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Toronto is the undisputed capital of Canada’s media and retail industries. That might sound boring, but all that money fluttering around means the country’s largest city is home to a five-star hospitality scene. Whether you’re looking for a swanky suite at a flagship international chain or a glamorous boutique property, we’ve rounded up the best places to stay.
A huge rooftop swimming pool, a 250-seat cinema, Neil Dankoff’s photo gallery, four indoor tennis courts, dedicated studios for Pilates and yoga – it’s exhausting just talking about Hotel X’s uber-long list of amenities, let alone using them all. This 30-story tower houses more than 400 rooms, all of them gazing across the Lake Ontario waterfront. But the vistas are nothing compared to the triple-decker SkyBar, the only three-level penthouse watering hole in the city. Pet lovers, check out the VIP (Very Important Pet) program where your furry friend will be welcomed with a bed, food bowl, special treats, plus you can even book a pet photo shoot.
The Kimpton Saint George is another artistic addition to Toronto’s bohemian Annex neighborhood. You can’t miss the giant owl painted on the west-facing wall of this 14-story tower, a masterpiece by local street artist Jerry Rugg. The colorful streak runs into the lobby, with alpine murals by local painter Tisha Myles. Bespoke decor from Mason Studio provides a more homey feel than most luxury hotels, and the price is a bargain, too.
Once a hat factory, this Mercer Street property became a Le Germain hotel in 2002, exuding a sense of calm from the double-height lobby to the rooftop putting green. The Zen vibe also pervades every one of the 123 rooms, with rich wooden fittings on the walls, textured carpets on the floor and a Bose stereo to complete the mood of low-key luxury in the heart of downtown.
This glam boutique hotel is all about over-the-top opulence, with etched gold, crushed velvet and black marble everywhere you turn. Also, more than 3,000 pieces of art, including dozens of original Andy Warhol prints, adorn every spare wall. With 96 rooms a couple of blocks north of the Rogers Centre, Bisha has Iron Chef contestant Akira Back as a chef in its Asian fusion restaurant. There is also 44th-floor cafe KŌST, which serves nibbles and drinks and has its own infinity pool.
Toronto’s Shangri-La enjoys all the elegance of the Singapore original, with Asian accents sprinkled throughout its 202 rooms. Surrounded by the eateries and nightspots of the upscale Entertainment District – including Momofuku Noodle Bar next door – the Shangri-La shimmers with dark polished wood, Japanese ink prints and crystal chandeliers. Indulge in a luxury hammam spa treatment or finish the day with laps of the 20 metre indoor heated pool.
With gold framing in the lobby, green granite in the bathrooms and priceless masterpieces by artists Bruno Billio and Sorel Etrog in the common spaces, The Hazelton oozes old-school Hollywood cool. With 77 rooms, this Yorkville landmark sits on the doorstep of Toronto’s high-end shopping strip, the Mink Mile. But you might not be able to drag yourself away from the hotel, if you’re feasting at ONE Restaurant, the brainchild of acclaimed local chef Mark McEwan, or indulging in a facial with products from Swiss skincare line Valmont in The Hazelton’s intimate spa.
If you spot a celebrity or two at the SoHo Met, it might not be because they’re staying there. This luxury boutique hotel contains the sports bar Wahlburgers, owned by the Wahlberg brothers – chef Paul and actors Mark and Donnie. Besides the burgers, this lavish downtown property dishes up 89 relaxing rooms, offering custom-made maple woodwork, artisanal Molton Brown skincare products and a striking Dale Chihuly glass sculpture hovering over the entrance.
Sandra MacGregor contributed additional reporting to this article.