North Americans would be hard-pressed to find a city outside of Toronto that, in the past 18 months, has opened a Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, Trump and Four Seasons hotel, plus added a buzzy boutique ALT near the airport.
We had the pleasure of touring our friendliest northern neighbor last week during the city’s biggest yearly event — the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and had the chance to explore many of the city’s new luxe offerings. We walked away confident that this Canadian gem was one we’d return to time and again– after all, it was only an hour-and-a-half flight from our hometown of DC– plus all of the things that a vacationer would seek: friendly, affordable, vibrant and clean.
Here’s what luxury travel mavens need to know about the Toronto hotel scene.
If You’re Seeking Shopping: Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Opening on October 5, 2012, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto will open its second location in Toronto — the original property closed earlier this summer to make way for the new iteration in the brand’s corporate headquarters city. What can you expect? A prime Yorkville location, close to luxury shopping, dining and cultural attractions, plus 259 spacious sunlight-filled guestrooms including 42 suites featuring state-of-the-art amenities and a 30,000 square foot luxury spa (the largest luxury hotel spa in Toronto). Of course, Four Seasons dining destinations will be top notch as well — the signature restaurant will be Café Boulud by Daniel Boulud. We’ll have a full report when we return for the opening in a few weeks.
If You Love Asian Inspiration: Shangri-La Toronto
For just the second time, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts — the Asian-based luxury hotel group — will bring its legendary offerings and hospitality to life in North America. The Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto opened on August 31, just in time for TIFF, and isn’t totally ready to receive guests– but in a few weeks when the hotel is 100% operational, expect amenities never seen before in Toronto, including the opening of Momofuku by acclaimed New York hef David Chang; a dramatic multi-storey sculpture that begins outside and winds its way into the hotel lobby by internationally renowned artist Zhang Huan; and a state-of-the-art theatre. The massive glass-fronted building is a modern marvel, a testament to Asian concepts of feng shui, and technologically one of the most advanced in the city. We can’t wait to come for a stay.
If You Crave Glitz, Glam and Great Views: Trump International Hotel &Tower Toronto
The tallest building in Toronto is none other than the Trump International Hotel & Tower — would you expect anything less? The oasis of glam is a chocolate and champagne masterpiece rising 32 floors above the city skyline (with residences above) and featuring a spectacular bi-level Quartz Crystal Spa™, featuring a 65-ft. marine-grade, heated, zero-edge natural salt lap pool (the only one of its kind offered by a Toronto hotel), see-and-be-seen steakhouse and modern contemporary restaurant STOCK and the popular happy hour cocktail lounge, Suits. Did we mention that STOCK has a chocolate cave? It does — a masterpiece of a space dedicated to forming the finest treats known to man. Spacious rooms (half of which are suites), offer exceptional amenities including push-button light and drapery controls and gas fireplaces. Mr. Trump must approve.
If You Want the “Club Level” Service (and A Primo Business Location): The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
It’s hard to say anything bad about one of the original grande dames of luxury, and The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, lives up to expectations. The “oldest” of the new luxury hotel set, the Ritz has a bit over a year of history under its downtown roots, making it the first new luxury hotel in the city’s vibrant financial district. Ideal for guests seeking a hockey game at Rogers Centre or visiting the CN Tower, the Ritz brings its signature service to great use. We enjoyed a fabulous stay on the hotel’s club level, which offers up daily meal presentations and private concierge service, as well as a room overlooking the city harbor, affording excellent views of the planes coming and going from nearby Billy Bishop Airport. If you have the chance, a visit to the hotel’s 16-room spa offering treatments by Clarins’ new My Blend line (the only of its kind outside of Paris) is not to be missed.