Quality family time is something our family really values, but with hectic schedules during the school year, we don’t get as much as I would like. Because of that, we prioritize making time for family getaways where the pace of life fades away, clocks are mostly ignored, and the focus is on spending time together, chatting, laughing, and eating (foodie family alert! Lol).
This fall we decided to getaway to Toronto and enjoy the Christmas Market package from the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The package included an overnight stay in a superior room at the gorgeous Fairmont Royal York, festive treats and milk, breakfast at Piper’s Pub, Fast Passes for our family to the Toronto Christmas Market including Ferris Wheel/carousel and hot choice vouchers.
In addition, we decided to enjoy supper on Saturday evening at Benihana which is located right inside the Fairmont Royal York and lunch at El Catrin which is located within the Distillery District that houses the Toronto Christmas Market.
Every second of our getaway from incredible. Here is a little overview of the hotel, the food, and the Christmas Market.
The Fairmont Royal York
The Fairmont Royal York is a hotel that exudes class and character with touches of modern design in just the right places. It is located on Front Street in downtown Toronto across from Union Station. During our stay we enjoyed a spacious hotel room with a gorgeous view of the CN tower. It had two beds, a lovely sitting area and desk, a flat screen TV, and a bright washroom. The beds are very comfortable! The Fairmont has an incredible pool area which we enjoyed twice during our overnight stay. There is a long pool that is nice and warm for all ages to enjoy, a wading pool for children, and a hot tub. There is also a workout facility available and beautiful change rooms. During the holiday season The Fairmont also has a “Santa Chalet” Santa visits on December 14th and 22nd and on other days the exterior is a great place for holiday photos! We truly loved our stay at the Fairmont Royal York and can’t wait to go back. Next time, afternoon tea is first on the agenda!
Our family loves to experience new restaurants and food-related experiences while on holidays. During our weekend escape we enjoyed three restaurants. Two were located in the Fairmont Royal York and one was in the Distillery District.
Our first meal was supper at Benihana. Wow! This was much more than a meal…it was a multi-course interactive show! First soup and salad are served and then each table at Benihana has a personal chef for about an hour. Our chef cooked rice, several vegetables, shrimp, lobster, scallops, chicken, steak, and tuna. Our boys were in awe of the chef’s ability to juggle kitchen utensils and create fire on the cooking surface. Our whole family absolutely loved every single bite served to us!
On Sunday morning before leaving for the Christmas market we enjoyed breakfast at Piper’s Pub. It was a hot and cold buffet with an option to order Eggs Benedict and Omelettes a la carte. The selection was wonderful and every bite was full of great flavour! This breakfast was included as part of the Christmas Market package at the Fairmont Royal York.
After a walk around the market we were ready for lunch. After reviewing a few menus we knew that we wanted to try El Catrin. It came highly recommended and now we know why! The food was outstanding and the atmosphere was very fun!!! We started with table side service of guacamole and then the kids enjoyed fish, quesadillas, and Mexican French Toast. I had the best shrimp tacos I have ever had in my life and my husband really enjoyed their pork tacos.
All three meals met and exceeded our expectations and we will definitely return to the restaurants in the future.
The Toronto Christmas Market
The Toronto Christmas Market is a magical place. It is located in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto which is about a 20 minute walk from The Fairmont Royal York and Union Station. Upon arriving we were greeted by a friendly elf named Eleanor. We would go on to meet many others throughout the day…Eve, Emmett, Emma, Ester, Edison, Esme, and more! The elves add a fun-filled energy to the market experience and are part of many activities including a sing-along, story time, and photo time with Santa (which is free as part of your visit). Speaking of Santa, Mrs. Clause was there too! Our boys had a long chat with both so I think they feel quite secure that their toy orders are in for 2018!
The market is filled with local vendors selling everything from shortbread to adorable winter hats and mittens to bee pollen to Christmas ornaments to maple syrup and more! There are also several indoor shops with clothing, house décor, accessories, etc. In the center of the market there is a huge Christmas tree with beautiful décor on it. It is beside the entertainment stage where we spent time listening to a hand bell performance, a quartet, a brass band, a holiday song sing along, and a reading of The Christmas Carol. Each show was about ½ hour long and captivated our entire families attention!
A highlight of our visit was a ride on the Carousel. As part of the Christmas Market package from the Fairmont we could choose to ride the Ferris Wheel or the Carousel and our boys really wanted to ride the Carousel so that is what we did. It was taken back to my love for carousels as a child as I listened to their laughter as the horses went up and down and around. It is truly such a privilege to do life with little ones and see the world through their eyes. After the carousel ride we stopped to enjoy a hot chocolate with marshmallows which was also included in our package. It warmed us all up perfectly!
Our weekend away was truly a special family experience and one that I will cherish the memories from. I am also confident this will become a family tradition going forward!