Winter in Toronto is a tough time, especially for your skin. It's cold and dry, and after weeks of wind and windchill, it's hard not to feel a bit chafed. That's where the Divine Body Treatment at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie--located on the fifth floor of the elegant Shangri-La Hotel--comes in for some much-needed rejuvenation and relaxation.
For ten years now I have been writing about hotels for The Gate and for newspaper travel pages, in addition to my last book. I have been in about as many hotels as the Gideon Bible and given that I have formed very definite, almost subconscious ways of determining if I am digging a hotel I am in--and that usually begins immediately with the way I am treated on my first approach to the front desk for check in.
As a great lover of movie history, a place like the Sunset Tower Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles (more specifically, West Hollywood) already has me pretty much captivated even before I check in. The Hollywood history that is connected to this place, the pure Hollywood legends that live--in spirit and in life--within the walls of this storied old hotel are second to none.
Planning a wedding can be a lot of a fun, but of course it's a daunting task for any couple, no matter if you're inviting 60 or 600 people. In Toronto, there are dozens of venues that can cater to any style or taste, and while the search for a wedding venue took some time and effort, there was really only one hotel that I had in mind for our wedding night, and that was the five-star Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville.
The 2009 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF as it is now called officially, has come to a close and this year the Fairmont Royal York played host to some serious TIFF action. You knew something wonderful was happening here as soon as you walked through the front doors end entered the lobby, a wonderful poster welcoming TIFF participants greeted you. The poster, another touch of brilliance courtesy of the film and TV person here at the Royal York, Kolene Elliott, was a very faithful recreation of the poster for The Wizard of Oz only it wasn't Oz at the end of the yellow brick road, it was the Royal York. And it just got better from there.
Originally I was going to call this chapter of the series "The Fairmont Royal York Goes To The Movies," but in essence it really should be called "The Movies Go To The Fairmont Royal York." On Tuesday, August 4th the Toronto International Film Festival held the second of its annual summer press conferences in the venerable Imperial Room here at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
There is something incredibly social about living in a hotel – even if you are not particularly a social person you cannot help but be enveloped in the constant motion and movement of people in and out. The pace is quick here but not in the rat-race kind of way - the quickness here comes with an excitement and happiness. Visitors are on their way out to explore or are dragging their luggage across the lobby to quickly check in and get their adventure underway.
I woke up this morning in a lovely suite in the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. The curtains in the bedroom area were open a foot or so and my view from bed was of a gryphon shaped gargoyle perched over the corner of the tenth floor. I thought to myself, "This is a hotel."
As you drive up the long road in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick toward the Fairmont Algonquin, there is a sudden feeling of travelling back in time. In fact, there is an immediate impression as if you had actually been placed inside the Movie Dirty Dancing and are pulling into Kellerman's.