My Fling at the Fairmont: Conde Nast Traveler: Women Who Travel Podcast


Thank you to Conde Nast Traveler Women Who Travel Podcast! What an honor to share my story on their Valentine’s Day dispatch. “It’s fun, it’s candid, it’s certainly not hallmark.”

Women Who Travel Podcast: Your Love and Travel Stories: Tales of breakups, hookups, and more in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Love doesn’t sleep just because you’re traveling. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re dedicating an episode to our listeners’ stories, from tales of a windswept singles resort, to a fling in a Toronto hotel, to a surprising encounter in China. Whether you love or hate this holiday, or love to hate it, we promise this episode will be a fun one. 💞

START LISTENING at 18:48 for my story


“Fortunately, in my tornado of packing, I had one sexy bra and lingerie set.”

“I was talking to my coworker about this incredibly hot Adonis. And she said to me, “Does stuff like this happen to you all the time?”

Lisa Niver: This is Lisa Niver. I’m a teacher for the kids that need school while they’re filming a TV show or a movie. And I normally work in California. My boss once called and asked if I could travel very last minute to work in Toronto? One of my best friends lives in Toronto, and I was excited that they would literally pay for me to go visit my friend and work.

But then she called me back and she said, “Actually, we don’t need you.”

I was disappointed. And in my mind, I had actually given myself an imaginary boyfriend that I met when I was staying in Toronto. Because when I used to work on cruise ships and for Club Med, there were plenty of times that I had an actual crazy moment with a guest when something happened. We used to call Club Med —club bed— for a reason. So I was sad. I actually told my boss that I couldn’t believe she wasn’t letting me go to Toronto because I was going to have to break-up with my imaginary boyfriend. She laughed.

Surprisingly, a couple of days later, she called me again, desperate, asking “Please, I really need you to drop whatever you’re doing and pack.” I said–“Wh- you’re telling me now I’m going to Toronto?” And in my head I was thinking I might actually meet my new imaginary boyfriend!!

So I packed, it felt like that character in the cartoons, the Tasmanian devil, because I just kept throwing things in the suitcase. I barely slept because they were picking me up at four o’clock in the morning. It’s always great when they pick me up to go the airport, but somehow when I have a weird time to wake up, I wake up every hour. I flew on the plane, I waited in line to get my work permit, I finally got to my hotel. One of the reasons I’ve traveled all over the world is I love, love, love, love, love scuba diving.

So I’m always trying to swim as much as possible to keep in shape for my next adventure. When I arrived at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, they told me not only did have a pool, but also that there was late night swim that was adults-only. I quickly got organized in my room to go swimming. I had my blue swimming cap and my goggles. And I think that I look so geeky, but whatever. That’s how I swim.

After I finished up my laps, and got out of the pool, I put on my robe and I was getting ready to leave. I just had this feeling I forgot something. So I was looking back at the chair where I had left my cell phone, but I had my cell phone, I had my room key. I thought, “What else do I need?” And then, oh my goodness, I saw this man in the water. And I thought, oh my gosh, if I could have imagined my imaginary boyfriend, I definitely made him look like him. He was amazing.

I thought to myself, that’s a lot of abs. I was thinking, who has abs like that? And he started talking to someone and I felt like one of those funny movie scenes where the guy’s talking to the girl and the girl is in the diner looking behind her. I checked to see if there was a clock behind me. Maybe, he’s looking at the clock. He’s not talking to me.

And he said, “No, I, I am talking to you.”

And I said, “Oh my God, I said that out loud.”

He starts chatting with me. Anyway, it was the end of the night and the attendant came in and said, “Swimming is over” and essentially locked the door behind us. And my friend with the abs got in the elevator with me and was chatting me up. And I’m not usually at a loss for words. I worked on cruise ships, I work on set, but this man really looked like the model for a sculpture in Greece. Anyway, he kept talking to me and unfortunately at some point, of course, he had to ask me my name.

