Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Treat yourself in T.O.

Winter blues disappear at chic hotel spas

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Torontonians tend to hibernate in winter, annoyed at the prospect of queuing outside during a blizzard in hopes of scoring a seat at one of the city's popular no-reservations restaurants. If you're visiting at this time of year, take a local's survival advice and beat the winter blues by relaxing at one of Toronto's luxurious hotel spas, where customized signature treatments help calm the mind and sauna and steam rooms warm you up and enlighten the senses.

Once you've been thoroughly rubbed, scrubbed and thawed, stay in the building and enjoy brunch, lunch or afternoon tea in the hotels' finest restaurants.

Spa My Blend by Clarins in The Ritz-Carlton with brunch at Toca

SPA My Blend by Clarins offers a comprehensive selection of face, body and massage treatments in 16 exquisitely appointed private rooms. The spa's signature My Blend Facial is a personalized experience where a blend of customized products, including essential formulas and booster serum, solve oily skin and signs of aging.

Toca at The Ritz offers Toronto's most decadent Sunday brunch. Show off your fresh glow in the dining room while you slowly savour the petite pastries, an omelette station, melt-in-your-mouth beef Wellington and a palatial seafood platter.

Spa at Four Seasons Hotel with lunch at dBar

THE simply titled Spa at the Four Seasons is a sun-filled urban retreat which rightfully boasts that it is the "largest luxury hotel day spa in Toronto," with over 30,000 square feet of rest and relaxation.

The Alpha Male Facial is a signature treatment perfect for gents looking to pamper themselves. Therapists use a variety of products from the Hungarian skin care line Omorovicza, which includes a cleansing foam, thermal cleansing balm, Queen of Hungary mist, deep cleansing mask and reviving eye cream.

The Four Seasons' dBar is the perfect spot to wine and dine over lunch after indulging at the Spa. Chef Daniel Boulud has created a relaxed and refined hotel bar where the city's movers and shakers linger over addictive spiced nuts and ice buckets filled with bottles of bubbly.

Among the dBar's must-have menu items are the Yankee burger, one of the city's best and delicious, warm madeleines, the perfect accompaniment for a pot of refreshing looseleaf tea.

Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris in the Shangri-La with afternoon tea at Lobby Lounge

MIRAJ Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris offers a unique urban oasis where a Moroccan-style steam bath pairs perfectly with a wine-focused French spa. Rest and relax while inhaling a refreshing mist in a petite hot steam chamber; then exhale on Jerusalem gold marble while a sarong-wrapped therapist offers an invigorating full body exfoliation.

The Shangri-La's breezy Lobby Lounge is Toronto's favourite living room and the perfect setting to sip tea and nibble on dainty sandwiches. The afternoon tea service offers a staggering selection of over 60 premium loose leaf varieties sourced from around the globe. Relax in front of a booming fireplace with a hot chai while watching the snow sparkle across the hustle and bustle of University Avenue.

Spa at the Hazelton Hotel with cocktails at One Restaurant

TORONTO'S ultimate boutique spa experience can be found at the luxurious Hazelton Hotel in the heart of Yorkville. The Spa at the Hazelton is an intimate space with only four treatment rooms. The spa's signature Hazelton Massage features fragrant holly oil and customized bodywork to match each client's needs.

If you're enjoying a post-work treatment with friends, be sure to pop down to chef Mark McEwan's One Restaurant for a pre-dinner cocktail. The signature Hazelton is an obvious choice, featuring Madame Butterfly-infused gin, rosemary lemonade, ginger syrup and Perrier. For those who have a penchant for the seductive and sweet, be sure to follow up with a glass of Lipstick, where raspberry-infused Ketel One Vodka muddles with fresh raspberry and champagne spritz.

-- Postmedia Network Inc. 2014

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 E2

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