It isn't every day that you see a television screen turn on in the middle of your bathroom mirror, but then again it isn't every day that you stand in the luxurious hotel suite bathroom of the Toronto Trump Hotel. I held the remote frozen in wonder as Donald Trump's face emerged on the screen, talking, yet fully muted. Flashes of debate footage for the presidential election followed. "What timing!" I thought.
Wandering out into the spacious bedroom, one cannot help but want to dive superhero style onto the King size bed. Choosing to be more civil, I planted myself down on the plush mattress, blinking at an outside cloud hovering over the Financial District; sunshine blared through it onto the little moving people below. A thought battle of nap versus food resumed, yet was quickly waved off with anticipation towards the evening agenda; a meeting with hotel marketing coordinator Jeanne for a tour and chat, followed by dinner at America restaurant. I had never been but heard good things. Thought bubbles burst as my partner peeked into the room, "You ready?". "Yup" I replied, uttering "...not even remotely".
Five minutes later we found ourselves in an elevator with Jeanne, who, bubbling with charisma and love for her work, maintained a solid down-to-earth conversation from the start. Great impressions continued as we strolled through the lobby, being greeted warmly by each staff passerby. Jeanne smiled confidently as she shared the story behind each interior aesthetic factor as guests walked in and out of the busy hotel revolving door. As a young family walked out carrying an infant, a large family with elderly guests walked in. My first observation concluded that I had yet to see a "snoot" - you know, the uppity type. Always researching where I stay beforehand, Google led me to great reviews with one reviewer describing patrons of America restaurant as "showy". I made a point to observe further and reflect on this by the end of my stay.
We followed Jeanne through the elegant 40th floor corridor and into the largest suite I've ever seen. "This is the Presidential Suite". The overt spaciousness screamed luxury, and in it, a kitchen, dining room (including a dining table that seats ten), living room, private elevator, and in-suite laundry. The square footage isn't the only thing to love about this suite; the open view of the busy city is a personal experience.
After spending sufficient time in admiration, we traversed our way back to the suite to find that the "turndown service" had visited, leaving us with slippers, fancy bonbons, a comfy robe, and had tidied up the place, leaving behind a personalized welcome note. While discussing these complements, a quick glance into the living room revealed a mystery bag on the couch. Another surprise! This time from the Travel Fit program, contents included fitness apparel and footwear from Under Armour and Nike, and even iPod Shuffles pre-loaded with Trump Card playlists. The gym would have to wait until tomorrow, but those bonbons, wait for them I did not.
We arrived a few minutes late to our reservation at America and were instantly whisked away to a pillow-laden booth. Here we were introduced to Sara, the assistant manager who was happy to discuss everything from the freshness of the dish ingredients to the target demographic - which fully reflected the patrons present as I looked around. From after-work professionals stopping in for dinner and drinks, to families and groups of friends at larger tables, the environment was positive and energetic. Sara excused herself from our conversation for a moment to help prepare a birthday surprise for a patron who least expected the gesture - the patron was clearly elated, elevating the environment even further.
I will announce that I did not see any showy types, as the common presumption one would have of a restaurant in a posh hotel, especially one in the Financial District. On the contrary, a young couple sat quietly beside us as they enjoyed their meal and across from us sat a family with three teenagers, all practically sprawled out amongst the pillows. They were relaxing after what appeared to be a massive dinner, seeing that plate "Jenga" was in full force. Restaurant aficionados take note: the service experience at America that evening provided something that I've recently found to be scarce in the hospitality industry. Servers who genuinely love their jobs show it through dialogue, time spent with the guest, and requesting feedback, all of which I was quite happy to experience at America. Speaking of loving things, I adore raw bars. America's medley of prepared seafood was elegantly presented; I had to squeeze in some photos before digging in.
For dinner my partner ordered the Washington State Lamb Rack with scalloped potatoes. I was in a lamb mood but changed my mind since I didn't want to order the same thing; I went for the Sichuan Pepper Duck Breast. It was delicious, however by the end of the meal I had swapped it for the lamb, a dish far superior to my Mediterranean taste buds. I will be back for that and the raw bar, no doubt.
As we left America, Sara led us into the Calvin Bar asking if we would like a drink. We were pretty tired at this point but my partner agreed to "one drink." Six drinks later and having spectated a very experienced and inspiring bartender, we decided to call it a night. Remember that bed? Let's just say I felt lighter and faster asleep than I had in quite a while -- and yes, pleasant dreams followed. The automatic retractable curtains were a treat, shielding daylight for a well-needed sleep in. Not only am I particular about sufficient window coverings, but a proper sheet/blanket ratio is also essential as waking up a sweaty burrito mess is unacceptable. At the Trump, the duvet kept me cozy and cool for the evening, allowing me to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to check out the facilities.
It's good to know that health conscious guests are encouraged to maintain their fitness regimen with the Travel Fit program. The hotel even accepts requests for light equipment to be delivered in-suite. Considering that guests were not seen tuning in to any food-related TV shows while working out, I would say everyone appeared motivated and happy to be there. Upon exit of the Fitness Centre I was dreaming of a relaxing massage at the spa, but due to limited time I bee-lined it to the hot tub instead, a perfect post-workout indulgence for professionals on the go. It was fun floating around as a child ran back and forth using a shovel to carry water from the infinity saltwater pool to the hot tub. Why intervene?
Disclosure: The Trump Hotel covered the blogger's accommodations as well as drinks at the Calvin Bar.