And so I asked him his name. And then– that was when it was over for me.

It was so good. I was thinking maybe tonight I would get lucky but he had a very unlucky name in my opinion because he had the same name as my ex-husband. And there was no way I was having hot hotel room sex with a guy with the same name as my ex-husband.

There was no way. And honestly, it was basically like my whole brain shut off in a different way. But, he didn’t know that. And, I didn’t tell him that. But he kept talking to me in the elevator, and then he got out on the same floor as me. And apparently, I’m not very smart, because I looked at him and I said, “You’re on the same floor as me? That’s a coincidence.”

He said, “Lisa, I’m not on the same floor as you.” And then I was thinking, why would he get off the same floor as me? Oh. I realized he thinks he’s coming home with me.

I said: nope, nope, nope. It’s my first day at work tomorrow. He said, “Are you sure you do not want me to walk you to your room? There might be villainous bell-boys and rogue room service carts in the hallway?” And I laughed because he was so charming but I said, “At the FAIRMONT?” I did not think there was any danger except for my heart from him.

I had so many excuses. And he said, I have to work tomorrow, too. And he told me that he was working on set with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which honestly, I didn’t believe. I thought, “Sure, he’s here. And sure you’re on set also.”

I just figured I had said I was on set, so then he said he was on set. I gave him my card because he asked for my number. I don’t know why I did because I was never going to sleep with him. I waved goodbye. And I went to my room. I had to wash my hair because I had been swimming and I had to work the next day.

The whole time, I just thought I just made a huge mistake. When the universe gives you a gift, you’re not really supposed to give it back. And since I had my imaginary boyfriend before I even left, it is like the universe saying, here you go, and served him up to me on this platter. And I just basically kicked him to the curb. So I thought about that all night. And then, of course, again, I was sleep-deprived for work, and when I got there, and I had made fast friends with my co-teacher.

And I was telling her, my whole story. I said, “I know I never met you before but this crazy thing happened to me last night.” And I told her the whole story, especially about his name.

She said, “First of all, who cares what you call him,” and she invented a name for him because he had such good abs. She called him Abs McGee. Anyway, so all day long, I was thinking about that Abs McGee, and he did actually text me from his set, and asked if he could see me later. And I was thinking about it. And I did find out I asked who else was in town filming and the first person they mentioned was Arnold Schwarzenegger. [laughing] So it was true that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in town. I decided to text a friend of mine who I’ve known since the seventh grade. And I texted her, I explained the story to her. And she wrote me back and she said, “Listen, I think it’s really time that you have a new association with an old name.” She said, “You can’t keep giving your ex-husband all this power. I think you deserve to have a great time.”

So later that night, I texted him and he asked me to meet him in the lobby. We met up for drinks in the lobby, which was really fun. He continued to be charming and entertaining. And I fessed up to the issue about his name. He asked if he had a different name, if I would have brought him home the night before. I just shrugged.

He had these dots on his face, because they had been doing this ADR filming where they were using his body but they were going match his face. And they worked so late, that he said that the makeup team was gone. He said, “Listen, you’re a girl, don’t you have some lotion or makeup remover in your room? Can’t you help me out?” And I mean, I wasn’t really still on the fence about taking him home. But it was really cute. And so I said, “Yes, I guess I’ll help you out.” So he came up to my room. I helped him remove the dots from his face. And then he helped me remove all my clothes.

And we had this really great, crazy, sexy romp in my room. And it was so much fun. And I really was appreciative to have this whole girl tribe that came around me and helped me rethink this idea I had in my head that I could miss out on this super fun more than a one night fling. I saw him every night that we were both in town in the hotel together, and we also went out to dinner. Fortunately, in my tornado of packing, I had one sexy bra and lingerie set that I got to wear. I hadn’t anticipated that might happen but I really did have a great time meeting him and being willing, and that fling really did help heal my heart. It really made a difference for me to let go and give myself permission to be happy and try again, no matter what the guy’s name was.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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