The Windsor Arms Hotel is an acquired taste. If you are looking for that 1920’s Humphrey Bogart, Great Gatsby vibe, you have come to the right place. While some prefer modern and trendy, others measure luxury in history and culture. The moment I emerged from my Uber onto what felt like a side street in London town, I was greeted by a uniformed bellhop who held my door and directed me to the lobby elevator. I rode to the fourth floor and exited onto a dimly lit hallway with cream and black walls. Lined with black and white photographs of Hollywood’s finest—Ali MacGraw, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand and Audrey Hepburn, this place was dripping in old world charm.
When I arrived at spa reception I was served a chilled bottle of water with fresh lemon slices before being escorted on a tour of the facilities I would have access to—the terrace, the gym, the pool, the dry sauna, and the fully equipped women’s change room, which included an enormous steam shower. The tour was unrushed, which made me feel like I was on a holiday without the burden of time weighing on my shoulders. I felt grateful to be at an age where I could leisurely enjoy such high-living in a refined establishment off my beaten path.
The Windsor Arms is renowned for their High Tea, Weekend Brunch and sprawling yet intimate rooftop terrace that overlooks Toronto’s sky line. A prime location to read the morning paper, soak up some afternoon sunshine, or watch the sunset with a bottle of Veuve.
Learning that the spa had just received a facelift I decided to indulge in some R&R. I found it difficult to decide on a treatment; the Vitamin C Body Wrap restores skin back to its original luster, the Chocolate and Coffee Body Wrap acts as an antioxidant and includes full body exfoliation, leaving skin radiant, toned, and smelling delicious, or the folk remedy known as Halotherapy; all sensuous options capable of fulfilling my desire for indulgence.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the growing trend in spa treatments, Halotherapy, derived from the Greek halos, meaning “salt,” is therapy which makes use of salt. Only a handful of facilities around the GTA offer the treatment, essentially a room is designed and transformed to resemble an Eastern European salt cave where guests sit and inhale the salt in through the air along with negative ions which help with relaxation. Though not medically proven to cure ailments the centuries old practice has been said to help sooth skin conditions and repair respiratory issues.
Draped in a Windsor Arms plush robe to keep me warm in the below room temperature setting, I walked through the gitchy looking door into a low lit room. The walls were made of stacked salt rocks, the floor covered in bath salts, like sand on a beach and a stalactite ceiling that gave the essence of a real cave. I asked how long I was to stay and was told to sit for 45 minutes in my comfy lounger chair. With a no cell phone rule in effect and no one to join me I was worried I would get bored, but after I covered my legs with a fleece blanket, and breathed in a few deep breaths of cool air, I passed out quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I woke up moments before my session ended feeling refreshed, clear and rejuvenated. If you are into meditation this is an ideal setting to relax, reflect, and regroup.
If you enjoy being pampered pleasingly, prefer the Soho House over The Spoke Club, and frequent The Oxley in lieu of King West hot spots, the Windsor Arms is right up your alley and should be put on your radar immediately.