Thanks to Toronto's cosmopolitan flare, swelling restaurant scene, newly trendy neighborhoods, and popular annual events like the buzzing Toronto International Film Festival, a new crop of five-star accommodations in the city, including Thompson Toronto, Trump Toronto and Ritz Carlton, has sprung up. And it doesn't seem like the trend will be fizzling any time soon. This summer alone, four new luxury hotels are opening, proving "Canada's New York City" will continue to thrive as a top destination for affluent visitors.
Opening August, the 202-room Shangri-La Toronto will bring its trademark Asian sense of hospitality and service to the first 17 floors of a new 66-story tower. Expect modern aesthetics washed with abundant natural light due to large windowpanes and open lobby concept.
Right in the heart of the financial and entertainment districts, Shangri-La Toronto treats guests to well-appointed rooms that average a whopping 530 square feet. The signature restaurant, Bosk, features Japanese fine dining and an outdoor terrace, and spa-lovers will set up camp at the Miraj Spa, which flaunts Toronto's longest hotel swimming pool (under a glass ceiling and chandeliers to boot), Caudalie products from France and nine treatment rooms including private hammams. The hotel is destined to be iconic with a commanding metal sculpture in front of the hotel. It's Toronto's newest piece of public art by Shanghai artist Zhang Huan, and took two years to make.
Insider's Tip: Ask for a room with a view along University Avenue; the exciting views are straight up University toward Queen's Park.
Four Seasons Toronto
While the official opening is still being determined, summer looks very likely for the flagship Four Seasons Hotel, which first opened more than fifty years ago in the highbrow Yorkville neighborhood and spawned a hotel lifestyle for luxury travel. The 259-room hotel will include 42 suites that feature interactive tablets, digital signage and marble bathrooms with discreetly hidden TVs inside mirrors.
Visitors and locals alike can expect a completely new spa experience. The spa will span 30,000 square feet across two floors with 17 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, relaxation pool with adjacent whirlpool, fitness center with interactive workout classes, and yoga studio. Internationally acclaimed, Toronto-based designers Yabu Pushelberg created interiors reflecting stylish luxury and elegance, Canadian art fills public spaces and celebrity chef Daniel Boulud takes helm of the culinary front with Cafe Boulud.
Insider's Tip: The experience begins as soon as you hit the driveway resembling a Victorian carpet that sweeps around a courtyard fountain towering four stories tall—this is your grand entrance.
"No frills chic" is the tagline at the new ALT Hotel at Pearson International Airport, thanks to bold, contemporary design and all the fat trimmed to produce only the essentials necessary for a good night's stay. The rate of $149CAD per night never changes. You read right, it stays the same every day of the year.
ALT is also located directly across the airport's LINK train Viscount station, which runs 24 hours. When it comes to sleep, guests can expect nothing but comfort: all rooms have 100% Egyptian cotton bedding, goose down duvet, feather center duvet pillows and work area with ergonomic chairs. Owned by Groupe Germain Hospitality, who pioneered the boutique hotel concept in Canada, the 153-room hotel is stylish and cozy, with meeting rooms totaling 6,000 square feet, pool table, fitness center and ALTcetera station for grab-n-go food. Reservations are being taken from June 22.
Insider's Tip: Liked your bedding? You can purchase pillow, duvet and even the entire bed set with the hotel's very own Alt Collection.
Due to its success last year, the Boatel (pictured above) is back. Toronto's only boat hotel (one of two boat hotels in the entire country) is a unique, alternative waterfront accommodation experience. Guests stay inside a 65-foot custom, private motor yacht moored at Toronto's Harbour-front and can book the entire boat or any or all of the three rooms.
Amenities include Wi-Fi, full breakfast, a large salon, upper and lower decks, and personal concierge service. And there's no shortage of views. Guests can have a coffee on the bow overlooking Toronto's islands or hit the upper sky lounge for views of the city. The floating B&B is only available during summer months (last day of the season is September 30th) and always remains dockside.
Insider's Tip: The Toronto beaches (yes, there are beaches!) are only minutes away. Bring sunscreen.
Jimmy Im is a freelance travel writer based in NYC. He's appeared as a travel expert on shows on the Travel Channel and LOGO and teaches travel writing courses. He's also cofounder of OutEscapes.com.
Photo credits: Courtesy of the Four Seasons; Boatel courtesy of Boatel