So, when Inna Levitan, her husband and their business partner, all as co-owners of the luxury hotel that is Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto, started working on the project 11 years ago, she at least knew exactly what she wanted. Design partners Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrooke of the confusingly-named II by IV Design Associates, which conveniently is also based in Toronto, were happy to oblige. Bring in a sense of history, said she. Of course, said they. One suite, which the gal would have to say is a bit too big for her personal liking, has old black and white photos, including one of The Queen and Prince Philip on one of their many visits to Toronto, back in 1959.
Inna Levitan was flying around the world when, glancing through an airline magazine, she saw an amazing piece of wall art. I want it for my hotel, said she. Happy to oblige, said the designers. The result is a staggering Czech glass vertical sculpture behind front desk. It is 21 feet across, 11 feet high, amazingly suspended on black glass. It has bits of Swarovski crystal integrated into it. It blends perfectly with the chic black suits the ladies there wear (were they designed by Ivanka Trump?) – it also complements the lobby floor, which is a pattern of shiny and matt marbles, both dense-dense black. It also blends with two large Czech chandeliers, one all champagne, one all black, in foyers leading off the entrance. Champagne and caviar (black) would, decreed Inna Levitan, be the overall colours of the hotel.
Today one of her many roles is to be in charge of STOCK restaurant, up on the 31st floor of the 65-floor building. The restaurant separates the hotel, on floors below, and the privately-owned residences, on the floors above. It is therefore easy both for hotel guests and resident ‘residents’ to get to the restaurant, and to Quartz Crystal Spa, also on the 31st floor. Travel tip for those coming to Toronto, by the way – make sure your nails as well as your body look good, it seems masculine spa usage is nearly up to that of their ladies…. A sports massage seemed just the thing after so much working out, and the therapist did something really new in the form of lifting, and rolling, my neck in a very hot towel. Felt good.
Who would not want to work out, in this gorgeous environment? Inna Levitan says her husband insisted on the Olympic pool, but I did not see him in it. It is infinity edged, and filled with sea-water. As you swim up and down, you look at ceiling-high panels of butterflied black-on-white marble, cut in such a way that some of the resulting panels appear like stylized Inuit heads, and animals from the Northern Territories (by my tenth lap I am thinking of my once-off visit to Yellowknife, no, no luxury hotels there…).
I do not think I saw Mr Levitan, either, in the gym but I was working out too hard to notice anyone else. Frankly, when working out you do not want anyone to notice you, and vice versa. That is me time, not to be shared.
We can assume that the Levitans’ house is full of chandeliers. Inna Levitan loves them. She, with the help of Ivanka Trump and the designers, have themed the whole beautiful hotel for caviar and champagne. Down at base level, one lobby, for residents, is champagne-coloured. The other, for hotel guests, is caviar-coloured. All public areas have stunning chandeliers, from the Czech Republic. Some are black, some are pink, some are clear. The suite that has The Queen in it also has a freestanding bathtub with a grey glass chandelier over (not allowed to be used, apparently, because of fire regulations). Look up, throughout the hotel, and you also see the extraordinary shapes presented by ceiling panels and subtle lighting. It is rare that a hotel GM (General Manager, to the general public) takes such an interest in his hotel that he personally wants to take every visiting travel agent and media person round, to show off bathrooms’ proper wood – rather than glass – doors, and how the ballroom, big enough for 240 seated, is like a palace throne room, 21st century style.