Linda Barnard

Linda Barnard

Award-winning film and travel writer
Travel Media Association of Canada, Society of American Travel Writers, Toronto Film Critics Association
My company is Spellbound: captivating writing


Oberoi Hotels & Resorts India: Comfort and care taken to new levels

INDIA—Maybe it was the rose petals showered from above as we arrived, or the sachets discovered tucked into luggage, the cleaning kit left beside an iPad or the welcoming ceremony at each hotel. No, it was definitely the pony.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Two hotels offer hippest stays on Oahu

Two 1960s Honolulu hotels have recently been reborn as hip stays. The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club, which opened in 2016 after an extensive renovation, embraces a retro-surfer vibe with a pool smack in the middle of the open-concept reception and courtyard. The modest oval pool has a cheeky “Wish You Were Here” mosaic on the bottom, best seen from room balconies around the hotel.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

In Udaipur, tranquility in the shadow of luxurious palaces

With a centuries-old palace as the backdrop for an early morning yoga session beside calm Lake Pichola, Udaipur lives up to its reputation as a place blessed with good vibrations and movie-screen good looks.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Feel your soul soar at the Taj Mahal

“Feel you are in paradise. Don’t feel you are just tourists to take some pictures and go."
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Cool and Unusual Things to do on Your Netherlands Vacation

Go north from Amsterdam, curious traveller, even just across the river IJ (pronounced “eye”) by free ferry from Centraal Station to uncover fun and offbeat experiences to set you apart from other Netherlands visitors. You might be the only Canadian to drop by in weeks, or months, at some of these places.
Canadian Traveller Link to Story

Wake up happy: hang out among the treetops in P.E.I.

Sheila Arsenault’s dream of offering an escape, wellness and ‘an authentic experience’ comes true in the woods outside Charlottetown. Remember your favourite duvet fort when you were a kid? Nestle it in a futuristic, framed geodesic dome set high in a forest to get a TreePod, the latest in woodsy-chic stays.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Phoenix hotel encourages you to ‘Find Yourself’ as city reinvents itself

As Phoenix continues to reinvent itself, hip stay Found: Re emerges as the new ‘it’ spot, steeped in art and industrial-modern design.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

How to spend two days in Abu Dhabi

There were nervous grins in the back seat of the powerful land cruiser when guide Faizal Mohamed posed the question, expertly nudging our vehicle to the crest of a dune in the Al Khatim Desert. A brief pause and we were skidding down the steep slope, shrieking with laughter. The 4x4 roller coaster ride was part of a desert safari about a 45-minute drive and a world away from ultra-modern downtown Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Groninger Museum, Groningen

While other art museums may go for grandeur, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands plays on joy. It’s impossible not to grin at the first sight of this brilliantly colourful, post-modernist gem. All angles, patterns, and colours, it seems to tumble along its small island home in a canal in Groningen, the largest city in the country’s north and about two hours by train from Amsterdam. Link to Story

A prison café is the highlight of modern-day Cartagena

There’s more than bread and water on this prison menu. At Cafe Interno, staffed by some of the 140 inmates in the San Diego women’s penitentiary next door, grilled catch of the day with “farm vegetables” grown in the jail’s garden are served with a side of social justice. The sign on the wall outside reads “second chances” in Spanish, with an arrow pointing to an open cell door.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Prince Edward County lures with chic stays, shops and homemade treats

PICTON, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY—The pink neon Peace Love Wine sign is always on at the June Motel, where Wine O’Clock is more a state of mind than a time of day. “Wine O’Clock is all the time for us,” says Sarah Sklash, a former government business analyst who left Toronto to become a “motelier” in Prince Edward County with longtime bestie and business partner, April Brown.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Explore Arizona's agritainment scene, starting with goat yoga

MESA, ARIZONA—Child’s pose in yoga class is a lot more fun with a kid on your back. Kid as in baby goat, that is. Four-hoof massages were on the house at Arizona Goat Yoga, held in a large paddock at Welcome Home Ranch near the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story


Linda Barnard

A freelance writer covering film and travel, I have more than three decades of experience in deadline-driven digital and print journalism. I'm the former movie writer and a staff film critic at the Toronto Star and a National Newspaper Awards winner (Arts & Entertainment) and winner Best International Travel Story, SATW Canadian Chapter. I have extensive experience as a restaurant critic and food, wine and cocktail writer.
I write for The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, Canadian Traveller Magazine, Fodor's, Movie Entertainment Magazine, Montecristo Magazine, The National Abu Dhabi and others.
My creative clients include Telefilm Canada and Star Metro Media.
I write eloquent speeches, craft well-written targeted content and can provide media training.