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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Unusual hotel touches for Toronto weekend

An athlete shown working with a kettleball was the surprise  above my bed at the Le Germain in Toronto 

In the 6-by-3-foot black-and-white photo above my bed, a reclining man’s bare chest, arms and bulging triceps lifted an obviously heavy black kettlebell. Although at first disconcerted, I became fond of the brawny athlete over my head during my weekend stay at Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. But I never learned his name.
I was in Toronto to check out the Canadian city’s hockey passion. Read about it Feb. 9.
The Air Canada Centre, just opposite the Le Germain, is home to both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors, so the hotel had those teams’ athletes photographed at exercise by shooter Matthew Plexman to display in its rooms.
My room overlooked Maple Leaf Square, where crowds were gathered on the plaza to watch the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors on the 50-foot screen mounted above the Centre’s entrance. I could watch the game from my room if I wanted.
The entire width of that room was filled with a window, above a room-wide birch vanity for desk, fridge, and mini-bar. The window’s three layers of dressings, including a black-out shade, an opaque off-white shade, and a white linen drapery allowed plenty of light or none at all. One window opened to admit the fresh Lake Ontario breezes from the Great Lake three blocks to the south.
The shower — glass on three sides — had  Venetian blinds on room and hall sides. I didn’t close them because my opaque room shades were drawn when I showered so my privacy was protected from those in the offices and parking garage opposite on Maple Leaf Square.
Black slate walls and floor coverings gave a modern, almost industrial, feel to my room, but the birch wall opposite the bed held a flat-screen TV, an ice bucket and wine glasses and a hidden-away iron and fold-out ironing board.
Fill water bottles in the hotel's hallway
In the European tradition, breakfast is included for Le Germain guests and is served in a second-floor breakfast room. A coffee maker is in each room, and the hall way had a plexiglas sculpture near the elevator in which green apples resided, to be replaced as they were eaten. A sleek porcelain receptacle in the hallway held fresh sweet water for replenishing water bottles.

Among the room’s many nice touches were water glasses frosted with my room number and bedside light switches with choices of all-on, all-off and ambient selections.
One of the most charming amenities was discovered on my pillow  when I turned in on a Saturday night after a hockey game at the Air Canada Centre. One of the two little boxes held a chocolate morsel, while the other held a pair of ear plugs. They weren’t needed, though, because the room was completely soundproofed from the celebrating crowds outside.

Details: Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, 75 Bremner Blvd., Toronto: 416-649-7575; www.germainmapleleafsquare.comm.

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