Staycation. Defined by Oxford dictionary as “a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.”
Not only did we stay in our home country when Buick’s latest effort at updating the largest vehicle in its current fleet came to visit, but we barely left the Halifax Regional Municipality.
A 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir to play with for a week!
Buick Canada was not only kind enough to loan us the 2022 Enclave for a week, but they wanted us to have a ‘Winter Wonderland Experience‘.
It was largely up to us to choose a destination within the province, but we opted to take the brutally long trek across the harbour (kidding, of course) from Dartmouth to Halifax to the newly built Muir Hotel situated right on the waterfront. In reality, this is about a 10–15-minute trek from our house.
High praise for the 2022 Buick Enclave right off the bat.
While that is not nearly enough time behind the wheel of any new vehicle to form an opinion, from an automotive journalist’s point of view, it had already made an impression on my wife, Liz Harrison.
She was immediately impressed by the comfort, smooth ride, and quietness of the cabin. The Enclave is likely too big for our/her needs, but that short trip already had her commenting that she could see herself driving this type of vehicle daily.
Once we arrived, we handed the key over to the valet, who tucked the Enclave away in a mysterious underground parking lot where we would not see it until the next day.
The Muir Hotel in Halifax showcases Nova Scotia with a twist
The Muir describes itself as ‘warm and gracious hospitality inspired by the spirit, culture and natural beauty of Nova Scotia’.
This is certainly true of the menu at the in-house restaurant named Drift, which aims to offer ‘eclectic interpretations of familiar Maritime fare’. With the famous Acadian dish rappie pie on the menu, along with hodge podge and a lobster/shrimp BLT amongst many offerings, it’s safe to say the restaurant did its homework when it comes to traditional Nova Scotian cuisine.
Our room had a partial water view which added to the high-quality and neatly designed room, equipped with a bar featuring mostly local spirits, wines and beer. It was too tempting to not sample a brew or two before we headed out to experience the hotel’s spa.
Unfortunately for us though, the pool, spa and salt room were all out of order. What a shame.
Luxury and comfort, and the best caesars, at the Muir Hotel
But in a way, it sort of wasn’t. Our room was so comfortable and nicely furnished that hanging out in some of the most comfortable bath robes I’ve ever experienced proved to be just as good of a way to kill some time before dinner.
One thing we forgot to do was make a dinner reservation at Drift. The place was so popular, even at a rather late 8:30 p.m., that there wasn’t any room for us. That’s okay because we got into Drift the next day for brunch. Boy, did it ever deliver.
If you are a fan of caesars, this place easily has one of the best in town.
But we still needed somewhere to go for dinner that night. Luckily the hotel has two other restaurants to enjoy including Café Lunette – our eventual choice, and it can be accessed quite easily from the hotel.
After a meal involving steak tartar and beef bourguignon – a delicious yet heavy meal – it was off to bed in one of the most comfortable mattresses Liz and I have ever slept on.
Did somebody say road trip?
The next day was road trip day.
Peggy’s Cove is probably one of the most popular stops for tourists as it features a famous lighthouse, lots of huge rocks and some of the most gnarly waves you might ever see. It was particularly windy that day, which made for waves that reached at least 10 storeys high.
Peggy’s Cove was always a regular spot to visit when Liz and I were both kids, but we realized it had been years since we had visited as adults. The 50-minute drive outside of the city allowed us to experience the Enclave more intimately.
Our recent winter weather yoyo of thaw-freeze, thaw-freeze meant lots of potholes and other imperfections galore. No problem for the Enclave.
If you weren’t physically watching it ride over an unavoidable pothole, you likely would not have even realized it happened. Kudos for such a well-executed ride.
Our tester was the top Avenir trim which afforded us extra niceties such as unique 20-inch wheels amongst a host of cosmetic upgrades, a more luxurious cabin, added tech and more.
The waves were spectacular at Peggy’s Cove, but eventually the wind became so harsh that it was nearly impossible to breathe so off we went back home, after a bowl of chowder at the local restaurant to warm us up, of course.
The smooth power generated from the standard naturally aspirated V6 was welcomed on the way back. You can put those 310 horses to good use if need be, but it’s clear the engine would rather stay out of the way most of the time.
There’s plenty of winding roads to and from Peggy’s Cove that are likely more suitable to a Corvette, but the Enclave was still able to hold its own with not quite as much body roll as you’d expect, though those curvy corners reminded us of how big and cumbersome the Enclave can be on these sorts of roads.
Our staycation turned out to be exactly what we both needed.
A calm, relaxing getaway that didn’t involve too much planning or travel. Sometimes those are the best kinds of vacation.
And the Enclave itself could confidently call itself one of the best kinds of vehicle for its purpose. A luxurious, quiet, comfortable, road cruiser that would rather you treat it as a kind and unassuming chauffeur rather than an in-your-face performance SUV.
The latter would likely be my preference for those curvy roads, but the Enclave still was able to put a relaxing smile on my face during our time together.
Read Richard Russell’s 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir here.