but in the Cadillac XT5 (2019 model starting at $41,695), even the peak of rush hour is comfortable and pleasurable ride.
As a mother who enjoys carting my family around in a larger car, a crossover like the XT5 is an ideal alternative to a heavier SUV. I haven’t gone off-roading yet on any of my vacations nor my grocery trips or work commute, and don’t plan to, so why pay for the gas consumption and endure the rougher handling of a heavy SUV?
The XT5’s lightweight design and structure make it hundreds of pounds lighter than its competitors in the class with no comprise to body rigidity and crash performance, but with far more agile driving dynamics and fuel economy. There’s also no giving up of power, with the XT5 sporting the same 3.6-liter V6 engine that debuted in the 2017 ATS and CTS sport sedans, and is currently used in the CT6.
For someone like myself who enjoys a luxury ride and loads of technology features to make the ride enjoyable, this vehicle is outfitted with everything a mom and kids could want, and more. Long trips and busy commutes pass by quickly with the diversion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibilities; and as a modern family car, the XT5’s mobile friendliness is evident with storage for both phones and tablets in the center console, with complementing 4G LTE WiFi capabilities and charging ports conveniently accessible in the front and rear seats.
The entertainment tech aside, the XT5 also has safety features that now I don’t know how I lived without. Cadillac’s patented and industry-leading Rear Camera Mirror system enhances the driver’s rear vision by 300 percent, using a video display applied over the conventional inside rearview mirror. A camera records wider images behind the car, streams the image to video processing software which “removes” obstacles such as the roof, rear pillars and rear seat passengers, projecting an unobstructed view to the display.
Then there’s always the creature comforts and touches that make “Cadillac” synonymous with quality and luxury, such as the auto-heated steering wheel. Like its luxury sedan brethren, the XT5 has sophisticated design throughout its spacious interior, with modern elegance and craftsmanship. Even the detail of the stitching in the seats and the leather-covered peripherals are painstakingly crafted, with an interior that is assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, rather than molded surfaces typical of mainstream vehicles.
Looks is one thing, but comfort is equally considered. Not just for the driver and front passenger but also in the rear, there is extra legroom, and rear seats that recline and adjust forwards and backwards, so even adults riding in back can stretch out. There’s also ample room for luggage.
So, back to my drive to San Diego, to visit the indelible Hotel Del on Coronado Island. The long drive was a breeze in the XT5, and even stuck in traffic for four hours I didn’t mind, because I was streaming an awesome playlist from Amazon Music, using voice controls to text friends, and I didn’t have to worry about burning my gas allowance, because the XT5 has Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology, which allows the engine to automatically switch to a fuel-saving 4-cylinder mode under low or moderate loads.
Cadillac’s Stop/Start technology automatically stop and start the engine when the vehicle is at rest in traffic stops, saving fuel and reducing emissions and noise. As with all Cadillacs, there is a premium on the quiet ride, which is why they engineered the Electronic Precision Shift to reduce noise and vibration.
The only tricky feature of the XT5 was the shifter, which has a button on the side for putting the car in gear. I sat in a parking spot trying to figure this out for at least five minutes before locating the button. While this was frustrating for a few minutes, I considered that this might be a good thing, to deter a curious kid or car thief tried to make a quick getaway. Despite this one hitch, I had no complaints about this fully equipped crossover.
Four hours after departing LA, we arrived safe and sound at the lovely Hotel Del, rested and relaxed, ready for more rest and relaxation.