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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:
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The Four Seasons company was born in downtown Toronto in 1961 as a motor hotel, and its first Toronto hotel opened in 1978. Now it’s relocated from that old building to fresh new digs.
located in Toronto’s popular Yorkville center, The 259-room property, will come even more alive this evening with the Café Boulud opening. We hope that in addition to the various media promos Chef Daniel Boulud’s done for the hotel, he will actually be in the FS kitchen for opening night.
If you've kept up at all with the opening of the new Shangri-La Toronto, then you already know that one of the hotel's biggest attractions is a three-story dining concept containing four separate restaurants by Momofuku founder David Chang. This is awesome news for two reasons: first, those mind-blowingly delicious pork buns. Seriously, wow.
Second, despite the wild success of Momofuku's eight New York locations, the brand has so far only expanded into Sydney, Australia. No LA, no London, no Chicago, no Miami—at least not for now. Whether the Momofuku empire will eventually spread into those other major cities remains to be seen.
But for now, it's all about Toronto.
It's Toronto International Film Festival time, and all the celebs are shacking up in Toronto's finest hotels (like Trump Toronto, which opened in January). One place that's getting a bit of attention, though, is the Hazelton Hotel, for installing a $99,900 bed called the Vividus.
As you can see from the picture above, the Vividus is so comfortable you begin to defy gravity and hover ecstatically over the sheets, thereby negating the purpose of a bed at all. But for a company that's been supplying mattresses to the Swedish Royal Court for 50 years, utility is far less of a concern than frilliness. It's all about the luxury, baby.
Welcome to another hotel dispatch from our newest special contributor, The Smooth Operator. We can't divulge his identity but we can tell you he's spends about 70 percent of his time on the road, staying in all the hot hotels and checking out their restaurants and bars to see if the social scene is up to snuff. If you're deciding whether or not to take a chance on that hip boutique hotel in the city, read The Smooth Operator for his opinion first. (Or send us an email and we'll have him answer it for you!)
During my last stay at the Hazelton Hotel in Toronto, I was put in room 323. An expanded suite with extensive square footage, the room was impressive but the layout didn’t work and the room felt like a long hallway – not comfortable at all.
The closet units, however, are exceptional – definitely more than enough hangers (which has proven challenging in premium hotels lately) and great space / design overall. The closet was larger than some rooms I’ve stayed in this year, but shockingly, no iron or ironing board available for the premium clients who stay there.
After three requests over two days I finally had someone from housekeeping provide an iron. (Ed. Note: We guess the iron is not a totally useless amenity for our S.O.)
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Shangri-La Toronto Lobby
Oooohhhh. The word is that the Shangri-La Toronto is still scheduled to open later this month. They're playing it coy, however, as we see that bookings can’t yet be made on their site.
We've managed to get a hold of some renderings of the hotel and it looks like it’s going to be a beauty: very light, spacious and open.
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This is not so much a bar hop as a bar marathon that runs (get it?) the entire length of Canada. If you have the stamina, so do we.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto is a splendiferous hotel, dramatically designed in black, white and grey with shots of glass throughout that make it shine.
The hotel's SUITS Lobby Lounge (yes, they really named it that) mimics this same opulence perfectly, but with an added touch of gold, gold everywhere.
This luxurious lounge attracts local financial district sophisticates in the early evening who are then replaced by hotel guests and other locals coming in for the 7:00 p.m. on shift. Regardless of the time, all lounge-lovers at SUITS enjoy the cocktail concoctions perfected by the master mixologists, who serve classic drinks made modern, or classic drinks that will always be modern.
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ALT Hotels, the ALTernative brand from Groupe Germain Hospitalité, has recently opened up their first hotel outside of Québec at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
As we first mentioned in April, ALT Hotels are aiming for, maybe not world domination, but certainly Canadian domination, as they actively expand their ALT hotels across Canada. Current locations include Québec City, Montréal’s Quartier Dix30 and now Toronto. Plans to open ten ALT Hotels across Canada by the end of 2016 are underway, with three new properties already in development at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport, in Montréal’s District Griffin and in Winnipeg’s Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED).
A no-frills-but-still-oh-so-chic group of properties, ALT Hotels are pared down versions of Groupe Germain’s Le Germain boutique hotels, which are found in Québec City, Montréal, Calgary and two in Toronto. And while Le Germain hotels are the full-meal deal, ALT hotels have cut down on some the high-end perks of a hotel stay.
[Photo: The Hazelton Hotel / Cynthia Chapman artist]
The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto has an impressive contemporary art collection. So impressive, in fact, that the hotel was receiving inquiries from guests about it. Now what to do if you’re a hotel that prides itself on exceptional service and wants to fulfill a guest’s quest for art knowledge? You hire an art expert to satisfy the need.
The hotel’s art concierge is available through live chat to not only answer any questions you may have about the hotel’s extensive art collection, but to also offer insight into the many art dealers and galleries found in the Yorkville region where The Hazelton is located.
If you’re truly art hungry, you can meet the art concierge in person via an appointment to find out, say, what a particular artist was thinking when he or she painted the particular piece that’s hanging in your room, or to get the inside scoop on the happenings in the art world in one of Canada’s cultural centers.
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Toronto’s über-luxe Four Seasons Hotel in the former hippie haven - now ch-chi neighbourhood - of Yorkville, has announced it is taking reservations for October 1 and beyond.
Designed by the Canadian interior design team of George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, the hotel is full of soothing grays with accent colors of Wedgewood blue and butter cream yellow. Floor-to-ceiling windows and Toronto’s largest spa are only two of the items that set it apart from the crowd.
It is said to be the next generation of Four Seasons properties, with tablets in each of the 259 guest rooms and suites so that you can order room service, a cab, or a toothbrush; a TV in the bathroom mirror so that you can watch whatever suits your fancy, be it Glee, Dexter or Matlock; and a kitchen opened by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulard.
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The newest version of the app is now available for download from the iTunes store or the Android market with Toronto and Vancouver hotel deals at the ready (not until noon local time, of course.) The app's update also now supports various forms of international currencies--including Canadian dollars, the British pound and the Euro.
A-ha. There's a clue right there about where else HotelTonight will be expanding abroad. Fingers crossed London is the next city where last-minute hotel guests can find a killer room deal.
Don't worry, Four Seasons Toronto isn't being completely obliterated; it's just moving two blocks over to a new 55-story building on Yorkville Ave. The new location is scheduled to open this summer, but in the meantime, Four Seasons is hellbent on capturing a bit of the nostalgia now felt by guests who have stayed at the old property over the years.
In order to do this, the hotel has set up (what else?) an e-guestbook on Facebook. First, users must "like" Four Seasons Toronto's Facebook page, then, they're granted access to the Four Seasons Toronto Memory Book, a compendium of warm, fuzzy memories ranging from engagements to Bar Mitzvahs to the Toronto International Film Festival. Though our favorite had to be the person who fondly recalled "waiting for the elevator."