It’s no secret that I love Toronto. My aim is to travel back there as much as humanly possible. But, much like the many other health-conscious people out there, I struggle with the whole planning aspect. What do I eat while I’m on-the-go? How do I keep up with my healthy routine when it feels like there is no routine at all? How do I truly enjoy myself without throwing off all of the hard work and progress that I’ve made?
Well, it’s a daunting thought that can create some pretty stressful situations. What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be so complicated? There are businesses out there who are working hard to make sure that your lifestyle isn’t compromised, but instead complimented. That is exactly what the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are doing.
The Hong Kong based hotel and resorts brand owns and/or manages more than 85 five-star deluxe properties around the world. But don’t be intimidated, their heartfelt approach combined with top notch service leaves everyone feeling welcome. Their philosophy is “Shangri-La Hospitality from a caring family”. They also believe in “pride without arrogance” meaning they celebrate their achievements while maintaining humility, and it shows.
Recently, my work as a Holistic Nutritionist brought me back to Toronto to run a workshop. I took this opportunity to try out a stay at the Shangri-La Toronto in order to keep within the theme of health and wellness. I invited Daniel along and we immediately named it our “Healthy Slumber Party”.
Upon my arrival to the hotel, I was greeted with smiles and efficiency. The second that I opened the door to my room, I was floored. I have lived and travelled in 25 different countries so far, yet I didn’t realize that there was an oasis waiting for me right here at home. After a bit of necessary exploration (and touching everything in sight), I threw on a bathrobe and decided it was time to eat macaroons in the bath. Yes, you read that right. I ran myself a bath in the incredible deep soaking tub, threw in some Ancient Minerals magnesium bath flakes, added a few drops of my french lavender essential oil, grabbed the signature box of Shangri-La macaroons and then just sunk into a relaxing bath.
After a few hours of much needed me-time, Daniel met me at the hotel for an exclusive menu tasting at Bosk. This April, the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are launching a culinary sustainability initiative called Rooted in Nature. The name says it all. “From small farms in the Maldives to fishing villages in Malaysia, the hotels will recognize the farmers, fisherman and ranchers that make dining at Shangri-La not only delicious but also sustainable.”
The year-round menu features fresh locally-sourced organic produce, herbs grown on hotel grounds, line-caught fish, free range beef and poultry and even honey from the hotel’s own beehive. I can’t even begin to describe how beneficial these products are for your health. I believe that you vote for change with your dollars. Supporting the farmers in your area by refusing to buy mass factory-farmed products will allow for more strength and growth in your local economy. The more money you spend on supporting sustainability, the more change you are likely to see in yourself and the world around you.
For a more detailed description of our delicious meal, check out the Daniel’s Dish here.
With so many beautiful amenities, Daniel and I decided to check out the pool and fitness room. Because what else do you do on a Saturday night, right? Keeping up your healthy routine requires a lot of work, but it’s way easier when someone has laid out all of the tools in front of you. Their state-of-the-art gym has everything you need for cardio and strength training. If the gym is not your thing, you can book in for fitness and studio classes run by some of Toronto’s most elite instructors.
The 20-metre lap pool with cascading water features, chandeliers and a glass roof is the perfect place to get in some low impact, high resistance workouts. Afterwards, you can relax and soak in the health benefits of their Infrared Sauna. Using infrared heaters, these saunas emit a heating light which then is absorbed into the skin. This is fantastic for people with arthritis, as pain relief and for sweating out toxins.
The next morning, I woke up feeling rested pampered. The sun was shining through the floor to ceiling windows, so Daniel and I decided to order some healthy eats from the in-room dining menu. Unlike most hotel room service menus, there were health-conscious but delicious choices. I highly recommend the bircher muesli. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s raw oats with nuts and dried fruits soaked in milk (of your choice) or fruit juice and topped with fresh fruits. Oats are a great fibre-filled way to start your day and keep that blood sugar a bit more balanced.
After breakfast, my Naturopathic Doctor colleague (and friend) arrived to indulge in some in-room yoga with Lululemon. Using the mat stored in the front closet of the room, we were able to experience our very own personal 25 minute yoga class. How cool is that? After some laughing and awkward yoga poses, I freshened up and reluctantly packed my things.
I didn’t want to leave my beautiful room, but I knew I wasn’t leaving the hotel just yet. I had scheduled myself a date for Sunday high tea with 3 of my Wellness Sisters in the Lobby Bar that afternoon. We had a great time eating the beautiful treats, drinking the fresh teas, chatting nutrition, loving each other’s company and basking in the overall atmosphere of the hotel.
To say that I left calm and relaxed is an understatement. I’m used to needing a vacation after my vacation because I’m so tired and out of my routine. Not this time. I was refreshed and rebalanced, ready to take on my nutrition workshop and head back to Ottawa. Whether you live in Toronto or you’re just visiting, do yourself a favour and book in for a healthy oasis at the Shangri-La Toronto. I can promise you that I’ll be back there again.
Make sure to follow along with the #CatherinesCabinet Instagram account! For more information and helpful tips, make sure to stay up to date with all things Health & Nutrition on my website, Catherine’s Cabinet.
Catherine Sugrue, CNP