TIFF 2014 Insider’s Guide: Where to Get Pampered
The best salons, spas and gyms the city has to offer
Stillwater Spa at the Park Hyatt
4 Avenue Rd., 416-926-2389
The Park Hyatt isn’t the city’s newest or shiniest hotel, but its spa is one of the best. It’s also one of the most obliging: in response to a VIP request during last year’s fest, staff arranged for an off-menu oxygenating facial and even brought in tanks to pump more O2 into the treatment room. This year’s TIFF package delivers a detoxifying wrap, a smoothing facial and a mask ($513).
Blo Blow Dry Bar
180 University Ave., 5th floor, 416-599-4164; 626 King St. W., Ste. 102, 416-703-1256; plus seven other GTA locations
This blow-dry chain’s star quotient runs from its client list (which includes Selena Gomez and Kim Cattrall) to the staff (Gwyneth Paltrow is its newly minted creative director). Blo is renowned for its no-frills blowout, which is really all anyone needs for a quick pre-movie makeover. Choose from seven styles, such as the aptly named Red Carpet (smooth, with lots of body) or the Holly Would (curls and bounce galore), for $38.
199 Bay St., 647-497-5158
Most of the time, this outpost of the American fitness chain is rammed with Bay Streeters sweating out their stress, but TIFF offers a chance to spot visiting actors seeking a familiar spin class. Cameron Diaz, Mark Wahlberg and Renée Zellweger are all members (and memberships can be used at all locations).
67 Portland St., Ste. 200, 416-599-2711
Scores of actresses reportedly fly to Canada to have Lorinda Zimmerman plump their skin. During TIFF, her new King West clinic will likely be full of Hollywood types trying to fit in a treatment while they’re in town. Her signature is the cold laser combo: microdermabrasion followed by low laser therapy ($250). There’s a whole bunch of science behind it, but the takeaway is this: it’s an injection-free fountain of youth.
Eye Love Brow and Beauty Bar
793 Queen St. W., 2nd flr., 647-349-1884
On the red carpet, a minor imperfection—like untamed or over-tweezed eyebrows—can turn a starlet into easy TMZ fodder. For anyone without a personal glam squad, Mary Dang’s studio is the best spot to have your brows sculpted and plucked into triumphal arches. First-time visitors get a half-hour consultation and shaping session for $30; tune-ups are $25.
Hard Rock Nails
790 Broadview Ave., 416-818-8971
Evening gowns once called for a subtle manicure. Now, celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Beyoncé and Rihanna embrace jewels, decals and eye-popping shades, and E! has a special red-carpet “mani-cam” to zoom in on actresses’ fingers. In Toronto, the best place to get fierce nails—including lethal-looking pointy tips, the trend of the moment—is Hard Rock, an east-end salon where intricate designs are a house specialty. $30–$100.
2 Kensington Ave., 647-346-4333
Toronto’s best old-timey barbershop is an ideal place to channel your inner James Dean (or George Clooney or Ryan Gosling). Patrons listen to Ray Charles blaring from the speakers while sipping on a Mexican Coke from the fridge. The prices ($25 for a cut, $35 for a shave, $55 for both) are old school; the top-quality products from Baxter of California and Layrite are anything but.
Spa My Blend at the Ritz-Carlton
181 Wellington St. W., 416-572-8000
The Ritz-Carlton’s real treat isn’t its plush suites or swanky bar, but the My Blend spa on the fifth floor—one of only two in the world (the other’s in Paris). Guests like Emily Blunt banish their jet lag with 90-minute facials that reduce eye puffiness and pump moisture into dehydrated skin ($270). For the party-heavy nights of September 5 to 7, the spa is offering personalized skin analysis, makeup application and hair styling—plus a red carpet–style picture.
Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris
188 University Ave., 647-253-5770
Many smooth-skinned stars swear by the Caudalie products used at the Shangri-La’s in-house spa—including Victoria Beckham, who has gone on record (okay, on Twitter) raving about their Beauty Elixir. Miraj usually offers special TIFF packages, but its standard fare is good too: during the Hammam and Gommage treatment ($130), visitors sweat in a 120-degree chamber, then lay on slabs of marble for a rubdown with exfoliating black Moroccan soap.
The Spa at the Four Seasons
60 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6006
The sprawling spa in the Four Seasons offers facials with Amala products—a German skin care line that celebrity makeup artists use on clients like Lena Dunham, Jessica Alba and last year’s TIFF darling, Greta Gerwig. The real gem, though, is the sun-lit bromine pool, which glitters with Italian tile and pulses with music from an underwater sound system.
H20 Float Spa
138 Danforth Ave., 647-349-0426
Adherents from Robin Williams to Yoko Ono swear that floating in an isolation pod facilitates meditation, soothes muscles and regulates sleep-wake cycles. Each of H20’s egg-shaped pods contains more than 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved into the water, creating an effortless Dead Sea buoyancy. Both the water and air are heated to skin temperature, so it feels like you’re floating in zero gravity.