The Fort Garry Hotel, Staycation in Style.
A weekend getaway, some cottage time, a few days in Vegas. Everyone has their favourite version of stepping away from the regular routine to recharge the mental batteries. What happens when you’re short on time or money for travel? I suppose there’s camping but, as you may well imagine, I’m not super into tents. No closet? No Monique.
Enter the Staycation! Book a night or two in your home town and act like a tourist. I have done this a few times, with a partner, a few girlfriends and with my kids.
I was given the opportunity to try the Unplug Package at The beautiful and historic Fort Garry Hotel in downtown Winnipeg with three more local bloggers. Susie (Winnipegmom.ca), Jennifer (Pretty Little Details.ca) and, Shayna (aPopofColour.com). The Unplug package features an overnight stay with luxe accommodations, a yoga class at Yoga Public, self-administered Hamam treatment at Ten Spa, dinner in the Palm Lounge, breakfast the next day, self-parking, and shuttle to yoga class. The value of this package is $189 CAD per person (based on double occupancy).
After check-in, we headed up to Ten Spa. My rule of thumb for a Ten Spa visit is to go at LEAST and hour early to enjoy the perks of the steam room, experiential shower (eucalyptus mist is my favourite), and the tasty lounge snacks and tea.
For the hamam you are given a glorious white robe and a pestemal wrap. It seems like a glorified tea towel but it’s the best thing to have on for the hamam ritual.
The hamam is an ancient cleansing, steam ritual originating in Turkey whereas one is scrubbed, rinsed, and rejuvenated as described here. For the self administered hamam we were invited to shower then gather around the steam chamber to exfoliate our skin with salts. The room is dark and serene with a ceiling resembling the night sky. Once done, the attendant had us sit and later lay down on the heated marble slab as we were skillfully rinsed with water from bowls then could stay and relax in this meditative space. It sounds basic but I swear I could feel the stress trickle away with each flow of water. After periodic water rinses, while relaxing, our experience was concluded in the relaxation lounge.
As nice as this was, I am not a stranger to the Ten Spa hamam and all it offers and found myself left wanting. I would suggest getting yourself an upgrade with at least Intro to Hamam which includes a head, scalp and foot massage on the marble slab. And if you can afford it, go all the way to Hamam Fully Loaded! Find that unused gift card from last Christmas and call in your next birthday present if you have to! This full body treatment is so gloriously worth it! The Hamam is a unique experience that truly leaves you feeling like you’ve been transported somewhere exotic.
Feeling rejuvenated and glowing, the hotel shuttle brought us to Yoga Public for a Hot Flow class. The studio at 280 Fort St. is beautiful and much larger than I expected with several studios for different purposes.
The class was challenging (in the good way) and hot without feeling stifling. I’m still not sure how I went this long without trying hot yoga but this was my first. I was most surprised by the fuchsia glow of my face that rivalled the hue of my top when we emerged. After class we chose to take the 10 minute walk back to the hotel to enjoy some fresh air. Nice thing about staying in Winnipeg, even when right downtown, our air is pretty sweet.
After freshening up in our lovely, character room (Shayna was my roomy) we went to The Palm Room for dinner.
The Unplug menu, served in the opulent Palm Room, included a healthy and tasty dish of grilled chicken and veggies. As we were in a celebratory mood, we supplemented our meal with cocktails and a cheese platter.
The Palm Room, with it’s nightly piano entertainment, oozes class but doesn’t feel stuffy thanks to the friendly waiters and bartenders. I have been here often for pre or post event drinks and snacks with friends. The Fort Garry Hotel is the perfect vantage point to spring into a night of downtown entertainment. Time your staycay with a show at the Manitoba Theatre Centre or The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, take in one of Winnipeg’s many summer festivals, or dive into a night of clubbing.
After a restful sleep (those beds are crazy comfy!) I called down for their coffee service to
The Broadway Breakfast room has buffet style pastries, fruit, and cereals as well as a prep station for omelettes, eggs and waffles.
From here, downtown is your oyster! Book additional Ten Spa treatments, take a walk to The Forks or the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or visit some galleries and shops in the Exchange District. Be aware that much of the Exchange is closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
Another great option would be to take advantage of your gorgeous, old world hotel room and plan a photo shoot. I’m sure you’re not surprised that that is precisely what I have done in the past with the brilliant photographer, Dano Tanaka!
Be sure to ask, when booking, for a room with outward facing windows if you do. Many have windows closely facing other hotel walls and don’t allow in a lot of natural light. If you need some help planning a shoot, I happen to know some people. 😉
I would like to thank The Fort Garry Hotel for offering me the pleasure of experiencing the Unplug package so I could tell you all about it. I love downtown Winnipeg and all that it has to offer. I truly believe that it should be experienced by all of us as a tourist would, with open hearts and appreciative eyes. This Staycation is a very stylish way to do just that!
Style Hunter Fox