Sitting at Newark Airport, impatiently waiting for my delayed flight to board, I began to realize exactly what it meant to be going to the iconic Fairmont Royal York for their 90th Anniversary. A native from Ontario sat next to me, explaining in detail exactly how to get from the Toronto Pearson Airport to the Fairmont, a landmark in the city, and situated directly across the street from Union Station. I considered myself fairly familiar with the Fairmont brand, but had no idea about the distinguished history of this particular hotel. Over the course of a few days I would learn.
Originally opened in June of 1929, both the Fairmont Royal York and Union Station were designed in the Beaux-Arts style by prominent architectural firm Ross and Macdonald. At the time, it was the tallest building in the city, and has since upheld its ‘royal’ name, having hosted both classic and modern royalty, from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, to Bill Clinton, Ray Charles and Liberace. Historian and Author Dr. Carolyn Harris curated a self-guided history tour in honor of the hotel’s 90th anniversary, allowing visitors to wind their way through the decades, learning about the nuanced history of the rooms, decor, artwork and guests.
As part of the Fairmont’s 90th Anniversary celebration, the hotel unveiled an elaborate renovation, completely transformed the lobby, introduced the lobby lounge, CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails, new Legacy Suites, REIGN Restaurant, Bar & Bakery, updated event and meeting spaces, and possibly most exciting, Fairmont Gold. This new “hotel within a hotel” concept gives guests a heightened experience and gives them access to a next-level luxury stay. Those who opt in for Fairmont Gold will benefit from numerous perks, including a private check-in and check-out in the Fairmont Gold lounge, a personal concierge, stunning guestrooms and suites, a sleep and wellness program that features a signature turn down service, an in-room spa experience courtesy of SkinJay’s aromachology and Le Labo amenities, and access to a private Fairmont Gold Lounge. In the lounge, gold members will have access, not only to the deluxe lounge that’s equipped with cozy seating and glass fireplaces, but also a curated library of both rare and modern classics, the Honour Bar, continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and afternoon and evening dessert presentations.
A Look Inside
It’s all about the small touches inside the Fairmont that makes the hotel so special. From the rooftop herb and vegetable garden to the specialty cocktails at Clockwork, there’s something to love around every corner. Atop the iconic hotel lies not only herb and vegetable gardens, but is also home to numerous bee apiaries! Their ‘Bee Sustainable‘ program helps the local environment by providing bees with a home to pollinate, in return, giving the chefs fresh, local honey to use on site.
The restaurants and bars here are also worth checking out. While hotel restaurants don’t always have the best reputation, you can rest assured that you’ll have top notch Canadian cuisine when you dine on site. The stunning new lobby bar Clockwork will whet your appetite with its timeless cocktails, most notably the Meet Me At The Clock, which is made with Hendrick’s Gin, Veuve Cliquot, lemon, absinthe and Peychaud bitters. Around the corner at Reign you can enjoy a feast prepared by Executive Chef JW Foster in classic Canadian style with a French twist. Dishes like escargot, lobster Thermidor and ricotta gnocchi all adorn the menu.
The Fairmont Royal York brings the best of Toronto to you with some of their fantastic partnerships. Hoame Studio, a premier wellness and meditation studio in Toronto, is working with the Fairmont to offer guests a discount on their services during their stay.
Fairmont Gold guests can also have the helpful concierge assist them with booking an extraordinary experience with VIP Tours, an exclusive experience that provides private transportation, snacks and drinks to breathtaking locations like Niagara Falls, vineyards by Niagara-by-the-Lake and more. We had the time of our lives on a private plane ride to a wine lunch at Peller Estate Vineyards and a boat ride through Niagara Falls. It’s the kind of trip that dreams are made of. Through this partnership, guests will receive 20% off these choice experiences.
Located in the heart of Toronto, the Fairmont situates you perfectly among all of the best spots of the city. The iconic CN Tower is a quick 10-minute walk away, and any daredevils traveling in the group can literally walk on top of (and hang over) Toronto thanks to EdgeWalk, the world’s highest full-circle hands-free walk atop the tower. It’s an exhilarating experience that you won’t soon forget. Those not so keen on risk taking can simply head to the Skypod and take in the grand views.
A ten-minute drive will take guests to the trendy Distillery District, known for its fusion of new and old, where locals and tourists alike find an intersection of arts, culture, entertainment and food. Make sure to pop in to Cluny Bistro for a whimsical cocktail or a bowl of their French onion soup.
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