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Luxury travel tip, keep your eyes open for the unusual

Richard Cooke and Riedel water dispenser

Richard Cooke and Riedel water dispensers

Water at dinner can be presented in a myriad of ways.  Some luxury hotels ostentatiously present bottles of Fiji Water held in square-sided silver containers. One of the most chic is long-spouted watering cans that are used by several greenhouse type restaurants – but the gold medal goes to the presentation here, at Shangri-La Toronto.  Here, waiters, in sparkling white jackets over white aprons, brandish two long-spouted Riedel decanters, one with sparkling and one with still water.

How chic is that, you may ask?  Well, this hotel does lots of write-home-about, or tweet-about, things.   This very weekend, the GM, Richard Cooke, is installing a beautiful, ten-foot cupboard, specially made in China.  It will stand in the hotel’s marble lobby, near the 12-foot electric fire, two-way of course.  At night, the cupboard will be opened to reveal a Champagne bar, with brands available, in some cases, by the glass. The big list of bottles includes several well-known labels, from Bollinger to Taittinger, as well as single-vineyard labels.

And that is not all.  The ever-creative Mr C has turned suite 614 in his luxury hotel into a Garden Suite.  Inside it is a boudoir of flowers with a gauze-curtained four post bed.  Outside, the terrace – which allows smoking – is a mini Chelsea Flower Show. Brilliant.