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The ultimate Valentine’s Day staycation: A night at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
When I check in at the posh Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto’s tony Yorkville neighbourhood, the receptionist greets me by name before I even open my mouth. "How are you, Mrs. ONeill?" He asks cordially. It’s my first encounter with the incredible customer service that the hotel is known for, and I’m suitably impressed. It’s the week before Valentine’s Day, and my husband Erik and I have decided to celebrate early with the ultimate romantic getaway–complete with spa treatments, a dinner at Café Boulud and breakfast in bed.
We start our staycation with a couples massage in the Four Seasons Toronto Spa. (I get the ‘Mom-to-be’ treatment, which is meant to improve circulation and promote relaxation.) My therapist, Jeff, is a godsend: He knows exactly the areas to target to help ease the pains of the pregnant body, and for the first time in months, I find myself unwinding. Next to me, Erik is enjoying the Deep Tissue Massage, and I can smell a delicious blend of peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary as his therapist expertly kneads his shoulders. The one-hour experience is an exercise in unadulterated luxury, and we both emerge feeling coddled, euphoric–and devastated that it’s over.
Next, we head down to Café Boulud, the fine-dining restaurant operated by famed Lyonnaise chef Daniel Boulud. The restaurant is covered in artwork by contemporary artist Mr. Brainwash (remember
Exit through the Gift Shop? That’s the guy.) I feel a pang of disappointment that I can’t sample one of the restaurants famed vinos from their 350-label wine program, but our server has the bar create a custom mocktail for me, and suddenly I don’t feel as deprived. I start with the sunchoke risotto–a indulgent appetizer filled with porcini mushrooms and parmesan cheese, and follow it up with grilled Digby scallops in a tomato-fennel broth. By the time the meal is over, I’m so stuffed I can barely breathe, but still somehow manage to squeeze in desert: A chocolate coulant with fleur de sel and homemade caramelized ice cream. It’s divine. The next morning, we order breakfast in bed–waffles for me, duck confit hash for him–and read the paper over cappucinos. It’s a decadent end to an incredible weekend–and we didn’t even have to leave the city.
Spa special: The most prestigious spas
Beauty bliss: A facial at the Four Seasons
Travel guide: Sweet, romantic escapes