The hautest hot spots in the City of Light
In March, while the snow was still falling in Toronto and SAD was setting in, my Instagram feed was flooded with images of people descending on the most romantic city in the world for Paris Fashion Week. With no vacation planned and my Fashion Week FOMO in full effect, I decided to plan the ultimate staycation.
I’ve never really mastered the art of vacationing in my own city. In the past, I’ve stuck to a formula of delivery pizza and whichever installment of Fast and Furious happened to be on cable. But this time, I wanted to take a cue from the Parisian glitz and glamour I was witnessing online, so I booked myself into the luxe, historic Fairmont Royal York.
On a windy Friday night, I walked over to the stately hotel from my office. With handpainted ceilings, ornate furnishings and crystal chandeliers, the lobby remains nearly as the same as when it was built in 1929. ( Although, while I was checking in, the desk clerk let me know that guests can now text the front desk should they need anything during their stay—a mode rn hospitalit y solution.)
With a king-size bed and huge soaker tub, my plush suite was larger than my first apartment. After a few hours of unwinding, hunger came calling, so I slipped down to the hotel’s Library Bar, with its deep crimson walls and dark wood finishes.
I started with a Bubbles & Berries, a perfect blend of Belvedere vodka, Chambord, Chandon sparkling wine and fresh berries. Then, feeling positively Parisian, I ordered the escargot, baked in an addictive garlic herb butter with honey mushrooms—and a perfectly cooked filet mignon. After a second glass of one of my favourite wines, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, I felt as if I’d travelled by air to a new relaxed state of mind.
The next morning, my North American ambition started creeping back in, so I headed to the hotel gym, running shoes in tow. But when I entered the health club and spotted the sunlit pool, I decided instead to slide into the hot tub before hitting the breakfast buffet at Epic (where I may or may not have had three platefuls of gourmet pastries).
As I checked out, full of equal parts calmness and croissants, I hopped into a cab and realized my staycation experiment had worked: I hadn’t checked Instagram once to see how those Paris Fashion Week parties were playing out. With my own joie de vivre thoroughly looked after, it didn’t seem to matter much anymore.
HIGHLIGHT REEL Clockwise from top left: the true-tooriginal glamour of the Fairmont Royal York lobby; a Bubbles & Berries cocktail in the Library Bar; keeping cozy in a plush robe.