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First Look At The Shangri-La Toronto

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  Site Where: 188 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5H 0A3
November 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM | by | ()

You know you’re not in Kansas anymore as soon as you walk into the newly-opened Shangri-La Toronto. In fact, it's easy to believe you've entered the East thanks to the hotel's subtle little touches. For instance, when we checked in and handed over our Visa card, it was handed back with both hands and a slight bow of the head -- very customary in Asia. Then there are, of course, the more obvious things: decor, artwork and staff outfits.

We will try our hardest not to get too gushy, but the simple fact is--we loved this hotel, and here are seven reasons (and loads of pictures) explaining why:

The Service We’re always going on about this, but it's true: Great service can make all the difference in the luxury hotel market. In this case, we've always found Canadians to be a friendly lot, and the Shangri-La Toronto team seems to have found the perfect blend of Canadian warmth and restrained Asian hospitality.

The Room First, it’s huge. The average size of the Shangri-La Toronto’s rooms are 525 sq ft. There’s a Nespresso machine, and we believe we’ve made it clear in the past how much we love that; a beautiful, large bathroom with, yes, a TV in the bathroom mirror; light switches that control everything from the lights to the drapes; and an iPad in the room for you to order room service, a wake-up call or to find out what’s around the hotel.

The Car Service There's nothing quite like being picked up in a silver Mercedes Benz S class car at the airport. You're handed a hot towel to freshen up once you get settled, and you can request whatever music you're into or can even watch a movie. Getting back to that service thing, we had to leave the hotel early in the morning and requested that coffee and maybe a muffin be ready to go in the car. Not only was there coffee and a muffin, but a croissant and some cheese as well. Sigh...

The Design It doesn't feel like shortcuts were taken because of -- oh, say -- cost. There's a harmonious and wide use of white oak, Jerusalem gold marble, pale grey leather furniture, and burnished copper accented with a dark berry carpet. Lovely. Each floor also has a great display of unique Asian art pieces.

The Lobby Lounge See design comments above. Plus it’s huge, high-ceilinged, has spectacular art and a fantastic fireplace. And they make a mean French 75.

Bosk Restaurant Yes, Momofuku is onsite, but the hotel’s main restaurant is nothing to sneeze at. We had a wonderful chef’s choice meal at Bosk with dishes that were excellently paired with selections by the sommelier. Our favorite bite was the poached lemon with sorbet inside.OMG!

The Spa The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie of Paris is a spot-on addition to the hotel. The Grand Caudalie Facial was oh-so-relaxing. There was more misting of the face with pretty-smelling elixirs than we've ever experienced, PLUS you get a bonus hand, arm and a foot and leg massage! The spa also has a Moroccan-style hammam that has a North American sensibility to it (i.e. it’s private, not public and they tend to leave a woman’s delicate parts alone). So if you’re a hammam newbie, this is a good place to get your feet wet, so to speak.

Rates in not-so-balmy January are around the $460 mark for a deluxe room.

[Photos: Janice Tober/HotelChatter]

Although Janice stayed as a guest of the hotel, the views expressed are her own.

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