St. Regis Hotel, Toronto Black is the new black Barbara Kingstone June 7, 2012 Canada, Hotels, North America When uber fashionista, the late Diana Vreeland, told the fashion world, decades ago, that “the new black is pink”, she was referring to her colorful experience of seeing such vibrancy in India.- miles away from the black -clad style mavens of Manhattan and Paris. This phrase has become so overused and it was my immediate reaction to emphasize my own interpretation of the recently opened Trump International Tower Hotel and Tower (renamed St. Regis Hotel in 2017), in downtown Toronto. My instant reaction was “the new black is black”. From the doorman and the rest of the staff, it’s done as though a top fashion designer had taken the reins. From the granite floor design of most intricate interwoven squares of black mixed with shots of grey and ecru, this is a well thought out mixture of pattern and texture. It was easy to understand that the inspiration for the palette was champagne and caviar. This is an obvious thread from the sensuous, curved black door framing to the elevators -one section for guests, the other for condo owners- and black was the ‘it’ hue. This played well against the lightest panels of white semi-precious onyx walls and the greige upholstered black framed chairs. One can’t miss the exquisite crystal sculpture, on an interruption of a dark aubergine wall that backs the reception desk. At night, when lights are dimmed to meet the outside dusk, this monumental crystal has noticeable purple which plays with the facets of the stones. The sleek color scheme was indicative of the theme throughout the hotel. So it was no surprise when I visited a few suites that even the wide luxurious hallways had these shades. Another constantly seen theme but in a variety of colors, is cherry blossoms shown on some of the rugs, ceilings, over the bed photographs, on the filigree steel balustrade, all playing with the lighter shades which are often in damask silk panels. So skillfully done, the palette throughout the hotel with the shots of dark and lighter shades is well thought out, and usually seen in the most modernistic decorated hotel. One has to think that this isn’t a building of the ultra modern genre of only glass and steel but sends a feeling of warmth with the stonework set off by the glass. For me, one of the most impressive decor treeats,is a mural that greets guest at the porte cochere- the tip-off that this wasn’t just any hotel. All done in gold dotted, multi colored, mosaic tile, until you stand away from the 55,000 tile masterpiece, entitled, “A Small Part of Something Larger” by Canadian artist, Stephen Andrews, do you see that it’s a cross-section of people in seats at a sports venue. The cheers, well deserved. Although there is a feeling of deja vu… of mid century furnishing combined with a most updated look, there are statement pieces seen in the choice of various chairs, some completely in gold leather near heavy crystal chandeliers. A plus to this eclectic mixture that works so terrifically, is the location in the Toronto’s financial area of Bay and King Streets. Every detail has been thought out and expense seemed not to be a concern. It is, after all, a perfect introduction to the wealth of this always growing city. If, by chance, you had one too many and you didn’t know where you were except for the fact that you were in a nifty bar, you’d realize it quickly enough with the ticker over the mirrored back wall. This has to be a financial district with a very affluent crowd seated or standing along the bar which you’d probably transmit this evidence to your somewhat soused brain. After 4PM, the small space is packed with the very upwardly mobile set of deal makers of all ages.. The name? Wait for it….SUITS. It’s the meeting place for those who have deep pockets from their investments in the good old times or those who were astute enough to know when to sell. It’s a bar that easily matches in price rates per flute, any 5 star Manhattan hotel. Decor and great service costs. The long narrow restaurant…STOCK.. has a smoky screen of dainty lace inserted between the glass, the banquettes are theme-ready with light beige tufted velvet backs and black leather seats, the coffered ceiling, herringbone pattern wood flooring, black wood tabletops, fabric paneled walls, windows draped in light sheers and black on black velvet damask, side drapes. This creates an airy feeling but there’s also a sense of La Belle Epoque and a hint of romance at many of the tables. Who wouldn’t feel romantic? While some are having their favored drink, many guests opt to stay in their majestic suites. The panoramic view is like a kinetic sculpture from just about every window..either a busy street scene below or Lake Ontario, where on a clear day you could make out Niagara Falls.(not the Falls but the silhouette of the city, about 2 hours from Toronto). I’m a ‘newsy’ so having a TV in the bathroom is a plus. But here it’s not just any TV that swivels but a flat insert into the mirror.When turned off it becomes a black (of course) square set in the mirror. And even the smallest detail is looked on as an important feature. A great example happen to be in the closet. A safety box is large enough for a lap top and there are four varieties of hangers …padded for the dainty dressed and tops, another set for heavy coats, also hangers for pants and suits. Of course, there’s a spa. Quartz Crystal Spa has 19 treatment rooms and is on two levels. And now it seems that Trump is in the skin care business since shelves have a namesake selection of creams and lotions. One thing is for sure, the St. Regis Hotel may be theoretically black tones but there isn’t a dark area in this grand building. Guests depart knowing that they were well serviced by an amicable, friendly, well trained staff that happens to work in outstanding surroundings. Black it may be, but there’s a lightness due to the quality and a definite dedication to class and comfort that trumps other Trumps.