BY BROCK SUTHERLAND
It’s sometimes hard to know where to look when you’re at the Gladstone Hotel. The boutique accommodation in Toronto’s west end is an eclectic arts hub, and has long been know for its collection of individually designed guestrooms. Stay here, and you’ll never lacking in visual stimulation. That’s especially true if you find yourself in the hotel’s newest lodging—its Surreal Gourmet room, designed by fun-loving TV foodie Bob Blumer.
As host of high-concept Food Network Canada programs including Glutton for Punishment, World’s Weirdest Restaurants, and yes, The Surreal Gourmet, Blumer has cultivated an enthusiastic, even slightly oddball persona. His room is an apt reflection of his apparent passions, aiming to feed the fantasies of a guest’s inner gourmand, but also their inner child. Step inside and you’ll find a suite that’s stuffed with an assortment of classic characters that many of us innocuously adored in our early years. Toucan Sam, it seems, managed to successfully wallpaper an armoire with Froot Loops. A photo of the Pillsbury Doughboy by Fausta Facciponte conceals a television (on which you can view some of Blumer’s favourite food-themed DVDs). Mr. Peanut, also photographed by Facciponte, lords over the marshmallow-pillowed bed, while the Trix rabbit accents a small seating area. And figurines of Tony the Tiger, a prepubescent Jolly Green Giant, and Keebler Elf all stand guard together above the kitchenette—not to mention its worthy selection of wines available for purchase.
That kitchenette is perhaps expected in a food-themed room, but it’s fairly unique at the Gladstone: only two other rooms offer any sort of cooking area. Blumer has stocked this one with a vintage blender, retro microwave, panini maker and a set of his favourite Shun knives.
It’s all enough to leave you salivating. Just try not to eat the decor.