At the 2012 Mirror Ball, thinking I was simply chumming the waters, I placed a bid in the silent auction for a one-night stay at the Toronto Ritz-Carlton. To my great surprise (and Katie's chagrin) my bid was the winner.
Last Friday then, in early celebration of Katie's birthday we checked in to the property.
It is first of all a very impressive, understatedly elegant building and lobby nestled in amongst the towers of downtown Toronto sitting right next to the CBC headquarters. Pulling in we realized that at the very least we weren't in the same automotive snack bracket as other guests given the line up of Bentleys, Porches, Benzes (including one quite spectacular Mercedes McLaren) but from the welcome we received, even our baby Beemer was treated with respect.
Check in was seamless with Hanna the concierge helping us out. Alright, a little confusion with the pass cards but that was sorted relatively painlessly.
Our corner room, city-view suite was comfortable, more than adequately spacious and adorned with welcoming birthday balloons in honour of Kate. There was also a splendidly rich brownie but I can only attest vicariously to its quality as the birthday girl made short work of it!
We retired to the Clarins Spa for aromatherapy massages. It is a genuinely incredible space with soaring ceilings and sumptuous reception facilities. The experience was remarkable. Soothing, calming, and rewarding.
Dinner that night was at the Ritz in its flagship restaurant TOCA. Yes, the food was excellent but as we learned throughout our all-too-brief stay, it is the level of service that really sets The Ritz at the pinnacle. Our server, Jacqueline, was both welcoming and attentive. The best story though is this -
Jacqueline Poirier is also resident artist at TOCA. That's right - resident artist at a restaurant.
Jacqueline is a graduate of OCADU (Ontario College of Art & Design University) and like many artistes realized upon graduation that the pursuit of her art was unlikely to pay the bills. So eventually she landed at TOCA. Learning of her artistic abilities and her passion for decorating the restaurant's chargers the Ritz - showing by my experience almost unknown corporate smarts - invited her to paint all of the chargers and make them available for sale to TOCA's patrons. Well done Ritz!
Upon the conclusion of the meal we were delighted and surprised when Jacqueline made a gift of one of the chargers to Katie.
An amazing act of random kindness for which Katie and I are both thankful.
I won't belabour the point here - the Ritz is world-renowned for its level of service.
It is our great pleasure to advise that if you ever have the opportunity to experience the Ritz seize it with both hands.
Yes, it is crazily expensive for most of us mere mortals and it is clearly the enclave of the 1% but you would never know it for the experience they deliver and the exceptional memories delivered.
Thanks to all at the Toronto Ritz-Carlton and special thanks to Jacqueline Poirier (www.jacquelinepoirier.com) and Tim Terceira, General Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)