Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced the opening of Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto on Canada’s University Avenue, in the heart of its largest city, Toronto, Ontario. The property is Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ newest member and is the company’s second hotel in North America.
Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto resides within the first 17 floors of a new 66-story landmark tower. The 202-room hotel is within a five-block radius of the performance center for Canada’s opera and ballet companies, the headquarters for the country’s five major banks, consulates, leading research hospitals, sports venues, the city’s live theater district and the TIFF headquarters.
At the University entrance, a hand-hewn stainless steel sculpture, “Rising," by one of China’s most influential contemporary artists Zhang Huan, reaches from the street up the glass tower and into the hotel’s two-story lobby.
Like the exterior, the hotel’s interior is a destination where art and architecture are emphasized. Entering the street-level lobby, guests find themselves in the 90-seat Lobby Lounge where natural light streams through two-story windows highlighting birds from “Rising.” The lounge features four large-scale Chinese calligraphy paintings that depict women from the famed Peking Opera, an Italian handcrafted, light-oak Fazioli piano with the words to My Old Man by Canadian artist Joni Mitchell carved into its lid, and contemporary furniture in dove-grey leather.
In the Lobby Lounge, guests can choose from an all-day menu inspired by Southeast Asian food vendors, a tea selection of 68 teas from around the world, and a five-volume menu of apéritifs and cocktails, wine and beer, scotch, spirits and fortified wines.
By design, guests move easily through the lobby to The Bar, a 30-seat destination which fronts Bosk, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Hanging above The Bar are 180 hand-blown glass fixtures in varying shades of green. To the right, an oak wall carves out the name, Bosk and its definition, a small wooded area. Inside, an 80-seat restaurant includes a private dining enclave for up to 30, plus a seasonal outdoor terrace which wraps around the corner of the building. Led by executive chef Jean Paul Lourdes, the dining room boasts a menu with Asian-influences.
Beyond the hotel lobby are 202 guestrooms and suites, ranging in size from 490 square feet to 2,200 square feet. Stepping off the elevator, guests encounter a wall covered in raw-silk, an Asian credenza and replicas of Chinese Emperor chairs. Under foot, carpeting in aubergine, chocolate and taupe with touches of burnt orange, offers up imagery of mountain ranges and bamboo motifs. In the hallways, glass cases house Asian figurines, vases and pottery.
Guestrooms are described to be “subtle in design but rich in textures and decor touches.” Saple veneer, a dark wood from the mahogany family, covers the walls and provides a contrasting background for the earth-tone furniture and accessories, while floor-to-ceiling windows fill the room with natural light. Furniture, finishings and amenities are residential in feel and functional in design, including desk-top plugs. The bedroom has been designed with a custom, pillow-top mattress, black-out curtains, and fabrics in soft, soothing champagne tones. Oversized bathrooms in a black-veined white marble, average 150 square feet. The walk-in shower, with rain shower head, stands apart from a jet tub. Bathroom mirrors, embedded with LCD televisions, are framed above a marble-topped vanity reminiscent of an Asian table.
Each room features an entertainment center with a 47-inch flat-screen LED TV and iPad for in-room use, featuring ICE technology.
Nine guestrooms feature private, appointed outdoor terraces and one quarter of the guest accommodation is devoted to suites, among the largest available in Toronto’s downtown area.
Included in the 49 suites are five specialty suites ranging from 630 square feet to the premier Owner’s Suite at 1,100 square feet and Shangri-La Suite at 2,200 square feet. The Owner’s Suite is dark and dramatic with a wood paneled, library-like entrance; while the Shangri-La Suite is open and airy, making use of Japanese lattice screens, oak wood molding and pewter marble. The Shangri-La Suite also offers a pantry with private butler’s entrance.
For meetings, weddings and social events, the third floor has nine meeting rooms. The entire floor is a rich mix of colors, textures and materials – red-veined black marble is juxtaposed with white oak millwork and leather sofas sit under crystal chandeliers. Encompassing 14,626 square feet in four distinct areas, the spaces are easily connected via two central corridors to create a floor that flows. The event rooms, named after prominent Toronto destinations, include a 42-seat screening room with over-sized merlot leather chairs and a two-story glass room set with 13 crystal chandeliers, hanging at varying heights. The largest space, Queen’s Park, offers 3,670 square feet of open space, which can be divided by an air-wall that descends from the ceiling. Over-head are 39 crystal chandeliers. Center pivot doors open to reveal a glass wall and an outdoor garden terrace overlooking University Avenue.
Located on level five is the 9,000 square-foot health club. It has a private enclosed studio and an open concept room, framed with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer natural light and city views. Covering the north end of the facility, a separate room with a candlelit wall, cascading water columns and chandeliers, contains the 64-foot salt-water lap pool.
An independently operated spa, Miraj Hamman Spa by Caudalie, Paris, also located on the fifth floor, offers nine treatment suites including two couple suites and two Hammam rooms.
The hotel is part of a development that also incorporates residential living, the revitalized historic red-brick Bishop’s Block, one of the oldest remaining buildings in Toronto, and a restaurant and bar by New York chef David Chang.
The hotel joins Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, which opened in January of 2009 on Canada’s West Coast.