When it comes to luxury hotel accommodations in my home city of Toronto, the Shangri-La is on top of my list. Over the course of the last year, the property has been a place where my friends and I eat, play and stay. When I learned a few weeks back the hotel was going to be introducing a new wellness package for guests focused on running and yoga, I had to get a sneak peek. I wasn’t the only one who wanted in on the action either. My Nike Women #WeRunSF teammates, Justine Iaboni of Jetset Justine and Kenton Magazine and Karen Kwan of Health and Swellness, also were along for the ride so it served as a mini reunion. Last Monday I checked into the “Shang” (as we affectionately call it) for a three day, two night stay in their exquisite Garden Room suite.
Unlike the rest of the of the other suites in the hotel, this 820sqft luxury living quarters comes with beautiful wood chevron floors, 2 full washrooms lineD with cararra marble, a dramatic canopy bed, luxurious Aqua di Parma amenities (only found in the Garden and Owner’s Suites), and 200 square feet of outdoor terrace space. For even the most well heeled travellers, the Garden Suite definitely ticks all of the boxes.
What I Wore: Inspire Tight II Full-On Luxtreme Running Tights // Swiftly Tech Racerback Tank // Ultimate Padded Run Sock // Adidas Boost Running Shoes (Running apparel c/o of Lululemon and Shoes c/o Black Toe Running)
Before creating SoSasha.com, my previous career working in the corporate world resulted in an obscene amount of travel – sometimes hitting as many as three different time zones each week. One thing I noticed during this time was 1) hotels usually did not provide an inspiring atmosphere to make anyone want to workout. The gyms are usually the size of their smallest guest room, dark and contain very minimal equipment 2) staff very rarely are educated to provide recommendations to guests for outdoor workouts and 3) there are seldom any healthy food choices. In essence, if you spend most of your life on the road and in hotels, it can be challenging to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Until now that is! The Shangri-La Toronto’s new “Running is Shangri-La” package has set the bar for wellness stays in the hospitality industry. As of May 1st, 2015 guests at the Shangri-La can enjoy this new option that provides scenic running routes personally tested and amended by Ben Kaplan, Editor-In-Chief of iRun magazine, running columnist for the National Post and author of Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now. Not only is the release of endorphins great for business travellers, the carefully curated routes for beginner, novice and advanced runners is also the perfect way for out of town guests to see and learn the city. Our staycation crew joined the Shangri-La team, Ben Kaplan and Black Toe Running for an early morning 3K trot, which took us through the historic St. Lawrence Market, the financial district with impressive views of the city’s icon – the CN Tower. Looking for a bit more of a sweat? Other routes and distances look like the following:
- University Avenue up to the Queen’s Park loop, Ontario’s Provincial Legislature buildings and the UofT campus – 4k
- Trinity Bellwoods Park and Queen West which was ranked one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue in September 2014 – 5k
- The Toronto waterfront with an uninterrupted run along Lake Ontario – up to 20k
The wellness options don’t just stop there. Have you ever wanted to get in a workout or a stretch in hotel gym super early or late at night and feared being alone for safety reasons? As a female traveler I have definitely had those concerns before. The Shangri-La Group of hotels has brilliantly teamed up with sport apparel and lifestyle brand Lululemon to create an in-room guided yoga video so guests can enjoy a calming flow within the privacy of their own room. I tested out said video and used it as a light stretch before our group run. The 20 minute instructional video is led by Lululemon Yoga Ambassador and Toronto native Amber Joilat and can be accessed in any of the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto’s 202 guest room TV’s and iPads. For added convenience, each guest room comes with a Lululemon branded yoga mat. The hotel’s fitness facility is also still a great place for a sweat session. It my personal opinion, it closely rivals any of the top gyms in the world and offers spin, yoga and kettle bell classes. If that’s not enough, there is also an infrared sauna and stunning pool that was named one of the world’s most beautiful pools by Conde Nast Traveler in 2013. The sun drenched pool deck was the perfect spot for me to take my new Lululemon bikini for a spin (or shall I say lap). I have fallen totally in love with the brand’s surf inspired and reversible collection – below I’m wearing the brand’s Surf to Sand Tie Top and Surf to Sand Bikini Bottom.
My visit was very active and action packed so I made sure I stayed nourished by noshing on the hotel’s ample wellness options that are available both at Bosk, the signature restaurant, and in-room dining service. Both have a healthy lifestyle section. If you followed along on my staycation journey on snapchat, you would have seen me conveniently ordering our lunch on an iPad which we enjoyed on my private garden terrace. And no wellness package would be complete without some relaxation and recovery. The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie is definitely a treat. As part of this amazing package, guests will rejuvenate with the spa’s signature Hammam and Gommage treatment (you can take a look at my review here), which is the ultimate detoxification treatment. Thanks to the awesome Caudalie team, I was also received the Crushed Cabernet treatment – the most popular scrub from the Vinotherapie Spa and was recommended as an ideal “starter” before indulging in other treatments. Over the course of 45 minutes, I was scrubbed down with a concoction of grape-seed, honey, brown sugar and essential oils of the Contouring Concentrate. After a rinse and steam in my treatment room’s private shower, I was lathered head to toe in the nourishing body lotion combined with Caudalie’s Contouring Concentrate that left my skin so ridiculously smooth and hydrated, I still felt the affects days after.
Photography by Nathalia Allen – amillionminds.ca, Alexander Liang of Kenton Magazine & my Instagram account
Needless to say, it was very difficult when it was time to check out of the Shangri-La and go back to real life. I will miss soaking in the oversized tub post runs, the overly accommodating staff, delectable food and fabulous amenities, but I departed with a distinct feeling that I will be back to repeat this experience again in the near future. Special thank you to the Shangri-La Toronto, the Miraj Hamman Spa by Caudalie, Lululemon and Black Toe Running. Rates for this package begin at $535 CDN per night (*rate does not include the Garden Suite). Click here for more details on the “Running Is Shangri-La” package. For information on on the Shangri-La Group and their properties, head to Shangri-La.com.