Actor Omari Hardwick loves North Vancouver's Grouse Grind and always packs a hat.
Omari Hardwick is a film and television actor starring in “Power,” a Starz network drama about a nightclub owner in New York who leads a double life as a drug kingpin. He is based in New York, where the series, now in its third season, is filmed.
Hardwick says he needs his alone time, so while some of his vacations are with family, some he takes solo. One place he returns to when he needs what he calls “Omari time” is Vancouver, British Columbia, where he worked on the TV show “Saved.”
“I lived there for about a year and fell in love with it,” he says. “It’s so beautiful, and it still offers me solace. You’ll be on one street that feels like Chicago, and the next one reminds you of Atlanta, where I grew up. If you’re by English Bay you think it’s Santa Monica.”
He recommends North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind.
“It’s an incredible hike,” he says. “If you make it through that, you’ll feel pretty damn good about yourself.”
He calls himself a hotel fanatic.
“I’m addicted to the hotel life,” he says. “It’s humbling and fly at the same time. I’m still a kid pressing my face to the glass as if I’m not allowed into the big party. I’ve had every level of being spoiled imaginable, but I still feel that way. I love hotels.”
It has been a long time since Hardwick took time off to travel. But he has a family trip planned for Christmas: He is taking his wife, Jae, and two children, Nova and Brave, ages 3 and 1, to New Zealand.
“We’re going to go to the South Island, and then we’ll hop over to Wellington, which is a lot like Greenwich Village,” he says. “I knew Heath Ledger from New York and the theater world, and he was always bragging about Perth [Australia], so I thought, I’d like to do that as a bit of a homage to Heath’s spirit. So, Perth, and from there to Bali. I haven’t mentioned the Bali part to my family yet, but I think they’ll be cool with it.”
Here’s what he packs on every trip.
“I always have a backpack. I was a poet, so it reminds me of being a backpack poet. Over the years I’ve graduated to a look that’s not so hobo-ish, so these days it’s a nice bag. Right now I’m using a motorcycle bag that’s made from boxing glove material.”
“Sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow time to go to the hotel after I get off the plane, so I bring my Freebird boots or my old school Adidas shell-toes to throw on after I land. Shoes make an outfit; they’re like rims for a car.”
Crucifix and rosary
“I always bring a crucifix that my mom gave me years ago. In 2010 I traveled to Israel, which was incredible. I bought a rosary in Bethlehem, and I’ve brought it with me ever since.”
Books and magazines
“I always bring books for days. Right now I’m reading ‘The Eagles Have Flown’ as research for Season 4 of ‘Power’; it’s a weathered, tattered book I picked up in a vintage shop. I stock up on magazines, like Vanity Fair, at the airport, but I don’t usually get time to read them.”
“I’m a hat guy. I have a whole collection, and I always keep a really cool hat in my bag, like a fedora with a feather on the side … my hats have so many feathers. I put it on right away when I get off the plane; it’s something that helps me hide a little bit.”
“I have a cool pair of shades that I got from Nas’ collection, which he designed for ‘Ghostbusters.’ They look like the ones Prince used to wear, with the round little Coke-bottle lenses.”