Can’t bear the idea of getting your nails done without a glass of bubbly? Don’t worry princess, Her Majesty’s Pleasure has the royal treatment you’re looking for…
There’s a new beauty on King West and, while the locals couldn’t help but notice her allure, anyone living outside the area hasn’t necessarily been introduced to this stunner. Her Majesty’s Pleasure is the new salon-meets-cafe hybrid that is equal parts spa, boutique, and bar. A new concept for Toronto, Her Majesty’s Pleasure opened their doors in October 2014 and have been a welcome addition to the city. It’s actually quite difficult to get an appointment unless you book at least one week in advance — almost as hard as getting an 8pm reservation at a Toronto restaurant…
Jeff Armstrong and wife Sara Kardan are the two innovators who conceptualized the unique salon that literally puts joy on your face as you walk into what feels like a giant dollhouse. High ceilings, walls of windows, and light colour schemes make the contemporary venue so inviting, you may stay a little longer and indulge in one too many cocktails. Yes, I said cocktails — Her Majesty’s Pleasure puts the “pleasure” back into pampering because every woman knows that we have no choice to do it, but why not enjoy it with a macaron and a glass of bubbly?
But we do wonder, what took so long for our metropolitan city –one that has been called the best city in the world to live by the Economist– to acquire such a place? After speaking with Armstrong, I discovered that they went through a long legal battle to open their doors. Without getting into too many details, we all know it’s a feat to get the Ontario government to give liquor licenses to non-traditional venues like this one. But for three years this duo persevered, got all the neighbourhood signatures they needed to take their dream to court, and managed to win the fight. Clearly they are now reaping the benefits.
The Her Majesty’s Pleasure experience has been designed around pampering at its best. Guests can have their nails done at the manicure bar, recline in a cozy chair for a pedicure, or enjoy a blow dry or facial while sipping on fresh-squeezed juice, bubbly, coffee, or one of their signature cocktails. If hunger sets in, the bar shares a space with a café where you can indulge in fresh baked goods, salads, and sandwiches. Sounds like heaven, no?
But like books, not everything can be judged by its cover. While the idea is fabulous, Her Majesty’s Pleasure could do with staff service training when it comes to the overall experience. The spa professionals are excellent at what they do and the bartender –the only one– is charismatic and makes delicious cocktails. But one wishes that the two areas of the boutique communicated better with each other.
When it takes over 20 minutes to get a drink after ordering it or half an hour to get your coat, or waiting 15 minutes to pay your bar bill (yes, the drinks must be paid separately from the spa) the pampering side is somewhat diminished. These lapses are forgiven, however, because Her Majesty’s Pleasure is still in its infancy. It feels like all the bones are there for a fantastic beauty experience, but the execution still needs to be fine-tuned.
After three experiences, I still love the place and will continue to go back. The concept is genius, the spa professionals are excellent, and the owners are lovely. When they can bring the two sides together seamlessly, they will be the biggest hit King West has ever seen. That said, they might be already — I’m just picky. I guess you can call me her majesty!
If you’ve been to Her Majesty’s Pleasure, share with us your experience in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.