Have you heard about the hidden treasure on Queen Street East?
I don’t remember how I became aware of The Ivy at Verity, a luxurious European-inspired boutique hotel in Toronto. Somehow it just appeared in my consciousness and before I knew it, I simply had to stay there. The hidden Queen Street East locale and cavernous layout have been piquing my interest for years. Until now.
Housed in a former chocolate factory, The Ivy at Verity is more than a boutique hotel. Not only is it home to George, a gourmet restaurant, and a unique and award-winning Sweetgrass spa, this gorgeously appointed space is also HQ to one of Canada’s foremost women’s clubs, Verity. And while it seems impossible that a quiet and romantic four-room auberge could share an address with these three hopping businesses, they co-exist seamlessly behind the stone and arched window façade of an unassuming 57,000 square foot building.
Inside the hotel’s many rooms and corridors, the colour scheme and interior design elements have been curated to give every space the look and feel of private residence. A palette of turquoise, pinks, purples greens and gold play off the exposed brick of former factory walls and the light coming in from the 19th century windows. So welcoming is the space that guests don’t think twice about flopping down to read a book or sip a cocktail on a one of a kind arm chair surrounded by rich colours and custom textiles.
Rooms – Verity Style
Here, there are just four rooms available to let. While each comes with it’s own private terrace overlooking a serene interior courtyard, all four are distinctly unique. My room is a dreamy open concept space that invites me to indulge in my impulses to eat, recline, sleep and get some sun. The room’s design is anchored by calming turquoise wall emboldened by fine finishings, like the elegant chandelier and upholstered headboard from Trianon to create a feeling of absolute retreat. I feel special in this room, thin even.
Food & Drink
The Ivy at Verity is also home to George Restaurant, steered by award-winning chef, Lorenzo Loseto. Regretfully, I didn’t have time to eat at George during my stay but I did tour the moody and dramatic space after hours.
Inside the dynamic industrially plush space, each table is positioned for noise control, which frees diners to engage in easy conversation on even the busiest of Friday nights. Through windows adorned with iron filigree, the courtyard patio tables are topped with Italian linens and fresh flowers. For the Don Draper’s Old Fashioned cocktail, I will return.
Take a Rest, Girl!
While men are welcome guests to The Ivy at Verity, Sweetgrass spa is available to women only. One of the 25 best spas in Canada, Sweetgrass feels like golden, underground lagoon that offers everything from massage to acupuncture. In the nail salon, women can be found chatting and socializing in the relaxing space, while others lounge by the incredible pool. A converted historic site, this feminist grotto houses a hot tub, sauna and the only chemical free, ozonated pool in the city.
Guests of The Ivy at Verity’s boutique hotel, restaurant and spa are often unknowingly part of a larger social enterprise: Verity, a private club for women. Complete with a members lounge, work and meeting spaces and inclusive of access to the spa, Verity members are making the future female through mentorship, action and collaboration.
A start up from seasoned entrepreneur and Ivy at Verity creator, Mary Aitken, the club offers its 800 members—all busy, professional women—the chance connect with one another, grow their interest and careers, and recharge for the next conquest.
From a design and service perspective, Verity meets international standards in excellence to help to build women collaborate and support one another. From an amenities perspective, it’s a sanctuary for self care and productivity. The club’s beautiful and functional spaces give women a one stop rejuvenating shop to work of plan, scheduling, exercise, and recharge without the travel time and schlepping. During my visit, members seated in the lounge were connecting over lunch, while upstairs others worked in the in-house office space. Down the hall, one of Verity’s 20+ special interest clubs prepared for an event.
My Favourite Things
Just outside the hotel’s front door you’ll find a busy streetcar line, traffic, construction and people bustling around like maniacs. But cross the threshold and the world of honking, yelling and shopping evaporates. Deeper inside The Ivy at Verity, I sat on my private terrace overlooking the courtyard unable to hear a peep from a neighbourhood that rarely slows down. I spent time here sipping coffee, working and lounging in a cushy bathrobe.
I never cared for baths…until I stayed at The Ivy at Verity. When I saw the massive soaker tub adorned with a variety of essential oil-infused salts, I was tempted to soak. A cocktail and my phone at my side, I let the hot water and soothing salts do their glorious work until I was completely waterlogged and beyond relaxed.
In the morning, I lay in bed munching on the breakfast for two (for one) that awaited me when I woke. Sipping fresh brewed, I read the paper occasionally brushing croissant flakes from my bathrobe, not a single care whirling in my head.
IF YOU GO:
The Ivy at Verity is located at 111 Queen St E D, Toronto, near Church and Queen Street East. Rates start at $399 and includes breakfast.
Female guests of The Ivy at Verity are invited to use all Club amenities, including the fitness centre and swimming pool.
The writer was a guest of The Ivy at Verity. The hotel did not review or approve this article.