What does celebrating 90 years of excellence in hospitality look like? For the Fairmont Royal York, one of Canada’s most revered and cherished hotels, it’s the unveiling of a complete transformation of the iconic space.
The historic hotel sits proudly on Front Street, prime real estate in what is now considered “Old Toronto.” When the hotel first opened in 1929, it was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth, soaring nearly 400 feet high and 28 stories above street level. Known then as simply the Royal York, the building was a prominent feature of the city’s skyline. With a total of 1,048 rooms, a concert hall, library, extensive bakery, radio station, ballrooms, restaurants, and even a hospital, the hotel was affectionately referred to as a city within a city – and that’s still the perspective today.
If you’ve visited the Fairmont Royal York over the years, you’re familiar with its sophisticated yet welcoming grandeur. Last year, the hotel celebrated its 90th anniversary by completing a multi-million dollar transformation, taking their hospitality experience to a new level. “Fairmont Royal York has always been a defining feature of the Toronto skyline,” says Edwin Frizzell, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Fairmont Royal York. “We are excited about this next stage in its time-honored history.”
A reimagined lobby, rooms, dining venues, event spaces, and Fairmont Gold – the property’s exclusive boutique luxury experience, offers guests a familiar yet elevated stay that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
The new lobby design embraces and preserves the building’s grand character and heritage while creating a contemporary, modern escape that embodies a kind of timelessness. Guests are greeted by the two-sided “90th Anniversary Clock,” representing those who have worked vigorously in the past to welcome visitors to the celebrated hotel. One side showcases a stunning constellation clock symbolic of the hotel’s history, while the other is a classic motif that serves as an invitation for guests to continue the legacy of “meet me at the clock”- a phrase that’s synonymous with the property.
CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails is another distinguishing feature of the re-designed lobby. Described as the city’s next classic lounge, the meeting spot offers guests an elegant champagne and cocktail experience, serving everything from bubbles and a wide array of international wines, to specially crafted cocktails and decadent culinary delights. At the helm is esteemed mixologist Rus Yessenov. Tasked with creating a spirits and cocktail menu to reflect the character of the venue, Yessenov takes classic cocktail recipes and infuses them with modern flavors. “Meet me at the Clock” is one signature cocktail on the menu, a delicious mix of Hendrick’s Gin, Moët & Chandon Champagne, Lemon, Absinthe, Bitters, and Frosé Ice.
Just steps away from the lobby is REIGN, the hotel’s new signature dining venue. Home to a restaurant, bar, and bakery, REIGN delivers three unique culinary experiences, blending together daily must-haves and classic culinary techniques with modern food and beverage trends. Inspired by an overarching residential-style concept, standout design elements include a custom mural depicting traditional English garden scenery with a twist on classical painting styles, a cozy fireplace, an intimate bar with a grand piano, and rich Canadian Walnut incorporated throughout the space.
When it comes to accommodations, if you’re looking for an unmatched luxury experience, look no further than the new Fairmont Gold offering. Described as a “hotel within a hotel,” Fairmont Gold is perched high above the city on the 12th through 18th floors of the hotel. Private express elevators open up to the 18th floor Fairmont Gold Lounge where a stunning cityscape mural and bespoke hand-laid mosaic stone foyer welcomes guests. The expansive lobby is complete with a private arrival experience and reveals panoramic views high above the city, providing guests with a sense of privacy and relaxation in their own exclusive enclave. Illuminating and reflective suspended fireplaces and an open work area with a library and curated book collection complete the design, creating a warm atmosphere that evokes the feeling and comfort of home.
Along with an intimate private lounge, guests can choose to stay in one of Fairmont Gold’s 106 elegantly appointed guestrooms, studio suites, and one-bedroom suites. All guestrooms and suites feature expanded spaces, with both classic and modern details creating bold, visual statements inspired by the hotel’s original 1920’s Art Deco geometrics. Whether it’s securing reservations at the city’s hottest dining and entertainment venues, or administrative services and itinerary development, the Fairmont Gold Concierge delivers an indelible VIP experience of the dynamic city of Toronto.
To pair the penthouse-style lobby lounge with fine culinary offerings, Executive Chef JW Foster was inspired by the history of Toronto’s most authentic neighborhoods. With dishes representing the fabric of Toronto – its communities – the Fairmont Gold experience is highlighted through a selection of culinary assortments with various flavor profiles reflecting each communal identity. The all-day food and beverage experience in the lounge is complimentary and includes evening hor’s d ‘oeuvres, a premier honor bar with signature cocktails, spreads including the hotel’s award-winning rooftop honey, and organic cold-pressed juice blends.
The pinnacle of the Fairmont Gold experience is the newly revealed Legacy Suites. Unlike anything offered before, the suites are designed to cater to the next generation of elite travelers. Each with their own distinct character from design to style and furniture, the one-of-a-kind accommodations aim to channel a high-end, residential atmosphere and reflect Toronto’s city-living in luxurious estate-style homes.
The spaces were created by New York design firm, Champalimaud, taking inspiration from the hotel’s history, infused with a splash of 1920’s art-deco. Guests can choose to stay in the one-bedroom Crown Suite or the two-bedroom Royal York Suite, which is the largest space the hotel offers.
Maintaining the highest caliber offerings at the hotel, the Legacy Suites provide an exceptional level of personalized, butler-inspired services directed by internationally recognized and highly trained concierge experts. Along with complete Fairmont Gold services, guests of the Legacy Suites have a dedicated 24-hour concierge, airport pickup/drop off, VIP welcome, and other perks, such as in-suite personal chef dining experiences.
Whether you’re “meeting at the clock” for cocktails with friends, in the city for a special occasion, or visiting on business, one thing is for certain: The re-envisioned spaces signal an exciting new chapter in the Fairmont Royal York’s story, demonstrating that this timeless landmark is here to stay.